Travel has a reputation for being expensive, but whilst that’s often the case it’s equally true that there are some exceptional bargains around if you’re willing to spread your wings a bit further. In many parts of the world it’s possible to live on only a few pounds a day – or in luxury for the same amount of money as you would spend at home. Here are seven of the cheapest destinations in the world, based on our own experiences and research.
This huge, sprawling country has an incredible amount to offer. Although there are plenty of tourist traps in the big cities, you’ll find super-low prices as well as a more authentic cultural experience once you veer off the beaten path. Most parts of India are highly affordable, from Mumbai to Rajasthan and everywhere in between. All in all, you should be able to exist very comfortably for £10 a day.
Tunisia’s capital is consistently ranked among the world’s cheapest cities by Mercer who conducts an annual survey on worldwide cost. The coastal city is where the Mediterranean meets North Africa, with the best of both cultures at a fraction of the price you might expect from nearby countries such as Italy. It continues to be the cheapest city in the region of Middle East and Africa.
Flickr image by liketearsintherain
3. Eastern Europe
You can expect to pay comparable prices to those home in Western Europe, but a little further east and you’ll find a very different picture. Food and accommodation are excellent value and they’re often cheap to fly to from European hubs like London and Paris. There is plenty to see and do for free here as well as historically-rich sites to visit. Head for some of the quieter spots in Slovakia, Albania or Macedonia; you’ll find the capitals are reasonable value but further afield prices are truly outstanding.
4. Vietnam and Cambodia
These are well-known tourist destinations thanks to their stunning scenery and cultural heritage, but their popularity among backpackers means that there are plenty of places where prices are ideal for the budget traveler. It’s possible to get an excellent meal – including beer – for $3, and a decent hotel won’t cost much more. There’s so much to see: from beautiful Sapa n Northern Vietnam to Angkor Wat in Cambodia, you can easily spend months exploring this region.
In fact, Southeast Asia is good value all over, and Thailand is another destination where it’s possible to stretch your money almost twice as far as at home. Recent flooding and political problems have driven prices lower still, and you’ll be helping to boost the local economy. Whether you head to the beach or inland into the jungles, Thailand has all sorts of adventure for the budget traveler
On a similar theme, Mexico has had plenty of bad publicity recently thanks to a series of high-profile drug killings. Unfortunately the whole country has been tainted by association, despite the fact that its beautiful stretches of beaches and quaint towns are nowhere near the violence and remain completely unaffected.
One to watch. Already cheap due to its struggling economy, if Greece crashes out of the Euro and reverts to the Drachma then your dollars could suddenly go literally twice as far against the vastly devalued currency. Public transport and other services may be shaky for a while longer, so make contingency plans – or build some flexibility into your timetable and stay longer.
Flickr photo by Arian Zwegers