Who doesn’t love a bargain? Finding a destination that is both exciting and wallet-friendly is always a huge perk. As we all start looking forward to the new year, it’s time to start dreaming about the incredible adventures on their way.
The world is an ever-changing place. 2019’s buzzing hotspots can become 2020’s overcrowded tourist spots. That’s why my first step in planning travel is always to nab the latest tips from locals all around the globe.
Getting good prices on transportation, food, and accommodation makes such a huge difference in how far you can stretch your budget.
In fact, one of my fave things about life in South Africa is that my money goes so much further. A luxe hotel in Cape Town with an afternoon at the spa costs a fraction of what I’d pay in places like New York City or San Francisco. Whatever your budget is, affordable destinations give you an upgrade at every step.
Ready to kick off the decade with a bang and maybe check out a few unconventional locales? Here are ten budget-friendly destinations to travel to in 2020.
Cape Town, South Africa
I’ve been calling Cape Town home for the last 3 years and if you’re like me and earn dollars, you can live pretty luxuriously in one of the most beautiful cities on earth…or explore it!
The exchange rate will make your budget go a lot further!
One of the things I adore about South Africa is that you can have a night out exploring swanky spots all around the city, then go off on safari the next morning. And the foodie scene! You can treat yourself to masterpieces from some of the best chefs in the world while enjoying local wine (and all for the price you would pay for a burger and fries elsewhere!).
Wine lovers will fall in love at first sight with Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Actually, they are amazing locations for anybody who loves good food, great drinks, and stunning scenery. It’s such an unpretentious place where anybody can enjoy a great glass of wine without feeling like you have to be an aficionado.
Of course, Mexico! Anyone living in the United States knows this can be a top budget-friendly destination. The exchange rate is especially good at the moment so it’s time to live it up south of the border.
While Cancun tends to get a lot of attention, I would highly recommend exploring far and wide. The entire Mayan Riviera is drop-dead gorgeous. Even after traveling the world over, the beaches of Mexico and the Caribbean are still amongst my absolute favorites. With ancient historical sites, a rich culture, and gorgeous scenery, Mexico is a must in 2020.
One of Europe’s best-kept secrets, Montenegro is straight out of a fairytale. This Eastern European country is a nature lover’s dream. It is the perfect place to rent a car and just explore.
Travel in Montenegro is very much catered to adventure lovers and nature lovers.
Grab a tent, kayak down the river, go bungee jumping, hike the lush countryside, and camp for the night. Every inch of this country is Instagram-worthy and your jaw will be dropping at every turn. Of course, that’s not to say it’s just a place for the more outdoorsy folks amongst us.
This is a fabulous destination for trips of all kind and, with the ultra-low prices here, you can make the most of every moment.
I find myself going back to Bali time and time again. It is such a magical retreat!
Indonesia’s ultimate tropical island, Bali is everything a beach bum could ever dream of. Experience some of the best surfing spots on the planet, master the art of yoga, party with the backpackers, hike through the iconic rice paddies up to gorgeous temples…or just do nothing at all but lie on the beach and watch the world pass by.
While prices have increased slightly and not everything is budget-friendly (think Western cafés or shops open by ex-pats)—there’s sort of something for everyone in Bali!
For you ladies with champagne taste but don’t have the budget to match, Bali is where you want to be! Bali is famous for its spas and you can live a five-star luxe life here for rock bottom prices.
India is almost a rite of passage in the world of travel. Whether you want to Eat, Pray, Love your way to a new life or soak in the fascinating diversity of culture, India will take your breath away. From the moment you set foot in the subcontinent, the heady experience of all the sights and sounds will blow you away.
India is a massive country and, luckily, it is incredibly cheap to get around to see it all. As an India newbie, you are certainly going to be overwhelmed by choice. The sheer size, both of the population and landmass, is so much to take in. Check out the ultimate beginner’s guide to India to help you maximize every beautiful moment.
Another one of the best places in Europe to visit is the Hungarian capital. The city of Budapest is the crown jewel of Central Europe. The architecture is easily amongst the most impressive in the world and it is one of the most affordable destinations in Europe.
The swanky wine bars and hip ruin bars make it a nightlife lovers’ paradise. During the day, you can unwind at a sidewalk cafe and soak in the thermal pool (just find one of the less popular spots).
Another Latin American wonder, Costa Rica is full of countless natural wonders. From lush rainforest to flawless beaches, this Central American country is ripe for exploration. Learn how to surf, bust out your hiking boots, then sip cocktails as you watch the sun set over the horizon.
You can go totally luxe here for amazingly low prices or just do all of the fun things like zip-lining, surf lessons, scuba diving, and going on jungle tours that can definitely add up in price quickly when you want to take in as much as possible in a short time.
Forget about the place north of Florida and let’s talk about one of the best destinations in Eastern Europe. Just between Russia and Turkey, Georgia is one of the most underrated places on the planet.
Georgia is also a top destination for wine lovers! You can go for wine tasting, sample five-star cuisine, and stay in luxury hotels for prices that are comparably much lower to other places around the world..
Sure, there are many countries in Asia that are famous for their cheap street food but, trust me, you have never had street food until you have been to Vietnam. For a dollar, you can walk down the street with some of the best food the world has ever seen.
If you can force yourself to set down the fork, Vietnam is breathtakingly beautiful. There are so many opportunities to explore the land and waterways for an unforgettable experience.
Forget everything that you think you know about Colombia. This is one of the coolest—and cheapest—destinations on the planet. I especially love Bogotá, and Medellin is worth checking out! It has such a modern and hip vibe that is a world away from the old Narcos-style image you may be familiar with.