30 places to travel on a budget

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Travelling on a budget is a win-win situation, really. You get to have just as much fun and adventure, without breaking the bank.

Anyone who’s followed me for a while now knows that I love a good bargain. And for me, this is so important when I’m travelling. Yes, luxury travel has it’s place and I’ve been fortunate enough to go on some pretty epic, deluxe adventures. But, some of my favourite travel memories have been from the cheaper trips: trips where I consciously tried to travel on the cheap and save money for more adventures later down the line.

In this blog post I’m going to share some of the best places to travel on a budget. There are cheap destinations all over the world, it’s just a case of choosing one and then planning your next adventure! See my top tips for planning your next trip here.

Note: the budget destinations I’m sharing in this post reflect the cost on the ground, when you get there. This list doesn’t take into account getting to your chosen destination, because flight prices vary depending on where you’re coming from. However, please do factor this into your costs when looking into budget travel options! To check flight deals on Skyscanner, click here.

Note: The daily budgets suggested in this blog post don’t include flights, and are approximate budgets for shoestring backpackers. If you prefer something a bit more lavish, you’ll need to account for this in your planning!

Here are 30 of the best places to travel on a budget…

ASIA

Asia is an excellent place to travel on a budget, because of the cost of living there. In many countries in this vast and diverse continent you can sleep and eat for less than £10 a day (combined!), leaving you more of your budget for activities and tours… or, if you don’t want to do these, giving you a very cheap adventure!

Here are a few of my favourite places to travel on a budget in Asia…

1. Indonesia

Approximate daily budget: Rp 300000/day (≈£16/€18/$20 USD)

A country that I’ve fallen in love with time and time again, Indonesia really is a great place for budget travel. I’d say it’s one of the cheapest places to travel in Asia, or even in the world! From the famous island of Bali, to the smaller, less travel islands that are equally as beautiful, and the larger islands of Java and Sumatra, Indonesia provides plenty of opportunity for adventure on a budget.

Check out my post on budgeting for Bali here.

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2. The Philippines

Approximate daily budget: ₱ 1000/day (≈£16/€18/$20 USD).

The Philippines is a destination that changed my approach to travel, and I can’t wait to return there one day. From the stunning beaches to the deep blue lagoons, you can really have a ‘luxury’ holiday on a backpacker budget in the Philippines! The Philippines is also one of the cheapest places to do adrenaline-rushing activities such as canyoneering, skydiving, paragliding, and swimming with whale sharks. Check out my experience of canyoneering here.

Moalboal Travel Guide Cebu Philippines | Where's Mollie? A Travel and Adventure Lifestyle Blog

3. Nepal

Approximate daily budget: रू 2500/day (≈£17/€19/$20 USD).

This small country in the Himalayas is a cheap and safe destination for every backpacker. Nepal is really popular for its trekking, so if you want to join guided treks, you may be closer to the top end of the budget. I’d love to incorporate a trek with relxing in Pokara and exploring Chitwan National Park!

Preparing for a trekking holiday? Check out my beginner’s guide to hiking here.

4. India

Approximate daily budget: ₹ 1350/day (≈£14.50/€16.50/$17.50 USD).

India has been on my bucket list for such a long time, and so it’s even better that it can be done on a backpacker budget! From the mountains in Ladakh, to the tropical haven of Goa, and the beaches of Kerala to the hustle and bustle of Dehli… I cannot wait to go and explore!

5. Cambodia

Approximate daily budget: 82000 r/day (≈£16.50/€18.50/$20 USD).

I first went to Cambodia during my first solo backpacking trip, and loved it. A country with a complex history worth learning about while you’re here, but also with beautiful islands, beaches and mountains, as well as the famous Angkor Wat.

6. Malaysia

Approximate daily budget: RM 100/day (≈£19/€21/$23 USD).

Budgets for Malaysia depend entirely on where you stay; Kuala Lumpur is a lot more expensive than the rest of the country. I’d love to spend more time in Malaysia and explore more of the jungle and the islands.

7. Laos

Approximate daily budget: ₭ 180000/day (≈£16.50/€18.50/$20 USD).

This landlocked Asian country is often overlooked by backpackers, who often visit just for a visa run. Take some time to explore the caves, mountains and culture in Laos, and I can guarantee you’ll be surprised!

8. Pakistan

Approximate daily budget: Rs 3000/day (≈£15/€17/$19 USD).

Tensions in Pakistan in recent years have subsided, and I’ve heard that it’s a beautiful country to explore. From the stunning mountains to the cities full of culture and colour, Pakistan can offer something to every budget traveller!

Note: The visa application for Pakistan is long – just something to be aware of! You also need a ‘Letter of Invitation’ from a tour company, so you’ll have to book onto a tour for at least part of your trip.

9. Vietnam

Approximate daily budget: ₫ 400000/day (≈£14/€16/$22.50 USD).

I loved exploring Vietnam during my solo backpacking trip and I’d return in a heartbeat. As well as rediscovering Hanoi, I’d love to see more of the waterfalls, beaches and National Parks this beautiful country has to offer.

