If you’re looking for some affordable destinations to put on your travel list for 2024, then I’ve got some perfect suggestions for you.

Unlike other lists, I’m going to stick to destinations that I’ve been to in my 12+ years of full-time travel blogging. The reason is simply that I’ve noticed many lists of ‘cheapest countries’ don’t get their facts straight!

For example, I’ve seen Costa Rica mentioned by major outlets as the cheapest destination in the Americas, but it’s among the region’s most expensive. In this post, let me try to give you an idea of the actual prices.


The cost of long-haul flights is expected to stay high in 2024, and certain currency exchange rates are now less favorable, but many destinations are still incredible travel bargains.

Realizing just how far your Dollars, Euros, or Pounds can go in cheaper countries can be eye-opening. In many countries, it’s very doable to spend around $35 to $50 on all your travel expenses per person per day.

For the price of a single restaurant meal in, say, London or New York, you could be covering a whole day’s worth of traveling in cheap countries like Indonesia, Vietnam, Mexico, or Türkiye — to name just a few.


Quick answers — cheap countries to travel

Cheap countries in and near Europe:
Baltic States, Romania, GeorgiaAlbania, Bosnia, Türkiye

Cheap countries in Asia:
Vietnam, Nepal, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Philippines, India

Cheap countries in the Americas:
Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala, Argentina, Cuba, Bolivia

Cheap countries in Africa:
Morocco, Cape Verde

Cheap & easy beach holidays:
Mexico, Thailand, Indonesia, Türkiye

 Some classic backpacker bargains:
Thailand, Mexico, Vietnam

Awesome cultural/adventure destinations:
Colombia, Romania, Laos, Bolivia, Georgia, Albania, Nicaragua


1. Mexico

Mexico is one of the cheapest places to travel in 2021 thanks to currency exchange fluctuations

Okay, Mexico is not quite as cheap as it was in recent years; you now get 10% fewer pesos per dollar than in 2019 and much less than during the pandemic. However, it’s still an excellent budget option this year.

With long-haul flights expected to remain pricey in 2024, North Americans will find Mexico particularly attractive in terms of airfare. For Europeans, affordable flights to Cancun (e.g. as low as 550 EUR return from London, Madrid, or Frankfurt) make Mexico an accessible long-distance trip.


Beach resorts like Cancun, Cabo, or Tulum do have elevated prices, but there are numerous cheap destinations in Mexico as a whole, with a wealth of safe destinations to choose from.

I spent 9 weeks travelling around Mexico in 2023 and updating all of my Mexico content. You can check these best itineraries and lots of Mexico inspiration on my YouTube channel!

Backpacker Budget: $40 a day
Mid-range Budget: $65 a day
Highlights: beaches in the Yucatan, buzzing Mexico City, Oaxaca for foodies
When to go: peak season Jun-Sep, Jan — shoulder season Oct-Nov, Apr-May


2. Vietnam

Despite its major economic boom, Vietnam remains easily one the cheapest Asian countries. While it’s not best for postcard-perfect beaches (consider The Philippines or Indonesia instead), it’s amazing for its food, nature, and cultural sights.

The costs in Vietnam? Simply put: very low. Eat local and you’ll struggle to spend more than a few dollars per meal, while locally brewed beers may cost as little as $0.25 a glass. Hotel rooms offer incredible value; as little as $14 per night will get you a clean and comfortable place to stay. Whether you’re a backpacker or just looking for a holiday on a budget, Vietnam has you covered.

You can do a typical Vietnam itinerary, or better yet, veer into to some less-visited parts where Vietnam is truly at its best. Take the northern province of Ha Giang, which is as pure and authentic as it gets. The limestone landscapes at Tam Coc are also not to miss. The town of Phong Nha is a fantastic adventure tourism and caving hotspot; camping inside the world’s third-biggest cave is a trip I’ll never forget.

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day
Mid-range Budget: $45 a day
Highlights: Ha Long Bay, cute Hoi An, the chaos of Hanoi
When to go: peak season Nov-Mar, shoulder season Apr-Jun, Sep-Oct 


3. El Salvador

Wait, isn’t El Salvador supposed to be a crime-ridden no-go-zone?

Not so fast!

While this used to be true, a controversial but admittedly effective crackdown on gangs in 2022 and 2023 has completely transformed the security situation. El Salvador’s crime rates dropped as much as twenty-fold, putting it almost on par with the USA.


This has granted the bite-size country a “see it before word gets out” status, with backpackers and budget travellers blazing the trail.

From surfer beaches to epic volanoes and charming colonial towns, El Salvador has some great sights, while having some of the lowest costs in Central America.

