5 of the Best Budget Destinations Around the World
“What countries in the world offer the most value? How did you manage to spend such little money?”
Being a budget traveller myself, these are questions that are often asked by my friends, family, and clients.
With the correct planning, the combination of cheap accommodation, transportation, food, and activities can allow you to stretch your money a lot farther than you may have initially thought.
Keep in mind that these countries are in no particular order and are only places that I have visited myself, so if you’ve been to other incredible budget holiday destinations (from cheap European countries like Bulgaria and Romania, through to other South American jewels such as Mexico), then let us know!
Before I went to Vietnam, I had heard from others and done the research, so I knew that it was going to be quite cheap.
But let me tell you; I did not expect to be able to survive on approximately $15 CAD per day (being a Canadian, I’ll be talking in Canadian Dollars throughout). A massive bowl of pho accompanied with an ice-cold beer for $2? Uhhh YES PLEASE!
In addition to having extremely cheap and delicious food, accommodation throughout the country is some of the cheapest I have ever experienced during my travels. I’m talking hostels for under $10 per night and high-end 5-star hotels for under $150. Whether taking buses, trains or flying around the country, the transportation systems are very reasonably priced and quite reliable.
Vietnam continues to be one of my favourite destinations for many reasons, with the low prices definitely contributing to this being the case. It’s also part of the famous South East Asia backpacking route that includes the likes of Thailand and Cambodia, of which are also high on the budget holiday destinations list.
- Average Cost of Hostel: CAD$10 and below (£6)
- Average Cost of 5 Star Hotel: CAD$150 and below (£85)
- Average Cost of Street Food: CAD$1 and below (£0.50)
- Average Cost of Restaurant Meal: CAD$5 and below (£2.50)
Yes, yes I know what you’re all thinking. Machu Picchu is not cheap!
You’re right, but just so you know, there’s a lot more to see and do in Peru than strictly visiting the gem of Machu Picchu.
During my 6-month backpacking adventure around South America, I had the opportunity to spend just under one month in the stunning country of Peru. I was pleasantly surprised by how far I was able to stretch my money here!
Although not quite as cheap as Vietnam, it’s still very possible to budget around $20 per day. Especially if you have a few extra days or weeks and can spend time outside of the Cusco tourist zone (even though I absolutely loved this city). If you’re looking to save money on food, make sure to enjoy the “Menu Del Dia”, which can be found at basically every restaurant in each city. As much as I try to cook my own food while travelling on a budget, a three-course meal for under $5 was impossible to turn down.
- Average Cost of Hostel: CAD$17 and below (£10)
- Average Cost of Street Food: CAD$2 and below (£1.20)
- Average Cost of Restaurant Meal: CAD$4.50 and below (£2.50)
Western Europe continues to be a hotspot for travel, so I thought it would make sense to throw in an affordable destination from the region.
Compared to the other countries within close proximity, Portugal continues to be one of the best stops in Western Europe for a budget holiday. Although I only had a limited time here in the capital of Lisbon, I learned very quickly that a little bit of money can go a long way.
Accommodation is reasonably priced, public transportation is a fraction of the cost of surrounding countries, and you can find a variety of delicious local plates for under $8. Of course, you’re not going to be able to survive on a daily budget of $15 like above, but if staying in hostels, and eating local food, it can easily be done for under $50.
Another great thing about Portugal is the weather, which makes it very easy to travel in the shoulder seasons. Do this, and you’ll be able to save even more money than you initially thought.
Get there soon though, as I’m quite confident that prices will be on the rise soon!
- Average Cost of Hostel: CAD$34 and below (£20)
- Average Cost of Restaurant Meal: CAD$10 and below (£5.80)
Being a country that often gets overlooked or skipped by those travelling around South East Asia, Malaysia was one of my favourite countries in the region.
Although not as cheap as other countries in the area, if you’re smart in your decision making while travelling, your budget could be set lower than imagined.
Another nice bonus about Malaysia is that it’s not anywhere near as touristy as other destinations in Southeast Asia. This has kept prices relatively low and stable, compared to, say, the popular Thailand islands.
It’s not always ideal for certain people, but travelling during monsoon season in Malaysia can see prices drop significantly. Flights, accommodation, and activities will be priced at their lowest during this time, and crowds will be minimal.
My best piece of advice in order to save money while travelling in Malaysia; limit your alcohol consumption. Being a predominately Muslim country, the prices of alcohol can be very similar to those in North America and Western Europe. If you’re on a longer trip and want to party, save that until you head further north. Your wallet will be thanking you later!
Ps - don’t forget about the island of Borneo. It’s well worth the cheap flight across the water and is home to some spectacular National Parks.
- Average Cost of Hostel: CAD$22 and below (£12.50)
- Average Cost of 5 Star Hotel: CAD$137 and below (£80)
- Average Cost of Street Food: CAD$1 and below (£0.60)
- Average Cost of Restaurant Meal: CAD$5 and below (£3)
Although it can be quite the journey to get to for most people, once you arrive in Argentina you’ll be able to enjoy great value for your money.
It’s an unfortunate situation for the people of Argentina, but the continuing economic problems here make it extremely appealing for budget travellers. What you get in exchange for $1 today is approximately 7 times what it was only a short 5 years ago. What does this mean?? Although you may never had considered travelling to Argentina in the past, now is a great time to take advantage of the value it presents as a budget holiday destination.
The stunning capital of Buenos Aires (potentially my favourite city in the world), provides a wide range of accommodation options, parks galore, and friendly locals who are still in bright spirits despite the economic crisis.
The country is also home to part of the iconic Iguazu Falls, the famous Patagonia region in the south, and the popular wine regions in the north. Keep in mind that prices in Patagonia will be a bit higher, but are still very reasonable compared to what they used to be.
- Average Cost of Hostel: CAD$20 and below (£12)
- Average Cost of 5 Star Hotel: CAD$128 and below (£75)
- Average Cost of Street Food: CAD$4 and below (£2.35)
- Average Cost of Restaurant Meal: CAD$7.75 and below (£4.50)
Well, I hope this article has helped you with discovering the top budget destinations around the world today! If you're planning to work and travel, you could easily save up a lot of money in a country that pays more handsomely and take your hard earned wages onto these countries to make those dollars last longer. Travelling doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think. Do your research and maybe consider a country that you weren’t thinking of before.
For now, take care of yourself - and remember, adventure is out there.