Ever since I started travelling, I have always been fascinated by travelers who backpack on a budget. Soon enough, I started traveling the same way as well, and while it might not be fancy or extremely comfortable at times, it is a beautiful addiction.
An addiction which exposes you to the reality of the world, the kindness of the locals, introductions to local cuisines with real flavors, stuff hotels do not really show you.
Yes, even during COVID-19, traveling for cheap is still possible. There are many cheap destinations to travel around the world in 2021.
Top Low-budget and Cheap Travel Destinations
1. Thailand: $20-$50 Per Day
Thailand continues to be one of the world’s most affordable vacation spots.
While the southern beaches have a range of luxurious resorts with higher costs, if you are looking for comfort on a budget, Thailand is one of the best travel destinations to visit.
If you prefer to fly on a budget, you should be mindful that when you travel farther inland in Thailand, your travel costs will decrease.
If you fly to the Chiang Mai region, which is the real countryside, you will find yourself in budget travel heaven.
If you are searching for a backpacker dorm bed or a comfortable hotel with a pool, you will find some of the best-value lodging anywhere among the rice fields, Buddhist temples, and hill tribes.
Expect daily costs, including food and accommodation, to be $20-$50 a day.
2. Cambodia: $25-$50 Per Day
Cambodia is mainly known as the home of the Angkor Wat, a massive temple complex that once served as the capital of the Khmer Empire. While this temple and the other temples surrounding it are worth a visit, Cambodia offers even more.
The islands of Cambodia are still pretty undeveloped, which means that you can still get a taste of what true Asian culture is like. They are easily accessible by boat.
Most of the islands have white sands, the water is clean and the food is always fresh and delicious.
If you are staying within the city, expect costs to be $25-$50 per day, including budget accommodation and food. However, outside the city in the villages and the beaches, costs dip to roughly $20-$30 a day, which is definitely value for money.
3. Vietnam: $10 to $25 Per Day
Vietnam is one of the cheapest Asian countries to visit, which also happens to be one of the most underrated destinations.
When you venture only a little off the beaten path, Vietnam is truly at its finest. Away from the noisy tourist traps, Vietnam has some of Southeast Asia’s most enjoyable destinations.
The limestone ecosystems of Tam Coc are not to be missed in Ha Giang’s northern province, which is still as pure as it comes. Phong Nha, home to the world’s biggest cave, is a spectacular adventure tourism hotspot.
What are the prices in Vietnam?
Simply put, it’s very poor. If you eat locally, you won’t pay more than a few bucks per meal, and locally brewed beers can be had for as little as $0.20 per bottle. Hotel rooms are very affordable; for as little as $10, you can have a safe and convenient place to rest.
Overall, it will be easy to get by at $10 to $25 per day easily.
4. Laos: $20 to $40 Per Day
Laos is similar to Thailand, albeit without the mass tourism. It is sparsely inhabited, rugged, and almost 70% covered in trees, making it a haven for outdoor activities like trekking, hiking, kayaking, zip-lining, and hot air ballooning at rock-bottom rates.
Laos has become more available as a result of better connectivity, while retaining its low-key rural feel.
If you want to get away from the tourists and witness some authenticity, travel to Laos instead of the countryside in Thailand. You will definitely fall in love with the country.
In Laos, one can expect to spend between $20 and $40 per day, including food and lodging.
5. India: 500-600 INR
While the cities in India may be slightly expensive, the other regions of the country are very cheap to travel within.
Especially during COVID, all businesses have been giving discounts to appease more tourists to use their services. In India, including accommodation and food, one could easily manage a day in 500-600 INR depending on where you are.
For the authentic Indian experience, we would recommend towns like Udaipur in Rajasthan which supports the prime of authentic Indian culture and food.
The North East section of India are other places where one can experience unique tribal culture of the country.
6. Nepal: $20-30$ Per Day
Nepal is the home of the Himalayas and that is evident from the minute you step foot in the country. To add to it, Nepal also happens to be one of the cheapest places in the world to go mountain trekking, whether you go guided or unguided.
