Traveling is wonderful for the soul, but not always for the wallet. Fortunately, there are plenty of destinations all over the world where your American dollar will go much further than others. We’ll show you where you can go for a long vacation at a moderate price.
We’ll be focusing on the price of a vacation after you land at the airport. So depending on where you live in the United States, some destinations on this list will be more expensive to get to than others.
You’ll also want to check the currency conversion before your trip so you’ll know when a street vendor is trying to sell you a refrigerator magnet for the local equivalent of $50. We’ve included a budget travel guide for each country that can help you with currency conversions, hotel options, and more.
With a good flight deal and some math practice, you can enjoy a luxury vacation at a budget price.
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Given its proximity to the United States, Mexico is not only an affordable country to visit, it’s one of the cheapest to get to as well. However, not every Mexican city is the same in terms of price. Resort towns like Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, and Tulum have become popular tourist destinations and can run you almost as much money as a U.S. beach town if you aren’t careful.
For a cheap coastal vacation, head to lesser-known (but still beautiful) towns like Loreto in Baja California Sur, Puerto Escondido in the state of Oaxaca, or Sayulita in the state of Nayarit. You’ll get everything you expect from an idyllic beach vacation without the crowds or hiked-up tourist prices.
Inland cities are also very affordable. In Mexico City, for example, you can stay in a four-star hotel for under $100 per night.
Move to less popular places like Oaxaca city and that number drops even more. You can easily spend $5 or less per meal if you’re not eating at a tourist trap or chain restaurant. Look for places with lots of locals—that means there’s good food and good prices coming your way.
Yes, India can be expensive to get to. However, it is becoming more accessible as more flights route through New Delhi and tourists share their experiences with this fascinating country.
Once you land, you can enjoy an extravagant week-long vacation for the cost of a few days in Hawaii or New York. You can easily spend less than $40 per night on a four-star hotel, even in large cities like New Delhi or Mumbai.
Meals should only be a couple of dollars each, depending on how much food you’re getting and where you’re eating. Street food is almost always the cheapest option while sit-down restaurants will cost more.
Many people who visit India for the first time choose to book a multiday tour to help them navigate the crowded and sometimes overwhelming country. These tours usually include most transportation, hotel, and food costs. You can easily find five-day tours for under $500 if you’re fine with staying in moderate hotels.
Cambodia is another country that can be pricey to access, but totally worth the effort to see the amazing ruins and experience the unique culture. Your best option for an affordable flight will probably be through a popular hub, like Hong Kong or Bangkok. Then, you should be able to book a cheap local flight to Cambodia separately.
It’s a little more work, but this tactic will usually save you more cash than booking a flight from the United States to Cambodia through one website. You can also keep an eye out for flight deals by signing up for services like Scott’s Cheap Flights.
Expect to pay about $40 per night for a four-star hotel in a big city like Phnom Penh or Krong Siem Reap. You can easily find accommodations for less than that if you’re willing to stay in a slightly less fancy hotel. Food is cheap too: sStreet food should only cost about $2 per meal, while a basic restaurant will run you closer to $5 per meal.
Thailand is an extremely popular tourist destination due to its beautiful beaches, majestic temples, and great food. While you can pay top dollar for luxury beachfront resorts in Phuket or penthouse suites in Bangkok, it’s just as easy to find nice and affordable accommodations across the country.
You don’t have to pay more than $40 per night for a four-star hotel in Bangkok, and you can easily stay under $100 a night for a beachside hotel in Phuket. Street food and small cafes will only charge a couple of dollars for a plate of Pad Thai or curry.
It’s easier to spend out of your budget in Thailand than in other countries on this list because of its plethora of tours and attractions that cater to foreign visitors. While some of these are definitely worth the money (giving a rescued elephant a bath in a jungle sanctuary might be the coolest experience of your life), just remember that most tours you can book ahead will be pricey.
Europe isn’t known for being budget-friendly for travelers, but Portugal hasn’t quite emerged as a must-visit for tourists. While it’s a bummer so many people are missing out on this gorgeous country, the good news is this makes it relatively affordable to visit.
You can find three-star hotels in the beautiful coastal town of Porto for about $60 per night. Meals will run you from $10-$15 each. If you want to save some money on food, you can hit a grocery store and make some of your own meals.
Fortunately, much of the beauty of Portugal is free to access. You can stroll along the beach in Porto, admire historic buildings in Lisbon, or simply people-watch wherever you find yourself.
If you’re coming from Europe or can nab a great flight deal, Morocco is another place where your money will take you far. On average, four-star hotels will run you $50 per night in any city, although Casablanca is popular enough that you might have to search a little longer for those prices.
Moroccan food is rich, flavorful, and affordable. You can find a filling meal for between $5-$10 in most cities. Morocco is another location that has the potential to get pricey with the addition of bucket-list-worthy tours, like camel rides or camping in the desert.
You might also want to hire a guide to help you get around as public transportation can be tricky to navigate.
Colombia has a reputation for being dangerous and that perception keeps many tourists away. While some areas should definitely be avoided (like any other country in the world), there’s plenty you can see and do both safely and affordably.
Head to the beach town of Cartagena for a laid-back vacation and four-star hotels under $60 per night. Meals should only cost a dollar or two, depending on where you want to eat. Find hotels and food for the same price in the capital of Bogotá, where you can admire bright colonial buildings and historic churches.
Colombia is full of jungles and ancient ruins when you get out of the cities, but these should only be explored with the help of a tour guide for your own safety. Multiday tours will require a higher budget, depending on the level of service you expect, but they should still run you less than $100 per day with food and accommodations included.