Travelling to cheap countries is practically a religion for budget travellers, especially if you don’t have much cash and need to stretch it as far as you can. So I figured it would be good to give the uninitiated some helpful hints at some of the cheapest countries you can travel to.
These are great starter countries for the budget traveller. Although some of them can be quite hardcore for the beginner, such as India, which is sensory overload!
All these countries are around the same price to travel in. You can get by on an average of $15 a day for simple accommodation, cheap food, and local transport. And maybe a beer or 2. You could get by on even less if you wanted to. This is just an average number.
For the basics these countries are cheap, however just like everywhere else as soon as you start doing more activities the price will jump up. For example Ethiopia is dirt cheap, but if you want to do a tour into the Danakil Depression, which in my opinion is one of the best things to do there, then you will be spending over $100 a day for it.
Also if you stay in the more popular tourist areas in these countries you will most likely spend more as the temptation to go out more will be strong. Like I said the $15 a day is just an overall average. 1 moment you could be in the city spending $25 a day, and the next spending $10 a day living cheap in the countryside.
Cheapest Countries To Travel
I would be amiss if I didn’t have Bolivia on this list as it’s generally regarded as the cheapest country to travel in South America. It’s the only country I haven’t been to on the list, but comes highly recommended by fellow budget travellers and had to be included.
It also has everything from the Amazon jungle to the high altiplano plains, salt flats and mountains. I will definitely get there someday! Hopefully you will as well.
Recommended guidebook: Lonely Planet Bolivia (Travel Guide)
Ethiopia is not only one of the most fascinating countries in the world, but luckily enough also one of the cheapest. There’s so much to see and do, with it’s changing landscapes, history, tribal regions etc.
Travelling around can be hard, but the buses are cheap. The roads were being improved when I last left so should be better now.
More travellers need to visit this place! It seriously blew me away.
Recommended guidebook: Ethiopia (Bradt Travel Guide)
This is the big one. The ultimate budget travellers destination. It can be full on, and is a huge place to discover many different things. From the Himalayan Mountain range, to the hot beaches of the south.
I spent a lot of time spending only $5 a day! Granted it wasn’t the nicest way to travel, but my funds were running low. $1 a night for a seedy, shitty, truckers hotel room. Eating street food for fuck all, and taking local buses around. But hey I got to see the place!
Recommended guidebook: Lonely Planet India (Travel Guide)
This ones slightly trickier as it consists of 17,000 islands, each offering their own vibe. Transport costs can add up if you move around a lot as you will need to take boats or budget flights. But staying in just a few areas you can get beachside wooden bungalow for $7 a night and eat good seafood for $5.
What more do you need on a beach? If partying it up in Bali it will cost you more than chilling on a quiet beach somewhere. Elsewhere you can travel into tribal regions or go exploring the jungles and rivers. So much to experience.
In fact Indonesia is one of my favourite places.
Recommended guidebook: Lonely Planet Indonesia (Travel Guide)
Kyrgyzstan is an often overlooked country for budget travellers, yet is perfect. It’s small, so easy to get around, has stunning mountains and lakes, you can stay with nomadic people, and it won’t cost you much.
Riding up into the mountains with nomads and living in traditional yurts with them is one of the best travel experiences you could have.
Recommended guidebook: Kyrgyzstan (Bradt Travel Guide)
I’ve travelled twice from Ethiopia to South Africa and starting in cheap Ethiopia, you then enter slightly more expensive Kenya, then more expensive Tanzania, then a lovely surprise awaits in Malawi as it’s the cheapest country I saw on the continent.
It’s also brilliant for chilling out in after what can be hard travel in Africa, as just chilling by Lake Malawi on a beach and eating fresh fish is the best tonic to relax.
The great thing when just taking it easy on beaches in quiet areas with not so many tourists is there’s not really much temptation to spend money on stuff, except maybe the occasional beer.
Recommended guidebook: Lonely Planet Zambia, Mozambique & Malawi (Travel Guide)
Due to the current conflict in the east of the country the local currency has seriously devalued making it a great place in Europe to get by on a cheap budget. Head to historic Lviv city and the Carpathian Mountains in the west, or go chill/party on the Black Sea coast.
With summer coming up (as of the time of writing this) it’s a very good place to consider.
You can get a tasty rib eye steak for just $3! Beer is on average $1 in the cheaper bars. Brilliant. Off course there’s lot’s more stuff.
Recommended guidebook: Ukraine: Europe’s Best-Kept Secret: An Insider’s Guide
If you don’t know much about Mongolia you may be surprised at how big it is. That can be a problem as transport around is not the best, and if you end up doing tours it will cost more to travel in.
But just for generally getting by it’s a cheap enough destination and has some of the most beautiful landscapes, and visiting the Gobi Desert to stay with nomads is an unforgettable escape from the modern world.
Recommended guidebook: Lonely Planet Mongolia (Travel Guide)
Morocco is cheap and has so much to see and do, and only a stones throw from Europe with enough cheap flights coming in. So if you happen to be travelling around Europe and want an exotic destination close by, then just take a quick flight over to Morocco.
One of the best meals I’ve ever had in my whole life was there and only cost $2. It was a delicious fresh fish tangine.
Recommended guidebook: Lonely Planet Morocco (Travel Guide)
Iran is very good value for money, and is a great time to visit. But why go?
Iran get’s a bad rap in the press a lot but in the country itself you will meet many friendly people. Just ignore the politics and go see for yourself.
It’s also full of diversity, from vast deserts to mountains and plenty of culture and good food thrown in.
It was one of the best places I travelled through.
Recommended guidebook: Lonely Planet Iran (Travel Guide)
Pakistan also has absolutely stunning hiking as well, but is more overlooked by people due to the whole image of terrorism in the country etc.
I had a friend not so long ago saying she had no problems there. Although it would definitely be best to stay away from cities like Karachi (not a great city anyway) and pay attention to what’s going on in the country at the moment.
It’s really sad more people don’t go, as Pakistan has so much to give to the budget traveller.
Recommended guidebook: Pakistan Traveller: Budget version
So if you’re in need of some cheap places to travel to then these are 10 countries you should certainly consider. There are others out there, but I selectively chose these not just because of their cheapness, but also the great experiences that they offer you as well.
Want to know what you should be packing for world travel? Check out this gear list for travelling around the world.
*Disclaimer time! This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase anything through these links I earn a small commission that helps me keep this site running at no extra cost to you.