Cheap vacation packages! Discount travel deals!
If you’ve planned a vacation lately you’ve probably been hit with an ad of that kind. Budget travel has become a popular way for vacationers to experience new places without breaking the bank. But too often cheap vacation package usually means cheap vacation experience. Instead of sacrificing luxury, convenience and upscale amenities by staying in the cheapest hotel or dining at low-end restaurants, there’s another answer.
Aside from your accommodations, just choosing the right place to vacation can set you up for an affordable trip. While a vacation rental offers the most bang for your buck – with many luxurious properties available at a lower cost than a hotel – you can save even more money by visiting a budget-friendly destination.
We asked 20 of the top budget travel bloggers to share their favorite vacation spots that are easy on the wallet. Whether it’s the transportation, cuisine, shopping or affordable sightseeing, each of these locations pack one-of-a-kind culture at an affordable price.
Cusco is a popular stop for travelers heading to the enigmatic site of Machu Picchu, but they often times neglect to get a sense of the real Cusco, outside the tourist zones. History buffs marvel at the multiple ages of stone construction hidden throughout the city. Food lovers can sample the most interesting of local fare in the markets for under $1.50 per meal. Travelers have the chance to meet the local artisans and buy their crafts at a fraction of the cost.
– Lainie Liberti, Raising Miro
I’d encourage people to go to one of the best overall value destinations – Nepal. This is naturally one of the best hiking destinations in the world and some of the routes are well equipped with inexpensive places to stay along the trails. You pay a few dollars for a bed, a few more for dinner, and you get million-dollar views each day from sunrise to sunset. If you’re a person who loves dramatic mountain vistas, no other place on the planet offers so much for so little money.
– Tim Leffel, Cheapest Destinations Blog
Almost the whole world is affordable if we make the right choices, but Ethiopia particularly so. It’s beautiful, historic yet super cheap. The rift valley, the eighth world wonder at Lalibela and the home to Rastafarianism – Ethiopia is the sort of country people should choose if they dream of traveling yet are struggling for budget. My tip is to spend a little extra on airfares to get to Ethiopia, and then reap the rewards on arrival. You can get by for around fifteen bucks a day if you have to. And at fifty bucks a day, you’re living the dream.
– Johnny Ward, One Step 4Ward
Bordering countries like Tanzania and Uganda have more developed tourism infrastructures, which is part of what makes Rwanda an unexpected highlight of East Africa travels. The value is high for the pristine, terraced hillsides and the warm and open local culture.
– Shannon O’Donnell, A Little Adrift
It is the simplest form of paradise with its rich culture, beautiful beaches and amazing people. It’s hard not to overstay since everything is just too affordable. Budget accommodations start from $20, food and drinks about $3. Meeting new people from around the world is one of the perks. When I want some quiet time, I just hop on a boat and an hour later, I’m on a secluded island.
– Aaron Bradford, Happy Time Blog
With plenty of bargain opportunities like hiring a bike for the day on the cheap or scoffing an affordable meal on Hoi An’s beautiful beach, you’d be mad to miss out on a Vietnam vacation. I even got a few shirts and sleek-fitted suits to wow my friends and family, which were all under $100 total! Even the accommodations were a good value for your money. Hoi An in Vietnam is totally your budget place to live in luxury!
– Ed Rex, Rexy Edventures
Our favorite budget destination we have been to so far has got to be Borneo. The states of Malaysian Borneo, Sarawak and Sabah offer great experiences, delicious food and luxury for less. We spent an action packed two weeks in Borneo and can’t wait to return!
– Jade Johnston, Our Oyster
Beach lovers and budget travelers look no further, the Philippines is the number one paradise destination on a budget! With over 7,000 islands to choose from, it’s easy to skip the expensive tourist spots and find your very own secluded beach or exotic island location. We love that the Philippines makes us feel like we’re on a luxurious vacation, but still keeps us within our budget!
– Christine & Jules, Don’t Forget To Move
A private accommodation and three meals cost just $19 per day during my visit. It’s expensive to get to India but when there it’s a fantastic deal!
– Janice Waugh, Solo Traveler
One of my favorite budget destinations is Guatemala. While pinching pennies in the middle of a three-month backpacking trip through Central America, I was still able to do several adventure excursions. I roasted marshmallows over lava on Volcan Pacaya, went caving in Semuc Champey and kayaked on Lake Atitlán – all on a backpacker budget!
