Budget-Friendly Travel Destinations: Where to Go When You’re Low on Cash

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budget-friendly travel destinations

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Traveling on a budget can seem daunting, but with some planning and flexibility, you can still have amazing experiences without breaking the bank. 

Search for Cheap Flights and Accommodations

Learn how to save money by using Google’s flight search tool, consider camping rather than hotels, or embrace hostel life. Even more expensive destinations get cheaper when you find little money-saving ways.

Here are some great budget-friendly travel destinations to consider for your next adventure.

Budget-Friendly Travel Destinations


Thailand is a top destination for backpackers and budget travelers. Accommodation, food, and transportation are very affordable throughout the country. Shop at local markets, eat street food and opt for budget guesthouses to save money. Thailand has stunning beaches, mountains, jungle treks, and rich culture. Popular spots like Bangkok, Chiang Mai, and the islands of Ko Samui and Phuket offer a lot at low prices. 


Mexico is a large country with endless options for budget travelers. Avoid the busy spring break destinations and head to smaller colonial towns like San Cristobal de las Casas, Oaxaca, and Guanajuato, where you’ll find inexpensive hotels, food, and attractions. The Yucatán Peninsula, famous for ruins like Chichén Itzá and beach destinations like Tulum, also has budget options away from the crowds if you look. 


From the mountains to the jungle, Peru is an affordable destination with tons of culture. Go for cheap, filling meals like ceviche, empanadas, and lomo saltado. Budget accommodation options are easy to find in cities like Lima and Cusco. Consider Couchsurfing or staying in a homestay once you get outside significant hubs. Peru has an extensive bus network, so transport is easy and cheap. 


India is filled with crowds, chaos, colors, and unique sites like the Taj Mahal, all often on a shoestring budget. Stay in budget hostels or guesthouses, travel using India’s comprehensive rail system, and eat delicious street food for under a dollar a meal. Many attractions offer discounted entry fees for foreign travelers. Avoid travel during major festivals when prices spike.


Indonesia is a budget traveler’s dream, with hostels for $5-10 a night and delicious local cuisine for pennies on the dollar. And there are endless natural and cultural wonders spread across its 13,000 islands. Check out Java’s ancient Buddhist and Hindu sites, hang with orangutans in Sumatra, lounge on Bali’s beaches, and dive to see manta rays and whale sharks. 


While Lisbon and the Algarve are popular European destinations, costs drop significantly when traveling beyond the big cities. Smaller towns have excellent local guesthouses for around $40 a night, savory comfort foods, and picturesque sites. Base yourself in places like Évora, Coimbra, or Porto and do day trips to historic villages, coastal towns, and wineries cheaply. 

Eastern Europe 

Prague, Krakow, Budapest, and beyond offer Old World charm at a fraction of the cost of other European locales. You can eat hearty comfort foods, see landmarks like Prague Castle, stay at hostels, and use affordable transit to keep costs low while discovering the history and culture of the region.

National Parks

America’s national parks allow you to experience some of the most awe-inspiring landscapes accessible on a budget. Camping is affordable, or stay in nearby gateway towns for budget lodging outside the parks. You pay a small entry fee and can do endless hiking, backpacking, and exploring for free. Parks like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion, and more offer much for those looking to stay on a budget.

So, forget the overhyped hotspots and explore these wallet-friendly destinations to get the most adventure for your limited cash. With good planning, budget travel provides memorable experiences without the high costs.

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Jason Butler is the owner of My Money Chronicles, a website where he discusses personal finance, side hustles, travel, and more. Jason is from Atlanta, Georgia. He graduated from Savannah State University with his BA in Marketing. Jason has been featured in Forbes, Discover, and Investopedia.