Want to travel but your budget has other plans?
Yeah. Welcome to the club.
The good news is there are plenty of cheap places to travel. Whether you are looking to go to Asia, Europe or prefer the United States there is something for everyone.
With the help of a few of my fellow bloggers I put together a list of the best places to travel that won't break the bank and will give you your best bang for your buck.
Cheap Places to Travel to Around the World
Photo Credit: Passport Explored
Merida is a fascinating and culturally rich city located within Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It's also one of the most budget-friendly places to visit in 2020.
First, what makes Merida Mexico unique?
Visitors will find a richness of Mayan culture within Merida as the Yucatan Peninsula was once home to various city-states within the ancient Mayan civilization. Whereas many people seem to think that the Mayan civilization disappeared altogether, it didn't.
Approximately sixty percent of the one million people that live in Merida are of indigenous heritage, many of whom are direct descendants of this ancient civilization. With this in mind, it should be no surprise that the residents of the largest city in southern Mexico like to celebrate their culture and history. You can find numerous museums dedicated to the city's history as well as diverse performances taking place every night in the central plaza.
Merida is also centrally located near various smaller towns that are very easy to visit. One such location is a town called Izamal where every building is painted the same shade of yellow.
Second, what makes Merida one of the most budget-friendly places to visit in 2020?
If you didn't already know, Mexico is cheap. Now if you've only experienced tourist hotspots like Cancun and Cabo you may not think this is true. However, the second you venture inland, you'll notice that the price of everything drops significantly.
Merida is no exception. You can expect to spend around $10 per night on a hostel that will provide you with free breakfast in the morning. It's also easy to find extremely cheap restaurants as long as you walk a couple of blocks away from the central plaza. Tours and transportation are also rather cheap as long as you research your options.
All in all, Merida is a great place to experience an authentic Mexico without breaking your budget.
Recommended by Michael from Passport Explored
Rincon del Mar, Colombia
Photo Credit: Colombia Insider
Three months ago, I fell in love. The kind of love you can't deny or refuse. I'm still remembering her white-sand skin, the shape of her waves, and her tall green palm trees.
Three months ago, I fell in love. The kind of love that lets you empty when you leave. Unfortunately, I had to move on, but I will come back to you.
I'm sure you already had a crush on a place when traveling. For me, it was with Rincon del Mar, a lovely fishing town situated 4 hours away from Cartagena.
There is no bus to reach this Caribbean hidden gem. You must stop in San Onofre then sit on a moto-taxi for 40 min. Its “complicated” access is the reason why most travelers don't include it on their Colombia itinerary.
What a mistake!
Rincon del Mar is the perfect example of what a Caribbean beach town should be. The village is built along the coast, with the colorful facades overlooking the ocean. Inhabitants sit on their plastic chairs all-day, beneath shady trees, playing domino or smiling to the passers-by. Don't hesitate to adopt their Caribbean lifestyle!
Also, Rincon del Mar is the perfect budget-friendly destination. There are many affordable hostels (7$ in a dorm) with a kitchen.
Moreover, all the activities cost less than 60 000 COP (18 $) and are 100% worth it. Take a boat to watch the sunset and swim with bioluminescent plankton or plan a day trip to the San Bernardo Islands.
Rincon, three months ago, I fell in love. Today I miss you.
Recommended by Thomas from Tom Plan My Trip.
Siem Reap, Cambodia
Photo Credit: Travel Habeat
One of the gems of Southeast Asia, Siem Reap in northwest Cambodia offers an array of exciting things to do, scrumptious dishes to feast on, and impressive architectures to see. Whether it’s catching the sunrise from the ever famous Angkor Wat or partying with your friends to the coolest pub in town, the place should definitely be included in your 2020 travel bucket list.
Often being regarded as a mere stopover point to its neighboring countries, you’ll be surprised by how Siem Reap is more than just temple run.