Backpacker Budget: $30 a day
Mid-range Budget: $45 a day
Highlights: Lake Coatepequeide, Ruta de las Flores, San Salvador, Santa Ana
When to go: peak season Nov-Mar


4. Albania

Albania may well be the cheapest destination in Europe. It’s still early days for tourism in this Balkan country, though some are already calling it “the next Croatia”.

It may still be lacking in development, but I love Albania’s unspoiled coastline, its quirky capital, well-preserved Ottoman-era towns, and impressive Alps. You can learn about the fascinating history of this once-isolated country, which was known during the Cold War as the ‘North Korea’ of Europe. Today, it’s a developing democracy, and improved infrastructure has made it easier to travel.


You can easily find hostel dorms for $10 or budget hotel rooms for around $25. Albanian cuisine is fantastic and a good lunch or dinner might cost you about $2 to $4.

The new Vjosa Wild River National Park, which now fully protects one of the last wild rivers in Europe, will open its gates for eco-tourism in 2024.

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day
Highlights: Hiking the Accursed Mountains, cheap beach stays, the historic town of Gjirokaster
When to go: peak season Jul-Aug — shoulder season Apr-Jun, Sep-Oct


5. Thailand

The famously tourist-friendly Thailand is known mostly for its islands and beaches, which can be decent value if you know where to go. But for the best prices, make your way to the northern Chiang Mai region and you’ll be in budget travel heaven.


Amid the rice fields, Buddhist temples, and hill tribes you can find some of the best-value accommodation anywhere—whether you’re looking for a backpacker dorm bed (from $6 per night) or a quality hotel with a swimming pool (from $35).

Backpacker Budget: $30 a day (inland)
Mid-range Budget: $50-$60 a day
Highlights: superb beaches, ancient temples, amazing street food
When to go: peak season Nov-Feb — shoulder season Apr-Jun, Oct


6. Indonesia

The Komodo islands, one of the top destinations in Indonesia

While it’s always been a budget traveller’s favorite, an advantageous exchange rate with Western currencies makes Indonesia a particularly good choice now.

Bali has always been the clear favorite island, though it’s increasingly seen as overtouristed. Luckily, the Indonesian archipelago is wider than the United States — and Bali just a tiny speck — so there is much more to discover.


Consider Bali’s neighboring islands of Lombok and Java, the spectacular Komodo islands and rural Flores, or go further into Sumatra, West Nusa Tenggara, or Sulawesi.

From white sand beaches to jungles and savannahs, and from blue flame spewing volcanoes to remote rainforests where you can meet orangutans in the wild — Indonesia is a budget traveler’s dream.

Backpacker Budget: $30 a day 
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day
Highlights: Bromo volcano, Borobodur temples, Bali, islands beyond Bali
When to go: peak season Jun-Sep, shoulder season Mar-May & Oct-Nov


7. Transylvania

There’s a reason the above header says Transylvania and not Romania, of which it is a region: many people simply dismiss the country out of hand.

But they don’t just know what they’re missing!

This Eastern European country is one of Europe’s best kept secrets. Just like the Dracula it inspired, the spectacular Transylvania region has a whole lot for you to sink your teeth in. Consider its cute medieval towns, ancient fortified churches, and mighty Carpathian mountain range. It’s perfect for a spring or summer trip, but equally enchanting in winter, with low-cost ski resorts and snow-covered castles.


You can easily get by on a backpacker budget of about $30 – $40 a day in Romania. If you’re on more of a holiday, you can find cute B&Bs starting at $30/night.

Backpacker Budget: $40 a day
Mid-range Budget: $60 a day
Highlights: Towns in Transylvania, European safaris in the Carpathian
When to go: peak season Jun-Aug – shoulder season Apr-May, Sep-Oct


8. Nicaragua

You can think of Nicaragua as the budget version of Costa Rica. While the neighboring country has a less developed tourism industry, you can have many experiences similar to Costa Rica but at just a third or less of the price.


Bite-sized Nicaragua packs a punch, with surfer towns along the Pacific coast, the beautiful colonial towns of Granada and Leon, great jungle and volcano treks, and the beautiful volcanic island-inside-a-lake of Ometepe.

Backpacker Budget: $30 a day
Mid-range Budget: $40 a day
Highlights: Ometepe Island, surf in San Juan del Sur, the Carribean Corn Islands
When to go: peak season Nov-May


9. Türkiye

For a sun, sea, and sand destination close to Europe, you can’t go wrong with Türkiye. While the Turquoise Coast offers beach stays on a budget, culture-seekers will love Türkiye for the incredible city of Istanbul or the ancient rock formations of Cappadocia.

