What’s the best thing about being able to travel to your favourite destinations all over the world? Being able to do so on a shoestring budget. It is unfortunate that so many people don’t get out and see the world because they do not think they can afford it. But really, most of us can afford to travel if we are willing to do so lightly. Take away the pricey hotels and the expensive meals served in tourist-focused restaurants and you can actually experience quite a bit without spending a fortune.
Below is a list of the cheapest places to travel on a shoestring budget. Keep in mind that this list is based on keeping expenses as low as possible by camping or staying in a cheap hotel, buying food at local supermarkets rather than going to restaurants, taking advantage of the most affordable transportation. Prior to leaving you will need to use a good comparison site to get the best deals on flights and travel insurance.
Just about any city in Nepal is going to be very affordable to visitors. But while everyone else is going to Kathmandu, you should probably check out Pokhara. It is the second-largest city in the country and easily one of Nepal’s most affordable. Avoid April-May and October-November if you want the lowest prices possible. The rest of the year you will find the city and its surrounding area very welcoming and affordable.
In the north-central portion of Ukraine is the capital city of Kiev. You might suspect that travel to Kiev is not cheap because of its status as the capital, but you would be wrong.
Kiev is one of the most affordable Eastern European cities you can visit. It is also one of the country’s most important scientific and cultural centres. Tying it all together is excellent infrastructure and a world-class public transport system.
Many people are surprised that Cairo offers so much to every class of traveller. In other words, there are as many backpacking and camping opportunities as there are five-star luxury hotels. And regardless of your budget, everybody goes to see the sights of this incredible area together. You can spend 10 to 14 days in Cairo and still spend less than you might in a typical European city in five days. What you will not find in Cairo are abundant opportunities to drink. Alcohol is not widely available – it is also expensive when you do find it.
George Town, Malaysia
George Town might be the cheapest tourist destination you’ve never heard of. This beautiful city is the capital of the Malaysian state of Penang, situated near the central east coast of the island. Here you can save a lot of money because the food is incredibly cheap. You can eat very well for £7.50 per day or less. The city is also home to an extensive list of budget hotels and high-quality rental housing that will make you wonder whether you are still operating on a shoestring budget or not.
Marrakesh is one of Morocco’s formal imperial cities and one that is very important to the country’s history. In the city centre, you will be treated to live entertainment throughout the day, followed by an endless supply of food booths that are set up and opened just in time for dinner. The cheapest accommodations are found in the old portion of the city while most of the important sites around Marrakesh can be viewed for free. Shopping is also an incredible experience if you are a good haggler.
Budapest is one of the hottest destinations among travellers looking for more culture. As such, prices are starting to rise somewhat. You might want to put Budapest on your list this year or next if you want to get there before costs get out of hand. Right now, there are still plenty of bargains in terms of both accommodation and meals. In fact, you could spend less on a Budapest hotel than you would a London hostel. Like Marrakesh, most of the important cultural and historic sites in Budapest are free.
Kraków is one of the oldest cities in Poland, dating back to the seventh century. Backpackers and hotel travellers alike love this city because it is cheap and very easily accessible. There are plenty of opportunities to find accommodation in almost every region of the city, and a robust public transport system means you will not be cut off no matter where you stay. As far as food is concerned, you’ll pay next to nothing if you are willing to eat local fare. You will pay more for non-local cuisine.
Despite being one of the most popular travel destinations in Asia, Bangkok is still surprisingly affordable. Flights in and out of the country are very cheap by European standards, and everything in the city is relatively inexpensive. Life is so cheap in Bangkok that you could probably stay at a very nice hotel instead of having to camp. Transportation and attractions are equally inexpensive. And, of course, eating in Thailand is a cheap but delicious experience. You will get great food whether you choose a sit-down restaurant or a street cart.
La Paz, Bolivia
La Paz is one of the more popular tourist destinations in South America because it is so affordable. If you can get cheap plane tickets in the off-season, you will find the city very friendly to a shoestring budget. Cheap hotels and hostels abound as do opportunities for camping. Stay away from restaurants in typical tourist areas, though; they can be very expensive. You’re better off eating at a local restaurant in an out-of-the-way location or purchasing fresh food directly from the local supermarket.
For all of the destinations listed here, airfare is going to be your biggest expense. But once you get past that, all of the cities are very much budget-friendly. So pack your bags, get your tickets, and off you go. There are plenty of great destinations around the world for you to see and enjoy regardless of how tight your budget is.