If you're a fan of budget travel, I'm with you!
Yes, it's great to get to the world's most popular destinations like Paris and New York City... But that's not always an option if you're in a tight financial spot.
Instead, make your dollar go further! You can still see the world on a small budget. All you have to do is know where to go and tips to save money at your affordable destination.
With restrictions almost gone in destinations around the world, you might be itching to travel again. You're in luck because I've compiled a list of the best cheapest places to travel that'll give you the freedom to see and do more on your vacation.
27 Most Affordable Places to Visit in 2023
Before you start browsing flights, you need to look over my list of best cheap travel destinations that are worth your time right now. First, here's a quick overview:
Budget Destinations in Asia
- Goa, India
- Palawan, The Philippines
- Siem Reap, Cambodia
- Phuket, Thailand
Best Cheap Places in Europe
- Oslo, Norway
- Porto, Portugal
- Budapest, Hungary
Affordable Destinations in North, Central, and South America
- Winnipeg, Manitoba
- Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Puerto Escondido, Mexico
- Roatan, Honduras
- Medellín, Colombia
Cheap Travel Locations in Other Locations
- Broome, Western Australia
- Burnie, Tasmania
- Fez, Morocco
- Cape Town, South Africa
I'll go into details for for each of the cheap places to travel internationally to as well as some more local destinations—at least if you're from North America like me.
Get to know more so that you know which adventure calls to you! Maybe you'll find new ideas for places you haven't even considered before...
Best Affordable Destinations in Asia
27. Bali, Indonesia
What would a list of the top affordable destinations around the world be without mentioning Bali, Indonesia?! While exploring the world as a digital nomad, I absolutely adored this Asian hotspot.
Yes, it's definitely touristy, but there are lots of ways to have an authentic and fulfilling experience. On top of that if you're working and traveling, you'll meet a lot of likeminded travelers at hostels or other inexpensive accommodations.
My favorite places to stay in Bali are Ubud and Canggu. You'll find that Ubud is a bit more affordable, relatively, and you should stay here if you like lush jungles and a calming nomad city.
Canggu is the spot for you if you're into beach paradises. It had lots of opportunities to spend the day by the numerous pools or walk along the sandy beaches. No matter where you go, you'll be surprised how cheap it is compared to other top travel destinations around the world.
If you go anywhere in Bali, my top recommendation is Lena's Kitchen! Although prices may have changed since my time there, the quality and value for money was fantastic. I ordered a lot of their handmade noodle soups and refreshing avocado smoothies.
Remember to also go on affordable tours where you can taste Balinese coffee, chase stunning waterfalls, and relax with almost daily massages. My sister visited with me for a few weeks and she loved when we checked off each of these things!
All of my backpacker friends love Laos. It's a fav Southeast Asia spot because it's one of the cheapest countries to visit. You can survive on $30 a day here!
Both activities and food are very affordable. For example, an entry ticket to a waterfall park only costs approximately $2.50. Or you could take a 1 day Mekong cruise and see the magical, turquoise Kuang Si Falls.
You can also rent a motorbike to save on taxi rides and public transport. There's also so many fantastic Laos hostels that offer accommodation to budget-conscious backpackers and travelers.
I would recommend visiting a number of cities while in Laos, but if you need to pick between cities, both Luang Prabang and Vientiane are great options for tourists.
Like Laos, you can easily survive a day in Vietnam for $30 a person. It's one of the most popular tourist destinations in Southeast and yet remains among the best cheap travel destinations to this day.
One of the best ways I like to save money is snacking on the street food—it's so easy to find! You'll find that it's not only ridiculously well-priced, but also absolutely delicious!
For example, enjoy a bowl of authentic Vietnamese pho for $1.50 or a cup of Vietnamese coffee for $1.
The same goes for accommodation in Vietnam. There are many hostels and boutique hotels with decent rooms for a fraction of the price compared to elsewhere in the world.
