When your bank account makes the decisions, you’ve got to be a bit more careful (and smarter) about your travel decisions. That’s why I did some research on the cheapest countries to travel to – here are my top 10 countries to visit when traveling on a budget.


(P.S. Follow @projectinspo on instagram + facebook for daily updates + motivational messages.)



1. Nicaragua
Granada, Nicaragua | 10 of the Cheapest Countries to Travel To

Nicaragua is the largest country in Central America, but it’s been under the radar for years due to natural disasters and political unrest. Good news, though – it’s now quickly becoming a go-to destination for budget travelers thanks to the awesome surfing, colorful towns and lively culture. Did I mention it was cheap?

Spend around $25 USD and you’ll get a double room with private bathroom in a hostel. Go even cheaper with $6-12 USD for a dorm. You can even rent a hammock in many locations for around $5 USD.

A meal at a street vendor can cost you as low as $2 USD. An typical dish at a Nicaraguan restaurant – gallo pinto (rice and beans), meat (usually chicken) and plantains – costs around $3-5 USD.

And no need to worry when budgeting out your day trips since most activities – hiking, surfing, volcano boarding – will cost you around $10-30 USD.


2. Turkey
Istanbul, Turkey at Sunset

On my bucket list for years now, Turkey is one of a kind – a unique mix of eastern and western culture, and home to some of the world’s most spectacular landscapes.

Delicious food, fantastic sights and plenty of things to see and do.

Kababs and Donair-Kababs – otherwise known as shawarma – can cost as little as $2 USD. Most hostels around the country will cost you $20-30 USD a night.

If you’re planning on (and absolutely should be) staying for a few weeks to explore the entire country, the buses are cheap and run often. A 12-hour bus ride from Istanbul to Cappadocia will cost you around $30 USD.


3. Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka | Travel

Sleep on the beach in a cheap cabana and eat your meals in budget cafés for around $20 USD per day.

A bus ticket from one end of the island to the other is around $20 USD, or hire a car and driver for the entire day for around $55-70 USD. A typical meal at a cafe will cost you around $2-4 USD per meal. And to continue on with all that cheap-living, you can find a double room in a guesthouse (most with an awesome view) for again, around $20 USD per night or less.

The only thing to consider is that there is an official difference in pricing for locals and tourists. Entrance fees to popular archelogical sites and national parks can cost a tourist $30 USD, while it’s free for locals.


4. Cambodia
Temples of Cambodia | Travel

Cambodia is a country with a rich history, amazing food and a decent nightlife scene – similar to its neighbors Vietnam and Thailand, but it’s one that is a lot less developed and thus visited. So if you’re up for exploring an off the beaten path country in Southeast Asia, Cambodia is definitely one to visit.

Spend around $1–3 USD for a local meal at a restaurant or on the street.

Accommodations won’t cost you much more – get a double room with a fan for $4 USD, and an air conditioned room for $6 to 8. You can choose what you spend, of course – and a decent hotel room will still only be around $15 to $20 USD.

Tuk tuks – carts pulled by motorcycles – are a common form of transportation – and a short ride will cost you around $1 USD. Hire a tuk tuk all day to visit the temples around Angkor for around $13 all day.



5. Nepal
Nepal | Travel

Trekking in the Himalayas is the most popular activity in Nepal, but there is much more to explore. Wander through the streets of Kathmandu, and enjoy late night Nepalese food in restaurants open late into the night. Journey to monkey-filled temples, prevalent thanks to the huge Buddhist and Hindu influence throughout the land.

If you decide to stay around the city of Kathmandu, a budget hotel room can range anywhere from $5 USD to $25 USD. A sit-down meal will only cost you around $2 to $4 USD.

Or you can go the adventurous route – jungle safaris, biking trips, whitewater rafting, hang gliding – or trekking the tallest mountain in the world, Mt. Everest.

A dinner and breakfast in a trekking lodge costs around $10–12 USD. And for $15-25 USD per day, you can hire a guide for the entire journey.