Located between East and West and once home to the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires, you’ll find Roman ruins, cave cities, buzzing bazaars, and of course plenty of Mediterranean beaches.


Türkiye’s currency has been tumbling for years and while this is eventually offset by the inflation, the country has generally become cheaper for tourists to visit.

Tip: Istanbul is amazing for a stopover; Turkish Airlines will even provide you with a free hotel if you visit on a layover.

Backpacker Budget: $35 a day
Mid-range Budget: $55 a day
Highlights: balloon flights over Cappadocia, cultural Istanbul, beach resorts
When to go: peak season May-Sep — shoulder season Apr, Oct


10. Cape Verde

Can an entire country be labelled a ‘hidden gem’? If so, then I would nominate Cape Verde!

This small archipelago off the coast of Africa is little-known but oh-so beautiful. For inexpensive resort holidays, the island of Sal has you covered. For culture and nature, it’s all about Mindelo and the magnificent island of Santo Antao. Here, I had some of my favorite hikes ever!


Cape Verde offers good value for money, while also being safe and fairly well-developed (in contrast mainland West Africa). I spent about $45 a day as a budget traveler, staying in B&Bs and eating the local food. Don’t miss my 7 reasons why you should travel to Cape Verde.

Backpacker Budget: $45 a day
Mid-range Budget: $70 a day
Highlights: hiking on Santo Antao, beach resorts on Sal
When: peak season Dec-Jan, Jun-Sep — shoulder season Feb-Apr, Sep-Nov


11. Colombia

Colombia is an amazing country to travel (and no, these days it’s luckily nothing at all like Netflix’ Narcos, a show that is set over 50 years ago!).

Within Colombia, you can find a bit of everything, having both a Pacific and Atlantic coast, the Amazon rainforest, and the start of the Andes mountain range. Add to this the buzzing cities of Medellín and Bogota, and the warmth of Colombians and their vibrant culture, and you’ve got one of the best budget-friendly travel destinations in the Americas.


I revisited Colombia in 2022 and updated all my travel guides. Check out my tips for a one-week beach and nature holiday in Colombia and recommended Colombia itineraries

Travellers should still read safety tips before going, and solo men in particular should be careful in Medellin (known for its ‘honey traps’). While several parts of Colombia are still best avoided, the welcoming north coast and coffee zone are among the regions that tourists rave about.

Backpacker Budget: $30 a day
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day
Highlights: Caribbean beaches, Tayrona National Park, Medellin
When to go: peak season Dec-Mar — shoulder season Jul-Sep


12. Bosnia-Herzegovina

Most people still associate Bosnia mainly with the war that took place there — checks calendar — an entire twenty-nine years ago.

But this Balkan country next to Croatia has gotten back on its feet and has so much to show you if you give it a chance.


The Medieval town of Mostar is a real highlight, its iconic bridge once connecting trade routes going as far as Venice and Constantinople. I was also impressed by the capital Sarajevo, which has such genuine warmth, interesting architecture, and a wonderful historic quarter. It’s delightfully budget-friendly and one of the truly underrated capitals of Europe.

Backpacker Budget: $30 a day
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day
Highlights: Sarajevo and Mostar 
When to go: peak season Jul-Aug, shoulder season May-Jun and Sep


13. Cambodia

Angkor Wat in Cambodia, the cheapest country in Southeast Asia

Some visit Cambodia almost solely for Angkor Wat — a vast temple complex that was once the heart of the ancient Khmer empire. The sprawling archeological site is definitely stunning and highly worth a visit.


But there is much more to Cambodia, from the gentle town of Kratie along the Mekong River, to the unspoiled jungles of the Cardamom Mountains and the laidback island of Koh Rong Sanloem. Happily, it’s also one of the cheapest destinations in Asia.

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day
Mid-range Budget: $45 a day
Highlights: Angkor Wat, Battambang, islands off the coast
When to go: peak season Dec-Feb, shoulder season Apr-May, Nov


14. Laos

4000 Islands, Mekong River

Think of Laos as Thailand but without the mass tourism. It’s sparsely populated, mountainous, and has nearly 70% forest coverage, making it a paradise for outdoor activities like trekking, climbing, kayaking, zip-lining, and hot air ballooning — all at budget prices.


Thanks to improved infrastructure Laos has become more accessible in recent years while retaining its low-key rural vibe. That makes now the perfect time to go. If you want to escape the crowds and crave some authenticity, skip the Thai beaches and go to Laos. You won’t regret it.