But where to go in Vietnam? There's lots of fun things to do in Hanoi, the capital—for instance wandering the 36 streets of Hanoi or touring the Imperial Citadel. But you can also make stops in cities like Da Nang, Hoi An, and Ho Chi Minh.
24. Goa, India
India is a cheap destination that should be on your bucket list! The average cost per day is $20, although it varies based on the region you visit. Talk about a cheap travel destination!
You can also save on your travel budget if you know how to look for deals and to haggle with locals. My suggestion is to visit Goa, in the south of India. Exploring the southern part of India will give you more affordable options than the North.
Goa is famous for its beautiful beaches, and what could be cheaper than relaxing on all the white sand beaches this area has to offer?
23. Palawan, The Philippines
The Philippines is an archipelago and is one of the best affordable travel locations in Southeast Asia. You can expect to budget $35 per day when exploring various destinations in The Philippines.
My favorite place by far is Palawan. I'd go back again and again!
While there aren't many hostels and accommodations suited for backpackers, there's no shortage of cheap hotels. The food is also very well-priced in, especially once you get out of the big cities.
Explore Palawan by boat rides and motorbikes. With transportation rental costs being no more than $15-$20 per day, you'll be able to see and do lots.
One of the things I'd do is spend time at the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which features an impressive underground river system. There's also the stunning lagoons and limestone cliffs of El Nido and Coron, perfect for island-hopping and snorkeling.
Another great way to save money in Palawan, Philippines? Try haggling, especially if you travel as a group!
22. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Be amazed at the beauty of Siem Reap, Cambodia! And amazed at the affordable pricing this Asian tourist spot has to offer.
You can find extremely well-priced accommodations, depending on how comfortable you want to be. The food is also incredibly cheap, especially if you opt for street food!
You'll definitely be able to eat good even if your budget is no more than $5 to $10 for your daily meals. And transportation should cost you no more than $15 a day.
Why visit Siem Reap? It's home to the famous and magnificent Ankor Wat. The city also has other temples that will make you feel immersed in Cambodia's history and culture. Aside from this, I'd visit the bustling markets!
I know this one may not be on the top of people's minds, but you shouldn't miss out on Nepal!
Nepal is one of the best affordable destinations, especially if you like choosing somewhat unique destinations for your trips. The average daily budget when visiting Nepal is $28, or $15 if you go trekking.
The food and accommodation are incredibly affordable in Nepal. Many locally-run cafes offer authentic Nepalese food. Local guesthouses and homestays are available at ridiculously low prices. Travelers who come to Nepal for trekking can pay $15-$20 daily, depending on their chosen route.
Here's a Nepal trip itinerary to look into for travel inspiration!
20. Phuket, Thailand
You can have a luxurious trip to Phuket for $100 per day! But, it can be even more affordable if you opt for cheaper accommodations. The island is covered in rainforest landscapes and surrounded by crystal blue coastlines.
I absolutely love Phuket and can't say enough about this stunning outdoor haven in Asia!
You can save money by replacing formal sit-down meals with delicious Thai street food. Saving on food and hotels in Phuket leaves you more money for outdoor adventures like scuba diving. This is a great place if you want a mix of adventure, relaxation, and socializing events!
Keep in mind that flight and hotel prices also tend to drop during Thailand's low season from July through October.
Cheap Places to Travel in Europe
19. Oslo, Norway
Let's move to the European destinations now. The first budget destination you need to visit is located in Norway.
A stroll in Oslo treats you to a collection of modern architecture and a city that is sleek and smart. At the same time, it's also home to many wonderful parks and gardens, creating a beautiful contrast.
The city center of Oslo is easy to navigate either on foot or by bike. That means it's a great budget place to visit because getting around is affordable and convenient.
There's also an artsy side to Oslo. If you're an art lover, head to the Royal Palace and the National Gallery. If you want to immerse in the local culture and meet the locals, you can stop by one of many local cafes and boutique shops.
