21 Best Places to Travel on a Budget in 2024

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Best Places to Travel on a Budget

Traveling the world doesn’t have to drain your wallet. The most memorable adventures are rich in beautiful experiences and not necessarily expensive. From the sun-drenched beaches of Southeast Asia to the vibrant marketplaces of South America, the world is brimming with destinations that are both affordable and awe-inspiring.

Here’s a list of the best places to travel on a budget and save money, where the value exceeds the cost and the memories are priceless. 

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21 Best budget-friendly travel destinations

These locales offer many experiences that won’t strain your finances, proving that travel can be both enriching and economical.

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1. The Baltic Countries

The Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are an incredible budget-friendly destination that pack a serious punch when it comes to value for your travel dollars. These nations offer a taste of Nordic charm and splendor without the Nordic price tag.

From fairytale medieval towns boasting UNESCO World Heritage castles to vast untamed forests, sandy beaches, and amazing local cuisine (including Michelin-starred gems!), the Baltics deliver big-on experiences for a fraction of the cost.

Recently, the cosmopolitan capital of Vilnius was crowned the best European value city of 2024 by travel experts. With the three Baltic capitals in close proximity and all using the Euro, it’s a breeze getting around. And although each country has its own unique language, English is widely spoken.

2. Mexico 

In Mexico, one of the most visited destinations in Latin America, you can expect to spend around $128 per day, which covers meals and local transportation quite affordably. Must-visit attractions include the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan, the lively streets of Mexico City, and the breathtaking beaches of Cancún. 

The best time to visit is from December to April, during the dry season when the weather is most pleasant. In 2022, Mexico experienced a huge influx of tourists with a whooping 33 million from the US alone. This popularity can be attributed to Mexico’s perfect blend of affordability, rich culture, and unforgettable adventures for travelers of all kinds.

3. Nicaragua

Nicaragua, known for its stunning landscapes and rich culture, is a top choice for budget travelers. A one-week vacation can average around $753 for two people, covering accommodation, meals, sightseeing and transport. Visit the colonial city of Granada, the vibrant León, and the stunning volcanic island of Ometepe. 

Like many Central American countries, Nicaragua provides excellent value for travelers, making it a popular choice for cost-conscious adventurers. It welcomed over 1.2 million tourists in 2023. Plan your trip to fall during the dry season, from November to April.

4. Peru

Peru’s allure as a budget-friendly destination is undeniable. Travelers can expect to spend a meager $61 per day, with affordable options for food, accommodation, and transportation. Iconic sites like Machu Picchu, the lively city of Lima, and the historic Cusco are essential visits. Go during the dry season from May to October to make the most of your vacation. 

Peru’s culinary and cultural prowess earned it the title of the World’s Leading Culinary and Cultural Destination in 2023. It welcomed over 2 million visitors in 2023, with a significant number from the United States.

5. Brazil

Thanks to its lively culture and diverse landscapes, Brazil makes an excellent choice for budget-conscious travelers. It typically costs an average of $85 daily per person, covering all essentials like meals, transportation, and sightseeing. 

Head over to Rio de Janeiro, home to the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, and don’t miss the breathtaking Iguaçu Falls. The prime time to experience Brazil’s charm is from December to March when the weather is just right for exploring and enjoying festivities like Carnaval. In 2023, Brazil warmly welcomed a record-breaking 668,000 American visitors, solidifying its reputation as a top-tier travel destination.

6. Portugal

Portugal, a member of the EU, is renowned for being an inexpensive destination, making it a top choice for travelers looking to explore Europe without breaking the bank. On average, visitors can expect to spend around $146 per day, covering accommodation, meals, transportation, and activities.

Must-visit destinations include the bubbly capital city of Lisbon, the captivating town of Sintra with its fairytale-like architecture, and the breathtaking Algarve coast known for its stunning beaches. The ideal times to visit Portugal are during the spring (March to May) or fall (September to October) when the weather is pleasant, and tourist crowds are less overwhelming.

In 2023, over 30 million visitors trouped into Portugal. Its unique blend of cultural richness, picturesque landscapes, and affordable travel options continues to allure tourists from around the globe.

7. Spain 

Spain is a prime destination for travelers seeking both value and quality experiences. With its reasonable cost of living, plethora of no-cost attractions, and widespread credit card acceptance, it’s no wonder that Spain welcomed over 85.1 million tourists in 2023. Whether you’re aiming for a frugal escapade or a more indulgent retreat, Spain offers something for every traveler, with average daily expenses of about $161.

For the best experience, visit during the enchanting seasons of spring (March to May) or fall (September to October), when the weather is particularly inviting. Barcelona’s lively streets, the timeless allure of Toledo, and the cultural richness of Madrid are just a few highlights not to be missed.

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8. Albania

Albania, like many countries in the Balkans, is known for being easy on the wallet, making it an attractive destination for cost-conscious travelers. You can find comfortable accommodation at affordable rates, typically ranging from €25 to €40 for a double room in a hotel. You can enjoy a hearty meal at local eateries for as little as €2 to €4. Travel insurance is also one of the cheapest, with options like AXA’s coverage starting at approximately €0.99 per day. 

