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April 30, 2021

The splendor of expensive destinations has its appeal, but let's face it — the more expensive a place is, the more you have to adjust the length of your trip and your activities there to stretch your dollar.

 There's something to be said for traveling to cheap countries, where an entire meal at a local restaurant costs the same as a movie ticket back home — or where you can sleep at a nice hotel for what would only get you a hostel bed in other places.

 Check out this list of some of the cheaper countries in different destinations around the world and why you should consider going there.


  1. India, $20/day

India is perhaps the cheapest country to travel to, but if and only if you’re willing to haggle and hunt for deals. Keep in mind that cheap rooms that run in the $3 range will be very basic and it’s normal to shower with buckets of heated water. You will be hard pressed to find cheap gems in the north, but the south with its gorgeous beaches may prove more fruitful when it comes to budget accommodation.

The best way to travel through India on a budget is to book things yourself. This means no agents and no online booking sites. Similar to Nepal, if you walk into local guesthouses, restaurants, and tour companies, you could easily get the same things in person for half the quoted price online.

Meals: $3 – $6 per day

Accommodation: $4 – $8 per night in a local guesthouse

Transportation: $1 – $3 for a full day of bus and train rides, or $8 – $30 for an intercity train ride (sometimes a domestic flight costs as little as $30, if you want to splurge without actually splurging!)

SIM card with data: $3 for 1.5GB with 30-day validity. Yes, it is that cheap!



  1. Croatia, $40/day

If you like turquoise waters, sunshine, and parties, look no further than Croatia to plan your next budget trip. There are thousands of islands surrounding its mainland, excellent weather from May – October, and beach and yacht parties year-round. The essential expenses including accommodation, transportation, and food all come with a reasonable price tag. There is also beautiful architecture to marvel at, interesting sights such as the Museum of Broken Relationships, as well as cute small towns to explore. To travel in Croatia on a budget, you need a similar approach to Greece – travel in the shoulder season. July & August are the country’s busiest months, so avoid them if possible. Also, keep your island hopping to a group of islands to minimize transfers.

Meals: $10 – $15 per day. Some hostels offer complimentary breakfast


Transportation: $12 – $15 per person for a rental car split between 4 people, or $10-$15 for a ferry ride

SIM card with data: $8 for 2GB with 30-day validity




  1. Guatemala, $38/day

For an amazing Central American adventure on a budget, check out Guatemala. The country is covered in lush jungles, volcanos, and ruins. When you need a break from outdoor sports, its colonial cities will capture your heart with their stunning architecture and cobblestone streets. Local food is delicious and cheap at about $3 for a full meal (except in Antigua, where prices are actually close to US levels).

Local transportation can be very cheap but at times confusing and risky. The locals typically take the chicken buses, which are converted school buses from North America, and are the cheapest way to get around. The buses do not have specific stops, nor is there a board with prices on it. Instead, people simply wave the buses down and pay the collector money. Watch how much the locals are paying and pay the same.

Meals: $10 – $15 per day. Some hostels offer complimentary breakfast


Transportation: $1 – $3 for a full day of chicken bus rides, or $5 – $10 for an intercity bus ride

SIM card with data: $13 for 2GB with a 30-day validity


  1. Kyrgyzstan, $25/day

Kyrgyzstan is the country of choice for most travelers interested in trying out Central Asia, and thus most well-suited to travelers of all budgets. Food is cheap and interesting, so is getting around using the minibusses. Public transportation prices are fixed and are probably the cheapest aspect of traveling in Kyrgyzstan. As for accommodation, you can find hostels in major destinations, and local homestays in more rural places for less than $10. If you are doing a multi-day hike like the Tian Shan Mountains, the tour price should include most things.

Meals: $4 – $8 per day

Accommodation: a local guesthouse

Transportation: $0.20 for a local minibus ride, or $4 for an intercity bus ride – that’s right!

SIM card with data: $3 for 3GB with 30-day validity.



  1. Namibia, $42/day

Namibia is home to some of the world’s most spectacular views including the gorgeous Sossusvlei, the hauntingly beautiful Deadvlei, and the massive Fish River Canyon, just to name a few. At first glance, Namibia may not seem like a budget destination, as most accommodations cater to the luxury category, and transportation availability from one place to another can be limited in such a vast country. However, you just need to do things a little bit differently to save a lot of money.

The most important thing is to choose to camp instead of staying in a lodge. The luxury lodges cost about $50 – $200 per night, but you can camp at their campsites for about $8 – $10 per night. Camping at the government campsites will set you back about $15 – $18 per night. As for transportation, ideally, you would want to rent a 4×4 and share it with a few people to split the cost. If your accommodation comes with a communal kitchen, make full use of it as cooking your own meals will definitely save you money. Entrance fees are generally cheap!

Meals: $12 – $15 per day

Accommodation: $8 – $15 per night

Transportation: $15 – $18 per day for a 4×4 split between 4 people

SIM card with data: $16 for 1.5GB with a 60-day validity



How Low Can You Go?

The suggested budget above includes basic accommodation, transportation, and 3 meals with a mix of simple breakfasts, hearty lunches, and light dinners, as well as Internet and 1 paid activity for the day. You will need to add on the other costs like shopping, alcohol, little splurges here and there to understand how much exactly is needed.

Some may want to dive or ski, which are typically higher-cost activities, and some just want to walk around and explore the local neighborhoods. If you are on a shoestring budget, the suggested budgets can be cut down further should you choose to couch surf, hitchhike, and skip certain activities.



Image Source: Getty Images