It’s the holiday season. If you’re looking for great places to travel without creating a huge dent in your wallet, take it from the seasoned travellers. There are fantastic countries you can go for a lot less money than you might assume. So choose wisely and get more for your money by opting for locations that have a lot to offer, but don’t demand a ridiculous budget.
To kick-start you with some inspiration, here are 10 of travellers’ favourite budget-friendly countries.
10 Best Countries to Visit for People On A Budget
It’s easy to overlook Bulgaria in favour of other more popular European holiday destinations. But the country – and others in Eastern Europe – offers a great opportunity for budget travel. Because they’re yet to attract as many visitors, prices haven’t peaked and you can still grab a bargain. It’s an estimated $2 for a cab ride, $3 for a restaurant meal and $5 for a movie ticket.
You’ll also experience great food, friendly locals, great nights out and fascinating history. On top of that, Bulgaria is a beautiful place with dramatic landscapes from snow-capped peaks in Pirin to the Mediterranean climate influence in the southern-most regions. What more could you want?
Hyped as the new Costa Rica, Nicaragua is a great budget-friendly option in Central America. What’s more, it’s also known for adventure activities, including surfing and trekking, all of which can be done for limited costs and in spectacular locations. There’s something for everyone, so it’s a great option for a holiday with friends. Choose an activity for the group to get involved with and you’ll be busy for a week – or more.
Despite being steeped in history and natural beauty, it remains relatively undiscovered – so head to Nicaragua before crowds make the prices hike!
You might assume all Pacific Islands are overly expensive – but, fortunately, there’s a budget option. In Fiji, you can enjoy pristine beaches, fresh seafood and the chance to dive for a lot less money than its expensive neighbours. It’s been on my bucket list since I learned about it! I was thrilled when Fiji Airways began flying direct to Singapore.
Avoid the luxury all-inclusive resorts and opt for cheaper guesthouses and you’ll be able to experience a dream location for a great price.
If you’re after beautiful beaches, there’s few better places in Europe than Portugal. Turquoise waters, sea caves and towering cliffs make it a dramatic backdrop to your relaxation.
Read: Portuguese Camino
Due to the fact that Albania’s borders were closed to western tourists until the mid-90s, people have been wary and limited in their numbers. But the country is friendly and welcomes international visitors with open arms.
You can explore the country’s rich history and natural beauty at a great price – and without having to fight through crowds. In many cases, that means you’ll get a beach to yourself, with the exception of the occasional cow. Not only will you get peace and quiet, you’ll get great photos to show your family and friends when you return.
Sidestep Thailand and Cambodia, and head to Vietnam for a real treat. Whether you’re looking for great food in Ho Chi Minh (Saigon), beautiful beaches or an adventure, the country has something to please everyone.
It also won’t cost you a fortune. Hostel dorms can be found for $5 a night and street food for less than $2. Of course, cheap prices mean you can extend your travels.
For anyone on a European tour, Hungary is a must-see. In addition to historic cities, delicious farmers’ markets and the biggest lake in central Europe, Lake Balaton, the Huffington Post say it’s “mind-blowingly cheap.”
In fact, it’s the cheapest destination in Europe for alcoholic drinks with wine and a bottle of lager costing $1, on average. Even cocktails are under $4. Prague and Amsterdam closely followed as cheap drinking destinations, according to the Telegraph.
Plus, it’s a great stop-over with easy rail transfers to nearby Croatia and Austria. Whilst the country’s capital, Budapest, receives most of the attention, we suggest heading out into the countryside for wonderful villages, local wine and stunning landscapes.
Another budget-friendly European delight is Poland. Warsaw has all the charm of other more-expensive cities, such as Berlin, but at a great price. With boutique hotels, industrial art spaces and great bars, it’s only just starting to get the attention it deserves meaning the prices are still reasonable.
This includes great food at cheap prices. Another great thing about Polish food is it’s carb-heavy (if that’s your thing) and comforting. Just what you need before a night exploring the city.
Laos is yet another great Southeast Asian country. Boasting a slow pace of life, beautiful mountains and Buddhist monasteries, it’s the place to go to relax without having to fork out. Even the fanciest of rooms might only cost $30 a night, according to Buzzfeed – who also rank the country on their list of countries to visit on a budget.
We end the list with a country that might surprise some. Although the capital city, London, is considered expensive even by locals, you can still explore the UK on a budget, like how I couchsurfed in The Cotswolds, and got £5 musical tickets to watch Matilda.
Don’t avoid London though – stick to food from markets and check out the free attractions such as Tower Bridge (not London Bridge, mind you!), Big Ben, Natural History Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
If you’ve read my tips for saving money on accommodation and transport, you’ll find that it’s possible to travel the world without spending a fortune!
Have you visited any of these countries? Would you recommend other budget-friendly countries? Share your experiences below!