Talk is cheap, but travel, not so much.
Especially when traveling abroad, you’ll find that most trips will set you back a couple of g’s, and that’s WITH travel hacking.
While it is generally expensive to travel, not all travel is created equally, and there are many great places you can visit around the world that won’t completely bust the budget.
If you’re one of those on a tighter budget looking for the cheapest countries to visit this year, then you’ve come to the right place. There is only one thing better than traveling with style, and that is traveling with style affordably! No matter what type of traveler you are, everyone loves traveling to places where their money will go far.
That is why we’ve put together this list of the 10 cheapest countries to visit, so you can start traveling the world without going into debt.
10 Cheapest Countries to Visit
Home of the fabled legends of “Dracula,” Romania is a destination that combines affordability, culture, and historical significance. This 238,397 km2 (92,046 sq mi) country also boasts an incredible landscape with the famed Carpathian Mountains carving out the legendary Transylvania region of Romania, where medieval castles and historic towns glorify the scenery.
Historic cities such as Sibiu and Brasov dot the Transylvanian landscape and offer much to discover. In fact, the city of Sibiu was named the European Capital of Culture in 2007, and it is no surprise why when you walk down its cobbled-stone streets and famous squares.
When it comes to price, Romania is one of the cheapest countries in the European Union. At the time of writing, 1 USD equals about 4.19 Romanian lei (RON).
Budget travelers can find cheap hotels and hostels for under $10 USD a night. A meal at a cheap restaurant costs about $5 USD. Transportation is also convenient and affordable in Romania, with trains and long-distance buses connecting all the major cities.
A country that has endured some horrific historical events, Poland rises from the ashes and becomes one of the best cheap travel destinations in the world.
The country was largely the center of action for World War II, and many of the cities you see today have been rebuilt. In fact, the invasion of Poland near present-day Gdansk is what started World War II.
In Poland, travelers can also visit the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum, a place that has seen horror beyond words.
However, it isn’t all gloom and doom in Poland. The cities in Poland have gorgeous historical centers. They are clean, colorful, and filled with stunning architecture. In Krakow, the old capital of Poland, the UNESCO Heritage Old Town features the biggest medieval town square in all of Europe.
The north of Poland borders the Baltic Sea, offering visitors places to relax on the beach or swim in the summer months. In the south of Poland is the famed Tatra Mountain Range, where visitors can go hiking in the summer or skiing in winter. In fact, no visit to Poland is complete without a visit to Zakopane, a quaint Polish town at the base of the Tatras Mountains.
When it comes to price, Poland is a very cheap country in the EU. Budget travelers can spend about 30 USD a day and travel comfortably, staying in cheap hostels or hotels. On the other hand, visitors looking to splurge can stay in historical buildings and dine in fancy restaurants. There is no limit as to how much you can spend in Poland should you choose!
One USD is equal to around 3.9 Polish zloty.
For travelers looking for a budget travel destination with stunning beaches and incredible food, look no further than Mexico. As the 13th largest country in the world, Mexico is filled with everything you need for a perfect vacation at an affordable price.
For beach-lovers, head over to Riviera Maya and enjoy some of its Caribbean beaches and turquoise waters. Better yet, explore some of Riviera Maya’s cenotes, natural sinkholes that are the biggest attractions in Riviera Maya.
Cultural lovers will love places like Chichen Itza (one of the Seven Wonders of the World) and Teotihuacan, an incredible archaeological complex northeast of Mexico City. The over 2000-year-old complex of Teotihuacan is a must on any Mexico City itinerary.
Currently, 1 USD is about 20 Mexican Pesos. Because of its affordability, Mexico is a very popular backpacking destination. Many beautiful hostels and cheap hotels are in the country, and many of them are no more than 10 to 20 USD a night.
Of course, the price is slightly higher in places like the Riviera Maya, one of the most touristy regions of Mexico. Food is also very cheap in Mexico, costing around 3 to 4 USD per meal. Street food is abundant in Mexico for those travelers that want their money to go even further.