Savor the mouthwatering, traditional Khmer cuisine called fish amok, which is a slightly sweet curry that is healthy as it is tasty. Visit Kompong Phluk Floating Village to get a glimpse of how some locals uniquely live on stilts. Watch Phare, the Cambodian Circus that will make your heart skip a beat while laughing and appreciating Cambodian culture. Explore the largest freshwater lake in Southeast Asia, the Tonle Sap Lake, and ride a small canoe to discover a beautiful, flooded mangrove forest.
Quite popular to backpackers being an affordable destination, Siem Reap can be one place that is hard to beat with cheap accommodations, food (even booze), and transportation (you better not missed riding a tuktuk!).
Try the Angor beer or get a meal for just a dollar or two. Even the markets offer souvenirs and clothing at steal prices (make sure you have extra luggage space)!
But despite your bucks going a long way in Siem Reap, the place surely doesn’t scrimp on experience.
Recommended by Arrianne from Travel Habeat.
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Photo Credit: Let's Venture Out
No trip to Malaysia is complete without a visit to the buzzing city of Kuala Lumpur! Famous for its world’s tallest twin towers, rainforests, temples, affordable shopping and mouth-watering food, Kuala Lumpur should definitely be added to your 2020 bucket list!
While most people visit the city for a quick layover, I would recommend spending at least 2 days in Kuala Lumpur
As far as attractions go, there are tons to choose from. The Batu Cave which has become famous due to its colorful stairs are totally free to visit as well as the Merdeka Square and KL Forest Eco park. A visit to the Petronas Twin Towers is a must but unfortunately can be a bit pricey. Alternatively, you can admire them from the KLCC park which offers the perfect vantage point.
Kuala Lumpur is also a foodie’s haven and has some of the most delicious cuisines blending Malay, Chinese and Indian influences. Head to Jalan Alor night market if you want to feast like a king for less than $5!
In terms of accommodations, hotels in the city center can be as low as $35 a night. Or if you want to cut costs further, Chinatown and Little India have some cheap hostels for less than $10!
Another reason why you should visit Kuala Lumpur is the super cheap and efficient transport system and you can even take advantage of the free GoKL buses which go around all major attractions!
So, if you want to visit one of the most budget-friendly cities in Asia, Kuala Lumpur is perfect for you!
Recommended by Stephanie from Let's Venture Out
Photo Credit: Food And Drink Destinations
The megacities of Asia like Tokyo and Hong Kong are often considered expensive cities to visit. While this might apply to Tokyo and Hong Kong, a great alternative is Taipei.
Taipei can certainly be considered budget-friendly, particularly when it comes to food. It’s also a city worth exploring in 2020.
Home to Taipei 101, Taipei is a bustling city full of history, amazing food, and natural beauty.
For the budget-minded traveler there are a number of ways to keep costs in check getting to and while in Taipei. The Taiwanese capital is well connected with other Asian cities by several low-cost airlines such as AirAsia. Once in Taipei getting around the city is quick, easy and very affordable. The city’s metro is vast, connecting nearly every corner of the city with over 115 stations across 5 transit lines. With fares based on distance traveled, a one-way ride can be as cheap as $0.60US. This allows travelers to explore a lot of Taipei without breaking the bank.
Perhaps the best reason to visit Taipei is for its food. With its own style of Chinese food, Taiwan features dishes that are uniquely Taiwanese. The most famous of all Taiwanese dishes is the Beef Noodles Soup. At the top of everyone’s must-eat list, a large filling bowl of beef noodle soup cost around 160NT$ or $5US. Taipei is also famous for dumplings. Steam or fried, meat or vegetable, 10 dumplings can be enjoyed for 90NT$ or $3US. To make the most of a visit, perhaps book a Taipei food tour, to learn more about Taiwanese food culture.
A year-round destination, Taipei should certainly be on any 2020 must-visit list.
