So you want to go abroad and have some fun, right? But you have to choose between 192 countries, who knows how many thousands of cities, and your on a rather tight budget. Normally this would be a tough choice, but now, you get to have a glimpse of paradise on earth. It’s time to find the most affordable travel destinations of 2015.
Cheapest Travel Destinations in South East Asia
Southeast Asia is a popular holiday destination. Thailand is a temping choice, but if you’re traveling on a budget, you will want to avoid this country… Thailand is, perhaps, the most expensive destination as it can cost you anything between $6 and $13 USD for accommodation only, per night.
That’s why you should focus on Cambodia, where you can pay $2 to $5 USD per night. Vietnam is another option that would only cost you $5 to $8 USD per night. Food won’t cost you much, provided you are willing to try the local cuisine instead of ordering imported beer and western dishes. If you steer clear of your favorite Western dishes and don’t hunt the most exquisite locals, you can eat well for a decent price.
Visiting the most popular local destinations is also affordable. Avoid sophisticated lessons like scuba diving and multiple day passes for huge sites like Angkor Wat. If you do, you’ll save a few hundred dollars over the course of your holiday! Also, don’t worry about the transport – with so many tourists coming here every year, their transportation system will easily cover all of your needs. Practically, you can get everywhere by bus.
Long story short, if you go for the most attractive travel destinations in Southeast Asia, you might have to spend only 25 USD a day. If you’re not that much of a spender, you can even stretch it to 15 USD a day. It depends, of course, on your travel expectations and on how much you expect to get from a holiday abroad.
• 16 USD a day: Nepal (Pokhara), Vietnam (Hanoi, Saigon)
• 18 USD a day: Nepal (Kathmandu)
Cheapest travel destinations in Central America
Central America is one of the wildest, most beautiful and least explored travel destinations. The social and political tensions that lasted here for decades kept travelers away from its borders. These days, however, things are changing, and the countries of Central America are more and more attractive to people from around the world.
Accommodation costs start here from about 15 USD a night in El Salvador, which is one of the cheapest countries. You should avoid Panama and Costa Rica, where prices are twice as high. If you aren’t very picky, you could go to a hostel for a much cheaper room or even rent a place to pitch a tent.
Just like with accommodation, food costs and options are very flexible. A local meal consisting of a drink and a main dish is around 10 USD. Instead of going to the fanciest restaurants in the city center, try the roadside joints and you can pay even half that amount. If you shop and cook on your own, it shouldn’t cost you more than 20 USD for a whole week!
Since Central America is full of tropical forests and exotic sites, there are many national parks to visit. Trips to their most popular tourist attractions and tickets for their national parks are also very affordable. But transport is not very developed here so buses are quite crowded and slow. But if you aren’t in a hurry, you might actually enjoy this new experience.
Add to your list of cheapest travel destinations in Central America Guatemala, especially Antigua, where you can pay up to 30 USD a day.
23 USD a day: Bolivia (La Paz), Ecuador (Quito)
27 USD a day: Peru (Cusco, Lima)
Cheapest travel destinations in Europe
Europe is, without a doubt, a wonderful place to visit. Historical architecture, great beaches, good wine, lots of places filled with history and symbols. It isn’t the cheapest destination on earth – especially if you’re considering France, England or Germany. But if you aim for countries such as Ukraine, Romania, Bulgaria, Poland or Serbia, you might get yourself the winning ticket for an unforgettable holiday.
The secret is to pick a country from the East side of the continent. For a little under 30 EUR a night you can find a room with a private bathroom, double bed, Wi-Fi, and breakfast included. Of course, there are many other accommodation options, such as campsites or hostel dorm rooms. If you opt for these, depending on how much space you want to rent (for camping) or the size of the room (for hostels), it can cost you less than 15 EUR per night.
Fast food is very popular here, which means you can buy yourself sandwiches, pizza slices and other local pastry specialties for anything between 4 and 7 EUR. A main dish plus a drink at a restaurant varies between 13 and 25 EUR . Cooking for yourself is also an option at about 60 to 70 EUR a week.
Transportation is affordable in the east of Europe. Where Western cities could cost you around 2 EUR for a ticket, in the Eastern side you can get a ride for 1 EUR. Of course, it will cost you even less if you look around for some free city tours, which usually involve walking around the city and getting to see the most important monuments, historical streets, and public gardens.
25 USD a day: Romania (Bucharest), Bulgaria (Sofia)
28 USD a day: Poland (Krakow), Serbia (Belgrade)
34 USD a day: Latvia (Riga)
Make the best of your holiday for pennies
Even when you’ve picked one of the cheapest travel destinations, you can save e if you pay attention to the following details:
• Hunt discount websites and purchase your airline tickets in advance;
• Look for connecting flights (though it takes longer, it can be cheaper)
• Don’t be afraid to buy round trip tickets (if it’s cheaper) even if you aren’t going to use that return ticket
• Make sure you fly back from the same airport where you initially arrived (it should also reduce the costs)
• Learn how to save 30-40% on most flights
• Cooking for yourself is always cheapest
• Make sure you eat your fill at at lunch and have a frugal dinner – lunch menus are generally less expensive even when they are just as rich and plentiful as dinners
• If you have a weakness for street foods, make sure the stall’s hygiene is acceptable
• As a tourist, you’d better stay away from taxis – taxi drivers are the first ones to try and trick you
• If you travel at night from one side of the country to the other, pick the slowest transport means – you will sleep anyway, and you will pay less
• In Europe look for subway, rail or metros passes – in Asia or Central America look for local buses.
• If traveling is no problem, look for accommodation in a closer and smaller town than the one you plan to visit
• Try to book space from a host in advance on marketplaces such as airbnb (you can even find whole apartments or homes to rent, not just a room in an apartment)
• Try couchsurfing for an even more exciting experience (stay in the same house with your host)
• If you plan to stay longer, rent a vacation home instead of paying a hotel
• Wherever you go, consider your camping options as well.
Other tips to try:
• Even if you’re not the most sociable person on earth, being friendly to the locals could get you very far! They could tell you about the best places to visit and the ones to avoid. They could even offer you accommodation!
• Whenever you have the chance, enter grocery stores and local supermarkets – you don’t need to cook for yourself, but you can always find some fruits and precooked meals to try for pennies.
• Take advantage of any kind of discount you can get – for being a student, for having a certain age, for any membership card you carry in your wallet.
Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.