10 Of The Cheapest Countries To Visit In 2021

cheapest countries to visit

Travelling to cheap countries is one of the ultimate goals for budget travellers so I figured it would be good to give some helpful hints on some of the cheapest countries to visit.

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.

One moment you could be in the city spending $25 a day, and the next spending $10 a day living cheap in the countryside.

These make some of the cheapest places to visit in the world.

 


 

 

The Cheapest Countries To Visit

 

 

Here’s a short video summing up the 10 countries I recommend to visit. For more detailed reasons why you should visit them read the rest of the post after the video.

 

 


 

1. BOLIVIA

 

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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)

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2. ETHIOPIA

 

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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)

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My own guide to backpacking in Ethiopia.

 


 

3. INDIA

 

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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)

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Read my story of backpacking in India.

 


 

4. INDONESIA

 

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This one is 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 a 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)

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5. KYRGYZSTAN

 

cheapest countries to visit Kyrgyzstan
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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)

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My post showing Kyrgyzstan through photography.

 


 

6. MALAWI

 

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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)

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7. UKRAINE

 

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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.

Ukraine is definitely one of the cheapest countries in Europe to visit.

Recommended guidebook: Ukraine: Europe’s Best-Kept Secret: An Insider’s Guide

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My more detailed post on why you should go backpacking in Ukraine.

 


 

8. MONGOLIA

 

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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)

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My Mongolian Gobi Desert adventure guide.

 


 

9. MOROCCO

 

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Morocco is cheap and has so much to see and do, and only a stone’s 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 tagine.

Recommended guidebook: Lonely Planet Morocco (Travel Guide)

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10. PAKISTAN

 

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Pakistan is more overlooked by people due to the whole image of terrorism in the country etc.

My wife is from Islamabad in the north of Pakistan and highly recommends it for the food, culture, diversity of people, the weather being four seasons, and the mountain hiking in Pakistan.

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 time.

It’s really sad more people don’t go, as Pakistan has so much to give to the budget traveller.

This part of the world is great for travelling cheaply in general so if you’re looking for some of the cheapest countries to visit from Pakistan then check out those (India).

Recommended guidebook: Pakistan Traveller: Budget version

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Read my own guides to Pakistan.

Flights into Islamabad tend to be more expensive than Lahore (it fluctuates and sometimes is less than half the price).

The best option if you’re on a budget is to fly to Lahore instead and then take a four-hour bus journey to Islamabad.

 


 

Travel tip: Take travel insurance!

You never know what might happen so play it safe and get travel insurance. I have been robbed on my journeys and had a serious medical incident and thankfully I had insurance to cover it.

I use World Nomads and find them to be excellent.

Get a travel insurance quote for your trip:

 

 


 

TRAVEL CHEAPLY

 

So if you’re in need of some of the cheapest countries to visit then these are 10 countries you should definitely 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?  

Then check out my gear guide for backpacking around the world.

Read 10 of the best travel documentaries to watch.

 

If you liked this article about the cheapest countries to visit a share would be appreciated!

 

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44 thoughts on “10 Of The Cheapest Countries To Visit In 2021”

  1. Mongolia isn’t really cheap, considering you’re almost forced to take a tour to travel around, due to the fact that the whole country is basically a massive desert with no roads.

    And you forgot about Iran: ridiculously cheap πŸ˜‰

  2. Armenia was by far the cheapest on my list. But I suppose it depends what type of travel you get up to over there.

  3. Despite the expense of the islands in the south, Thailand remains an excellent value destination, especially outside of the aforementioned region. Can’t wait to get back next winter!

  4. Yes Thailand, especially in the north around Chang Mai is still good value. Maybe i should have made a “Top 15” list and added more countries!

  5. Mongolia is cheap if you have the time. I know people that hitch-hiked everywhere, including into the remote regions where mostly tours go! If you’re short on time then is more of a problem. And yeah I loved my time in Iran in 2012. Was thinking I may need to expand this list to “top 15” !! πŸ™‚

  6. The Hunter Traveller

    Nice list Jonny! Just what I need after almost a year in Australia. I’ve done it on the cheap here which I guess comes down to ones travel style. Hitchhiking with tent, eating cheap, using online resources for free accommodation. I think that what’s important for people to consider in any country and as you rightly mention, it’s about how you stretch your budget and tackle the temptations.
    All the best!

  7. Yep! I did Scandinavia on $10 a day doing just that. This list was for countries that are so dirt cheap you can get around without looking to camp or free place to stay and will still be sooooo cheap πŸ™‚ There are other countries I should add to this list as well. Or maybe I’ll just do another one hahaha. Safe travels.

  8. I been to all the countries on that list except Bolivia, I went to Pakistan last year, absolutely amazing country, and I felt 100% safe all the time, but one country thatΒ΄s even cheaper than Pakistan is Bangladesh.

    And Nepal is not dirt cheap anymore, I been there 7 times over the years, Nepal was dirt cheap up to last year, but I went back again earlier this year and the prices have skyrocket there.

  9. Glad to see Malawi on your list! It has been on my radar for a few years now, but I was never sure how expensive or cheap it was given its location within Africa. I’ll have to put this one on my “Top 10” list now.