Don’t miss sleeping in tree huts and zip-lining through the jungle canopy at the infamous Gibbon Experience, or Laos’ most epic waterfalls in the Bolaven Plateau.

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day
Mid-range Budget: $45 a day
Highlights: Luang Prabang, Mekong river journeys, the Gibbon Experience
When to go: peak season Nov-Feb, shoulder season Oct, Mar-Apr


15. India

A “country of contrasts” is a travel writing cliche, but this definitely describes India. While it can be a place of poverty, India’s economy is also booming — and what’s most striking is the sheer range of development and prices you can experience.


A modern mid-range hotel in central Mumbai might cost you at least about 60 USD a night, whereas a room in the desert city of Jaisalmer might cost you just 5. That’s just India for you. But if you are on a budget, you can definitely travel India on a shoestring budget.

Due to the chaos and patience needed, India may not be the first overseas country to tackle, but certain regions have a reputation for being easier to travel. This includes the northern desert region of Rajasthan and the laidback tropical state of Kerala in the south.

Backpacker Budget: $15-20 a day
Mid-range Budget: $40 a day
When to go: peak season Nov-Feb, shoulder season Oct, Mar


16. Bolivia

Landlocked Bolivia is often overlooked in favor of other destinations with beaches, but this mountainous country has so much to offer. It’s also the continent’s ultimate budget destination, where you can easily get by on about $20 a day.


Bolivia has some of the continent’s most amazing sights, such as the world’s highest lake Titicaca, and the jaw-dropping and otherworldly salt flats of Salar de Uyuni. With its remote feel and sense of adventure, it’s one of my favorite backpacker destinations in South America.

I last travelled in Bolivia in 2014, but our contributor George went in 2023 and wrote this up-to-date Bolivia guide.

Not many airlines fly directly to Bolivia, but the country combines well with neighboring Peru, where the capital Lima is well connected internationally.

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day
Mid-range Budget: $45 a day


17. Philippines

The best beaches in Southeast Asia? If you ask me, with over 7,000 tropical islands, Philippines is the place to go.

Besides having oodles of unspoiled coastline, it’s also a culturally fascinating place, with its mix of Asian and Spanish/US colonial influences. You’ll also find spectacular rice terraces in the north and incredible nature with jungle and volcano treks.


For a stunning beaches-and-islands-focused holiday, consider a 1 or 2-week trip to the island of Palawan.

Backpacker Budget: $35 a day
Mid-range Budget: $60 a day
Highlights: islands in Palawan, surfing in Siargao, Batad rice terraces
When to go: peak season Dec-Feb — shoulder Nov, Apr-May


18. Nepal

Oh, Nepal… you had me at “namaste.” The kind-hearted nature of the Nepalese and the wonderful bustle of Kathmandu instantly enchanted me when I visited a few years ago. Nepal also happens to be one of the world’s cheapest places for mountain trekking, whether guided or independent.


There are routes throughout the Himalayas that are very well-supported and have many tea houses where you can eat and sleep. When doing the epic 7-day trek to Annapurna Base Camp I spent just under $20 a day.

Backpacker Budget: $20 a day
Mid-range Budget: $40 a day
Highlights: chaotic Kathmandu, trekking in the Himalayas
When to go: peak season Oct-Nov — shoulder season Sep, Dec, Mar-Apr


19. Argentina

Argentina’s economy has been suffering for decades and is now undergoing shock reforms under its new president. While the economic problems long made it an excellent low-cost destination for those visiting from abroad, the current situation is a little uncertain.

On the one hand, the recent devaluation of the peso has brought the official exchange rate in line with ‘Blue Rate’, long coveted by travellers. This means you no longer need to carry piles of cash to travel in Argentina. On the other hand, the devaluation is increasing certain prices as the economy adjusts. I advise checking traveller forums for the latest info before heading to Argentina.


While the Patagonia region is not necessarily a budget destination, due in part to its remoteness and travel distances, the costs are normally very low in the north. The capital, Buenos Aires, has become a huge hit with digital nomads, while the wine regions around Mendoza, the epic waterfalls of Iguazu, and the Quechua areas around Salta offer some amazing sightseeing.

Tip: can’t find a cheap flight to Buenos Aires? Try Santiago in Chile, from where you can easily travel into northern Argentina.

Backpacker Budget: $30 a day
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day
Highlights: Patagonia, Iguazu Falls, Buenos Aires
When to go: peak season Nov-Feb, shoulder season Sep-Oct, Mar-May


20. Cuba

“See it before it changes,” is the familiar refrain when it comes to Cuba. And it still feels very much like stepping through a time machine.

