The world and its economy is recovering from the pandemic, as such, many countries are reopening their tourism with plenty of tempting discounts available! With that comes the gallivanting travellers whose wanderlust is urging them to go. However, the pandemic hasn’t been nice to anyone, and our income is just collateral damage. But what if you still want to go with a tight budget? You can, still, if you’re going to some of the cheapest places to visit.
If you haven’t any ideas where those places are, worry not, we’ve done it for you. Check out our list below!
Top 12 Cheapest Place to Visit for Travellers on a Tight Budget
We’ve divided our destinations into regions for your ease of reading. Check out the regions you’d like to go the most, whether it is Southeast Asia, Africa, or Europe.
Famed for being one of the cheapest places there is to visit, Southeast Asia is one of the first places you should be thinking of when travelling on a tight budget. Let’s check out some popular options.
Vietnam is up there as one of the cheapest countries to travel right now, and it has plenty of great stuff to offer.
Vietnam is world-renowned for its numerous beautiful sceneries. Officially pronounced as a one of the new world’s wonders in 2012, Ha Long Bay is one of the most famous natural landscapes in Vietnam with magnificent views of limestone structures and lush jungle growth. Son Doong Cave is another must-see in Vietnam. As the largest natural cave in the world, Son Doong Cave is perfect for those who like trekking or hiking, or just the unspoilt nature in general. However, if visiting an overrun tourist attraction is just a tad boring, Vietnam is no short of exotic destinations, namely Tam Coc, Phu Quoc Island, Con Dao Island, etc.
Vietnam is also famous for its rich cuisine. Its coffee is especially popular because it’s incredibly cheap (under a dollar!), ubiquitous, and has a strong unforgettable coffee flavor. Other foods like pho, banh mi, bun bo Hue, etc. are extremely popular to tourists as well as only in Vietnam will they come in their most rustic and original flavors, despite being served world-wide in Vietnamese restaurants.
By and large, food and accommodations in Vietnam are quite cheap, and we’re talking less than $30 a day if you’re travelling casually.
Ha Long Bay’s panoramic view. Image from Unsplash
Thailand is one of the cheapest places to visit in Southeast Asia. If you’re planning to visit with a tight budget, Thailand should be one of the first countries you should think of.
The country is just one ginormous tourist site from north to south. Up north, in the culture-rich Chiang Mai, there are many temples and interesting sites, and Thailand’s tallest mountain is just around the corner. In the central region, there are many places of great historical values, as well as natural and cultural sites. South Thailand, however, is a holy grail for beach lovers with stunning beaches and amazing resorts. As you can see, Thailand has pretty much everything one can think of.
Thailand’s crystal clear beach. Image on Unsplash
Cuisine-wise, Thai cuisine is a mix bag of neighboring countries and culture, but it’s definitely special in its own way with the unique combination of herbs and spices. Visit Thailand to try national dishes such as Massaman curry, Pad Thai, Kway Teow, and more.
Much like in Vietnam, Thailand is famed for being an inexpensive country. You’d be spending less than $30 a day unless you like it fancy.
Usually overshadowed by its Southeast Asian brothers, Cambodia holds its own as one of the cheapest places to travel.
You can’t say you’ve been to Cambodia if you haven’t visited Angkor Wat. It is one of the most famous and most important historical sites in all Southeast Asia. Consider it to be the Cambodian Mecca for its people. But if you’re not religious, Angkor Wat in and of itself is a gorgeous temple complex. The place seems almost ethereal at dusk or dawn when the sun beamed upon it. Be careful, though, not to visit it during peak hours, as thousands of wide-eyed guests will flood this sacred temple!
Angkor Wat’s view from afar. Image on Unsplash
There are many more places to visit in Cambodia. Its capital Phnom Penh, while not as bustling as some of the world’s largest metropolises, is certainly special in its own way with dazzling tower blocks that offer stunning panoramic views of the city at night. If you fancy a compact trip, then Cambodia has the island of Koh Rong Samloem. The island is relatively untouched by human civilization, and its wilderness and beach scenery are second to none. And then there are the Kep National Park, Bokor Mountain, the Phnom Sampeau, etc.
