It's easy to fall back on the old excuse: "I can't afford it".
Sure, the dollar may not go as far as it used to, but there are still tons of adventurous destinations around the globe where you can vacation for less than you'd spend in a day at home. Choose the right country and it's easy to stretch your funds - no matter how limited - without having to sleep on couches or eat ramen noodles.
Here are ten of our favorite countries that go easy on you wallet - some old budget favorites, some unexpected new additions - so you can get up, get out the door and on to your next big adventure. #ThinkLessTravelMore style.
1. GUATEMALA (OR NICARAGUA...).
Want to roam ancient ruins, trek through the jungle, surf, and eat delicious food with few tourists around? Visit the smaller countries in Central America (El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala). These countries get a bad wrap on the news, but as long as you aren't roaming bad neighborhoods at night or trying to rumble with the drug cartels, you'll be more than fine. Here you will find most budget hotels for around $15 per night (cheaper for hostels), meals for $3, most bus journeys for the same price, and beer for less than a dollar. Added bonus: Flights from the U.S. are cheap!
Blame it on Fiji Water, but most of us think of Fiji as an expensive honeymoon destination. But in reality, it's popular with many travelers because unlike it's expensive island neighbors, it's actually cheap. Yes, there are many $1,000-a-night resorts, but there are also dorm rooms, hostels, and all-inclusive local guesthouses you can stay in for $25 a night (or way less). Transportation around the islands isn't expensive and the pristine beaches are free. Toss in great diving, tasty seafood and friendly locals and you've got a tropical vacation without the expense.
Bali, Komodo, Sumatra. Sure Indonesia sounds exotic, but it's kind on your wallet as well as long as long as you zig when everyone else zags. That means you should steer clear of the touristy south near Kuta, Seminyak and Ubud and get out into the less explored countryside and lesser frequented towns. You'll be rewarded with a beautiful island with affordable rooms ($15-20/night), inexpensive local meals ($2), and activities that cost around $10. And, away from those crowds, you get beautiful rice terraces, black and white sand beaches, volcanoes, food markets, and jungles virtually to yourself.
Even before the region had it's little bankruptcy problem, Greece was a European bargain. Now it's a straight up budget traveler's paradise and the declining number of tourists visiting the country in recent years has only helped to ensure cheaper prices. Gyros cost around $3, you can get a huge lamb dinner for $10, drinks go for around $3, and single rooms can be found for under $30. Go there, enjoy historic sights, help the local economy, and save money.
While India has always been a cheap country, the Indian rupee used to ride high at 39 rupees to the dollar. Now, you get 60 rupees to the dollar - that's nearly 50 percent more money to travel with. Even if you splurge on mid-range accommodation and food, you’ll be hard-pressed to spend more than $50 per day, unless you book 5-star resorts. Flights to India are the most expensive part, but once you're there, everything's a bargain. That makes the long flight to see the historic Taj Mahal, the beaches of Goa, and metropolises of New Delhi and Mumbai much more appealing.
Most people come to South America for the Inca trail, but there's a lot more to Peru than that. Here you can sail the Amazon, visit the deserted, white sand beaches of Mancora, and explore the ruins of other Inca destinations like Moray and Choquequirao. Meals are rarely more than $5, private guesthouse rooms are around $25, and you can go anywhere in the country for less than $30. Don’t let those jaw-dropping prices for the Inca trail you see online deter you from one of the funniest, happiest, and cheapest countries in South America. Pro tip: If you go to Cuzco, you can get last-minute deals to Machu Picchu for 50 percent off!
While the days of China topping the list of cheapies is long gone, the country remains a budget destination, especially if you're interested in exploring the countryside away from the bright lights big city. Rooms are less than $20 a day, food is $2-5 per meal, and local transportation in cities less than dollar. Those who travel in China are richly rewarded with friendly people, delicious food, a country in constant flux, and beautiful mountains, beaches, and valleys on a budget anyone can afford!
While you cut put most of Southeast Asia on the list, Cambodia is one of the best value countries in region; everything is super cheap! This country is very budget travel-friendly and, if you are spending close to $50 a day, you are living large. We're talking private, air-con rooms for $20, local food for $2 and Western for about $7. Cambodia is one of my favorite countries in the world with some of the nicest people, most beautiful beaches, ruins, and jungles out there. It’s rough, it’s raw, and it’s stunning.
Don't give up on the Eurozone without checking out Portugal with it's beaches, wine country and historic cities at bargain prices. Throw in helpful, outgoing locals who serve up delicious food (especially seafood), and you have the making of a perfect place. Next time you're headed in that direction, consider sipping Italy - Portugal is where it's at! Looking for a splurge? Lisbon is one of the most affordable cities in the world to stay in a 5 Star hotel.
10. SOUTH KOREA.
Often overlooked by backpackers, South Korea rivals the prices of Southeast Asia in many ways - it's a great bargain. Bottles of beer in 7-Eleven (yes, they even exist in Korea) are less than a dollar and you can enjoy a nice dinner and drinks on the town for about $8 per person. Next time you're in SE Asia, consider adding South Korea to the list.
Want more ideas?
Check out the Think Less. Travel More. Destination Concierge, where we serve up curated suggestions based on interest, trip length, region and budget. Or share your own favorite spot in the comment box, below (we want to hear!).
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