Traveling can be stressful. Even more so on a budget. Luckily, jaw-dropping sights and unforgettable experiences aren’t necessarily tied to an expensive price tag. You can find cheap places to travel all over the world!
So, where can you go to find the cheapest places and make the most of every penny you’ve saved? Take a look at these 24 cheap places to travel around the world for ideas on where to take your next cheap vacation.
Table of Contents
- 6 Cheap Places to Travel in the US
- 6 Cheap Places to Travel in Europe
- 6 Cheap Places to Travel in Asia
- 6 Cheap Places to Travel in South and Central America
6 Cheap Places to Travel in the US
The US isn’t known to have the cheapest destinations in the world. That said, you can still save money on your next vacation. Travel the nation for influences from western Europe, gorgeous national parks, and more at these affordable budget destinations. With an inexpensive domestic flight, you’ll have no trouble making your way to these cheap places to travel in the US.
1. Gatlinburg, Tennessee
Nestled at the foot of the Great Smoky Mountains lies a wealth of fun and scenic exploits that change with the seasons. Gatlinburg is one of the most affordable destinations in the US.
Country music shows, fresh mountain air, and colorful museums unveil an eclectic resort town full of small-town charms. Grab a tasty, fried treat from the smiling Donut Friar before diving into adventure.
You’ll find fun even making your way from the streets of Gatlinburg on the charming trolley to the picturesque trails of the Smoky Mountains.
2. Washington, DC
It’s not easy to shed an old image. Long regarded as a city of political machinations, historic landmarks, and not much else, Washington DC has come a long way.
The nation’s capital city is now a vibrant and trendy destination. Here, you’ll find beautiful sights, cultural experiences, cheap places to travel to, and—yes—lots of history.
But this city on the water has more to offer than combing through every inch of the largest museum complex in the world. Tour African-American history on U Street, discover colorful art murals around the city, and explore a growing food scene in the District.
Every step will take you traveling through time, from colonial homes in Old Town to contemporary art galleries in Dupont Circle.
3. San Antonio, Texas
San Antonio is a melting pot of cultures and one of the friendliest cities in the country. Oh, and it just so happens to be one of the most affordable places to travel in the US. The famous Alamo is just the start of this city. San Antonio sports extensive Spanish-colonial architecture, Mexican culinary wonders, and the charm of a Texan city without the big-city feel.
Experience it all from the top level of a double-decker bus or on a boat gliding along the San Antonio River. Then, soak in the atmosphere as you browse the Historic Market Square (El Mercado) and make an escape from the River Walk crowds with a trip to Southtown.
Planning a trip at the beginning of the month? On First Fridays, you can join the free art walk. Explore everything from the historic King William neighborhood to authentic cuisine and art shows.
4. Denver, Colorado
Denver sits pretty a mile above the sea. But don’t let the altitude scare you away from discovering this cheap destination goldmine.
In a city that dates back to the Old West, get a fresh perspective of Denver by traveling through city streets on the affordable Denver Trolley. Then, join a free walking tour taking you from the lights of Larimer Square to the antique beauty of Union Station.
The Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver Mint, and Central Library are free attractions and only the start. Next, sample candy at Hammond’s Candy Factory. Walk the gorgeous trails around Red Rocks Park and Amphitheater, and relax by serene lakes in City Park.
Denver scratches every itch without a hefty price tag, from romantic adventures to family fun.
5. Charleston, South Carolina
Nicknamed the Holy City, Charleston’s distinct moniker comes alive before even setting foot on its cobblestone streets. Look in any direction, and you’ll see a church steeple scratching at the heavens, from the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist to Saint Michael’s Church (both free to explore)!
But beautiful churches aren’t all there is to love about Charleston. History awaits in the grand mansions and sprawling gardens of landmarks like Middleton Place and Aiken-Rhett House, where Gullah culture makes its presence known.
So as you walk the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, stroll past wrought iron gates, and lounge on Folly Beach, keep your eyes peeled—there’s always something new to discover.
6. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
It’s only fitting that the City of Brotherly Love should welcome visitors with enough cheap places to help the love go ‘round. Add in the vibrant culture, and it’s a recipe for a vacation full of fun.