Recommended By Amber from Food And Drink Destinations
Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca Mexico
Photo Credit: A Taste for Travel
For travelers looking for a budget beach destination, look no further than Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Unlike the all-inclusive resort destinations of Cancun, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Escondido has only one all-inclusive resort and the remainder of the properties are beach bungalows, small hotels, and Airbnb apartments. This means it's ideal for budget travelers interested in living like a local.
A great way to save money is by shopping in the traditional food markets such as the Benito Juárez Market (also known as Mercado Principal) or the Zicatela Market. Puerto Escondido's traditional food markets offer a bounty of local fruit and produce, fresh meat, regional Oaxacan cheeses, fresh seafood, and household goods, all at bargain prices. At one of these markets, you can expect to get a whole week's worth of produce for under 200 MXN pesos ( $10 USD).
Eating out in restaurants is also quite economical as you can enjoy a full breakfast for under 100 MXN pesos ( around $5 USD) and lunch/dinner specials for under 150 MXN.
Travel to Puerto Escondido and you'll soon discover that the best things in life really are free – surf an epic wave, witness a sea turtle nesting, swim in crystal clear waters, listen to live music on the beach and watch a spectacular sunset — all at absolutely no cost at all.
Recommended By Michele Peterson of A Taste for Travel
Which are the cheapest countries to travel to in 2020?
Asia and Central America top the list as being home to some of the cheapest countries to travel to in 2020. However, there are also a few hidden gems in Europe as well.
Photo Credit: Backpack and Bushcraft
Bolivia is a great destination to visit in 2020.
Being one of the poorer countries in South America, as a tourist, it is generally very affordable to travel within Bolivia. Further, you can take comfort in knowing that your spending is helping to support the local economy.
Bolivia is vast and there are many places to explore. A fabulous place to base yourself is in La Paz. This beautiful country has such diverse landscapes and many of them are within reach of the city.
If you intend to visit this interesting and unusual Bolivian city, there are lots of things to do in La Paz.
There are two very popular free (apart from a tip) tours of the city – one by foot and one by cable car. These are excellent cost-effective ways to get to know the various districts without blowing your budget on taxis and Ubers.
Bolivia is one of the cheapest places to enjoy tours and you can explore so many amazing activities without breaking the bank. There are plentiful opportunities to experience the chilly summits of mountains over 6000 meters, the Uyuni salt flats and the warm climates of the Amazon with its wildlife and incredible nature.
Fill your diary with adventures in Bolivia and get more for your money. Three day and two-night trips are likely to cost you the same as day trips would cost in European countries. Further, most tours will include food and drink for the duration, saving even more funds.
Recommended by Jo from Backpack and Bushcraft.
Photo Credit: Once in a Lifetime Journey
While the images of picture-perfect Montenegro show idyllic luxury hotels overlooking azure oceans from sweeping cliffs, it can actually be pretty budget-friendly if you plan ahead.
The emerging tourist destination is home to some fantastic hotels like Aman Sveti Stefan, located on its own island. Yet if you venture toward the rugged inland areas, you’ll see some really affordable options.
Budget Tip: Stay in Sobe (a room in someone’s house), instead of a hotel for a cheaper alternative. And hire a car or take the public bus instead of going on expensive tours.
Montenegrin food is also on the cheaper side, especially for a country using the Euro. Layered phyllo pastry burek, red pepper paste ajvar, fresh fish, filling pljeskavica (burger and sausages) and loads of delicious cheeses are found everywhere for great prices. Montenegrin wine is also pretty affordable.
By law, all beaches are open to the public therefore half need to be free. This leaves you with some pretty epic choices. There are also loads of free activities including ancient forts like St. John’s Fortress in Kotor, quaint villages like Rose and Perast, gorgeous churches or monasteries, and treks all over the green landscape (like the Mausoleum of Petar II Petrovic-Njegos).
If you arrive out of the high season between July and August, you will find that things are also a bit cheaper. Visit during May, June, September, and October for temperate weather, cheaper accommodation, less traffic, and fewer crowds.
