Low-cost airlines have made travelling cheaper than ever. But if you want to save even more, then it's a smart idea to book your next adventures in destinations that give the best value for your penny. Here is a look at 13 budget-friendly travel destinations that will steer you clear of unwanted credit card debt.
Many travelers rate Ecuador as an expensive destination because visitors here usually head out to the famous Galapagos Islands. Rather than follow the pricey footsteps of Charles Darwin, the more economical mainland also has its fair share of draws. Start with the UNESCO World Heritage capital city of Quito, the highest officially recognized capital in the world, towering 2,850 meters above the sea level. Save money on taxis by opting for Uber instead as this service has excellent value in Quito.
Home to the wondrous Angkor Wat, Cambodia is one of the cheapest destinations in Southeast Asia. Hiring a local tour guide is economical, and an excellent way to understand the region's history, culture, gastronomy and local life in a hassle-free manner. After a day of intense sightseeing, you can expect to relax with a very reasonably priced massage, shop at the markets for some great deals, and enjoy great Asian fare for only a few dollars!
3. Czech Republic
Beer lovers and Old Town aficionados, unite! Prague and the smaller Czech towns are stellar for city sightseeing, especially by opting for local guided tours that do not break your bank. And yes, you can still find some of Europe's cheapest and tastiest beer in this lovely Central European country. The bigger museums allow free entrances during public holidays. In June, a lot of tourists and locals alike flock to the Prague Museum Night events, which means totally free visits to many stunning galleries and museums. In most Czech Republic’s towns, you can find lovely public parks with free entry; perfect for having a spontaneous picnic with your fellow travelers. If you are keen on nature visits, then head out to one of the Czech national parks: Šumava, Krkonoše, or Knižeci Plane is a good place to start.
Spain has a great network of trains connecting its main cities; so, equip yourself with a rail pass, and start your Spanish trip from the Catalan city of Barcelona. The country is famous for its tapas, and you will find lunch a cheaper affair than full course dinners. Add to it accommodation at serviced apartments, and there you have it: a great value destination. Do make it a point though, to get the best out of your visit and experience the sights, sounds (and dances) of this popular country like a local, with a local guide. With the Spanish economy still struggling to get at par with its European cousins, you will find cost of services (and goods) more economical.
Brush up on your Spanish because Bolivia might be your next wallet-friendly destination! You will be able to get by on $25 a day in the capital La Paz by feasting at the roadside stalls and choosing a basic budget hostel for your much-needed zzzs. The rest of the country offers amazing experiences, such as Uyuni salt flats in southwestern Bolivia and the Island of the Sun in the middle of Lake Titicaca, all accessible economically via local buses. Plus, you may not find well-established hostel networks as in bordering South American countries, but always ask for a hostal. This is the name for the local budget hotels.
Tallinn is Skype's birthplace and home to a wonderful Old Town; a medieval centre where you can spend hours walking the cobblestoned streets. Visiting the university town of Tartu is a great idea: the atmosphere is laid-back, food is cheap compared to Western European cities, and you are bound to meet some interesting students and academics in one of the Old Town's ubiquitous cafes. Oh, and did we mention Tartu is the cheapest city in Europe according to Glassdoor's report?
Tunisia has experienced significant price drops because of the declining tourism in the last years. This North African destination is a heady mix of Roman ruins, Saharan desert, Mediterranean resorts, and bustling Arabian markets, and hence still worth a visit.
Both Lisbon and Porto offer good value for budget travellers as the prices are generally lower than many other Western European destinations. The bigger cities are steeped in history, making guided tours an excellent option to study the past and understand today's vibes through the eyes of a local. Heading out to smaller towns and villages leads you to even cheaper food and accommodation prices.
Portugal is one of the countries that offers great off-season value. You can enjoy lower food and accommodation prices when visiting from October to May.
Beaches, seafood, natural wonders, and bustling cities…Vietnam is a true backpackers' delight. In fact, Vietnam's busier cities are one of the region's cheapest places for living. Street food, hostels, and ancillary expenses might cost you less than $20 a day. A popular way to get under Vietnam's skin is to sign up for a local motorcycle tour, where you can feel the wind on your face as you ride past its green countryside, long coastlines, and busy little towns.
Explore the Berber lifestyle in the Southern regions or enjoy the Atlantic coast full of gems like Essaouira and smaller fishing villages. The flights are still on the cheaper side as many low-cost carriers ply their routes to Marrakech, Agadir, and Fez. You can boost your budget travel by adapting to the local way of buying stuff: always be ready to haggle and never accept the first price given to you (except at supermarkets of course!).
Imagine a country where beaches are called Cacao and Sunny, drinks are offered from 1 euro, and plenty of mountainous regions abound for seriously cool hiking trips. That's Bulgaria. In the summer, it's a fantastic budget-conscious alternative to popular Mediterranean resorts like Ibiza, Mallorca, and Rimini. There are loads of nature reserves where you can hike and enjoy recreational activities in pristine wilderness. And when the first snow falls, you may start to think about the Bulgarian ski resorts; an excellent choice if you want to save up on money by skipping the expensive Scandinavian and Central-European winter sports regions.
A beautiful country often overlooked when visiting Europe's central regions. Budapest gives plenty of competition to its neighbouring capitals in terms of vivid nightlife, exciting exhibitions, and plenty of sightseeing. Want to avoid scratching only the surface of Hungary's culture and history? Book a local guided tour to get a more in-depth understanding of the region's tumultuous past. Local Hungarian sites offer competitive prices for private accommodation. These deals aren’t usually available in English, so try to ask help from locals to get the cheapest rooms booked!
Using public transportation and travelling off-season in Belize can make this Central American state a highly valuable destination to visit in 2018. When staying in a hotel, take advantage of free offers that are often bundled to your stay. For example, you might get a free bicycle or canoe rental. Entrance to some national parks can be cheap as chips compared to its North American counterparts. Visiting Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary will only cost you around five dollars. Do try to visit San Ignacio, the self-proclaimed ecological capital of Belize, which means plenty of nutritious fruits and vegetables sold in the markets that won’t break your bank!
Robert is a writer, entrepreneur, and photographer discovering the world while sharing the finds with his readers. He loves hiking and active holidays. Never says no to trying a new gelato flavour!