Saving money when traveling is an important part of any trip, especially internationally. Traveling abroad can be quite daunting and make you feel like you need to save money up for 3 years before you can even go to Mexico, but this list is made for even the most penny-pinching traveler. The most expensive part of visiting any of these countries will be the airfare to get there, but from then on, it’s smooth sailing on a budget.
- Indonesia: A private hotel room in the city costs about $25/night and a nice dinner is only $3. If you’re really budgeting, you can eat street food for $.50!
- Cambodia: A private hotel room can be found for $15/night and you’ll never spend more than $5 for a meal, though you will need to purchase a visa upon arrival for $20.
- Vietnam: The views are as amazing as the prices! Private hotel rooms average $20/night and a nice restaurant dinner will never cost you more than $4.
- Laos: A private hotel room with a fan will cost you about $8, or you can upgrade to a room with air conditioning for a whopping $10 total per night. Food can range from $1 to $13 depending on if you’re in the mood for a meal on the street or in a restaurant.
- Thailand: This has become a more popular tourist location because of its cheap prices, so the cost of accommodation and food has begun to increase, but it is still very reasonable at around $5 for street food for the day and another $7 per night for hotels.
- India: For about $20 a night, you can get the most deluxe of rooms, or you can stay in a budget hotel room for $5. The cost of food is also quite low; you can have a nice meal on a rooftop restaurant for only $6 according to Wandering Earl.
- Nepal: Because their economy relies on tourism, Nepal is a beautiful and inexpensive place to visit where you can easily have a full meal for under $10!
- China: There is quite a range depending on the city you are in and how nice of accommodations you want, but if you want a private bathroom in your hotel, it will still only cost about $30 per night. If you want noodles and rice for dinner, that will cost you $1, but if you want to splurge at a nicer restaurant, you can expect to pay $7.
- Bulgaria: Where a liter of beer will only cost you $1.50! For a private hotel room with prime location, you will pay about $40 per night, but there is always the option of renting a room in someone’s home (think Air BnB) for about $15. If you want to stray away from the $1 pizza and try something a bit more local, you could easily find a döner for about $3.
- Nicaragua: You can easily stay in a hostel for $5 per night, or upgrade to a private room for $10 per night. The cost of food varies depending on where you get it from, but if you can find a good food vendor, you will only pay about $1 per meal, or you can pay up to $10 at a restaurant. Either way, Nicaragua is definitely a better budget option to Costa Rica.
- Guatemala: A top destination for the outdoor adventurer, with a good meal only costing about $3 and accommodation cost of about $10 per night typically, for a private room.
- Honduras: Another affordable option to Costa Rica, Honduras is an outdoorsy travelers paradise. A private room will cost you about $20, while a hostel would cost only $10. Food ranges from $3 at a street cart to $5 at a restaurant.
- Peru: Machu Picchu, need I say more? Because many backpackers visit Peru, hostels are plentiful and start at about $7. If you want a private bathroom, you can expect to pay around $50. A nice meal in a local restaurant is about $7, while a more Western cuisine could cost up to $15. Again, street meat is always a great option, at about $2 per meal. The most expensive part of your trip to Peru would be the to visit Machu Picchu, which should cost about $60.
The key to being a successful budget traveler is being willing to get out of your comfort zone and stay at a little bit dingy-er of a hotel or hostel and try out the local cuisine. If you’re comfortable with sharing a bathroom and eating some weird food, you will definitely be able to stretch your dollar and have an entirely new experience.
As you can see, most of these destinations are in Southern Asia. There is such a low cost of living there, that once you buy your flight, you can get a gorgeous, water-front 5 star hotel for about $100 per night! The best time to visit would be in the winter months, usually October to March, but depending on which country you visit, there may be a rainy season during December and January. Definitely avoid the summer months for most of these countries, as many tourists have found it unbearably hot.
While Central and South America are definitely appealing for their cost, be sure to thoroughly research wherever you plan on visiting because areas of these countries can seem more unsafe than some visitors are comfortable with. Regarding weather, December to April would be the best time to visit Central America, and June to September is the most dry time for Peru, but if you want to save money on any of these locations, it’s important to avoid the highly-traveled holiday season.
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(All prices are converted to USD)