One of the number one questions I get is “How do you afford to travel the world? What’s your secret?” Traveling smart is my number one tip! I’ve shared my tricks to using credit card points to travel for free, and it’s one of a few money-saving strategies I’ve got up my sleeve.
Another essential trick is to find budget-friendly destinations.
One of the most common travel mistakes I see is focusing too much on flight prices. Sure, you might save a couple hundred dollars by choosing the cheapest flights but that’s not the full picture.
There are places that are more affordable to travel to, even if the initial round-trip flight price costs a little more.
You’ve got to know the current costs on the ground. Be mindful of everything — from the price of your morning coffee to accommodations to the various activities you’d like to do. While some of these places you can visit for anywhere from $25-$50 a day, it truly depends on your priorities.
Insider’s Tip: pay attention to shoulder seasons! If you’re able to travel to a place in off-peak times, you’re much more likely to find deals and lower prices on things like accommodations and activities.
Wondering what the cheapest travel destinations are in 2022, and the places that offer the most value for your money? Got champagne tastes and a beer budget?
Here are some of the cheapest countries to visit and destinations you’ve got to check out in 2022!
With an impressive range of free activities and low costs across the board, this is one of my top budget destinations in Africa.
After living for years in Cape Town (and exporting the love of my life from there!), South Africa will always have a special place in my heart — and it just so happens that South Africa is a seriously budget-friendly place to travel to.
The exchange rate will make your money go a lot further!
And oh, the activities!
The urban wonderland of Cape Town, world-class vineyards of the Cape Winelands, and the safaris of the bush come together to make South Africa one of the most diverse and beautiful designations on the globe.
While safaris are not a budget activity by nature, you certainly get a lot of bang for your buck — most safaris include lodging, food and alcohol, transportation, wildlife conservation fees, and your guide. Know that the upfront cost may shock you, but consider how much you would be spending doing other activities.
While they are set to join the Schengen zone soon (and see rising prices after), Croatia remains one of the Mediterranean’s best budget-friendly destinations. They are also outside of the eurozone and the local Croatian kuna offers a good exchange rate.
Every bit as beautiful as the famous coastal cities of France or Spain and with its own unique culture, this is one place everyone has to visit at least once in a lifetime. So, if you’re looking for a cheaper European getaway — complete with all the charm and gorgeous architecture — Croatia takes the cake.
Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico
From the United States, Mexico is a top budget pick, particularly the Yucatan Peninsula. Famous for the white sand beaches of the Mayan Riviera, scuba diving, Mayan ruins, and luxe resorts, you can name your adventure here.
Food (and good food at that) is relatively inexpensive, and when you can spend your day hanging out on the beach — the price per day doesn’t skyrocket, making it a fantastic place to travel on a budget.
Inspired? Check out my top ten things to do in the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico.
Did you know that Costa Rica is home to 5% of the world’s wildlife? The Parque Nacional Tortuguero and Parque Nacional Manuel Antonio are a couple of the most impressive parks on the planet.
These are just a couple of reasons why I included Costa Rica in my list of the best wildlife destinations in the world.
Whether you’re looking for an adventurous escape or a laid-back beach break, Costa Rica is a gorgeous destination all year long. Jump over to my month-to-month guide to this tropical wonderland and start planning.
Because this place is a tropical paradise, it’s easy to spend your days lounging on the beach…which is relatively inexpensive. 😉
One of my favorite solo female travel destinations, Istanbul is a perfect city to take on by yourself.
You’ll definitely want to consider joining a free walking tour, combo tickets for some of the main attractions, and the Istanbulkart—Istanbul’s public transport card.
This city is an architectural paradise with a fascinating history and culture. And, that food! Turkey has some of the best (and cheapest) eats in the world. Taste your way across the country with these unforgettable foodie delights.
Grab a customary simit (sesame seed crusted bread rings) or an incredible pide (Turkish pizza) for under $2 USD.
While you’re in Turkey, you may want to discover the cave hotels (the coolest!) or Pamukkale, where mineral-rich thermal waters flow down travertine terraces.
Check out the best time to visit Turkey here!
This gem of Southeast Asia is ultra-affordable and surprisingly diverse. From island hopping the sun-soaked beaches of Thailand to exploring the vibrant streets of Bangkok, this place is a backpacker’s paradise.
And you don’t have to strap all your worldly possessions to your back to save some cash. You can find affordable hotels and hostels or treat yourself to affordable luxury.
Get inspired with my guide to traveling Thailand for $20 per day and start planning your adventure.
Many folks flock to Thailand because their money goes a long way there — don’t be surprised if you end up falling in love with this paradise and looking at what it would take to relocate.
Imagine walking into the hottest restaurant in town and paying five euros for your meal. Welcome to Tallinn.
With its dizzying array of stunning architecture, the entire Old Town of the Estonian capital is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and that’s just the beginning of what this city has to offer.
Not only is Estonia one of Europe’s most beautiful and culturally rich cities, but it’s also well connected to other northern capitals. Located on the Gulf of Finland, you can hop on a ferry to Helsinki, Stockholm, and St. Petersburg.
Essentially, if you want the charm of cobblestone streets in Europe but still looking for an affordable vacation — Tallinn should definitely be on your list for a budget holiday!
Explore my guide to one day in Tallinn then start planning your dream tour of Northern Europe.
The cost of food and drink is quite cheap in Belgrade compared to European standards — make sure to stick with the local eats, like burek: pastry filled with meats and/or cheeses (yum!).
It’s good to know that public transportation in Belgrade comes at super-friendly prices. The buses and trams connect all over the city and will get you where you want to go without breaking the bank.