Check out my backpackers guide to Hanoi here.

A backpacker's guide to Hanoi, Vietnam

10. Thailand

Approximate daily budget: ฿ 800/day (≈£20/€23/$25 USD).

Thailand was the first place I went on my first backpacking adventure, back in 2013. The islands, jungles and cities stole a piece of my heart forever. Thailand… I promise I’ll be back soon!

Remember that the north is cheaper than the south! Check out my budgeting guide for Thailand here.

How to budget for a month in Thailand

11. Sri Lanka

Approximate daily budget: රු, Rs 4700/day (≈£21/€23/$25 USD).

This small island off the coast of India is well worth exploring. Beaches, surfing, wildlife, hiking, waterfalls, wellness… you name it, Sri Lanka’s got it, and all on a budget!

Backpacking for the first time? Check out this bucket list of destinations for the first-time backpacker!

CENTRAL AMERICA

There are a few big gaps to fill on my travel bucket list, and Central America is one of them! Having put together this list of budget destinations, I now have even more of an urge to go…

Here are a few cheap places to visit in Central America…

12. Mexico

Approximate daily budget: Mex$ 700/day (≈£25/€27/$30 USD).

Mexico is a really diverse country and how much you spend really depends on where you want to go. For a budget adventure, avoid tourist hotspots like Cancun, and head to the hidden gems such as Baja California and Oaxaca.

13. Guatemala

Approximate daily budget: Q 200/day (≈£21.50/€24/$26 USD).

A unique destination for your list, Guatemala is home on Mayan ruins, dense rain forests, cascading waterfalls, black sand beaches and more!

Travelling sustainably helps the planet and also your budget, for example taking a reusable water bottle so you don’t have to pay for water! Here are 15 tips for travelling sustainably.

14. Nicaragua

Approximate daily budget: C$ 600/day (≈£15/€16.50/$18 USD).

Nicaragua is one of the cheapest countries in Central America. If you’re backpacking across Central America and you’re on a budget, you’d be wise to spend more time here than the more expensive likes of Costa Rica. The beaches, cities and islands are all worth exploring here, and you can even go and see the lava bubbling inside a volcano near Managua!

15. Cuba

Cuba is one of the lesser travelled Caribbean countries. There are a lot of rumours that Cuba is expensive and difficult to travel around, but this is not the case! As long as you are happy to travel like a local (local buses), eat like a local (street food), and sleep in dorms, there’s no reason why Cuba can’t be a really cheap place to travel!

One strange thing about Cuba is the dual currency… the ‘local’ National Peso (CUP) and the ‘tourist’ convertible Cuban Peso (CUC). It reflects the wealth of tourists compared to the locals. Advice seems to be that you will need both currencies, but it’s much more expensive to travel on a CUC budget, so use the National Peso where you can!

  • 25 National Pesos (CUP) = 1 Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC)
  • 1 Cuban Convertible Peso (CUC) = $1 USD

This is why it’s harder to give an approximately daily budget for Cuba… it can be anywhere from $15-50 USD (£12-40/€14-46) depending on your backpacking style and the currency you use! But, you can definitely travel Cuba on the lower end of that budget relatively easily using the National Peso.

SOUTH AMERICA

Another huge destination on my travel bucket list, South America is somewhere that I can’t wait to take my backpack and explore. Most of South America is quite cheap, so it was hard to choose which ones to feature on this list, but if you have any other favourites then do let me know!

Here are some budget destinations in South America…

16. Ecuador

Approximate daily budget: $25 USD/day (≈£21/€23).

There is more to Ecuador than the Galapagos Islands, which as stunning as they are, come at a huge cost. Naturally if you book onto group excursions to see the Amazon rain forest or the Andes mountains then you will spend more money, but there are plenty of budget options available. The cities of Quito and Baños are also well worth spending some time in!

17. Bolivia

Approximate daily budget: Bs 150/day (≈£18/€20/$22 USD).

Bolivia is said to be one of the cheapest, safest and most beautiful countries in South America! I’d love to explore the world-famous salt flats, rain forest and Lake Titicaca.

18. Colombia

Approximate daily budget: COL$ 120000/day (≈£25/€28/$30 USD).

When I get to backpack through Colombia, I’d love to explore the city of Bogota, hire a moped and explore Colombia’s countryside, use my PADI on the north coastline and hike the Cocora Valley!

Want to check out the reefs and explore the deep blue? Here’s my guide to getting PADI certified.

AFRICA

Africa is the most diverse continent I’ve visited. Mountains, desert, lakes, coral reef, rain forest, savanna… And hundreds of opportunities for adventure!

Here are some budget adventures to have in Africa…

19. South Africa

Approximate daily budget: R 700/day (≈£31/€35/$38 USD).

South Africa is where I went on my budget safari. Yes, you read that correctly; not every safari has to cost you £100s per person, if not more! Sure, any kind of tour adds to your budget significantly, so avoid if you’re on a really tight budget, but if you’re after a once in a lifetime budget experience, this is the one. Check out my budget safari guide here.