To save some cash, you can fly into Dubrovnik, Croatia and hop over the border, which is just 20mins away. Then you can fly out of one of 2 airports in Montenegro. Plan your journey right and you’ll feel like a celebrity without spending like one in this up-and-coming travel destination of 2020.
Recommended by Mar from Once in a Lifetime Journey.
Photo Credit: Arzo Travels
Are you looking for an off-the-beaten-path country that is in Europe filled with friendly locals, beautiful scenery and lovely towns and villages?
And on top of all, a place that is not expensive to visit?
Then Bosnia-Herzegovina is your place to go in 2020.
It surely is not as cheap as countries in South-East Asia but it is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe and you get a lot for your money (even in the lovely capital Sarajevo).
Whether you are into outdoor adventures (yes, Bosnia-Herzegovina is amazing for adventure seekers) or just enjoy hikes and beautiful towns – Bosnia-Herzegovina has something for everyone and there are many beautiful places to visit.
A nice lunch/dinner in a restaurant costs less than $10 with a drink (no alcohol) and you can have street food for just a few $ (currency is actually the KM).
Entrance fees for activities like the Kravice Falls is less than $5 and there are actually many free things to do and also some free walking tours in Sarajevo and Mostar (but I highly suggest tipping the guides but you don't have to tip $20 as it is sometimes expected in more expensive countries).
Accommodation costs are lower way less than in the neighboring countries like Croatia or Montenegro.
But affordability is not the only reason to visit the country – in Bosnia-Herzegovina you will find the friendliest people in Europe. Despite their sad history, they always have a smile on their face and are happy to help foreigners.
Recommended by Arzo from Arzo Travels
Photo Credit: My Path in the World
While cities in Poland like Warsaw and Gdansk are getting more recognition as visit-worthy destinations, this country as a whole is still underrated. If you want to visit a budget-friendly European country that is not yet fully discovered by masses of tourists, then Poland should be on your 2020 travel bucket list.
There's no shortage of beautiful places to see in Poland, and that includes dozens of cities like Warsaw, Wroclaw, and Poznan. They all have a gorgeous old town, stunning landmarks, and a rich and fascinating history. But Poland's countryside and natural landscapes are also a force to be reckoned with. From the Tatra National Park to the Wieliczka Salt Mines to the Five Polish Ponds Valley, there are plenty of exciting things to and see in Poland.
Whether you're going on a city break or taking a road trip in Poland, expect everything from accommodation to food to attractions to be a lot less expensive than in other countries in Europe.
While in big cities, you can find a standard private double room (with a private bathroom) or a fully equipped apartment for less than $30 per night, in small towns and villages, the prices of a double room start at only about $15! As for the food, it, of course, depends on the type of eatery, but even in the more touristy cities, you can have a big meal for less than $10. Also, many attractions can be visited for free or for a relatively low admission.
Recommended by Or from My Path in the World
Photo Credit: The Nomadic Vegan
Not many people make it out to this far-flung corner of the world, at least not yet.
Now is the time to go, before the word gets out and Mongolia's pristine landscapes get discovered and become overcrowded.
There's no better place to unplug, get far away from modern civilization and immerse yourself in beautiful nature in the least densely populated country in the world. Most places of interest are very remote and not served by any kind of public transport, so you will need to join a tour, or at minimum hire a van and driver.
Tours in Mongolia can be very affordable though. Many hotels and guesthouses offer budget tours starting at about $65 per day including meals, accommodation and all entrance fees. You may even be able to bargain the price down lower than that. If you have particular needs or interests, though, it might be worth paying a little extra. For example, since my husband and I are vegan, we chose Vegan Travel Mongolia over the cheapest companies. It was well worth it to have delicious vegan food prepared for us throughout our 16-day trip!
Give yourself a couple of weeks, so that you can see more than just the most-hyped sights like the Gobi Desert and Khuvsgul Lake. Our guide brought us to some secret places that are not visited by any other tour groups, and I enjoyed those places even more than the famous sights!