No list of the cheapest countries to visit in the world is complete without mentioning Indonesia, a popular destination in Southeast Asia. Many travelers know Indonesia from Bali, an island known for its gorgeous rice paddies, beautiful Balinese private pool villas, and spectacular landscapes.
However, many travelers don’t know that Indonesia is actually made up of over 17,000 islands. For example, on the island of Sumatra are towering volcanoes, idyllic beaches, and tropical jungles filled with wild orangutans.
Want more of an adventure? Then, head over to Komodo Island, where you will find the native habitat of the 3-meter-long Komodo dragon and Komodo National Park. Wild Komodo dragons dot the beautiful landscape that consists of jagged mountains, beautiful reefs that are perfect for diving, and lush forests.
At the moment, 1 USD is equal to around 14,000 IDR. That means your money will go very far in Indonesia (and you can easily become a millionaire). A dormitory bed in a hostel costs no more than $10 USD, with some as cheap as 6 or 7 USD.
In Bali, travelers can find private pool villas for as low as $40 USD a night, but the price can fluctuate depending on the season. Therefore, you must book in advance. There is one thing that is relatively pricey in Indonesia, and that is alcohol. One beer can cost around 2 to 3 USD in a restaurant.
Home to the famed Machu Picchu (another one of the Seven Wonders of the World), Peru might surprise you as an affordable travel destination. However, it is possible to travel comfortably in Peru for less than $30 USD a day when 1 USD equals 4.1 Peruvian soles.
When it comes to meals, Peruvian restaurants have something called “menu del dia,” which translates to menu of the day. “Menu del dia” is a set meal that usually comes with a soup and a big main entree, costing around 2 to 5 USD. It is one of the best ways to save money when eating out in Peru.
Besides its complex indigenous and Incan history, Peru is an absolute natural paradise. On the west coast of Peru, you will find incredible beaches bordering the Pacific Ocean and desolate deserts with surreal sand dunes. Near the middle of Peru is the home of the Andean Mountain range, where visitors will find alpine peaks and glacial lakes to quench their hiking desires. Further to the east of Peru, travelers will find the lush Amazon Rainforest and its diverse flora and fauna.
As one of the cheap countries to visit, Peru surely has a lot to offer for an affordable price.
Another one of the cheapest countries to visit is Turkey, partly because of how far the Turkish lira has depreciated in value compared to other currencies.
At the time of writing, 1 USD is worth more than 8.5 Turkish Lira. Budget travelers can spend no more than $25 USD a day and travel comfortably with this drastic difference. Food is also extremely affordable here, costing about 3 to 4 USD typically. If you are a meat-lover, you will find paradise in Turkish cuisine.
Besides its affordability, Turkey is filled with amazing landmarks and nature. The Camila Mosque in Istanbul is one of the biggest mosques in the world and features an elegant and remarkable design. It is an unworldly feeling to stand inside the massive religious landmark.
Aside from stunning man-made wonders, Turkey also has plenty of natural beauties. For example, the Cappadocia region of Turkey features a surreal desert landscape with “fairy chimneys” soaring to the sky. In Pamukkale, visitors can swim inside natural travertine pools and their clear blue water. In Ephesus, visitors can discover the ruins of an ancient city, which dates back to sometime between the Greek and Roman Empire.
Thailand is one of the most affordable places to travel in Southeast Asia. Known as the Land of Smiles, Thailand not only offers affordability, but genuine hospitality, incredible food, and stunning nature.
At the moment, one US dollar is equivalent to about 33 Thai Baht. Budget backpackers can spend less than $30 USD a day and travel comfortably. There are plenty of luxury hotels and stunning resorts for 50 USD and more for those wishing to spoil themselves.
Food is incredibly affordable in Thailand, and visitors can have a decent meal for 3 to 5 USD. Street food is also abundant in Thailand, ideal for travelers who want to spend less on food and try something adventurous.
Besides being an affordable destination, Thailand is filled with amazing natural wonders. The islands in the south of Thailand are known for their idyllic beaches and clear turquoise waters. In the north, the quaint villages situated in the forest hills offer peace and quiet. And of course, you will find more adventure than you can beg for in Thailand’s capital, Bangkok.