– Jackie Laulainen, The Budget-Minded Traveler
Ask any non-local to paint a picture of the Philippines and they would probably come up with a dreamy image of the beach. But there’s more to the Philippines than its stunning shores. The quiet town of Sagada, smack at the heart of the Cordillera Mountains, lies on top of a network of 60 caves and is fringed with terraced mountainsides. $10 per day can go a long, long way. That includes food, accommodations and a group activity, which can range from a spelunking tour, a trek to a waterfall or a hike to the Hanging Coffins.
– Yoshke & Vins, The Poor Traveler
I spent five months in India and traveled from West Bengal to Jammu and Kashmir and found a lot of affordable restaurants along the way! There are so many interesting sights that don’t require hefty entrance fees of any sort. A couple of my favorite places include Lamayuru and Alchi in Ladakh. I was blown away with the dramatic landscape, beautiful temples, and I met a lot of friendly locals.
– Flip, FlipNomad
The country has incredible beaches, a rich cultural heritage (especially Angkor Wat), the food is delicious and because of its compact size, you can easily include all the country’s highlights in a two-week trip: the beaches and islands along the south coast, the charming French-colonial town of Kampot, the temples of Angkor, the vibrant capital Phnom Penh with its buzzing markets, stunning Royal Palace and Buddhist temples. It’s very cheap to travel within the country, too, with bus rides in between cities for about $10, and meals for less than $5. Beer is available for as little as $0.50 and you’ll never pay more than $1 for it, and a glass of wine will only set you back around $3. In my opinion, Cambodia is one of the most underrated destinations in South East Asia and definitely a hot spot for budget travelers.
– Dani Heinrich, Globetrotter Girls
I had wonderful memories in Southern Italy. I loved Minori on the Amalfi Coast, where I could stay in a family run B&B for less than $50 and eat excellent freshly prepared food with local produce for $10 to $15 per meal. You can get around by bus inexpensively or arrange a local tour for reasonable prices. My golden rule to make the most of your budget trip is to sleep/explore/eat as much as you can with the locals!
– Michela Fantinel, Rocky Travel
There’s one destination that comes to mind when I think of ‘”most bang for my buck,” and it centers on my love of snowboarding. Snowboarding is an expensive sport, and with that I like to seek out lesser-known resorts to try my hand at boarding on a budget. I recently journeyed to Bled in Slovenia, where I spent three full days on Vogel’s slopes and a further day exploring Bled on foot for the incredible sum of about $350 all in: flights, transfers from the airport, accommodation, lift passes, transfers from Bled to Vogel and back each day, snowboard hire, the odd lesson and spending money. To snowboard in one of the most beautiful places I have ever visited at less than $100 per day is simply incredible value for the money.
– Neil Barnes, Backpacks and Bunkbeds
Madeira remains my favorite destination in terms of the most bang for your buck. You can rent an apartment for as little as $50 per night or escape to the island’s wild north coast and stay tucked up in the mountains of Sao Vicente. You can sip on the local Coral beer for $0.50 in the Old Town district of the capital, and soak it up with a slice of bolo de tacho for $1.50!
– Kash Bhattacharya, Budget Traveller
Amish country in America is a great place for low-cost family travel. The family-style meals are affordable and plentiful enough even for three ravenous teens. The activities and attractions are affordable or even free. And the experience of showing our modern, electronics-obsessed kids that there is a simpler way to live is priceless.
– Kim Orlando, Traveling Mom
My favorite budget travel destination so far has been Ecuador. You get a lot of different experiences throughout the country, including historical buildings in Quito, outdoor fun for the whole family, beautiful beaches and wildlife watching in the cloud forest. The people are amazing and you can stay in upscale accommodations for the price of budget lodging in most other destinations.
– Shereen Rayle, Shereen Travels Cheap
Myanmar is not only my favorite country to date on my travels, but a place I would travel to over and over. Southeast Asia is already a haven for budget travelers but Myanmar is different; you are giving back to a country that needs it most.
– Becki Enright, Borders of Adventure
I couldn’t believe how little I spent there after two weeks – just $500! Food was cheap and I went on a day trip to the Mekong Delta from Saigon for just $10. Getting around was easy too, with overnight trains and flights at low prices. I loved Vietnam and hope to get back there one day to go hiking in Sapa, it’s the one thing I feel like I missed out, and it looks beautiful. The food in Vietnam is some of the best I’ve ever tasted too, so I need to return for the famous pho!
– Vicky Philpott, Vicky Flip Flop Travels