It is said that travel broadens the mind, but it also definitely drains the pocket! We all love to travel, experience new cultures and see things we don’t see at home, but maybe we don’t all have the funds to follow that dream. However with a little determination and some pocket change you can still find yourself somewhere fun for less than you may expect. For the destinations below the flight might be your biggest expense but once you’re there and you get your budget right, you can make your money go a long way.
1. India: Alluring, undeniably exotic and unlike anywhere else on earth in so many ways India is still an excellent budget destination. It’s a huge country so if you are on a budget it is recommended to choose an area and explore rather than try and cover too much. Food and drink is very cheap with a meal easily come by for around (US)$1.50, a bed away from the cities can be found for $2. Avoid spending too much time in Mumbai or Delhi to maximise your holiday budget. Think Kerala or Goa for beach paradise, Manali for the mighty Himalayas or Rajastan for beautiful desert wilderness.
2. Malaysia: Most travelers head to neighboring Thailand but Malaysia is as exotic and can be a little cheaper. Kuala Lumpur is an excellent place to find cheap food and accommodation and places like Penang or Kuching offer culture, food and beach or trekking for a snip. Drinking alcohol is permitted but expensive in this Muslim country so if you plan to party hard Thailand can be a better option. $10 – $15 a day is do-able although $20 may ensure a more enjoyable stay.
3. Cambodia: Cambodia is still phenomenally cheap considering what you can do here. Beautiful beaches, hill and jungle treks, spectacular temples at Angkor Wat – and you’ll easily get away with around $10 – $15 a day all in if you’re budget conscious.
4. Dominican Republic: The Caribbean on a budget? Surely not… The Dominican Republic offers palm fringed beaches, stunning inland mountains and jungle with excellent food and partying for a fraction of its neighbors $20 a day is do able using cheap accommodation and eating at cheaper establishments. Fill up on cheap cigars
5. Nicaragua/Costa Rica: Central America has always been a budget option and these two have been the rising stars of the scene recently with rapidly improving tourist infrastructure. Both offer excellent scenery from beach to mountain as well as cheap partying with alcohol being relatively cheap.
6. Peru: South America can be notoriously expensive but Peru and neighboring Ecuador are still both reasonably budget friendly. Peru draws thousands of tourists each year to visit Macchu Piccu, Nazca and the Amazon jungle and rightly so. If you play your cards right you can do Peru for around $20- 25 a day.
7. Spain: Europe is notoriously expensive to travel around but Spain still offers the more top end budget traveler some excellent options. Book ahead and you can get some excellent hotel deals in Spain, either in the cities of Barcelona, Madrid or Seville or on the islands such as Ibiza or Mallorca. The eagle eyed budget traveler will find cheap beers around €1 in certain places and food for around €5 a meal in tapas bars. Try more obscure parts of Spain such as A Coruna or San Sebastian to make your budget go further. It’s borderline budget but you can do Spain for around $30 – 35 a day.
8. Slovenia: Part of the former Yugoslavia, Slovenia still offers a budget European experience but no less spectacular. Slovenia is one of the cheapest places in the world to go skiing as well as good food, cheap beer and friendly locals.
9. Turkey: Bridging the gap between Europe and Asia, Turkey is an excellent budget option. Exotic yet modern and with spectacular scenery, Turkey offers Middle Eastern food, world class beaches and history everywhere. Booking in advance can offer excellent hotel deals which can be used as a base to explore.
10. Malawi: People underestimate what a budget option Africa can be! Beyond the expensive safaris and high end beach resorts it can be a really cheap choice. You can easily get by on $10-15 a day. The people are warm and welcoming and the natural scenery acts as a playground allowing you to avoid spending on expensive activities. Beautiful lakes, cheap beer and a chance to make life long friends.
There are so many places that no top ten list can ever be truly comprehensive. Options such as Laos, Myanmar, Bolivia, Gambia, Mozambique, Lebanon or Hungary are also worth considering and perennial favorites like Thailand or Indonesia should always be on any budget traveller’s potential list.