Recommended by Wendy from The Nomadic Vegan
Photo Credit: Our Life Our Travel
Albania, a tiny country in the Balkans, is one of the best budget-friendly places along the Mediterranean coast, and definitely the cheapest place on the European side. It is a perfect country for those who love sunbathing and swimming in crystal clear water, eating delicious yet extremely cheap meals and getting to know the local culture without spending all their savings.
The coastal region, and in general, the infrastructure develops fast countrywide. Year by year new huge hotels appear, and thus, the prices increase as well. We spent over a month exploring Albania with its hidden gems and enjoying a seaside vacation. We have visited most of the settlements along the shore to get to know the best Albanian beaches. The more south you go, they became even more spectacular. I wish we had visited the country earlier. It's hard to pick only one favorite place, however, if we did have to pick Dhermi was definitely one of those where you can easily stay for a week relaxing or doing day trips further from the shore.
Visit gorgeous Albania in 2020 to get the most out of your budget.
Recommended By Katalin from Our Life Our Travel
Photo Credit: Travel to Work
For those who want to experience the authenticity of Asia, Myanmar is a beautiful destination to do so. The country offers unique temple landscapes, sun-drenched beaches and so many characterful attractions that are still not visible on the tourism radar.
Due to the fact that tourism was at a downturn for 2 years, Myanmar has become a very budget-friendly destination. However, the country isn't lacking in postcard-perfect places to seduce its visitors.
In the north, Bagan was just titled a Unesco Heritage site thanks to its valuable 2,500 pagodas and temples remaining from the 11th century. Thrill-seekers will also love to enjoy a Myanmar Adventure to the wild Lashio area which is filled with cascading waterfalls and rugged mountains for only $30/ day. There are also chances to uncover the Ruby valley of Mogok or the famous Goteik Viaduct by train at a much lower cost than before.
While in the south, Mergui Archipelago which consists of over 800 islands is truly a hidden gem awaiting your exploration. It is arguably the last tropical paradise in Asia boasting abundant diving points and countless sandy beaches without any footsteps.
If you are still in need of another reason to visit Myanmar, think about its stunning waterways – the Irrawaddy River. These waters provide some of the best river journeys in Southeast Asia.
Recommended By Tan Bang from Travel to Work
Where is the Cheapest Place to Vacation in the US?
If you're looking to travel to a place closer to home there are plenty of options right in the United States that can be very budget-friendly.
If you are looking for a place to visit in the US on a budget then check out Washington, DC. There are so many things to do in DC, however the best part of DC is the how many free things there are to do in DC.
You can definitely find hotels for under $100 on the weekends when most of the business travelers are long gone. Definitely not a bargain compared to the other cities on this list however you will make up for it with all the free things there are to do in the city.
Looking for more ideas. Check out our Ultimate Guide to New York City on a Budget.
I am a bit biased because Puerto Rico is where I am from. However, the island speaks for itself with beautiful beaches, waterfalls and even a rain forest. While there are areas of Puerto Rico that can be pricey there are bargains to be had in an around the island.
Wander off the beaten path and you will be treated to mountain top accommodations, with views for days and all for under $35. Or visit the Kiosks in Luquillo where you can indulge in a wide variety of fritter for about $2 and wash it down with a Medalla (the best beer ever) or $1 or a fresh coconut for $1.50.
After you had your fill of some of the best food in the world (I know I am biased), head on over to the Rain Forest where you can spend the day chasing waterfalls. The best part. The Rainforest is free. There is no entrance fee.
To learn more head on over to this post that talks about reasons why you should visit Puerto Rico.
Where else can I go on a budget in 2020?
With so many places to choose from depending on what your vacation style there is a place that would be perfect for your next getaway. Here are some additional budget-friendly travel destinations to consider in 2020.
Photo Credit: The Sane Adventurer
Georgia in Eastern Europe is a lesser-visited destination full of history, architecture and cultural diversity.
Tbilisi, guarded by hills is a cobbled street city with a perfect vintage vibe of the eastern European culture. The exchange rates of Georgian Lari to USD make it a perfect pocket-friendly city to travel on a budget.