From landmark Revolutionary War history in Independence Hall to immortalized film history in the statue of Rocky, Philadelphia packs a punch on par with the fictional boxer himself.
Take in impressive skyline views from the Schuylkill River Trail and wander through the storied history of Elfreth Alley.
The Delaware River provides countless scenic spots. Enjoy the festivals at Blue Cross RiverRink before grabbing a tasty bite of street food. Philly might not have beaches, but it does have Spruce Street Harbor Park. You can enjoy great food and cold beers while lounging in a hammock or playing games.
If you’ve been looking for a quick weekend getaway, Philly is the perfect cheap destination for that mini-vacation you’ve been planning.
6 Cheap Places to Travel in Europe
Western Europe isn’t known for affordable destinations. What’s more, your adventures here won’t take you to fan favorites like France or Spain.
But that doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Even Europe, known for its expensive getaways, has some fantastic countries you can visit on a budget. So, while they may not make any list of the cheapest countries in the world, you can still find some pretty cheap places to travel.
Best of all? Traveling off the beaten path may lead you to discover your favorite European destination yet!
Note: Beginning in November of 2023, you’ll need to apply for an ETIAS (European Travel Information and Authorisation System) to enter countries in the Schengen Zone, which includes Romania and Greece from this list.
Picturing Bosnia-Herzegovina, many might still make the mistake of thinking of this Baltic nation as it was in the 90s: besieged and ravaged by war. But decades later, Bosnia has become a gorgeous escape. It’s also one of the cheapest places to travel in Europe.
In the capital of Sarajevo, relics of the ancient past mingle with recent strifes. Exploring the city streets will lead visitors to landmarks like the Emperor’s Mosque and the White Fortress. You may even see a bullet-scarred wall or several in the buildings you walk past. But surrounded by so much beauty and the sight of skyscrapers in the distance, it’s clear that even a siege couldn’t destroy this magnificent city.
Out in the countryside, charming villages idle on rolling hills. Swim at the foot of the Kravica Waterfall and scale the Dinaric Alps at Visočica. In Vrelo Bune, marvel at the cohesion of man and nature while enjoying the peace of the karstic spring.
In a land where mosque prayer calls are echoed by the ring of church bells in the distance, it’s hard to mistake Bosnia’s beauty for anywhere else.
Smack dab in the middle of the Caucasus region lies Georgia, a country of shifting landscapes but unchanging beauty. Sitting at the crossroads of Asia and Europe, Georgia shines as a country undefined by either but influenced by both.
Endless charm and hospitality are easy to find. Discover them while trekking the breathtaking mountains, soaking in relaxing hot springs, or wandering the quirky cities that make this country distinct.
Georgia is one of the cheapest places to travel in eastern Europe. Additionally, its capital city of Tbilisi is one of the most affordable on the whole continent. So, as you comb through Tbisili—from Old Town to the Holy Trinity Cathedral—you’ll find cheap meals, inexpensive local transportation, and affordable museum entrance fees to keep your stay busy.
Fantasy and reality collide in Romania. Gothic tales of vampires find life among dark castles and romantic countrysides. Bucharest shines bright as the capital city, but Sinaia enchants with natural charm and the beauty of Peles Castle. Meanwhile, Timisoara thrives as a cultural haven influenced by empires past.
From tales of Count Dracula and medieval towns full of character to white sand beaches nestled against the Black Sea, Romania is a wealth of treasures in one very cheap country.
Not far from Bran’s Castle in Brasov, you can find guesthouses for as little as $40 a night. You may be surprised at the delicious street food you come across in Romanian cities. You’ll be even more surprised at how little eating eats into your budget.
Another country steeped in fairytales and legends, Albania emerges from the shadows of the so-called Accursed Mountains in the north. These Albanian Alps are only the start of the country’s incredible wonders and oldest traditions.
In Tirana, churches and mosques sit side by side, while once nuclear bunkers have been transformed into museums and modern cafes. Meanwhile, well-preserved Ottoman history makes the City of Stone, Gjirokastra, a must-visit destination. And quaint Shkodër, sitting on Shkoda Lake, boasts a mix of culture and ruins among scenic hills and lake views.
Renting a car is highly affordable, so charting your own path is incredibly easy and allows you to explore so much of this gorgeous country.
