Cambodia is a staple go-to for budget travelers. You can see the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat (above), go diving on the cheap, and hit up any of the country’s beautiful, sparkly pristine beaches — and it’s all so affordable. A restaurant meal is rarely over $5, and beer starts at — wait for it — just 25 cents!
In a sentence, Vietnam is just stunning. That’s Ha Long Bay above, a 600-mile turquoise bay filled with huge limestone islands, and there are many more just-as-beautiful views around the country. You can get your favorite Vietnamese dish, which you WILL learn to pronounce correctly, for about $1, or 22,000 Vietnamese dong.
Laos is a Southeast Asian country known very much for its beautiful mountains, Buddhist monasteries, and “tubing parties,” where you basically float down a river and stop at tons of bars and “happy” restaurants along the way. So, of course, be responsible! You can get a room for about $10 to $30 a night (depending on how fancy you go), and you can get street food (like plates of sticky rice) for about $1.
Even though Thailand has gotten pretty touristy and it’s not AS cheap as the other Southeast Asian countries, it’s still a super affordable place to max out your dollars. Rooms (known as guesthouses) in the countryside will set you back, oh, you know, only about $4 (135 Thai bhat).
It’s a beautiful, majestic country. And, if you know how to navigate your way around, you will be able to stretch your dollar to the max.A plate of hot dhal and rice, for example, can cost around 40 Indian rupees — that’s about 60 cents! And you can also get on a train and travel around for a few days at a time for just a couple bucks.
Yes, there was a big earthquake in Nepal back in April 2015. But the country is still very much open to tourism — in fact, much of their economy depends on tourism, so they would be very happy to have you. (Wait until September to go, though — it’s monsoon season until then.) Nepal is practically heaven for budget travelers, too. A cheap meal costs around 150 Nepalese rupees (about $1), and a more expensive, three-course dining affair costs about $8.
The cool part about China is that it’s a huge country, yes, but it’s also pretty easy to get from one place to another, so it isn’t ever too overwhelming in that way. And, on top of that, the transit itself is especially cheap — taxis start at around $1.
You may think that Europe is generally more expensive than, say, Southeast Asia and Central America. And, generally speaking, you’d be right — except that Eastern Europe is actually much cheaper than its western cousins. In Bulgaria, for example, you can get an entire liter of beer (32 ounces) for $1.50.
Many people say Nicaragua is the new Costa Rica, which basically means that it’s getting to be an increasingly popular Central American destination. So get there while it’s still on the rise! Bonus: You won’t have to pay much once you arrive. The country is known for all of its high-adventure outdoor activities, particularly surfing — so do it up on the cheap. And you can get a dorm bed for as little as $5.
Those waterfalls are as beautiful as they look. This country is known for its gorgeous outdoor landscapes, as well as its cool arts-and-crafts handiwork. You can find tons of cool wooden sculptures and knickknacks in the weekend markets. It’s all affordable, too: A good meal, for instance, is roughly $3, and everything else is similarly budget-friendly.
Most people think of Costa Rica and even Nicaragua when they think of Central America. But Honduras is quickly becoming one of the rising hot spots for budget travelers looking to backpack on their own path. Fortunately, it’s very affordable. Our favorite: A good local meal costs about 65 Honduran lempira, which is $3. Sold.
Whatever you do, please, please put Machu Picchu on your travel bucket list. It is one of the coolest and most magical structures in the world. A taxi all around Lima, for instance, is about $7 (25 Peruvian nuevo). *Dances around apartment in joy*