The city has many hotels and hostels and a night stay in a hostel will cost on average around 10 to 15 dollars. Transportation is easy as the city is linked with an underground metro network, which can be accessed by a 75 cents metro card.
As Tbilisi is widely famous for its culinary diversity, apart from Georgian food, American, Indian, and Turkish food can be easily found in the city. One can have a big meal for a whopping price of $5. Exploring Tbilisi is a unique experience that holds it's own charm not to be found in any other capital city in Eastern Europe.
Recommended by from Rahma from The Sane Adventurer
La Antigua, Guatemala
Photo Credit: A Taste For Travel
One of the world's most beautiful destinations also happens to be one of the most affordable.
Whether you're planning on studying Spanish at one of the many language schools, exploring colonial architecture or using it as a convenient jumping-off point for taking day trips, tours and excursions to other regions of Guatemala, the atmospheric city of La Antigua Guatemala makes an ideal travel destination for budget travelers.
This UNESCO World Heritage Site was founded in the 16th century and although largely destroyed by an earthquake in the 17th century, it was rebuilt and today features many Baroque monuments including churches, palaces, and municipal buildings along its cobblestone streets. It costs nothing at all to enjoy this open-air museum! Surrounded by spectacular volcanoes, it's also home to a several of the most important festivals and celebrations in Guatemala including the famous Semana Santa processions taking place during Holy Week, the Dia del Diablo event in December and a bustling market featuring indigenous Mayan weavings as well as local produce, street food and handicrafts at bargain prices.
Recommended by Michele from A Taste For Travel.
Photo Credit: Move to Vietnam
Photo Credit: Walk My World
In a world where many destinations are getting more and more expensive, we were really happy to find that Sri Lanka is still bucking the trend. It’s a great value destination and you could easily survive on a budget of $20-30 USD per day and not have to rough it. If you are happy to do things on a real shoestring, we met people surviving on as low as $10-15 USD per day and still having a great time.
Sri Lanka becomes even better value when you visit around the fringes of the Yala Monsoon (May and June in particular are good months). During this time hotel prices plummet, and you’ll often find that you can get a really lovely private en-suite room for just $20. We even ended up having entire hotels to ourselves more than once! You can eat great local curries for a couple of dollars too.
Activities-wise, one of the most scenic train journeys in the world (Kandy to Ella in the Hill Country) is just $2 USD. That’s third class but hey, most people sit in the doorways anyway! The journey lasts around seven hours and takes you past vast tea plantations and lush jungle. If wildlife is your thing, Sri Lanka is also a great place to go on safari. You can witness an amazing wildlife phenomenon – the elephant gathering in Kaudulla – in your own private jeep for up to 8 people for $28 USD total. We saw over one hundred elephants on our trip.
Sri Lanka is one of the best value destinations we have been to, offering bucket list experiences for less than the price of a hotel room in many other countries!
Recommended by Cat from Walk My World. Read More about Sri Lanka Here.
Most would disagree about Lisbon being on this list but it is all about your travel style. While you can easily spend a pretty penny in Lisbon it is not necessary with a few tips. We were able to get an airbnb for a long weekend with amazing views all for just over $100.
It is easy to get around Lisbon. Skip the guided tours and do your own walking tour. If walking is not your jam then opt for a 24 hour pass which gives you access to the Trams, Elevators and all public transportation within Lisbon. For €6.40 you will have a whole day of sightseeing. You cannot get any cheaper than that.
While food can get pricey in Lisbon there are a few options that will not break the bank.
Most places do sunset happy hours where you can get a glass of wine for under 3 euro. Or check out RC Restaurant where you can get a 2 course meal including wine for 6 Euro.
Traveling on a Budget
No matter your travel budget there is something for everyone that wants to travel. With so many places and countries to visit this is only a handful of budget-friendly destinations around the world.
Play a little travel roulette and be inspired to travel the world.