Looking for the best and cheapest places to travel on a budget? Travelling on the cheap is half the fun of being young and free! Check out these exciting locations from around the world that are ideal for 20-somethings to visit without breaking the bank.
1. Ko Phi Phi, Thailand
Thailand in South East Asia is a super popular location for young travellers. Your money goes further here and you can live it up for less than the cost of your monthly rent back home. Explore Bangkok and do some island hopping while in Thailand, and make your final flop-and-drop destination to Ko Phi Phi.
You’ll enjoy white sand beaches and turquoise waters. A mixture of lush greenery and limestone rock formations make this location not only unique but a breathtaking playground for an array of watersports. Not a bad deal for one of the world’s best places to travel.
2. Caye Caulker, Belize
This small Caribbean island off the coast of Belize is filled with rich wildlife and an ocean ripe for diving the tropical Belize Barrier Reef.
Taking advantage of this amazing city is easy as nice hotels run in the tens of dollars, or as little as $2 for a hammock for the night. It doesn’t get much better than that when you need to travel on a budget. A backpacker’s paradise, there are plenty of opportunities to enjoy the relaxed Carribean nightlife and make new friends.
3. Cusco, Peru
The former capital of the Inca Empire holds incredible ancient ruins to behold, along with still-visible remnants of the Spanish settlements from when the region was colonised in the 16th century.
A place high on any travel bucket list, the good news is it’s cheap to travel, eat and stay in Peru. And if you’re planning on trekking the Inca Trail, it’s the kind of place best ventured to in your youth, when your body is up for the challenge.
4. Cobán, Guatemala
This Guatemalan city is a nature lover’s dream. Explore the natural waterfalls and caves tucked amongst exotic, tropical beauty. Central America is super-affordable and exploring the outdoors is almost always free. Major destinations include Las Victorias National Park for hours of traipsing through nature and a visit to Semuc Champey to swim in natural turquoise swimming holes.
Commune with nature and you’ll not only find your zen, but you’ll end up with priceless memories without spending a fortune.
5. Budapest, Hungary
If you are already planning a trip to Europe, be sure to add Budapest to your itinerary. One of Europe’s lesser-appreciated cities also happens to be one of the cheaper cities to visit too.
Hotels and daily expenses are more than affordable and recent building booms have created pop-up ‘hotels’ in otherwise empty apartments, allowing travellers affordable access to quality accommodation.
The city feels young and full of life—you can get a beer for less than $3, the city is very walkable and public transportation is cheap and reliable.
6. Havana, Cuba
The capital city of Cuba has long been a unique tourist destination.The city’s history creates a distinct vibe in terms of culture and appearance. Have your camera ready for vignettes of vintage cars and to capture the contrast of old and new buildings and liveliness of the city itself.
No matter what your budget looks like, there’s a hotel or guesthouse for you. The best beaches are a 25 min bus ride from the centre of the city and you can eat like royalty—think lobsters and fresh seafood for around the same price as a KFC meal back home. Cuba is full of hidden treasure, you just have to be curious enough to find it.
7. Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is universally known for its low cost of living, which gives a big, warm welcome for budget travellers. There are few places better than Tamarindo to travel in your 20s. With beaches like the Playa Grande where you can see gigantic leatherback turtles, and a wildlife refuge filled with howler monkeys, this beachside town is truly a unique experience.
If animals and wildlife are cute but you’re here for the call of the waves, take a walk along the coast or learn to surf in the clear Costa Rican waves. Hotel prices can be a little steep in higher end resorts, but Tamarindo has plenty of options on a student budget.
8. San Blas, Panama
The sweeping city along the coast of Panama opposite the coast that holds Panama City. Though some may prefer the latter to San Blas, this city is often unfairly overshadowed by the capital city. Here you’ll find beautiful palm tree filled coastlines and endless crystal clear water.
The city often feels like a living postcard, and it is a super-affordable destination with a number of beachside lodgings for around $50- $70 with anything rarely being $100 or more. Perfect for any 20-something looking for the cheapest places to travel.
9. Kathmandu, Nepal
A unique destination well within a backpacker’s budget is the Himalayan state of Nepal. Kathmandu is the country’s famed capital city and is truly a sight to behold. Drink in the sights and sounds from the unique architecture and culture to the traditional cuisine.
A nice hotel’s nightly rate is around the same amount as minimum hourly wage back home. If you are on a really tight budget, Nepal is somewhere you can explore, eat and stay for less, budgeting around $30 per day.
10. Bali, Indonesia
With a distinct blend of culture and spectacular scenery, Bali is like no other place on Earth. Of the more affordable places to travel, Bali is nothing short of a tropical playground, ripe for exploring.
Splash out on a villa with friends (you’d be surprised how affordable it can be), or hit up a three-star hotel for as little as $25 a night. Try the local brew and pick and choose from delicious street food to feast on.
11. Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka
Here you’ll find majestic green landscape with endless natural marvels. Of the most breathtaking are the region’s many waterfalls—unlike anything you’ve seen before, these bodies of water rush through vibrant green rolling hills.
20-something travellers find low costs and good fortune here in Sri Lanka’s evocative hill country, often referred to as ‘Little England’ for its long tea plantations and Tudor-style hotels.
12. Bogotá, Colombia
We would be the first to say that Bogotá is a city that oozes with culture. It is one of the few cities on this list that is noteworthy for its art scene. From the city streets filled with vibrant graffiti to the Museo Botero, Bogotá dares you to imagine.
It is a truly inspirational place to travel and admire architecture like the Holy Mother Of Carmen Church. It’ll take you by surprise as an exciting place, perhaps exceeding your expectations as you sip on Aguardiente and enjoy the magic of South America.
13. Sihanoukville, Cambodia
You might have heard of this city by the name, Kampong Som, or maybe not at all. Either way, you’ll remember it for its naturally awe-inspiring vistas and picturesque views. But perhaps, ultimately as being one of the most inexpensive and worthwhile places to travel in the world. A night’s accommodation setting you back no more than $20 a night.
The city rests on the elevated tip of a peninsula with epic views of the whole ocean. If you are backpacking Asia, bear in mind that you can get to Cambodia quite easily from Thailand, or vice versa. It’s great as both a destination or an amazing stop on a much larger backpacking adventure.
14. Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
Most young people who are looking to start exploring Asia find their feet in Vietnam. A great city to visit is Ho Chi Minh, as it’s centrally located to launch off to a variety of destinations in the country. A city with both historical and cultural landmarks, mixed with sprawling city streets and access to nature.
The best part of all is the affordability of the city, as everything feels like a bargain—from $2 bowls of pho soup to 50c bottles of beer to wash it all down.
15. Kos, Greece
Greece is easily overlooked as a top pick for the cheapest places to travel. Sure, the more touristy hotspots have inflated price, but in Kos the average price of a hotel is around $50 per night, and there are tons of free outdoor activities to bask in. Hello ocean!
Greece is one of the most historically significant places in the world. From literature to scientific thought to government, Greece has offered the world a lot, and it keeps on giving with its incredible islands where living the good life costs less.
There is no better time than your 20s to explore all the world has to offer. With so many options budget-friendly places to travel, it’s time to get planning!
Check out our cheap student flights to all the above destinations and more!