5. North Macedonia
Home to the oldest lake in Europe, parts of the cross Jesus was crucified on, and Mother Teresa: with a resume this impressive, it’s a wonder North Macedonia isn’t on everyone’s bucket list of places to visit. However, that may change when word gets out about it being one of the cheapest travel destinations in Europe.
North Macedonia drips in excess for visitors stepping foot on its soil for the first time. Magnificent mountain views abound, and awe-inspiring landmarks set against a gorgeous backdrop of picturesque lake scenes await.
The capital city of Skopje calls to locals and visitors alike, with fascinating museums and a spellbinding air. One moment, you’re walking the streets of Paris with the Macedonia Gate above you. Then you look around and realize you’ve wandered into someplace more like Turkey, with its own Old Bazaar to match!
With reasonable prices for driving a rental or taking the bus, it’s easy to explore every inch of North Macedonia. And it may just end up being the cheapest country you visit in Europe.
In a country of sandy shores, beautiful beaches, and more islands than most know what to do with, it may be a shock to learn that over two-thirds of Greece is mountains.
This interesting fact further proves why travelers should expand their explorations outside of the country’s staple tourist spots. Greece is a surprisingly affordable destination with plenty of cheap places to travel—if you know where to look.
Rather than heading to the much-loved capital of Athens, take a turn in the beautiful port city of Thessaloniki. Instead of traversing the same white stone pathways on Santorini as everyone else, enjoy the laidback splendor of Paros. Both cities offer engaging experiences and breathtaking sites for a fraction of the cost of their more popular alternatives. Grab a hostel for cheap, enjoy a slice of baklava for a few dollars, and hop on the ferry to wander the Greek Isles.
6 Cheap Places to Travel in Asia
The crown jewel of budget destinations, it’s hard to argue that anywhere does it better than Southeast Asia.
Rich cultures mix with beautiful natural wonders to give visitors a plethora of enriching experiences. In addition, affordable prices reign from budget hotels to incredibly cheap public transport and delectable street food.
See how far your money goes in these unbelievably cheap travel destinations.
Without a doubt, Thailand is one of the most prominent cheap destinations in Southeast Asia. A wealth of golden palaces, magnificent temples, and colorful towns sweep the land from Chiang Rai in the north to Koh Samui in the south. No matter what you’re into, you’ll find countless reasons to visit.
The restless beast of Bangkok shines as the country’s center. Bright lights, lively nightlife, and luxury experiences all come with budget prices. But, you can always save money munching on delicious street food and shopping at a local market.
Enjoy peace and beauty at the Buddhist mountain temple of Wat Pha Sorn Kaew and rent a bike to tour the splendor of Sukhothai Historical Park. Of course, the siren call of southern Thailand, with its pristine beaches and stunning waters, can’t be ignored. Hit up Phuket for hostels as cheap as $10 and beaches that will make you fall in love.
Among Asia’s many other splendors, Taiwan is an often overlooked gem, even though it’s considered the happiest country on the continent. Radiant Taipei offers up fun night markets and steaming hot springs. Nights in Pingxi turn magical during the annual Sky Lantern Festival. And of course, unique Kaohsiung shines with its one-of-a-kind Buddhist monastery and colorful Dragon and Tiger Pagodas. Every inch of this country provides something new to explore. (Affordable prices for the bus and railway make it even easier!)
Take in stunning views of Taiwan’s east coast, enjoy its festival-packed calendar celebrations, and hike the mountains that sprawl their way across Tawain’s landscape.
Hostel prices are less affordable compared to other Asian countries. But the street food is super cheap and, unsurprisingly, mouthwateringly good. Your tastebuds will be far from the only thing colored by this vibrant nation.
According to legend, the marriage of two great beings—an ancient water dragon and a mountain fairy princess—birthed the first great Vietnamese Dynasty. Now, all Vietnamese people are descended from this great dragon and fairy couple.
A fantastic story on its surface, visitors can’t deny the magical atmosphere of this country. Vietnam’s many treasures hold an air of enchantment that makes each visit a thrill. Take in the magnificence of the Ban Gioc Waterfall and marvel at the cultivated rice terraces in Pù Luông Nature Reserve. Vietnam is also home to the unreal Hang Son Doong cave—the largest natural cave in the world.
From Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City, you can nab a hotel for as little as $20 a night. Gorge yourself on street food, or splurge (by budget standards) and aim for a fancier restaurant meal. Of course, to admire the country in all its glory, trains are the best mode of transport. However, if you’re traveling in a hurry, you’ll have no trouble finding cheap domestic flights to get around.
A huge country comprised of over 17,000 islands, Indonesia is the largest archipelago in Southeast Asia. It’s also the perfect playground for a cheap vacation.
Each island has its own distinct beauty and atmosphere that make it worth visiting. This makes it all the more incredible that the entire country is super cheap, with affordable local transportation. Everywhere you go, you’ll encounter breathtaking sights. Find peace among gorgeous temples, brave the climb up active volcanoes, and feast your eyes on cascading rice terraces and startling blue lake waters.
While international flights to Indonesia can be expensive, finding cheap flights is easy if you’re traveling from city to city. Inevitably, you’ll want to see all the fantastic marvels within reach: Borobudur Temple (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) in Java, Komodo National Park in East Nusa Tenggara, the Nusa Islands, and so many more.
Lore and legends surround the mysterious country of Cambodia, adding another layer to what is already a distinct aura. Old Khmer wats, temples, sit atop mountains and pierce the sky, offering views of a magical sunset. Like a lighthouse beacon, Angkor Wat draws in all who so much as glimpse its towers above the tree line to take in its sprawling complex.
Explore the palaces in Phnom Penh and sample delicious cuisines in the local markets. Hop on the Bamboo Train in Battambang and wander the many temples that fill the province. And in Sihanoukville, discover a dynamic nightlife scene and gateway to nearby islands like Koh Kang, with its beautiful white-sand beaches.
With all its beauty and splendor, Cambodia is extremely affordable. Save money by avoiding western foods and chowing down on street food instead. Additionally, you can get by spending as little as $10 a day on transportation.
Rugged mountains and jungle cascades mix with ancient rice farms and stunningly colorful coral reefs to make up just parts of the wonder that is this diverse archipelago in Southeast Asia. Cities like Manila easily display the Philippines’s colonial heritage and a fascinating mix of cultures. Beautiful churches dot the landscape, but a Muslim mosque or Taoist temple isn’t out of place.
Of course, a visit to the Banaue Rice Terraces is a must. Along with a hike through the Chocolate Hills and exploring the Puerto Princesa Subterranean River National Park.
But with its stunning array of islands to explore, this super cheap destination truly shines.
Likely the cheapest place in the world to dive, you need only spend $25 in some areas to explore the richness below the Philippines’ gorgeous blue waters. Meanwhile, places like Coron offer a Maldives-style experience at a fraction of the cost. So, you likely won’t need to look for ways to save money on this budget destination. That said, buddying up to get group discounts and staying at local guesthouses will make this already affordable destination even more so.
6 Cheap Places to Travel in South & Central America
From cheap places to travel in Central America to cheap travel destinations in South America, you can have the cheap vacation of your dreams across these thrilling landscapes. Center yourself in the action of incredible city life or breathtaking natural beauty.
Colored by European countries from half the world away, these cheap travel destinations offer a distinct history and enticing mix of cultures and traditions to explore.
Follow the rhythmic beat of drums and pluck of strings to the wild, pulsing streets of Brazil. Vibrant festivals like Carnival draw visitors to Rio de Janeiro from all over for days and weeks at a time. Whereas boisterous club scenes in places like Sao Paulo and Santa Carina bring the nights alive all year round.
But the pulse of the street and twirl of Samba feet isn’t all that Brazil offers. Natural beauty also abounds. White sand and mountains beckon from Ipanema Beach and the rolling dunes and lagoon pools of Lençóis Maranhenses National Park are sights to see.
The largest country in South America stands out for its big nightlife, big beaches, big cities, and more. But one thing you won’t find so big is the price tag. Brazil has a plentitude of cheap places to travel to: the Amazon Theater in Manaus, Pelourinho in Salvador, and Tijuca National Park, to name a few. With prices available for every budget, travelers can thrive among Brazil’s beauty, charm, and superstar vibes.