Apart from the mountains, there are also plenty of Hindu and Buddhist shrines one can visit.
Kathmandu and Pokhara are underrated and super busy cities, much more than you would expect, but costs are still very affordable.
The majority of the backpackers end up in Thamel, Kathmandu, where you can find almost anything at a good price.
If you are in Pokhara, Phewa Lake has a host of cheap accommodation and food choices to suit every budget traveler.
It would be safe to have a budget of $20-30$ a day, even if you wish to complete the Annapurna circuit, which takes about 7 days.
7. Mexico: $40-$60 Per Day
Mexico is mostly synonymous with low-cost beach resorts, with many visitors flocking to Cancun, Cabo, and Tulum.
There is so much to see and do in this vast country, whether you are looking for a beach vacation or want to immerse yourself in the local culture.
If you are on a budget, Chiapas is the place to go: it is full of jungles, waterfalls, and epic Mayan ruins, and travel costs are among the lowest in the region.
The Mexican peso maintains a favorable exchange rate against Western currencies, making it a great deal right now. Here, you can expect daily costs to be between $40-$60 a day if you stay away from the main tourist destinations and go off the beaten track.
8. Indonesia: $30-$50 Per Day
The majority of travelers associate Indonesia with Bali, which is quite overrated.
There is much more than just Bali. Indonesia has several other stunning islands, like Java, Lombok and the Komodo Islands, for instance, where one can witness a completely different environment than the one in Bali.
The further you travel outside Bali, the cheaper it gets, as Bali is a complete tourist destination.
From white sand beaches, jungles and savannahs, to the volcanoes and beautiful rainforests where one can interact with Orangutans, Indonesia is every budget traveler’s dream.
If you are in Bali, expect costs to be around $30-$50 a day as Bali is quite expensive. Outside Bali, costs can drop between $20-$35.
9. Colombia: $35-$50 Per Day
Colombia is a fantastic place to visit. It is like a collective of every little thing that South America has to offer: the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, the Amazon rainforest, and the Andes mountain range’s beginning.
Colombia has two really amazing, flourishing cities, Medellin and Bogota. The community here is vibrant and the people are very friendly. The exchange rates are usually favorable too. One can travel here for as little as $35-$50 per day.
Myanmar is one of the most underrated and overlooked destinations in the world.
A huge country, one can comfortably backpack with a daily budget of $10-20 per person. If you wish to live life king size in Myanmar, it will not cost more than $30-$40 per day. That price is guaranteed to get you a very comfortable hotel room with three meals a day.
If you dive into the local food and culture of Myanmar, one can gorge on local meals such as fish, shallots, noodles, rice etc., for less than $2 a meal.
From Yangon’s Shwedagon Pagoda, Bagan’s temples to boat trips at Inle Lake, there’s a lot to explore here.
How To Secure Cheap or Free Flights?
The most important tip when booking flights is to remember that they are cheapest on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
They will always be the most expensive when it is almost the weekend, and also immediately after. Skyscanner is the best website to help you locate the cheapest flights.
Looking up different travel combinations is also a great way to save money if you are on a budget. For example, if Bangkok, Thailand to Siem Reap, Cambodia costs $100, it would only cost $70 from Chiang Mai, Thailand as a lot of the land mass gets covered if you take cheaper alternatives like buses, etc., to reach the destination.
Another great way to secure cheap or free flights is by the accumulation of flier miles. Major credit card companies give offers every year where a part of the offer is usually free flier miles for a selected airline. You could also sign up directly with those airlines to start your own airmiles account.
Tip: They usually have offers going on many times, too, which can help you build your flier miles. Thus, these are great ways to get cheap flights!
Traveling without spending much is a great way to see the world for what it is and this is something we would recommend everyone to try at least once. It definitely shows us the raw, true side of the world, grounds us and makes us humble.
We hope you like this piece of experiences and keep in mind before planning your next trip!
Featured Image: Freepik