Traveling is fun, but it can also be expensive. However, you don’t have to visit the most costly destinations to have an enjoyable experience. In fact, you can travel on a budget and have fun if you plan wisely and think outside the box.
Top 10 Cheapest Destinations in 2018
Below is a list of some of the top cheapest places to visit. This list is by no means the most comprehensive one, but it will give you an idea of some of the more inexpensive countries to visit.
1. Puerto Escondido, Mexico
For those who love to surf or soak up the sun, Puerto Escondido is worth considering. Travel website Fodors.com reports that this destination has been popular among surfers and backpackers since the 1960s. Travelers can find a variety of restaurants that offer meals for $10 and below. Tourists can also find a variety of exciting activities under $90 per adult that include cruises and tours.
Choices include a cruise of the bioluminescent glow of the Manialtepec Lagoon and a tour of the Sanctuary of Juquila, which includes breathtaking views of waterfalls, mountains and forests. With lodging in hostels or hotels ranging from $14 to $40 per night, the small town of Puerto Escondido is a beach-lover’s paradise.
2. Albufeira, Portugal
The centrally-located city of Albufeira is as affordable as it is delightful. Spring is the best time to visit this town, as hotel rates are cheaper this time of the year. The city has several inexpensive attractions under $90 for tourists including boat tours, dolphin watching and kayaking adventures.
Even during peak summer months, prices for food, wine and lodging are reasonable, with lodging beginning at $50. Tourists can find several restaurants offering local cuisines at or around $10.
3. Cuzco, Peru
Cuzco is a scenic town filled with historic and modern sights to see. Several tours of the town are priced around $30 per adult. From taking in the scenes of ancient ruins to touring the Sacred Valley of the Incas, there is plenty to see and do. Tourists can also hike trails, kayak and zipline for under $50.
Archaeology sites make Cuzco a destination for those who love to explore ancient relics. Tourist shops and restaurants, along with weekly parades and festivals, make Cuzco a fun and inexpensive destination. With hotel prices, meals, apartments and hostels beginning at $10 per night, Cuzco is a budgeter’s delight.
4. Phuket, Thailand
Thailand can’t be beat when it comes to inexpensive destinations. The beach town is famous for affordable hotels and hostels -- which start at $5 per night -- delicious food and nice people. Forbes states that the best time to visit Phuket is during the spring and winter. Tourists will find a plethora of inexpensive attractions that include visiting Buddhist temples to snorkeling.
Tours of some of the most idyllic locations start at around $50 per adult. Travelers can take a day to fish at the tropical paradise Racha Yai Island for less than $50. From cabarets to dolphin shows, Phuket offers plenty of activities for every member of the family.
5. Montréal, Canada
The exchange rate between American and Canadian dollars makes Montréal an attractive and inexpensive place to visit. But that’s just a part of what makes the city appealing. Another charming aspect of the city is its cobblestone streets and French architecture. Walking tours are a popular option for tourists who wish to take in the views.
Art lovers can visit one of the many museums in the city for free. A visit to the Notre-Dame Basilica will run less than $5. More than a dozen restaurants offer a variety of different cuisines for under $10. With hotel prices beginning at around $40 per night, you can enjoy the allure of France without leaving the continent.
6. Karpathos, Greece
For those looking for the same kind of experience found in the Greek Islands of Santorini and Mykonos without the expensive price tag, the Greek Island of Karpathos is an appealing option. Karpathos is rich with historical venues, including ancient ruins. The area is perfect for all types of water sports including snorkeling, scuba diving, and sailing.
A visit to the area would not be complete without a trip to one or more beaches in the region. Visitors can tour the pristine waters of the region, visit museums and even explore the cave church of St. Luke for under $80. Inexpensive hotel prices will cost tourists around $29 per night.
7. Denpasar, Indonesia
Denpasar is known for affordable lodging and hotel rates, with rooms beginning at around $26 per night. An all-day tour around Mount Batur and the Kintamani highlands will cost less than $30 per adult. A hike through Hindu villages will run about the same price. Tourists can trek though artisan villages or take part in a white water rafting adventure for less than $50.
Several local restaurants offer cheap meals under $10, with many more options for inexpensive meals just outside of Denpasar. The city’s attractions include snorkeling and scuba diving at reasonable prices. The tropical paradise includes a variety of attractions including wildlife and volcanoes.
8. Belize, Central America
Belize is a popular destination because, along with affordability, it offers tourists a variety of activities that include scuba diving, horseback riding, touring ancient ruins and caving. Tours of ancient ruins will run about $100 per individual. With accommodations going for less than $100 per night and a few dozen eating establishments offering inexpensive meals, Belize is an ideal cheap destination for outdoor aficionados.
9. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Punta Cana is well-known for its moderately-priced hotels and inclusive resorts at inexpensive rates. Scuba diving and off-road adventures cost around $60 per person. For the more adventurous, a hike through Scape Park at Cap Cana costs about $69 per person.
Snorkeling cruises run about $75 per person. Plenty of hotel options with prices averaging $50 a night help keep this town budget-friendly. The city offers more than two dozen inexpensive restaurants in the city.
10. Québec, Canada
With hotels beginning at around $30 a night, Québec is a cheap city to visit. Its European architecture, cobblestone streets and outdoor patios make it seem like you are stepping back in time. From taking stroll in Old Québec to touring museums to the breathtaking views of the Montmorency Falls, there is something for everyone in this town.
Walking tours start at around $15 per person with museum tickets beginning at $17. More than a dozen highly-rated dining establishments, including restaurants, cafés and shops specializing in local cuisine, offer inexpensive meals.
How to Choose Your Ideal Destination
- While price is definitely a factor in deciding where to go on vacation, there are other things to consider as well. For instance, consider the length of time of your vacation. If your trip will only last a few days, it’s better not to plan a vacation where you will spend most of your time traveling from one location to another.
- Who you will be traveling with is also an important factor in your decision. If you have children, you would like to visit destinations that are child-friendly. In addition to considering your kids, you should consider the ages, personalities and health of all of your traveling companions.
- Take time to visit travel review websites and read customer complaints to understand what travel issues other people have faced when they went abroad.
How to Save Money on Airfare
- Shop around for the best prices. Travel websites provide initial ideas of which airlines to fly as well as the going rate for tickets.
- While visiting airline or travel websites, look for any sales or promotions they might be running.
- If you happen to live near more than one airport, check fares at each one. Consider the cost of getting to the cheapest airport to help you decide if the lower price is the best one for you. Similarly, look for the cheapest destination. You may save a couple of hundred dollars by flying to a city that is close to your destination and renting a car to get there.
- Buy your tickets as early as you can. A good time to reserve tickets is 6 to 8 weeks in advance. Most airline ticket prices go up in the last two weeks before the flight, so it pays to reserve flights early.
- Be flexible. Late night and early morning flights often cost less. It might be worth getting up at 4 a.m. if you can save money on airfare. Another area where flexibility pays off is connecting flights. Direct flights can be costly. However, a stopover can sometimes save you money. Also look into booking two one-way flights instead of a round-trip ticket, as round-trip flights could end up costing more than one-way flights.
Tips on Saving Money While Traveling Abroad
- Search the Internet for the best places to exchange money for local currency. Know the rate for the country you are visiting before you arrive so you plan accordingly.
- Do not exchange money at the airport.
- Take pictures of your credit cards, passports and insurance cards and keep copies in a cloud service in case your phone is stolen. If something is lost or taken, you at least will have information to provide to authorities.
- Use cheap modes of transport. Walking is also a good way to explore a new place. When walking is not an option, opt for public transit instead of hailing a cab.
- Research the museums and tourist sites you will be visiting and take advantage of any of their “free days” or discounted prices. Also look for coupons in hotel lobbies and local venues for events or areas that you could visit.
- Take advantage of credit card rewards and frequent flier deals. If you have a credit card that allows you to earn points or rewards, this is the time to cash those rewards in.
- Carry bottled water with you.
- Stock your hotel room mini-fridge with food and drinks. You can save money on meals if you think ahead and plan a picnic at a local park or at the beach.
Things to Avoid
- Avoid tap water. The Food and Drug Administration advises against drinking any beverages with ice that could made from tap water.
- Bypass raw fruits and vegetables if you are unsure if they haven't been rinsed with clean water. Similarly, don't eat raw or undercooked meat.
- Don't carry prescription medications that are illegal in the country to which you are travelling.
- Dress appropriately. Before your vacation, take a few moments to investigate the customs of the country you are planning to visit. Learn what cultures frown upon baggy or torn jeans, shorts and revealing clothing.
- Leave your fancy jewelry at home. No need to risk having it stolen.
- Don't carry all of your money in one place. Divvy up your cash so if your wallet is stolen, you are not left high and dry. Store some money in an under-clothing accessory. Keep small denominations of money handy and separate from large bills, so you won't be flashing $20 bills while paying for a $1.00 souvenir.
- Carry a dummy wallet. A wallet filled with small bills and some expired credit cards could save you from becoming the victim of a pickpocket.
Be aware of certain scams aimed at tourists. Don't allow yourself to be a victim.
Finding the cheapest destination for your vacation might take some work, but being educated will ensure that you won’t find yourself in troubling situations while away from home. In addition, you will enjoy your vacation more if you are prepared for anything that could happen.
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While every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this publication, it is not intended to provide legal, medical, accounting, investment, or any other professional advice as individual situations will differ and should be discussed with an expert and/or lawyer.