You can expect pleasant weather and fewer crowds, if you visit during the shoulder seasons of April to June or September to October, allowing you to explore the country’s attractions more comfortably.

Don’t miss the opportunity to explore Albania’s historical cities, such as Tirana and Gjirokastër, which boast a wealth of cultural treasures. And if you’re a beach lover, the Albanian Riviera awaits, with its pristine shores and breathtaking views.

Over 10 million visitors visited Albania in 2023, and it received nominations in several categories at the prestigious World Travel Awards.

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9. Turkey

Turkey, straddling both Asia and Europe, is a top budget-friendly destination. In 2023 alone, over 44 million international tourists, including Americans, flocked to its diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage.

Per day trip costs average around $50 to $100. Accommodation, local transportation, and food are reasonably priced, with many free sights alongside paid attractions. 

To enjoy mild weather and fewer crowds,  consider visiting between April to June or September to October.

Explore Istanbul’s iconic historic sites, the surreal landscapes of Cappadocia with its fairy chimneys and stunning beaches along the Turkish Riviera.

10. Vietnam

Vietnam, renowned for its stunning landscapes and rich culture, is a gem for budget travelers. An Asian country with a cost-effective travel experience, it offers a daily budget of around $50, with affordable options for flights, accommodations, and tasty street food. 

Vietnam’s prime attractions range from bustling cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to natural wonders like Ha Long Bay and Phong Nha-Ke Bang National Park.

The best time to visit is March and April for pleasant weather and December to February for the south. In 2023, Vietnam was crowned as the World’s Leading Heritage Destination, attracting over 12.6 million international tourists, reflecting its global appeal.

11. Thailand

Thailand is a top-budget travel destination because of its affordability, including accommodation, food, and activities. With diverse experiences, from bustling cities like Bangkok to serene islands like Koh Samui, Thailand offers something for every traveler. Travel costs vary but can be as low as $25/day for budget backpackers. 

The best time to visit is between November and April, the cool and dry season. Tourists flock to Thailand for its cultural richness, stunning landscapes, and vibrant street food scene, making it a must-visit destination for budget-conscious travelers. The country recorded over 28 million tourists in 2023 alone.

12. Indonesia

Drawn by its affordability and diverse attractions, roughly 392,310 Americans visited Indonesia in 2023. It was also nominated for World Travel Awards, further establishing its reputation as a top choice for budget travel.

You can enjoy street food for as little as $0.50, and expect to spend between $25 – $35 daily on an average. 

Must-visit destinations include Bali, known for its beaches and temples, Jakarta for its vibrant culture, and Yogyakarta for historical sites like Prambanan. The best time to visit is during the dry season from April to October, offering the perfect climate for exploring Indonesia’s natural beauty and cultural heritage.

13. Malaysia 

Malaysia’s diverse offerings and reasonable prices make it a top choice for travelers on a budget. On average, expect to spend about $82 daily, making it quite economical.

In 2023, Malaysia earned recognition at the prestigious World Travel Awards and saw a healthy influx of American tourists, with over 28,000 making the trip.

When you’re here, don’t miss out on the vibrant capital, Kuala Lumpur, or the charming UNESCO World Heritage site of George Town in Penang. And for those craving some sun and sand, the beaches of Langkawi are an absolute must-visit.

To make the most of your vacation, consider timing your visit between December and February for the west coast and June to September for the east coast. This way, you’ll enjoy the best weather for all your explorations!

14. Cambodia

Cambodia offers a rich cultural heritage and natural beauty, all at a wallet-friendly price point. In 2023, its appeal was recognized on the global stage, winning prestigious awards like Asia’s Leading Cultural Destination and Asia’s Leading Youth Travel Destination at the World Travel Awards. And it’s no wonder why – with nearly 185,000 American tourists flocking to its shores, Cambodia is definitely having a moment.

Street food here will only set you back $1-$4, while comfortable accommodations start at just $7 per night. As for sightseeing, you can’t afford to miss the awe-inspiring temples of Angkor Wat or the bustling streets of the capital, Phnom Penh. 

Plan your visit between November and April, when Cambodia enjoys its dry season, perfect for all your exploration adventures.

15. Philippines

With daily expenses averaging around $66, the Philipines is a budget traveler’s paradise. In 2023, over 900,000 American tourists visited and Manila, the bustling capital, clinched the World’s Leading City Destination title at the World Travel Awards, solidifying the country’s appeal on the global stage. 

Accommodation starts as low as $32 per night, and the mouthwatering street food scene allows you to indulge in delicious treats without burning a hole in your wallet.

Boracay tops the list of must-visit destinations for its pristine beaches, while Manila offers a wealth of cultural sites to explore. And for nature lovers, Cebu boasts a stunning natural beauty that will leave you in awe.

Plan your trip between December and February, when the conditions are most favorable for soaking up the sun and exploring all that the Philippines has to offer.