Cambodian cuisine, while not as well-known as some of its other national traits, is still delicious and worth trying. Fish amok (steamed coconut fish in banana leaves) is the country’s national dish. It packs tons of flavor and is the exemplar of Khmer cuisine with fish broth and coconut milk. Besides that, you can try several distinguished dishes, including Char Kroeung sach ko (stir-fried lemongrass beef), Twa ko (Cambodian sausage), Kuy Teav (noodle soup), etc.
If you think Vietnam and Thailand are cheap, think again, as Cambodia is even cheaper. You’re looking at $20-25 a day in terms of expenses.
Indonesia is quite a cheap country to travel to, if you’re looking for experiences unlike any other.
The Indonesia archipelago comprises well over seventeen thousand islands, so you’ll never run out of places to discover. However, if you feel absolutely overwhelmed by the sheer number of potential destinations of this country, we’re here to suggest a few.
Ubud is a must-see when it comes to Indonesia. Located towards the east coast of Bali, the province of Indonesia, it is well-known for its numerous landmarks as well as calming retreats, and one is just walking distance from another. Additionally, Ubud is a cultural hotspot too, with plenty of traditional markets, temples, and museums. Honestly, Ubud alone, with everything it has to offer, by itself is already a place of indulgence.
But Indonesia alone has so much more than that. Lombok stands out with its pristine landscape and beaches. Since this place is reminiscent of Bali decades back before it was as massive a tourist attraction as it is now, Lombok holds more than just scenic beauty, but nostalgia as well. And then there is the Nusa Islands, the nascent natural paradise of Indonesia. With crystal-clear water, towering mountains, this place might just be the perfect getaway for those who crave the tranquility of nature.
A beach at West Lombok. Image on Unsplash
You couldn’t talk about Indonesia without mentioning its mouth-watering delicacies, particularly the grilled ones. Satay, a type of grilled meat skewer, is a food staple of the country. Ayam Bakar Taliwang (grilled chicken) is another well-liked option for tourists as well as locals. The dish sounds simple on surface level, admittedly, but it’s not like you can find small, free range, homebred chickens like those you can find in Indonesia. Ikan Bakar (grilled fish) is quite popular too. Fresh-caught fishes popped on the grill and served slightly charred, steaming hot with customised dipping sauce is just an experience of a lifetime to anyone.
Indonesia, although potentially a tinge less inexpensive compared to the others we’ve mentioned, due to possible additional expenses for travelling from one island to another, is certainly a cheap destination still. You wouldn’t be spending north of $50 normally.
When travelling on a budget, Africa is one of the most affordable continents on the planet. Let’s look at some of our suggestions!
Morocco is up there as one of the cheaper destinations for travellers. And rightfully so, it’s extremely budget friendly.
Located southward of Spain, travelling to Morocco is the first that comes to mind when it comes to travelling on a shoestring. And since it’s only a stone throw away from Spain, it’s incredibly cheap to get to. You can simply take a boat ride from Cadiz (the southernmost city of Spain), or any plan ride would do just fine.
Once you arrive in Morocco, the place is still very diverse in tourist activity while being affordable. The place has plenty of beaches and mountains, but the ambience of this place lies in its dunes of sand. In fact, that is the exact reason why many are attracted to Morocco in the first place.
Hiking on the Atlas, wandering around Marrakech, or trekking into the Sahara or Casablanca of Morocco could well be an unforgettable experience. If you don’t fancy walking all day, a camel ride to Erg Chebbi Dunes is a great alternative. Erg Chebbi in particular, is very popular to tourists, as it’s one of the best budget camping spots out there, with the night sky full of stars and the rustic yet calming air blowing gently from the desert.