If you are a budget traveler that prefers off-the-beaten-path destinations, then consider Ukraine, one of the most underrated countries in the world. It is one of the cheapest countries on the list, with one bed in a hostel dormitory room costing as little as 4 or 5 USD a night. Budget hotels cost around 10 to 20 USD a night.
Ukraine is a beautiful country dotted with gorgeous architecture and amazing natural wonders. To the south is Odessa, a city that is perfect for a summer getaway. To the west, visitors will find Lviv and its UNESCO Heritage Historic Center. In the capital Kyiv (not Kiev), visitors will find several UNESCO Heritage Sites such as the Saint-Sophia Cathedral and more.
You also must not forget Chernobyl, the biggest nuclear disaster in the history of humanity. Although abandoned and considered a hazard zone for decades, parts of Chernobyl are now safe to visit, and it’s one of the most interesting places in the world.
If you’re considering visiting Ukraine, one thing to keep in mind is that it’s also one of the most controversial countries in terms of safety. Due to the constant conflict with Russia on the Southeast border, safety could seem like a concern. But if you stay away from that side (which you should because there are no attractions there) and exercise common sense and normal safety precautions, you shouldn’t have a problem.
Currently, 1 USD is about 26 Ukrainian hryvnia.
Many visitors overlook Guatemala, especially because it’s often overshadowed by its bigger and more popular neighbor, Mexico. However, Guatemala is a wonderland of its own, especially if you are into Mayan culture and beautiful greenery and hiking volcanoes.
In the north of Guatemala lies the Peten Department, where travelers will find the incredible Tikal Ruins, once the beating heart of the Mayan civilization. Antigua, the ex-capital of Guatemala, is a UNESCO Heritage Site that has been damaged by countless earthquakes but still retains its colonial charm.
Avid hikers shouldn’t miss the hike up to Volcano Acatenango, where they can witness the volcanic eruption of the nearby Volcano Fuego. It is simply a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Guatemala, similar to its neighboring countries, is very affordable to travel in. Budget travelers can thrive on 30 to 35 USD per day, dining at local restaurants and doing DIY activities. Luxury travelers should also consider Guatemala, as the country is filled with gorgeous accommodations and attractions accessible via comfortable private tours.
At the time of writing, 1 USD gets you about 7.7 Guatemala Quetzales.
As the oldest country in Europe, it might surprise you that Bulgaria is one of the cheapest countries to visit. However, it is not difficult to find a bed in a dormitory-style room for less than $10 USD. Budget hotels are usually around 15 to 30 USD, depending on which city you are traveling to. You can travel Bulgaria comfortably for under 35 USD a day!
Bulgaria is most known for its incredibly diverse landscape. On the east side, travelers will find coastal towns bordering the beautiful Black Sea, perfect for soaking in the summer. Near the center of Bulgaria, jagged mountains and swift rivers offer outdoorsy travelers a different kind of adventure.
Other than nature, Bulgaria is a melting pot of culture. It has influences from the Greek, Slavic, Ottoman, and more.
Currently, 1 USD is about 1.67 Bulgarian Lev.
Seeing the world shouldn’t be relegated to a book or television screen, but with the expense and time involved, it can be hard to travel without a serious hit to your budget.
While some of the most popular and well-known destinations will set you back thousands of dollars, there are also more affordable options. Especially in Europe or Asia, where countries aren’t as large, it’s even possible to see multiple places on the same trip!
Make sure you’re well-versed in travel hacking techniques, such as utilizing rewards credit cards, and you’ll find that many of these destinations are closer than you may think. Many also use working abroad or traveling jobs as a way to see the world.
But for those looking to start or continue their adventures on a budget, we’ve presented the 10 cheapest countries to visit right now to get you started.
We hope this has inspired you to pack your bags, grab your passport, and hit the road!
Sean writes at Living Out Lau, a travel blog that inspires you to get out there and see the world.