6. Thailand
Thailand | Beach | Travel

Is Thailand cheap? You’re damn right it is. The north side of the country, however, is definitely cheaper than Bangkok and the islands. (READ: 4 Reasons Why You Could Seriously Consider Moving To Thailand)

Find a cheap room in the city for $7 USD and $4 USD in the countryside. If you’re on the islands, or want an air-conditioned room, you’ll pay at least $17 USD per night. Hotels start at around $40 USD per night, and the bigger resorts on the islands start at $50 USD per night for a bungalow on the beach. Hungry? Street food can cost you as little as $0.65 USD per meal, and around $3-5 USD if you decide to eat at a local restaurant. I know lots of people are wary of eating street food, but it’s actually pretty safe – sometimes even more than restaurants. You’ll often find the best of Thailand’s food on the streets, and it’ll cost you a lot less than if you eat at a restaurant.

Getting around is cheap too. Local buses cost $0.25 USD per trip, the Metro and Skytrain in Bangkok cost around $0.50-1.50 USD per trip, and colorful cab rides range from $1.75-3 USD. A tuk-tuk ride will cost around $3-7 USD.

If you (and you absolutely should) decide to explore different parts of the country, you’ll find it fairly cheap to do so as well. Day trains cost as little as $7 USD. A second-class ticket on a night trains are $17 USD – non-air-conditioned. Book a ticket to take a boat to many of the islands for $7-14 USD.


7. Peru
Peru | Machu Picchu | Travel

Ahh, one of South America’s liveliest countries, and thanks to its popularity, cheap accommodation is plentiful. Visit Peru in April and May or September and October – these times are off-season, and prices are even cheaper. Stay in a hostel dorm room for around $8-15 USD per night, or a double private room with a bathroom for $25-35 USD. Budget hotels (Hospedajes) start at around $30-50 USD per night.

Find the cheapest food at street stalls and outdoor markets – from $1-2 USD per meal. Lunch or dinner at a sit-down spot starts at around $4-6 USD.

The average price for a 10-hour bus ride is around $30-70 USD. A taxi around Lima should cost no more than $8 USD. Or you can take the new, clean intra-city buses for $0.50-1 USD per trip.

Visiting archaeological sites and other popular tourist attractions are probably going to be your biggest expense – a day trip to Machu Picchu costs around $50 USD. You can book a Nasca Lines helicopter tour for 35 minutes for $97 USD. Multi-day trips up the Inca Trail usually cost hundreds of dollars.


8. Indonesia
Bedugul, Indonesia | Travel

Indonesia – a beautiful chain of islands where you can see Orangutans in the wild, climb volcanoes, visit ancient historical sites, and lay around on the beach all day and night.

If you can’t give up the air conditioning and party at night, the cost of traveling in Indonesia might hover from $25 – $30 per day. If you choose to be super-tight on the budget, you can get by for only $15 per day.

You can spend $2 to $4 for a double room in a hostel or guesthouse. Accommodation prices in Bali or the popular tourist islands of Indonesia are generally more expensive. Rooms with air conditioning cost around $11 – $17 USD per night for two people.

Street food featuring single plate meals or noodles cost anywhere from $0.50-2 USD, and a giant plate of food with assorted side dishes (nasi campur) costs around $1-2 USD. If you want to sit down at a local restaurant, it will cost around $2-6 USD per meal.

Getting around the country can be a bit challenging, since the country is a chain of islands. You can choose to take the ferry, plane or bus. A flight from Medan, Sumatra to Jakarta, Java costs around $51 USD. A 12-hour bus ride from Cemoro Lawang (Mount Bromo) to Probolinggo, Java and across a ferry to Denpasar, Bali costs around $18 USD.

On the island of Java, the train is a great transportation option. An economy overnight train ticket from Jakarta to Yogyakarta costs $12 USD.