20. Tunisia

Approximate daily budget: د.ت 45/day (≈£12.50/€14.50/$15.50 USD).

With 8 UNESCO world heritage sites, it’s no wonder that Tunisia was included on Lonely Planet’s Best in travel 2020 list! The city of Tunis looks beautiful, as does exploring the Sahara in a 4×4!

21. Morocco

Approximate daily budget: DH 250/day (≈£21/€23/$25 USD).

With cities full of culture and colour, such as Fez and Marrakech, as well as the famous Casablanca, you’ll be pleased to hear that Morocco can be a really cheap place to travel!

Most of the budget destinations on this list can be travelled in even cheaper (as little as £10/day!) if you’re able/willing to free camp and cook for yourself for the whole trip, and don’t do any excursions.

22. Tanzania

Approximate daily budget: TSh 70000/day (≈£25/€28/$30 USD).

Tanzania, in particular Zanzibar, has been on my bucket list forever. Get on Pinterest to check out pictures of the tropical beaches, and you’ll see exactly why. If you’re on a shoestring budget, it’s best to avoid Zanzibar, however, as it’s one of the more expensive parts of the country. The beach town of Pangani also has beautiful beaches, and Tanzania is another great destination for a budget safari. Paradise on a budget? Yes please!

EUROPE

Europe, the continent I’m lucky enough to call home. For me, Europe is the perfect destination for a cheap break because it’s only a short flight or train journey away. But if you’re further away, don’t worry; the long flight will be worth it when you get there!

Here are some places to travel on a budget in Europe…

23. Poland

Approximate daily budget: 100 /day (≈£20/€22/$24 USD).

An often overlooked destination, but one with plenty of adventure. Poznań and Wrocław are student cities, so naturally more budget friendly than Warsaw or Krakow, but you can still get great deals there too!

24. Albania

Approximate daily budget: L 3400/day (≈£25/€28/$30 USD).

Albania is the country that has taken me by surprise the most on my travelling journey so far. A country that I’d almost never heard of before my trip there, it surprised me with a stunning coastline, a wonderful capital (Tirana), beautiful natural surroundings, and plenty of adventure.

Check out more hidden gems in Europe in this blog post.

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25. Georgia

Approximate daily budget: ₾80/day (≈£21/€23/$25 USD).

An underrated destination with vibrant cities, beautiful national parks, and excellent wine. You had me at wine on a budget!

26. Romania

Approximate daily budget: L 100/day (≈£18/€21/$23 USD).

With an eclectic history and a variety of things to do, Romania is great if you are travelling on a budget. Dracula’s castle, vibrant Bucharest, the Danube delta, brown bears and beaches, you will have a unique combination of everything you could possibly imagine, all in one budget friendly trip!

For safety tips for solo travel, check out these 12 ways to stay safe on your solo adventure!

27. Hungary

Approximate daily budget: Ft 9000/day (≈£23/€25/$27 USD).

Budapest is one of the cheapest cities in Europe (budget accommodation starts from Ft 2000/night!), and it’s great fun to explore too! From the thermal baths to a beautiful castle, the Danube river bank and more, you won’t be short of things to do in this European city.

28. Italy

Approximate daily budget: €30/day (≈£27/$32 USD).

Granted, some parts of Italy are really expensive (yes, I’m looking at you Rome, Milan and Florence!). However, if you head further south to the city of Naples, or the regions of Calabria, Puglia or Sicily, you’re guaranteed to have a much cheaper trip with just as much fun!

If you want to head to a big city, expect to spend closer to €50/day.

Sicily: the ultimate bucket list

29. Portugal

Approximate daily budget: €30/day (≈£27/$32 USD).

Portugal is a stunning country, and one of the cheapest in the Eurozone. Some of the best things to do in Portugal are hiking and exploring the beaches… both of which are free! Bonus!

The cities of Porto and Lisbon are also very backpacker budget friendly, making it really easy to explore everywhere on a budget.

For even more places to travel on a budget in Europe, check out this post full of cheap European destinations!

OCEANIA

30. Australia

Approximate daily budget: $70 AUD/day (≈£37/€41/$45 USD).

Australia is certainly not the cheapest place on this list, and not usually included on ‘travel on a budget’ bucket lists. But, if you really want to see Australia, it can be done on the cheap! If you stay in hostels and cook your own food, you have more money to spend on activities, which you can get really good deals on! From Fraser Island and the Whitsundays to exploring Sydney, so much is available in Australia on a budget; you just have to look. Check out my budgeting for backpacking Australia guide here.

My good friend Sammy owns RatPack Travel (a discounted booking platform). The team at RatPack are ready to help you plan and book all your trips and transport for your adventure down under. Click here to send RatPack a WhatsApp message (+61 450381801) and start planning your trip today. Don’t forget you can use my code MOLLIE10 for 10% off any trip or transport booking you make.

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Have you travelled on a budget?

Where was your budget travel destination? I’d love to know!

Love as always and happy adventuring,

Mollie.

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30 places to travel on a budget
30 places to travel on a budget
30 places to travel on a budget

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