Dizzying heights, staggering views, and a look at yourself in one of the world’s largest mirrors. Offering all this and more, Bolivia is a country that leaves visitors reeling in more ways than one. Of course, that’s also before considering Bolivia is one of the cheapest places to travel in South America.
Feel like you’re in heaven on the Uyuni Salt Flats. Discover adventure among the snow-capped peaks of the Kunturii massif. Leap into the unknown with a trip to the Amazon rainforest.
Bolivia teems with fascinating landscapes and colorful wildlife, and it doesn’t take a lot of money to experience it all. Hotel prices are slightly higher in Bolivia than in other destinations, but groups can save money staying at a local inn. The local food is another cheap and delicious option for stretching every penny of your travel budget.
If heaven is a place on earth, Colombia is the modern-day Eden.
In Medellín, green corridors provide shade and an enchanting image of a forest thriving among a concrete jungle. Coffee plantations dot an already alluring landscape of magnificent mountains, brilliant beaches, and lofty palm trees.
Colombia remains an extremely affordable country to visit despite its abundance of virtues. Hotel prices can be found for as little as $25 during some times of the year, and between city metros and buses, local transportation remains cheap.
Spending a day at Tayrona National Park or wandering the stunning Salt Cathedral of Zipaquira will cost a low entrance fee of $15. On the other hand, a stroll through Cartagena’s gorgeous Old Town—a must-see for its vibrant streets and colonial architecture—is absolutely free.
Rich indigenous culture and colorful colonial cities paint a bright mosaic of Guatemala, one of the cheapest places to travel in Central America. Imposing cathedrals and 17th-century structures decorate modern cities like Antigua. Meanwhile, the Mayan ruins that predate them by centuries sit surrounded by verdant forests.
Some may be surprised to learn Guatemala is the birthplace of chocolate. In truth, the cacao bean barely scratches the surface of the treasures hidden within this lush terrain. Tikal, the ancient city and capital of the Mayan Kingdom, juts up toward the sky, volcanoes cough up steams of smoke, and dazzling waters like Chicabal Lake peak out from behind the shroud of trees.
Dig your toes into the black volcanic sands of Monterrico Beach or hike the trails of the Pacaya volcano complex. Everywhere you step, Guatemala bursts with life and unique experiences, all at a low cost. Most accommodations can be booked for under $35 a night. In addition, the tantalizing mix of Mayan and Spanish food that creates the unique tastes of Guatemala can be enjoyed with drinks for as little as $12 a day.
A land of wonders, Mexico has been known as a spring break paradise for years. Of course, its warm weather and sandy beaches act as a siren’s call to those who follow the sun. But a peek behind the curtain reveals far more to its boundless beaches and dense jungles. From Mayan ruins to beach resorts and opulent buildings to natural wonders, Mexico has a little bit of everything—and then some.
Turquoise-blue water glitters off blinding white coasts, and deep blue cenotes yawn open from the ground. Delight in the tasty, cheap food offered up by street vendors in Mexico City or descend into enchantment in the surrealist gardens of Edward James in Xilitla. Picturesque islands, dramatic rocks, and vibrant traditions paint Mexico in bright colors, marking it as an ultimate budget destination.
Cheap accommodations abound from Guadalajara to Isla Mujeres, while local buses with affordable low fares make city travel easy. At the same time, cheap flights on Mexico’s budget airlines mean you can afford to see everything this beautiful country has to offer.
Color bursts from the seams of this Central American nation. Known in part for its textiles, the vibrant patterns found here reflect the deep, rich tapestry that is Honduras.
Thick tropical rainforests hide fascinating wildlife in the Río Plátano Biosphere Reserve. Meanwhile, a secluded oasis awaits at Parque Nacional Jeannette Kawas, home to shaded lagoons and gorgeous coral reefs. Walk under the shade of towering trees in Lancetilla Botanical Garden and dive under the sea for a glimpse of whale sharks in Utila.
As one of the cheapest countries in Central America, Honduras should easily rank among the best cheap places to travel for anyone on a budget. Think hearty meals full of color and texture for less than $10/day, and low park entrance fees. For a few dollars, you get priceless panoramic vistas of endless rainforests and soaring mountains.
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