Within cities, take the local buses, tuk-tuks, rickshaws, or rent your own motorcycle or car. You can rent a motorcycle for around $7 per day including gas. In Bali, rent a small SUV with some friends for around $22 per day.


9. Romania

Romania | Travel | @projectinspo

The dynamic country rich in history, arts and scenic beauty is definitely one to visit for the budget traveler. Holiday season is, unusually, low season, which makes it an opportune time to travel and be good to your bank account. Explore the many magical, medieval villages, spectacular castles and hop on a ferry down the Danube Delta.

You can book a dorm room bed for $8-12 USD per night in a hostel, or book a private double room for $25-40 USD. A single or double room in a cheap hotel starts at around $40 USD.

Most small meals in Romania cost around $5 USD. Restaurants in major tourist cities like Brasov or Sighisoara can be a bit pricier and cost from $15-25 USD. Buy a beer for around $1.50-2.50 at a bar, and for even cheaper at a store or during happy hour.

City buses and trains cost about $1 USD for a single journey ticket. Intercity trains and buses begin at $10 USD but are rarely more than $20 USD for a second class ticket. Entrance to most museums and attractions cost between $5-10 USD, so don’t be afraid to explore the city.


10. South Africa
Cape Town, South Africa | Travel

Thanks to recent currency fluctuations, South Africa is more affordable than it’s been for many years. Come in South Africa’s shoulder seasons (March to May, September and October) for the best combination of low crowds and comfortable weather.

How does wildlife watching, bargain public and travel-friendly transportation options, and free entry to many of the country’s awesome museums sound to you?

A dorm room bed in a hostel costs around $10 USD. A simple meal at a fast food or casual restaurant costs anywhere from $4-7 USD. A sit-down dinner can cost you anywhere from $6-12 USD. A public bus ride costs around $0.57-0.66 USD.



READ THIS NEXT : 50 Cities You Can Travel To For Under $25/Day



Thank you so much for reading this post. Are there any other countries and destinations you know of that are budget and travel-friendly? If so, please leave a comment below and share it with our community.


With love,



10 Secrets To Traveling Smarter, Cheaper, & Longer

  • kristin

    thailand is so, so good on any budget. the street food is unparalleled. also, turkey is pretty great too. i went for the first time last year and was shocked when we got our bill at one of the nicest restaurants in istanbul and it was only about $30pp for three courses and plenty of wine.

  • Julia

    Ugh, sooo desperate to visit Thailand and Peru! The other expensive part also ends up being the ticket there though, and Paris to Peru isn’t really a cheap one!! Haha 🙂

    • Yes! The flights are killer these days!

      BTW Julia, loved your post on what not to pack for Paris. :o)


  • Can’t wait to go to Turkey! Definitely on my list of places to visit this year. I am currently in Prague and am astounded by how affordable it is! I can eat a steak dinner for $10, enjoy a beer for less than a dollar, and rack up a grocery list of 3 day essentials including eggs, soy milk, meat, and cheese (to name a few) for $20!! Prague has made me the queen at budgeting =]

    • Pavla

      It is affordable for visitors, but expensive for locals. It just depends on your salary.

  • I hear a lot of great things about Turkey, and yet, it’s one of those places that just never occurred to me as a great travel spot. I’m definitely going to research it a bit more. Awesome list as always Jinna!

    Do you have sources for the photos in the post? I’d love to use the Sri Lankan photo but want to make sure I know who to credit. Thanks!

  • Feyi A

    insightful post & amazing tips! x


  • Beautiful! I would love to visit Nepal, it’s such a mysterious, yet amazing country. x

  • colin service

    Sri Lanka…just amazing!

  • I just returned from Istanbul and highly recommend it. It’s truly a place where east meets west, and, like you said, it’s enormously affordable. Hope to visit more of Turkey next time!