  10. Yeah mate Malawi is a sweet little country and if you’re travelling across Africa the perfect place to chill by the lake and take it easy, although plenty of other things to do.

  11. Armenia and Georgia are cheap to travel. I am trying to keep the list to “10” countries and tried to do it so it represents different parts of the world, so hopefully one of them wouldn’t be to far from someone maybe wanting to visit.

  12. What a great list – you really inspired me to visit some places that I’d never even considered! Colombia is the cheapest country I’ve been to…

  13. Thanks for visiting Pakistan. It’s a great country to visit. Stunning mountaiious north cultural central and south; you will enjoy meeting friendly people with big heart shown with hospitality. Seeing is believing, you would laugh at all the negative projection about the country you have ever heard.

  14. How would a person get the information to stay with locals? Or in the yurts, like mentioned in Kyrgyzstan, for example? I love visiting places and getting the local experience as compared to doing the very touristy things.

    I am also glad you posted about traveling as a woman, as I have been worried about traveling to many of these countries due to the fact that I am a women and many of them are being portrayed in the news as “war-torn”. My spouse has never traveled but is very interested in going to many of the countries you’ve posted as opposed to a trip to very popular vacation destinations. Thank you!

  15. Hi, Jonny! This is an amazing list! I`m surprised how many of this places gets overlooked because of politic mostly. There is no reason for staying home just because of the budget, obviously. I`m sure anyone can find something inspiring on this list. I was wondering, which country was the biggest surprise to you?

  16. This is such an awesome list, Johnny! Thanks for sharing. By the way, I just wanna ask which among these places would be the best option for couples? My husband and I haven’t gone overseas for quite some time and I wanted to give him a little surprise but within the budget. Your recommendations will be much appreciated.

  17. Sorry for very late reply, comment went under the radar so to speak! For staying with locals and yurt stays google: Community Based Tourism (CBT) Kyrgyzstan.

    Yes there is plenty of opportunity for travel in these countries for women πŸ™‚

  18. Hi Emily,

    All these places would be fine for a couple. I would say what is it more that you would like out of your holiday and what time of year? What time of year is important obviously because some things you would be restricted to doing. How long would you have? Then I can narrow down my recommendation. For example if you want somewhere in July/August/September and love hiking and culture then Kyrgyzstan would be perfect, but freezing in winter!

  19. Hello Jonny! Yeah, I would love to surprise him in July for his birthday. I’m planning to take him overseas for a week or two.

    My husband loves camping and hiking in places with great views. Maybe we’ll give Kyrgyzstan a try but if you have any other suggestions, let me know. Thanks a lot!

  20. golden triangle tour with khajuraho and varanasi

    You shared such a amazing list of countries. This is really i need to travel, You help me a to create my bucket list! Fantastic article and post you shared with us. Thanks for sharing it.

  21. I being Pakistani & living in Karachi, assure you that you would be in love with the people & their hospitality. You could definitely find natural beauty in somewhere else as well but the way we welcome our guest is worth experiencing.
    Moreover, law & order is quite better now in Karachi & North as well.

  22. im from karachi and take offence when u said its “not a great city anyway”.
    its the cheapest city for tourism in the whole of Asia also if u tell anyone you are a tourist by tradition you are treated like a guest, given free lodging, dinner and hosted by locals.

    and its great for shopping considering all the sports good for professional sports players such as soccer, cricket and tennis as well as bags and dresses you buy from HnM and Zara are manufactured here u get the original goods for 3 dollars or less at local bazaars and sunday market.

    and for only $400 you take a greenbus tour from karachi all the way through lahore and islamabad to the northern areas for river rafting, trekking and mountain hiking and its only possible if you are in karachi.

    and the food is amazing, a mix of indian and middle eastern cuisine the flavors are unique and distinct where you can taste all the flavors from every corner of the country as its a metro city it has different cultures and flavours. from chapli kababs, live BBQ to unani and shushi u find everything here.

    so bitch please. its the most non racist, more welcoming city in the country and tourists are treated more like respected family members than strangers.

  23. Hi Jonny, I must say you are doing great work. You are an incredible writer. I Like the way that you describe the things…
    Please keep sharing such blogs…
    Thanks

  24. Pakistan is among cheapest countries. u can have a flight from Karachi to Islamabad in 75-80$. Uber/careem available in all major cities. u can enjoy a variety of local food at a very low cost. weather hottest to coldest from south to north. Pak is attracted by tourists attracted by historical architecture. u can find signs of one of the most ancient civilizations(Moen Jo Daro and harappa). i wont recommend foreigners to stay in cheaper hotels. u can get a 4-5star hotel room in 150-200USD/night.

  25. Pingback: Bali Indonesia Cheap Flights – Wisata Istimewa

  26. There maybe a lot of political reasons behind a metropolitan city that generates 70% of revenue for the whole country, being made that way by political forces. This may be a sensitive topic for the natives which you might know nothing about. The least you can do and should do being a writer, for the sake of manners if you were ever taught any, is to understand your reader’s sentiment, offer a polite apology and say that you didn’t mean offence but you unfortunately couldn’t find a lot of attractive things about their city but you’re open to change your views if you ever get a chance to learn more. That’s what people with an open mind and better communication skills do.

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