We all want to take a dream vacation. But, with the way the economy is right now, many people are more concerned with paying their regular monthly bills. To some, travel will always remain a dream. It is a luxury they feel they can’t afford.
However, the idea that travel is always expensive is simply not true. Luckily, I know plenty of great travel destinations in the world that won’t break your bank. Here are twelve of my favorite places to travel on less than $50 USD per day:
1. Derawan, Indonesia
Getting to this idyllic island off the coast of Borneo may not be easy, but once you are there you will realize that you have finally found that paradise island that you have always been dreaming about. Relaxing in Derawan is a luxury well worth taking during your travels through the region. And yes, it is very cheap to stay on the island.
A room can run you from $10 to $30 a night. I strongly recommend staying at Losmen Danakan which runs the cheapest diving on the island and has really nice rooms right on a jetty.
Breakfast is included in your room price. Lunch and dinner will run you about $5 to $10 per day, plus whatever booze you might want during your stay in paradise.
2. Koh Lanta Island, Thailand
Whenever someone asks me what my favorite places in the world are, I always find myself mentioning Koh Lanta, Thailand. What I love most about the island is that it’s not overly developed. You won’t find any high-rise buildings or Pizza Huts, and you won’t have to fight for space on the beach. This is the kind of place where you’ll want to kick back with your favorite cocktail and lie in the sun all day.
You can find everything from a cheap dorm room to a nice private bungalow in Koh Lanta for $10 to $40 a night. Make sure to ask if breakfast is included with the room price. Foodies will enjoy traditional Thai food, seafood, vegetarian cuisine and even a Greek restaurant in Koh Lanta. Prices are very reasonable here at $1.50 to $10 per meal.
3. Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Phnom Penh is all about the people, the atmosphere and the pace of life. Unlike other Asian cities, such as Bangkok, Phnom Penh is the perfect sized city and is so much more relaxing. If you visit Cambodia come and explore Phnom Penh for at least a few days. Slow down, take walks, get lost and explore the jewel of South East Asia.
I recommend staying at the Mad Monkey Hostel in Phnom Penh. You can reserve a room online for $8 -$30 per night and you can eat cheaply for $5-$10 per meal, without ever leaving the hostel.
4. Petra, Jordan
Best known for one of the most famous sites in the world, Petra has so much more to offer than this infamous lost city. Warm and friendly people, great food and a history unlike any other, a trip to Jordan is a budget traveler’s dream destination.
There are certainly cheaper places to travel in this region, but Jordan can be affordable for those on a tight budget. A decent budget hostel runs about $7 for a single and $10-15 for a double. A step up in quality, with air conditioning and other amenities, will set you back about $30 for a private room.
If you enjoy Middle Eastern staples like shwarma and falafel, you’re in luck and won’t have any trouble finding cheap food. Street vendors can be found everywhere, selling delicious sandwiches for only a dollar or two. If you want to get off the street an into a nice restaurant, expect to pay about $5-$10 for a meal, more if you add liquor into the equation.
5. Lisbon, Portugal
If you plan to travel to Europe, don’t miss out on Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. Lisbon is a happening place, offering a lot of variety for any type of traveler. Budget travelers will find it quite easy to enjoy Lisbon, as the city is affordable, especially when compared to other cities in Europe.
You can score a dorm bed in a hostel for $12-$20, or you can get a basic room in downtown for as little as $30 if you want more privacy. Breakfast and WIFI are usually included.
6. Athens, Greece
Even before Greece almost went bankrupt, the country was a bargain. Now, it’s even cheaper. Gyros cost around $3, a huge lamb dinner is about $10 and drinks are around $3 USD. A single room can be found for under $15. An expensive night for me in Greece was $55 and that included an evening of drinks.
7. Paris, France
Paris on a budget isn’t something I thought would be possible, but with a little planning you can manage to stay in one of the most visited cities in the world for under $50 a day.
Instead of staying in an overpriced budget hotel try booking a studio apartment through Airbnb. You can find a nice place for as little as $40 a night. Split that between 2 people and you only spend $20 each. Eating on a budget is also possible. If you eat at local restaurants instead of tourist destinations you can get by on $15-$20 per day.
8. Granada, Nicaragua
Nicaragua has a little bit of everything. Beautiful beaches, great surfing, active volcanoes, nature preserves, freshwater lakes, jungle rivers and quaint colonial cities. A good chunk of the country is off the beaten track, just the way I like it. Traveling in Nicaragua won’t break the bank either. I know I’ll be back again soon.
Here is a breakdown of how much money I spent over 4 months of travel there.
- Food & Drink: $1,444 US (groceries, restaurants, water, alcohol)
- Accommodation: $595 US (hostels, hotels, camping fees)
- Transportation: $92 US (buses, taxis, boats)
- Activities: $110 US (entrance fees, rentals, classes, tours, etc.)
- Miscellaneous: $299 US (laundry, sundries, souvenirs, visas, etc.)
TOTAL DAYS = 121
TOTAL SPENT = $2,540 US
DAILY AVERAGE = $21 US
9. Playa Montanita, Ecuador
Montanita Beach has long been Ecuador’s premiere surf destination. In recent years, this quiet beach community has evolved into the country’s top party destination. Marijuana is often smoked openly, and on the weekends, you’ll see pot brownies for sale on the street. Despite the drug use, Montanita has a reputation for being safe and relaxed.
There are plenty of hostels and budget hotels in Montanita, so you should have no trouble finding a place to stay for as little as $10-$30 per night. To save money, be sure to take advantage of the various street foods available here. You can get a wide variety of typical foods, from meats on a stick to quesadillas and cheeseburgers for $1.50-$2.
10. Rajasthan, India
Travelers could spend years in India and still not make it around the entire country. If this is your first visit, Rajasthan is a great place to start. The tourist trail is well trodden, the sites fantastic, and it fits within a small budget.
Private, air conditioned rooms in most cities in Rajasthan can be had for as little as $20. If traveling to major cities like Delhi or Mumbai, expect to pay about $30. Local restaurants and street vendors are the way to go in India, with tasty meals costing only $2-3. $10 per day will have you eating well.
11. Barcelona, Spain
Originally established by the Romans, Barcelona is a city with a rich cultural history. Today, it serves as the capital of Catalonia and is still one of the busiest port towns in the Mediterranean. In addition to being an economic powerhouse, it is one of the top budget tourist destinations in Europe.
Travelers can expect to find affordable accommodations ranging from hostel dorms starting at $10 a night to private hotel rooms for as little as $20. An average street meal or local restaurant will cost around $7-$15.
12. New York City, New York
The prices of New York City are intimidating to say the least. But, once you look past them, you realize that New York City is filled with a a huge selection of affordable accommodations, cheap meals, and free attractions.
Hotels have been pushing out hostels and trying to get the city to crack down on apartment rental services for a number of years now. Luckily, New Yorkers are a creative bunch and there are numerous ways you can still stay for cheap or free.
New York City is famous for its ethnically diverse selection of great foods. You can find everything from Chinatown street food to falafel stands, tacos and pizza. A typical meal from a street vendor will cost as little as $5-10.
You don’t need to have unlimited streams of income to travel the world. Full time travel doesn’t have to be expensive. After many years on the road, I’ve learned plenty of tricks to travel the world without breaking the bank. I hope you will take advantage of the secrets I have shared above to enjoy life to its fullest while seeing some of the world’s greatest destinations.