  • When most people think of travelling to Africa its usually same old tied places like South Africa. Brunch out. Places like Namibia, Tanzania, Uganda… are super super CHEAP and just as beautiful and sometimes even more beautiful than South Africa. So just because you dont see it in the mainstream media dont be afraid to explore there. Dont wait until the magazines or bloggers are finally writing about places before you go.


    • Andrew Tracey

      Most South Africans take no notice of Mozambique, although it’s our direct neighbour. It’s a 3rd world country, OK, which just means that you get to do things for yourself! The people are friendly and English is spoken more now. You’ll communicate even better if you speak a South African language like Shangaan or Zulu. The beaches and facilities are super and still cheap, although prices are rising as the country modernises. The folk music is lively.

  • Rocío

    Will definitely save this list the next time I go travelling. I hope that maybe I can make road-trips to Turkey and Romania this summer! Fingers crossed!

    – x

  • Chi-Chi

    great post! Thailand is deffo on my “To Travel” list, though I might check out Turkey first as that’s closer to home!

  • I’m always left with a desperate travel need after reading your post’s.

  • Elise Angelopulos

    Now I am wishing to jet off to these places. Glad you included Romania, that’s one many forget and I am dying to go to. Its got all the history and culture of Europe for an affordable price. Great post!


  • They seem all awesome places. You’ve made my travel desire higher 😀

  • Lou

    Nice. 🙂
    I definitely choose Nepal, because I think, as you said, there are a lot of nice places to explore.

  • I’ve been dancing around the idea of going to Thailand since everyone says it’s cheap! But I just couldn’t imagine!!

  • Half of these destinations I would never have thought of being cheap especially the South American ones. Heard a lot about Romania and much of Eastern Europe, so may have to check these places out

    Diana xx | London Girl Diana

  • I HAVE to go to Thailand next year, no excuses!!

  • Claudia

    I want to go to these places so badly!! I live in Portugal, and things here are also pretty cheap 😀

  • Oh my goodness I would love to visit all of these places!!! Definitely saving this post so one day (after graduation) I can just throw caution to the wind and GO!
    ~ Samantha

  • Awesome post! I live in Europe and it would be my dream to visit some of these countires cause they are so different from everything here and I think that that is point of travelling to see other cultures and places

  • A lot of surprises in this list! Didn’t know that turkey was so cheap. I haven’t been to any of these countries:-( Should go traveling again!

  • Queenie Lee

    Awesome tips! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Wow…Im surprised Indonesia is on the list.

    • Kaposi Viktor

      Indonesia is still really cheap. We’re just back from a 7-week holiday we spent in Sumatra and Bali and I fully agree with the prices mentioned here.

  • Oh jeeze, as if i didnt have itchy feet already, now uv made it so much worse! GET ME BACK TO THAILAND!

  • The Stylist

    you forgot to put Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia, and all ex Yugoslavian countries to this list, all super cheap and sooo beautiful!

  • Traveling Momma

    Guatemala! Though it does not have the travel “infrastructure” of Nicaragua, I find this part of the charm. You can take a bus about anywhere- regular bus is cheap, first class bus is reasonable and worth the money if it is in your budget. Antigua has lots of options for every budget. Lake Atitlan has a relatively big hostel scene at San Pedro, but many other communities have interesting and affordable options. We camped at Tikal for $10/night. Two of us shared a cabin with private bath for $20/night ($10/per person) in Flores. Head to the Caribbean side and find all kinds of wonderful places at low costs! As usual- eat local and save! I took a bus from Guatemala City to Copan, Honduras (a little over 3 hours with border crossing) and LOVED it! The ruins are interesting and Copan is a super charming town. Two pupusas and a drink = $2-3. HAPPY TRAVELS!

  • Dawn Jolena

    Pi. Hotels can be found in metro manila for $25/night, cheaper in outlying areas. Food/meals run $2-10 in budget restaurants. Taxi rides run $2-5

  • Sophie

    Ahhhh take me to Sri Lanka now!! It’s on my bucket list but I had no idea how cheap it was!