Marrakech’s bird eye view. Photo on Unsplash
Do keep in mind though, the low prices here can balloon in a blink of an eye if you don’t know your way around this place. However, if you plan things in advance, or if you could get a hold of a native tour guide, you’re up for a budget-friendly trip at around $60 per day.
Not too far off from Morocco, Egypt is high on the list of some of the most affordable countries to visit.
The pyramids – and the scenery surrounds it - are the biggest reason why Egypt is on the list. For the price of less than a meal in the UK, you can obtain a one-off ticket into the monument of Giza, the last standing monument of the ancient world. It is a fascinating site for history and archeology enthusiasts. There, you can see some of the biggest and most famous pyramids in the world like the pyramid of Khufu, of Khafre, of Menkaure, and the Great Sphinx.
The Great Sphinx, Egypt. Image on Unsplash
Another reason why this place is specifically budget-friendly is the accommodation and food pricing. They are abundant and extremely affordable. The fact that you don’t necessarily have to hire a tour guide also tremendously cut the cost of travelling in Egypt down a notch.
One popular destination within Egypt that flies under most people’s radar is visiting the Nile, one of the largest rivers in the entire world. You can book a cruise ship down the Nile or trek along the bank. You may even book diving trips or quite a cheap price, considering the majestic scenery.
Prices in Egypt are cheap, quite frankly, but depending on your range and style of activities, your expenses can scale accordingly so be very careful. All in all, you’re looking at around $70.
Sudan is often overlooked by shoestring travellers, but it is really an incredibly cheap country to visit.
Come to Sudan to see its Nubian archaeological site completely free of charge! That’s right, you didn’t mishear that! If you think that visiting some of the last remains of the ancient world in Egypt like mentioned above was a mad bargain, think again!
Everything else, and every other place, is a bargain too, pretty much. You can visit the temple of Soleb, the temple of Mut, or the Meroitic archaeological sites for relatively free. There are also museums, national parks, and homely towns you could consider. The capital city of Khartoum is also a pleasant place to hang around.
Sudan isn’t the most developed tourist destination (due to its political conflict) there is, but if you’re seeking a memorable yet unique experience with an extremely low budget, this is for you. You won’t spend more than $20 a day even if you want to.
Sudanese people. Image on Unsplash
Mozambique is one of the cheapest and most different places to visit in the continent of Africa.
The best thing about this country is its breath-taking sunbathed beaches filled with briny ocean wind and lush trees. These heavens on earth are perfect for burnt-out tourists as they can relax and chill amid the scenery. You can also fight beach sports here like scuba diving, surfing, snorkelling, and more.
Mozambique’s scenery. Images on Unsplash
Unfortunately, the country is still suffering from the civil war; therefore, there aren't too many activities here. Still, if you’re into recovering from the busy city lifestyles, water sports, or travelling cheap, this is for you. Your daily budget wouldn’t go past $30-40, but it may depend on how many beach sports you do.
Probably the most developed country in all Africa in terms of tourism, South Africa stands out from the rest. That said, travelling here can still be quite cheap if you know how to.
South Africa hosts a combination of spectacular landscapes, impressive wildlife, beautiful beaches, etc. and many other typical traits of African countries. However, only in Africa will you be able to find hustling metropolitans.
One of the most sought-after experiences in South Africa is wine-tasting. People tend to associate wines and wineries to the luxurious and aristocratic Europe with calm weather and years of experience. But you may find it shocking to learn that this country with rugged wilderness and infamous hot weather is a perfect place for growing grapes and its winemaking dates to the 17th century. Wines here are generally more affordable and come with great variety, so that’s also a big plus!
How about checking out… penguins? You heard that right! Penguins, in the middle of Africa. As part of the Table Mountain National Park, the Boulders Penguin Colony is home to a few thousand African penguins? Who needs Antarctica to see penguins?