18. Porto, Portugal
Porto is a beach city alternative to Portugal's capital, Lisbon. Porto sits on the northwest coast of Portugal, facing the Atlantic Ocean. It's the ideal European beach vacation spot you've likely not been to yet!
Stroll the promenade and relax at one of Porto's most popular beaches, Praia dos Ingleses, or set up a wine tasting near the Douro River at Espaco Porto Porto Cruz.
You can get by on about $65 to $110 a day in Porto, including a full day of eating well plus a packed day of outdoor activities. Porto has public buses and trains running daily. You can also get to many places within the city center on foot.
17. Budapest, Hungary
A trip to Budapest can cost $100-$140 per day, including your nightly hotel stays. Casual breakfasts and lunch cafes will cost as little as $2 to $10 to eat at. Most activities, like a visit to Budapest's thermal baths, cost less than $30.
Thanks to Budapest's rich history and impressive architecture in the city center, sightseeing can be done on foot. The metro and bus system makes for an affordable public transportation situation without relying too much on taxis or a rental car.
Digital nomads in Budapest will find dozens of affordable long-term vacation rentals. Travelers making a quick trip can find everything from budget hostels to 5-star hotels.
Macedonia is one of the least visited countries in the Balkan region. However, it's one of the biggest budget-friendly travel destinations in this part of the world.
It seems to be one of the Balkan's best-kept secrets as it gets far fewer visitors than its neighboring countries.
The capital city of Skopje is a haven for architecture enthusiasts with its historic monuments, sculptures, and buildings. These are attractions you can explore for free. You can also walk to the Old Bazaar and check out the Restaurant Row to sample local eats for better prices than its touristy neighbors.
When in Macedonia, don't miss a visit to the Lake Ohrid region. Enjoy a full-day boat tour around Lake Ohrid and soak up the history and beauty of this region. You can also find many free natural attractions as the area boasts some of Balkan's cleanest lakes, great for fishing and canoeing.
Georgia is one of the most underrated destinations. And yet, it's absolutely stunning and one of the best cheap travel locations in Europe!
Hotels are reasonably priced, and you can pay as little as $3 per meal. Public transportation is also affordable and reliable.
Since the locals are warm and friendly, you can even hitchhike to save on your transport budget. For this reason, it's a popular choice for backpackers looking for cheap places to visit.
Affordable Vacations in North, Central, and South America
13. Winnipeg, Manitoba
Any traveler who loves winter sports and is looking for snowy vacations should definitely consider Winnipeg!
Winnipeg has freezing winters, but there is still so much beauty to experience in this part of the world. You can enjoy lots of free sights and activities, so you won't have to break the bank to enjoy a winter vacation.
In addition, Winnipeg offers affordable accommodation options for all kinds of travelers. The food is available across all budgets. You shouldn't hurt your travel budget to experience the local delicacies if you eat from local cafes and food stalls.
12. Albuquerque, New Mexico
Albuquerque is one of the top cheap travel destinations in the US to visit when you're on a tight budget. Time to add to your list. It's a budget-friendly destination offering low-cost accommodation options.
Some hotels are as affordable as around $100 per night, or you could book a hostel for approximately $30! You can check out this review on AwardMapper to find deals when booking accommodation.
You can also find many free or cheap attractions in the city. You can have a lovely picnic at the Rio Grande or explore the Old Town to discover the city's history.
Take advantage of the Petroglyph National Monument, which you can visit for free. If you are looking for laid-back and cheap travel in the US, you can't go wrong with Albuquerque!
11. Punta del Este, Uruguay
If you've been meaning to travel to South America, this is your sign to go for it! Uruguay is located between Argentina and Brazil, which means it's often overlooked by travelers.
But Uruguay is a budget-friendly destination for this part of the world, with food, culture, and natural landscapes that equal its larger neighbors.