16. South Korea

South Korea is a fantastic destination that seamlessly blends modernity with tradition and is more affordable than neighboring Japan and China. On average, travelers can expect to spend around $109 daily, though cheaper street food and accommodation options are readily available. If you need to, you can take out vacation loans to come up with the funds.

Consider visiting during spring (March to May) for cherry blossoms or autumn (September to November) for breathtaking foliage. And make sure to see the iconic palaces in Seoul and the stunning beaches in Busan.

In 2023, South Korea warmly welcomed approximately 1.4 million visitors from the Americas, proof of its growing appeal to travelers from across the globe.

17. India 

India’s tourism prowess was recognized with multiple nominations for the 2023 prestigious World Travel Awards. With daily expenses averaging as low as $33, it’s a budget-friendly destination that won’t disappoint. More than 9 million foreign tourists traveled to India in 2023 alone, indicating the country’s growing popularity among travelers, including Americans.

Don’t miss out on exploring iconic destinations like the Taj Mahal, the bustling streets of Delhi, the magnificent palaces of Jaipur, and the tranquil backwaters of Kerala. To make the most of your trip, plan to visit between October and March when the weather is most pleasant for exploration and sightseeing. 

18. Nepal

With an average daily expense of just $40, Nepal is a budget traveler’s haven. You can enjoy affordable meals, transportation, and sightseeing without sacrificing quality. It recorded about 100,000 American tourists in 2023.

Be sure to explore must-visit locations like the cultural gems of Kathmandu, the tranquil beauty of Pokhara, and the historic city of Bhaktapur. For the best experience, plan your visit between October and December when the skies are clear and the weather is pleasant, making it ideal for trekking and exploring the breathtaking landscapes of Nepal. 

19. Georgia

Situated at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, this charming destination offers a budget-friendly experience without compromising on the richness of its heritage. Over 7 million international tourists, including Americans, visited in 2023.

On average, travelers can expect to spend just $33 per day, making it easy to enjoy low-cost meals, accommodation, and transportation. 

Explore popular cities like Tbilisi and Batumi, where historical landmarks blend seamlessly with modern amenities. The majestic Caucasus Mountains provide breathtaking vistas and outdoor adventures for nature enthusiasts.

The best time to visit is during the spring (May to June) or autumn (September to October) when the weather is mild and the landscapes burst with vibrant colors.

20. Morocco

With daily expenses averaging as low as $28, the North African country of Morocco offers affordable options for flights, accommodations, and a tantalizing array of cuisines to satisfy every palate. In 2023, a staggering 14.5 million tourists flocked to this enchanting destination, highlighting its ever-growing popularity.

Explore must-visit cities like the vibrant Marrakesh, the tranquil Chefchaouen, and the historic Fez, each offering a unique blend of bustling markets, serene landscapes, and rich history to discover.

Consider visiting during Morocco’s shoulder seasons, from April to May and September to November. You’ll enjoy pleasant weather and fewer crowds, allowing for a more immersive and relaxed travel experience.

21. South Africa 

This African gem offers a wealth of experiences at a reasonable cost, thanks to favorable exchange rates that make accommodation, food, and transportation cost-effective.

In 2023, South Africa’s allure was recognized with top honors, including the title of “Best Country” at the Telegraph Travel Awards. Cape Town, with its iconic Table Mountain, clinched the prestigious title of “Best City in the World.” With over 320,000 Americans visiting, South Africa’s value and beauty continue to draw travelers from across the globe.

Must-visit spots include Cape Town, renowned for its natural beauty and vibrant culture, and Johannesburg, where you can delve into the country’s rich history and heritage.

Plan your visit during South Africa’s shoulder seasons, from March to May and September to November, to enjoy pleasant weather and excellent opportunities for wildlife viewing while avoiding the peak crowds.

Your guide to budget-friendly adventures

Embark on unforgettable journeys without breaking the bank. From the ancient ruins of Mexico to the majestic mountains of Nepal, discover affordable destinations brimming with culture and natural beauty. Whether you love the energy of bustling cities or prefer the peace of tranquil landscapes, these reasonably priced gems offer endless possibilities for a dream vacation


What are the best places to travel in your 20s on a budget?

Southeast Asia, particularly Thailand, Vietnam, and Cambodia, offers rich cultural experiences at a low cost. Hostels, street food, and affordable activities make these destinations ideal for young travelers.

What are some affordable accommodation options for budget travelers?

Budget travelers can opt for hostels, guesthouses, or budget hotels which offer comfortable stays without a hefty price tag. Services like Airbnb can also provide economical lodging options.

How can I save money on transportation while traveling on a budget?

Use public transportation systems, consider carpooling, and look for budget-friendly options like buses and trains. Traveling at night can save on accommodation costs and give you more daytime to explore.

What is the best way to plan my trip on a budget?

Start planning early to take advantage of discounts, use travel rewards, and book during off-peak seasons. Research and use budgeting tools to keep track of expenses and find the best deals.

How can I ensure my safety and security while traveling on a budget?

Stay informed about your destination, conceal valuables, and use common sense to avoid risky situations. Research local customs and keep emergency contacts handy for a safe travel experience.

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