  • Sophie

    Ah yes, Prague blew my mind how cheap it was. You can eat till you can’t cram anymore into your face and drink endless cocktails without breaking the bank! Eat where the locals do and it will be amazing and super cheap.

  • Great information! As we are in the throws of planning our next adventure, this post was a great help. Nicaragua is high on our lists right now…

  • So many of my favorite countries! Turkey and Cambodia are on the top of my list. I am always brainstorming cheapest destinations. Luckily, many of the most amazing places are dirt cheap for Americans.

  • Croatia is pretty cheap too! 🙂

    • Kaposi Viktor

      Inland Croatia can be cheap but the seaside in the summer is increasingly expensive. Montenegro and, especially, Albania, are much cheaper destinations.

  • loretta

    You should visit SIBU Sarawak in Borneo and travel up the gigantic Rajang River which is the longest in S.E Asia over 350 miles and enjoy the good and cheap prices of food in Sibu Sarawak and its capital city Kuching. Far into the Mulu caves in Miri, the largest chamber in the world that can accomodate at least 10 Boeing planes. There are more friendly people and food around. Learn the cultures of different races living together. Bring in more foreigners to visit Malaysia, a land of wonders and nature…where many people round the globe do not know about it. God bless you.!

  • loretta

    more than 40 boeing planes..

  • I Absolutely never imagined South Africa to be cheap, thank you so much for sharing!!

    Lisa Joy Della Vita Travelblog

    • ulrich Diederiks

      it is, but this is misleading… you dont want to stay in a hostel ( there are only a few i recommend in Cape Town), and def dont want to use public transportation. I would rather pay extra for a professional driver or even UBER. I grew up there and it has certainly become extremely cheap, but i wouldnt recommend going super cheap, and it may be the LAST thing you do. if anyone wants tips, please let me know.

  • Great post! But please tell me what building is shown in the Romanian photo – I’m longing to see it!

  • Your blog always gives me wanderlust. Adding these beautiful places to my never-ending bucket list, haha.

  • Izzi

    Last year I traveled in Chile, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia & Ecuador. the most expensive country for me was Peru. Bolivia is so so cheap comparing!? I don’t understand why you add Peru here

  • Amy

    Ukraine!! Many people are deterred by the war in the East, but it is perfectly safe. Ukraine is the largest country in Europe, and has some amazing sights, beautiful cities, and delicious food! Check out L’viv in the West for sure!!

  • luke

    haha that Romania church doesn’t exist it’s fantasy!

    Also having been to a lot of these countries ya numbers are wrong

  • Todd

    What does it matter that a hot meal only costs $5 instead of $10 when you are spending $1000 to get there in the first place? it’s only relevant if someone is planning to stay there for two or three months. And how many international travelers actually do that?

  • Larisa
  • This was a good article, thank you for sharing.
    Egypt is also considered one of the very affordable countries to travel to.
    Taking in consideration the high value of the U.S dollar, which equals 8 Egyptian pounds, for example if your budget is one thousand USD it means you will have 8 thousand Egyptian pounds.
    This can get you a lot in a country like Egypt. Food there is cheap, hotels, guided tours, and much more.
    In a country like Egyot, you can get a lot of your money.
    Thank you and have a great day!

  • Iulia

    I am from Romania and I am very happy you included it on the list, even though as somebody was saying around here, the Balkan Countries as Montenegro, Bosnia, Macedonia, Serbia, Bulgaria are as beautiful and much cheaper.

    I am confused where did you got the picture from? I don’t know any building like this in Romania, it looks like very photoshoped and unreal….

  • tibikel

    So you didn’t find any pictures from Romania to go along your post, just a fantasy wallpaper (wich i found to be very nice and I even downloaded it from here:

    If i may suggest some other proper pictures from Romania:

    Thanks for your time and effort 🙂

  • Pablo

    Another cheap destination is the Philippines. Love the food and the scenery.