My recommendations is making your base of travel operations Punta del Este, Uruguay. It's famous for its wild beaches and the white-washed neighborhood of Casapueblo.
Punta del Este is both budget-friendly and a hidden gem destination not many international travelers have explored.
The price per day for meals and transportation ranges from $70-$80, not including your hotel stay. There are dozens of hotel options near the main beaches Playa Mansa and Playa Brava, ranging from $29-$100 per night.
It's a walk-friendly city with public trains and buses that make getting around easy and affordable.
10. Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Mexico is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. With an array of fun Mexican cities to explore, you'll want to book one of the best hostels in Mexico to fulfill your budget traveling dream.
Mexico City may be one spot, but my recommendation is planning your trip to the epic surf town Puerto Escondido on Oaxaca's southwest coast. It'll only cost you about $120 a day, including your hotel stay. Casual restaurants will cost you about $10 for a meal and fresh juice. Remember to make some time for the best restaurants in Oaxaca!
Depending on what you want to do, you'll find most activities quick affordable.
For example, beginner surfers from North America or Europe will find private lessons are of great value ranging from $25-$40 for a 2 hour session. Of course, relaxing on the beach is free, and there are plenty of beachfront bars to get a drink at sunset.
Another thing to note is that renting a car isn't necessary in Puerto Escondido. You can rent motorbikes for around $12 per day or get to most places in town on foot or a cheap taxi ride for around $5.
Digital nomads also find that buying a motorbike for their long-term stay is a great investment in Puerto Escondido!
Belize might not spring to mind when looking for affordanle vacations. However, it's a country filled with stunning beauty and gorgeous beaches, and it's cheaper than neighboring destinations. You won't run out of fun things to do in Belize since you'll stay in one place too long.
Accommodation is cheap if you skip the luxury resorts and opt for hostels and smaller hotels. ]
Check out this guide to the best budget-friendly spots in Belize. You can also save on your food budget if you dine where the locals eat. Expect to budget $40 to $45 per day if you visit Belize.
8. Roatan, Honduras
Roatan is one of the most budget-friendly travel destinations in Central America is about $40 per day. The stunning island sits in the Caribbean Sea north of Honduras' mainland.
You can find hotels and hostels for as little as $35 per night, or you can choose to splurge on beachfront luxury hotels for a better deal than you might find in Europe or North America. The food in Roatan is fresh and cheap on the island.
Roatan is as relaxing or adventurous of a getaway as you want it to be. Whether it's snorkeling the second largest barrier reef in the world or relaxing in a hammock on an empty white-sand beach, there are plenty of outdoor activities to choose from for travelers.
7. Medellín, Colombia
During my trip to Colombia, I fell in love with Medellín. It's the second-largest city in the country with a pleasant climate and rich culture.
And, what was once known as one of the most dangerous areas in Colombia has gone through a remarkable transformation over the past few decades. Go on a walking tour of Medellín to get the full experience—you'll have your eyes opened in such a wonderful way!
While my friends and I were in Medellín, I found it to be an incredibly budget-friendly destination. You can comfortably spend around $30 to $50 per day on accommodations, food, and activities.
The city offers a range of affordable options, from hostels to local eateries, which makes it easy to explore without breaking the bank. Even the high-quality hostels are so cheap that you'll be blown away!
Plus, the warm and welcoming locals also made my experience even more memorable. I highly recommend putting Medellín at the top of your list when visiting Colombia!
Affordable Location Spots in Other Locations
6. Broome, Western Australia
Broome is one of Australia's lesser-known destinations, yet it's one of the country's most beautiful small towns. Best yet, it's affordable for tourists who want to dive in!
Located in the northwest corner of Australia, Broome is home to Cable Beach, famous for surfing. You can enjoy a lazy day lounging on the beach or do something active. If you're feeling adventurous, I recommend a one-of-a-kind camel tour through Broom, Australia!