Aside from these unique traits, South Africa does offer a range of typical African tourist activity, such as wildlife sightseeing, hiking, trekking, etc. You can go to Cape Town to enjoy all these activities.
South Africa’s panoramic view. Image on Unsplash
This place wouldn’t be expensive if you want to keep your spending low, but expect about $50 of spending per day, maybe more depending on how many things you do.
Casual tourists might never even think of Europe if they’re travelling with budget in mind, but shoestring travellers would know the hidden gems of the Old Continent. Here’s a few we’d like to recommend!
Neighbouring the great Russian, this biggest country of Europe has a whole host of greatness to offer, from rich Soviet culture with majestic old architecture to attractive diverse landscape. It is surprising to find that Ukraine is very affordable.
The Chernobyl Accident in 1989 is perhaps one of the most infamous accidents in the world. However, that left Chernobyl, the ground zero of the tragic nuclear explosion, shrouded in a veil of alluring mystery. Nowadays, it’s a famed dark tourism destination. Dark tourism, for those of you who didn’t know, involves travelling to places associated with tragedies. Still, irrespective of your view on this form of tourism, Chernobyl is still worth visiting. There, the tour guide will take you on through several buildings and sets, where you could watch real footage and learn more about one of the worst nuclear incidents in history.
Chernobyl and what’s left. Image on Unsplash
Besides that, Ukraine is home to UNESCO calibre world heritage, like the Lviv's Historic Centre and the St. Sophia's Cathedral. These places embody the rich and long-standing culture, architecture, and history of the country. The Odessa Opera and Ballet, Kamenets Podolsky Castle, Odessa Catacombs are other noticeable sites worth visiting.
All of these come at an incredible price. With a budget of less than $40 a day, you are in for an experience unlike any other.
A hidden gem amid Europe, Romania offers a pleasant yet laid-back atmosphere at an affordable price.
Much like Ukraine, it is the existence of UNESCO World Heritage Sites here that captivates many tourists. First, we have the Danube Delta, often hailed as the best-preserved deltas in Europe. This place is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with diverse bird species and breath-taking views at dusk and dawn. Then there are the Painted Monasteries with masterful crafting and religious paintings on the walls. Next, in Sarmizegetusa Regia, the former capital of the Dacian Settlement, you can find lots of antique ruins and sanctuaries. Lastly, we have the town of Sighisoara with stunning colour-filled houses along the stunning cobbled streets.
Sighisoara’s colorful houses. Image on Unsplash
With all of the meaningful sites to visit, the price range here is relatively low. A budget of $60-70 a day would be plenty if you're travelling wisely.
Turkey comes in as a surprisingly cheap destination in the infamously expensive Europe.
Turkey’s capital, Istanbul, is the biggest attraction here with its rich arts, cultures, booming gastronomy, and a wide range of services. Here, you can spend days on end gazing at some of the best architectural contractions the country has to offer like the Dome of Hagia Sophia, the Topkapi Palace, the Blue Mosque, etc. just to name a few.
The Blue Mosque. Image on Unsplash
Food is another reason why many come to Turkey. While the Kebap is already too famous all over the world, that’s just the tip of Turkey's cuisine iceberg. Come here to try authentic Shakshuka, Kisir salad, Hamsili Pilav (a fish and rice dish), and many more.
You can enjoy all the above for an incredibly low price of less than $60 per day per person.
>> Read more: Beautiful Places in Europe – What to Prepare?
Be careful! Health comes first!
It’s understandable that many want to get out of their houses right now after months of being caged due to the rampaging pandemic. However, that shouldn't be your excuse to go at whatever cost (pun intended). Even if you have done everything you can in your power to protect yourself, you’re still running a risk of infection from other less careful individuals. Travelling during this period is incredibly risky, both to yourself and to everyone else in the community. Therefore, make sure to follow all of the necessary procedures to ensure your safety. Be wise with your plans and budget, and be just as attentive to your own protection! Travel cheap, and safe!