  • Mojo

    I found Bolivia to be far cheaper than Peru. I travelled on a shoestring budget and found I extended my tourist visa in Bolivia not only for the scenery but for cheap eats and places to stay.

  • Sat

    In my opinion you missed two really jewels to visit thats cheaper than places that you mentioned.
    One is Kenya and the other is india.
    You can spend a whole day eating lavishly under $10 and warm bed on budget.
    Plus the travel is cheaper and places to visit are plenty.
    I hope you will take trips to those places too and sure enjoy the hospitality.I did and enjoyed it thoroughly.

  • Tatiana


  • Robert Hesselgrave

    Don’t forget Laos (a hidden, unvisited treasure!) and India, Mongolia, Paraguay, Mexico, Myanmar, Morocco… Your list is nice, but so incomplete and random.. And your prices?? Some are way off the mark…

    Nice column, but wonder if you have actually been to these places, or just googled them.

  • Lacey Clarke

    Was in Sri lanka last December! So agree with this! Really cheep and the most country beautiful country I’ve gone to. Thailand definetely on my bucket list. Can’t agree with SA though..we went there on safari 2 years ago and it was generally about 2-4 times more expensive than mentioned here. Awesome list though. Thank you.

  • Nice, list, however Cambodia really is not that cheap. Hire a tuk tuk to go around Angkor and the drivers will take you to a restaurant where lunch is $15, pay for even just a one day pass and that’s $20, and THEN pay your tuk tuk and (optional) guide. I know we spent upwards of $80 just to see the temples; we did get the three day pass.

    The other thing that makes Cambodia not super cheap? Grift and corruption. We were surcharged at a land border crossing by $10 extra over the visa entry fee.

    So, go to Cambodia if you want, but 1) it isn’t cheap and 2) you’ll know exactly how much you are getting ripped off by since they pay in USD

  • ulrich Diederiks

    you DONT want to ride public transport in South Africa. Or stay in hostels….

  • Nik

    You should add Russia now. With current rate is cheap 🙂

  • Nice guide, I’ll keep these countries on my list ^_^

  • Marcelle

    South Africa is cheap, but nowhefe near as cheap as SEA. Plus, you DO NOT want to use any form of public transport EVER. Or sleep in hostels.

  • Don’t know if somebody already mentioned Egypt, because didn’t read all comments but Egypt is really cheap too and u have something to see.and them food is yummmmi

  • South Africa is cheap at the moment. Hostels are fine. I have stayed in a couple. But honestly for a few dollars extra you can get a super nice guesthouse or boutique hotel. So I recommend doing that.
    As far as public transport go, it can be hard and expensive to get around. I would suggest renting a car or getting a driver guide that can take you around. If you have any other questions please don’t hesitate to ask.

  • Holly

    See, the problem with this is the flights. I live in the Northeastern USA and all of these flights, round trip, averaged about $800 per person. Between me and my boyfriend, that’s $1600, aka more than 3 months’ rent for us. so you may save on everything else, but the flight makes it just as expensive and inaccessible to me as any other place on earth. nice try though /:

  • P Vivman


  • Nothing like a list like this to make a person want to go everywhere!!! I had no idea South Africa was so cheap! Also on the list should be Argentina. The blue rate makes it super, super inexpensive!

  • Desi

    Bulgaria is also a cheap and nice country to be visited

  • Turkey <3

  • Lovely photos!! Turkey is an amazing place to visit! 🙂

  • Great list! This makes me soo excited as I have so many on my list for this year. For Cambodia we are making the most of the cheap prices and staying at hotels we wouldn’t otherwise be able to stay at!! For Peru, Vietnam and Sri Lanka I’m very glad to hear that they’re cheap too !! xxxx

  • Well, i found India missing from the list. Been to quite some countries and have found that my home country can accommodate people on shoe string budget just about as easily as the guys who have loads of money to splurge!

  • Lovely post. Peru is lovely and indeed very affordable.

    I definitely want to hit up Indonesia, Thailand, and Cambodia