You can find cheap direct flights to Broome from Perth, Sydney, or Melbourne. The average hotel room rate in Broome can be between $50-$95 per night.
It's not dirt cheap, but certainly one of the budget-friendly travel options without sacrificing the quality of attractions you can enjoy!
5. Burnie, Tasmania
Add Burnie to the list of beautiful cheap places to travel in Australia. It's located on the northwest coast of Tasmanian Island.
Burnie is best known for its clean air, which makes it an even more desirable destination for budget travel seekers. Because of that, you can comfortably explore the natural attractions in Burnie, such as Burnie Park and the Guide Falls Reserve. These options can be seen through a full-day tour to see more of Burnie!
It's easy to find cheap flights to Burnie anywhere in Tasmania or Australia. Burnie is also a dynamic destination known for its galleries, public spaces, and community events.
One of the stops on your bucket list should definitely be Egypt. With its fascinating ancient history, many people don't think of this as one of the best cheap places to travel to in Africa.
You'll want to make time for the Great Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, and temples along the Nile River left an indelible impression on me. Surprisingly, Egypt can be quite budget-friendly with careful planning. My daily expenses were around $40 to $60, covering accommodations, meals, and sightseeing.
Local markets and street food vendors offered authentic, affordable culinary delights, while hostels and guesthouses provided comfortable, cost-effective lodging.
3. Fez, Morocco
You can visit one of Africa's most popular destinations, Fez, Morocco, for about $75 a day. This price can include your hotel stay if it's an affordable onr. You can also find luxurious accommodations with elegant courtyards and Morocco's famous tiled floors.
Activities in Fez revolve around its historic landmarks, like visiting the world's oldest university, the University of al Karaouine. Sightseeing is typically free, or a small entry fee in Fez.
You can also save money by not drinking alcohol. It's not part of the local culture, so alcohol is overpriced for tourists. Taking time to negotiate cab fares can also be worth the effort.
If you haven't gotten the chance to travel much, I know that African isn't one of the first places you would think of. But I'm here to tell you that Ethiopia is a fantastic place to go if you're on a tight budget.
With the Kingdom of Aksum as one of its ancient civilizations, Ethiopia's cultural heritage is wonderfully rich. Its geography ranges from arid deserts to tropical rainforests, providing a unique and captivating experience for visitors.
Let's talk about all the ways Ethiopia offers budget travelers a unique and affordable experience.
For one, public transportation, such as buses and shared minivans, is inexpensive. You'll be able to explore all the different regions without breaking the bank!
You'll also save money by eating delicious local cuisine. Try authentic foods like injera and tibs at traditional eateries—it's cost-effective and culturally enriching.
What about where you should stay? The best places to stay if you're tight on funds include guesthouses and budget hotels. These are available in most cities and towns, making it easy to find reasonably-priced lodging.
1. Cape Town, South Africa
I've always wanted to visit Cape Town, South Africa because I have a friend who always boasts about the affordable travel costs!
Cape Town's situated on South Africa's southwestern coast and is a vibrant city with stunning natural beauty. Iconic landmarks like Table Mountain and the Cape of Good Hope make it a must-see destination.
The city's rich cultural heritage, including influences from indigenous Khoisan people and European settlers, make it such a must-visit destination for all those looking for an African getaway.
Although you can make this a luxury and more expensive travel destination, it's totally possible to find accommodations for as low as $50 a night! You'll definitely have an unforgettable experience if you make Cape Town your next vacay.
Discover More Travel Destinations with Pilot
Now you know which locations and why you should add them to your bucket list of best cheap travel destinations this year!
Whether you choose to travel locally or internationally, keep in mind that the largest expense is the plane ticket. Make sure to use comparison tools and follow the best strategies so you can figure out how to find cheap flights!
Another great way to stay organized while planning is building a travel itinerary and having all the info you need one one place. With Pilot, you can do just that.