Before I visited I had always heard Cuba of as an expensive country, but this seems to be based on its state-run luxury hotels focused on high-spending tourists. Travel in Cuba can actually be quite easy on the wallet, especially when using its huge network of family-run Casas Particulares (a kind of Cuban version of Airbnb) offering affordable and charming local accommodation.


With none of the typical signs of globalization, vintage cars still driving through the streets, not to mention all the rum, sun, and salsa — spending some time in Cuba is guaranteed to be a unique experience.

Backpacker Budget: $40 a day
Mid-range Budget: $65 a day


21. The Baltic states

Often overlooked and tucked between the Nordic countries and Russia you’ll find the three small Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Why go? Just think ‘Scandinavia on a budget’.

Squint your eyes and the Baltics may well remind you of Finland with its many woodlands, peat bogs, lakes, and log cabins painted in deep red. The people are similarly fond of cross-country skiing, saunas, and vodka. One key difference is that the costs are just a third of what you might find in the Nordics.


I enjoyed traveling in Estonia, which has a ton of history and charm all the while also being a tech startup powerhouse. While I was sipping some local IPAs in Tallinn, a few friendly Esti’s were regaling me with tales of IPOs. It’s a wonderful mix of modern and traditional.

Tallinn’s small tourist center can be a bit pricier, but the country as a whole is very inexpensive. Great meals can be found under 7 Euro and hotel rooms go for 30 to 40 Euro a night.

Backpacker Budget: $35 a day
Mid-range Budget: $70 a day


22. Guatemala

In Central America, Costa Rica tends to get the most attention as a tourist destination thanks to its bundant wildlife and highly developed eco-tourism. But if you ask me, Guatemala deserves strong consideration as well. It may not be quite as developed, though its landscapes have a wow-factor that few countries can match.


Hidden in its northern jungles are the Mayan temples of Tikal, a stunning sight especially at sunrise. Equally breathtaking is the highland lake of Atitlan in the south, ringed by volcanoes and quaint villages where the pace of life is delightfully slow. And don’t miss Semuc Champey, a great place to explore river caves by candlelight and swim through cascading pools in the jungle.

And the best part? Many a traveler ends up spending under $25 a day in Guatemala. 

Backpacker Budget: $25 a day
Mid-range Budget: $50 a day


23. Morocco

Morocco is just a stone’s throw from Europe and quite cheap to travel. That is, if you manage to steer clear of the pushy salesmen trying to sell you overpriced rugs and trinkets! If you only go on organized tours, you may find Morocco to be quite averagely priced, but expenses drop considerably when traveling independently.


For great value accommodation with a bit of luxury, consider staying in some of the iconic riads—traditional hotels with garden courtyards offering a pleasant relief from the buzzing city streets.


They say the Sahara has more grains of sand than there are stars in the universe, which is a wonderful idea to contemplate while you’re camping under a clear Milky Way sky in the middle of the Moroccan desert.

Backpacker Budget: $40 a day
Mid-range Budget: $60 a day


24. Republic of Georgia

Georgia (the country) is a fascinating destination that’s right on the edge of Asia and Europe. It’s super cheap, sometimes even rivalling the low costs of countries in South or Southeast Asia. It’s currently dealing with an influx of Russian emigrants fleeing conscription, which has put tourism on a low boil, but it remains a wonderful destination to visit. 


In its eccentric capital, crumbling façades of traditional wooden Georgian houses stand next to Soviet-era architecture and daring contemporary designs. I loved my stay in Tbilisi and was surprised by its wonderful soul and character. From Tbilisi, you can explore the stunning Caucasian Mountain range, take a dip in the Black Sea, or visit ancient hilltop monasteries (and a few of them even built inside caves).

With 1-year visas for remote workers, it’s an ideal digital nomad hub within a stone’s throw of Europe.

Backpacker Budget: $20 a day
Mid-range Budget: $40 a day



P.S. I wrote an inspirational book that’s all about how you can travel more and travel cheaply. If you want to the world but not sure where to start or how to do it on a budget, my book will give you the answers!

P.P.S. Keep in mind the budgets listed here are only suggestions and always depends on how you travel. The suggested budgets are per person per day and don’t include one-off expenses like flights or travel insurance.

Backpacker Budget: this assumes you’ll stay in hostel dorms or share rooms in cheap guesthouses. You’ll eat mostly local food in cafes/eateries and use local transportation, and you avoid expensive private tours.

Mid-range budget: this assumes you’ll stay in nicer B&Bs, local guesthouses or budget hotels, regularly take day tours and other organized activities, and have sit-down meals in a nice restaurant at least once a day.

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