Belgrade tends to offer great overall value making it a budget-friendly city break in Europe.
And for those that are looking to dip into the party scene — it just so happens to be one of the hottest party cities in the world. Belgrade is the kind of place where you party until dawn seven nights a week. Hop on one of the wild party boats floating down the Danube River and have the time of your life.
Many of the clubs in Belgrade have free entry — you just have to be mindful of the variable beverages prices.
For a dose of culture, explore the layered history of communist-era Yugoslavian and Ottoman Empire replica in this unique city.
Old City of Berat, Albania
The small Balkan country located near Macedonia and Greece is a fantastic place for sights and activities — and it’s definitely an under-the-radar vacation location.
Brimming with European charm, castles, beautiful landscapes with excellent hiking trails, and more — Albania should definitely be considered for an affordable holiday in Europe. Did I mention the gorgeous beaches? On top of that, it’s dotted with well-preserved relics from the Ottoman Empire.
Without the crowds, you’ll find incredible prices. We are talking hotel rooms for $25 and dinner out for less than $5.
Best of all, it’s a world away from the tourist traps you’ll find in many European cities and beach towns. This diverse place ticks all of the boxes.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
You can travel to Bosnia and Herzegovina quite comfortably on a limited budget.
Explore the quaint mountainside villages. Then switch things up and party the night away in some of Europe’s hottest clubs.
Bosnia & Herzegovina can be anything to anyone. This dynamic East-meets-West culture has a rich history of Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian with a unique modern Slavic flair.
Live it up in Sarajevo then explore the iconic Stari Most. You can easily get by for $50 per day around the country — including accommodation, food and drink, transport, and visiting local attractions.
Compared to exploring Paris or Berlin, you can explore Bosnia & Herzegovina for next to nothing.
That said, I often don’t like to prescribe a specific dollar amount for a place as it’s completely subject to your travel style and priorities, but Bosnia & Herzegovina is a great place to keep in mind with a tight travel budget.
Kakheti — the capital of the wine region in Georgia
Soaking in some of the most beautiful mountainscapes in Europe, the beautiful Black Sea coast, and the winding cobblestone streets of Tibisi, you’ll fall in love with Georgia at first sight.
Georgia is a very budget-friendly destination for tourists for a myriad of reasons. Overall, the cost of food is quite low, there’s a great public transport system in the main city of Tbilisi, and a ton of budget accommodations.
But that’s not all…Georgia is a wine lover’s paradise!
My fellow vino lovers will definitely want to plan plenty of time for sampling. One of the best wine regions in the world, Kakheti, Georgia is actually considered to be the birthplace of wine.
Local winemakers have been producing the good stuff all the way back to 6,000 BC. You can explore the incredible history of the local vineyards and find your fave amongst the whopping 8,000+ local vintages.
According to the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index, Nepal is actually one of the cheapest countries to visit in the world.
Nepal is a serious budget destination and fantastic for backpackers. Accommodations tend to be pretty cheap, too. It’s quite popular to find a room in a guest house or tea house, both of which are reasonable in price.
Once you’ve taken in the sights and sounds of the capital city Kathmandu, get out of town and explore.
These are a few places in the world better for hiking than Nepal.
Because one of the main things folks go to Nepal for is hiking — you’ll likely be cutting out other major expenses (activities, lavish hotels, drinking).
Take in the UNESCO-listed World Heritage Sites of the Kathmandu Valley, then hike Chitwan National Park. Get up close and personal with the four-legged locals on a safari then trek up to some of the most beautiful peaks in Asia.
Love hiking? Check out my guide to the most scenic treks in the world.
Kelimutu Volcanic Crater Lakes
Indonesia is one of the most inexpensive countries to travel to in the region, making it an ideal budget travel destination.
Indulge in local fare and your food bill will stay low, plus there are TONS of options when it comes to accommodations.
Famous for its stunning beaches, yoga retreats, and world-class diving sites, this country is a paradise for the adventure-loving budgetista. Take a road trip around Komodo Island. Go scuba diving in the Komodo Islands.
Do keep in mind that novel activities are what tend to push the price per day up.
The 17,000 plus islands of Indonesia are one of the must-sees of Southeast Asia and you can find great bargains all over the county. Ready to hit the road? Here’s how to find the cheapest flights to Indonesia.
You may just fall in love with Bali while you’re there…and you wouldn’t be the first — especially because it’s so easy to travel Bali on a budget.
It’s quite common that after a holiday in Indonesia, digital nomads tend to make Bali their home. This happens more often than you might think!
(In case you’re curious, check out the best coworking spaces in Bali).
Just look at these gorgeous photos of Vietnam. Experience the gorgeous blend of Japanese, Chinese, French, and indigenous architecture of Hoi An.
Vietnam is one of the best solo female travel destinations in the world, and perfect for budget travelers.
Vietnam frequently makes the rounds of most budget-friendly destinations around the world, and for good reason! While it’s a dream place for backpackers, you can also have quite a comfortable experience for mid-range prices.
Delicious, fresh food can be purchased on a shoe-string budget, and you can come across bowls of pho (soup) for as little as $1-2. Sample the world-famous local foods that bring together the best of European and Asian flavors.
One thing to note — you will need to factor in the cost of bottled water during your trip as the tap water in Vietnam isn’t your friend.
Still debating? Keep on reading my complete guide to budget-friendly destinations around the world.
What budget-friendly places are you thinking about traveling to in 2022? Do you have an affordable destination you’d like to recommend? Let me know in the comments below!