Travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer – but you don’t have to bankrupt yourself in the process. In fact, if you add these destinations to your bucket list, you’ll have more money in your wallet to spend on what’s important. By which we mean having an awesome time while snapping iconic photos that’ll turn your Instagram followers green with envy. So, from most to least expensive, here are 20 of the world’s best low budget destinations.
20. Berlin, Germany
Germany’s capital is known for being poor but sexy. Therefore, you don’t need to spend a lot of cash to enjoy its famous nightlife. The laid back attitude toward drinking also means that you can buy beer from convenience stores and drink outside. Many stores even have picnic benches outside where you can hang out.
19. Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal’s capital is a sun-soaked delight. So after exploring the quirky stores, cafes and street art at the LX Factory, head back into town for some bargain seafood at Cervejaria Ramiro. Then the Bairro Alto neighborhood is the place to be after sunset. After all, that’s where hole-in-the-wall bars serve huge drinks for tiny prices.
18. Athens, Greece
The Greek Islands might have the picture-perfect beaches, but Athens has the history. You can visit the Acropolis (and ten other historic attractions) for just over $10; students get in for even less. Once you’ve drunk in the culture, hit one of Exarchia’s arty bars just in time for happy hour.
17. Seville, Spain
The best attractions are free or cheap in Andalusia’s capital city. Indeed, bars and restaurants rock until the early hours, and tapas culture puts cheap eats front and center. Plus, for Game of Thrones fans the city offers the Real Alcazar (a.k.a. the Water Gardens of Dorne).
16. Cape Town, South Africa
Thought safari was only for the one percent? Think again. After all, it costs less than $20 to get into Kruger National Park, home to the big five (buffalo, elephants, leopards, lions and rhinos). In Cape Town itself, you’ll find great backpacker nightlife on Long Street and free entertainment at Bay Harbour Market.
15. Prague, Czech Republic
Cheap beer, cheap food and truly breathtaking gothic architecture make the Czech capital an unmissable stop in Eastern Europe. Curiously, there are also plenty of weird statues. For example, David Černý’s peeing statues outside the Kafka Museum never fail to raise a smile.
14. Riga, Latvia
Named European Capital of Culture in 2014, Riga has plenty of big-hitting attractions and yet still low prices. Plus, quirky spaces – like Kalnciema Kvartāls, a row of refurbished wooden warehouses – show off the city’s hipster cred. You can head here for art galleries, restaurants and outdoor movie screenings too.
13. Boracay, Philippines
Boracay often tops lists of the world’s most beautiful islands, but you don’t need a jet-set budget to enjoy it. That is, if you choose your base wisely (station three is cheaper than station one) and aren’t afraid to haggle. Et voilà, paradise for $23 a day.
12. Istanbul, Turkey
Where else can you go from Europe to Asia for less than $1? Take a ferry across the Bosphorus, and you can tick that off your bucket list. Moreover, iconic attractions like the Blue Mosque, Grand Bazaar and Gulhane Park are free to enter. Best of all, street food is super cheap and tasty.
11. Bali, Indonesia
Entry to Bali is visa-free for residents of more than 140 countries (including the United States) so that’s one less cost to worry about. Here as well, budget accommodation is easy to find on Poppies Lane I and II in Kuta. For street food, you will be hard pressed to find a place where you can satisfy your hunger for less. And those pristine beaches? Totally free.
10. Poznań, Poland
In Poland’s original capital you can enjoy a cheap dinner in a Milk Bar or learn about pilsner at the Lech Brewery. Of course, don’t forget to shop ’til you drop on the weak zloty at the art-filled Stary Browar mall. Nightlife is great too; there’s even an outpost of Ibiza’s famous Pacha nightclub.
9. Siem Reap, Cambodia
At night, enjoy the cheap drinks and buzzing atmosphere of Pub Street. Then during the day, visit the incredible UNESCO World Heritage Site of Angkor, just a short tuk-tuk ride away. One-day passes cost $20 – a small price to visit these breathtaking Khmer ruins. After all, some date back to the 9th Century.
8. Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina
There aren’t many places in Europe where you can grab dinner in a restaurant for as little as $4 – but Sarajevo is one of them. Keep in mind that this city is off-the-beaten path, giving you bragging rights too. It’s also packed with history and has a buzzing “invitation only” nightlife scene in the old town.
7. Budapest, Hungary
In Budapest you can dine like a king for a few dollars in the Central Market. Then in the evening, hit the hip and arty ruinpubs: bars in abandoned buildings. They are famous for their quirky decor, live local music and super late hours.
6. Marrakech, Morocco
If you’re smart, your money will go really far in Marrakech. Haggle over everything, especially in the bazaar, and you’ll find yourself with cut-price souvenirs. In fact, it’s possible to get spa treatments in local hammams for around $5 and street food for less than $1.
5. Luang Prabang, Laos
This laid back destination has all the beauty that you’d expect from a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It’s all about fun and relaxation here. Activities include swimming in waterfalls, cruising along the Mekong or digging into the street-food buffets. Or if you prefer, just watch the world go by over two-for-one cocktails.
4. Bucharest, Romania
Museum admissions are cheap in the Romanian capital (and your evening beers are pretty wallet-friendly too). Of course, fans of vampire-based fiction like Twilight and True Blood will be excited. After all, you can take a day-trip to the spot where Dracula himself, Vlad the Impaler, is said to be buried.
3. Goa, India
Goa is as wallet-friendly as you’d expect India to be, but a lot less hectic than many of the cities. Still, it offers beautiful beaches, searing hot curries and even watersports, like Jet Skiing and scuba diving. What more could you want from a budget destination?
2. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Surrounded by lush jungle and dotted with gilded temples, Chiang Mai is a truly breathtaking destination. The daily night market and weekly street markets are great places to pick up bargains too. Also, you can’t complain about the food, as even restaurant meals cost only a couple of dollars.
1. Hanoi, Vietnam
This buzzing city is one of the cheapest and best destinations in the world for young travelers. Indeed, street food here is excellent and very budget-friendly. Also, just a few hours away, you can explore the beautiful, UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay. Some hostels even offer all-you-can-drink booze cruises around this unmissable natural attraction.