Travelling to cheap countries is one of the ultimate goals for budget travellers and here are 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 the cheapest countries to visit 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.
Cheapest Asian Countries To Visit
I’ll start with one of my favorite countries in the world to travel to and a backpacker’s paradise. Thailand!
It easily makes one of the cheapest countries to travel to and is well set up for travelers to visit and get around.
The famous Thai food, friendly Thai people, white sand beaches, jungle trekking, and the superb cultural city of Chiang Mai in the north make it the best destination if you’re looking for not only one of the cheapest countries to visit but for a great vibe overall.
Read my Thailand guides.
This is the big one. The ultimate budget travellers destination and easily one of the cheapest countries to visit.
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!
It’s most likely the cheapest Asian country to visit.
Recommended guidebook: Lonely Planet India (Travel Guide)
Read my guides to India.
As India is on this list, so is Pakistan!
Pakistan is more overlooked by people due to the whole image of terrorism in the country etc.
I’ve actually lived there for over a year as well.
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.
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 and if you do it right Pakistan can be one of the cheapest countries to visit.
Recommended guidebook:Pakistan Traveller: Budget version
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.
Keeping with the South Asian theme Nepal has to go on the list and is also one of the cheapest Asian countries to visit.
The main reason to go is to get out trekking in Nepal as that’s what the country is famous for.
It’s dirt cheap and full of adventurous activities along with cultural history, especially in the capital Kathmandu.
This one is slightly trickier as it consists of 17,000 islands, each offering its 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)
Read my guides to Indonesia.
Part of the “golden backpackers circle” (as I call it) of south-east Asia of Thailand, Cambodia, and Laos.
The northern city of Luang Prabang is one of the most culturally rich cities in the region and makes an excellent base to explore the countryside.
Read a Laos itinerary.
Cambodia is dirt cheap, along with Laos and Thailand.
If you visit Thailand then I strongly suggest keeping a bit of time to explore Cambodia, especially the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat
It also has white sand beaches and jungle trekking to do.
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)
Read my Kyrgyzstan guides.
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 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)
Cheapest European Countries To Visit
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 and makes it one of the cheapest countries to visit.
Head to historic Lviv city and the Carpathian Mountains in the west, or go chill/party on the Black Sea coast.
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. Of course, there’s lots 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
My more detailed post on why you should go backpacking in Ukraine.
Another cheap European country to visit is Bulgaria. I only visited the capital Sofia when I was there but loved it and have sworn to go back and see the countryside.
From what I briefly experienced there and along with advice from other travel blogger colleagues who feel the same way, I had to add it here as the perfect budget travel destination.
It’s probably, along with Ukraine, the cheapest of the countries to travel to in Europe.
Romania is right next to Bulgaria and continues the journey of the cheapest countries to visit in Europe.
Hiking in the Carpathian Mountains, medieval castles, and a lot of history it’s a must-see country in Europe.
A perfect budget travellers trip is to visit Ukraine then come down into Romania before getting into Bulgaria and then continue into Turkey (see below).
Read my guide to Brasov.
Baltic States (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania)
The Baltic States of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania are some of the cheapest European countries to travel in and their small sizes make it easy to get around and see a lot of things.
If you are going to one of these countries then I would recommend seeing them all as they are next to each other and have a similar history.
I hitch-hiked through them and went camping everywhere on a trip across Scandinavia into the Baltic States.
Turkey is the dream destination for many backpackers and for good reason. I’ve visited several times now and never got bored.
The buzzing city of Istanbul to historic ruins and countless opportunities to get into nature, such as in Cappadocia, makes it great to visit.
It’s not the cheapest country to visit on this list but it’s not expensive either. If you are in Europe it’s very easy to get to as well.
Read my guides to Turkey.
I spent 2 weeks in Georgia and Armenia (see below) and loved it. They are cheap to travel and being reasonably small in size they are easy to get around and have a lot to offer the traveller.
Lot’s of history and beautiful mountain and lake landscapes.
Technically Georgia and Armenia are not part of ‘Europe’ as they are based in the Caucuses but they are very close to Europe and easy to reach from there.
Armenia goes hand in hand with Georgia as they are right next to each other and both make some of the cheapest countries to visit in the world. Perfect!
Armenia, like Georgia, is small and packed with history and stunning landscapes.
The country is dotted with ancient churches against a backdrop of mountain vistas. It’s probably one of my favorite countries in the world to take photos in.
Backpacking in Armenia is on my highly recommended list!
Cheapest African Countries To Visit
Ethiopia is not only one of the most fascinating countries in the world but luckily enough also one of the cheapest and one of the best countries to visit in Africa overall.
There’s so much to see and do, with its 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)
Read my in-depth guide to Ethiopia.
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 not only one of the cheapest countries to visit but also one of the cheapest African countries to visit.
It’s also brilliant for chilling out 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)
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)
Read my guides to Morocco.
I actually lived in Egypt for a while in the late 90s’ and visited again years later just for travel and can say it’s a cheap country to travel around, especially if you love historical places.
It’s also easy to visit and get around as it’s a massively touristed country. Don’t expect and off the beaten path adventure there, but it’s a very fascinating country to visit.
Read about being a film extra in Egypt.
Along with Ethiopia, Kenya is one of my favourite places in Africa and can also be one of the cheapest countries to travel to on the continent, if you do it right.
I say “if you do it right” because things will get expensive if you decide to do a lot of safaris.
But as far as budget backpacking goes Kenya can be done cheaply and has a decent setup for backpackers with hostels etc.
Read my 2 weeks Kenya itinerary.
Not the cheapest of the countries listed here but for a modern country it is definitely good for the budget traveller and has an excellent backpackers network and lots of great things to see and do.
Then there are the wine regions! And plenty of safari options especially at Kruger National Park.
Cape Town is a must-visit city at least once in your life and the surrounding Garden Route leading along the coast to the Indian Ocean is a superb road trip.
Read my guide to Cape Town.
Cheapest American Countries To Visit
I would be amiss if I didn’t have Bolivia on this list as it’s generally regarded as the cheapest country to travel to 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)
Columbia is easily one of the most beautiful destinations in South America and with a rich cultural heritage.
I explored around the mountain areas there and some small towns or cities with a more laid back vibe.
Read about staying at a coffee plantation in Columbia.
One other country on this list that I haven’t visited but gets raved about in backpackers circles and is perfect for travellers from the US or Canada as it’s so close.
Ancient culture, white sand beaches, jungles, deserts, Mexico has it all.
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.
Cheapest Countries to Visit
So if you’re in need of some of the cheapest countries to travel to 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.
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