5 amazing countries to visit when you have a small budget
Nearly 32 million Americans, or 10% of the population, travelled overseas in 2016, and for good reason.
Traveling overseas gives you experiences that you could never have at home, and it allows you to meet people who think and live differently than anyone you’ve met at home.
Travel helps you expand your mind and consider things from a different viewpoint. This makes you a more well-rounded, smarter person, as well as providing you with awesome stories to tell. And that, in turn, makes you a more interesting person to hang around with.
Many people think, “I don’t have enough money to travel. I’ll do it someday”.
There is no need to wait. There are many inexpensive and beautiful places to visit – even if you have a small budget.
Check out these 5 amazing countries that could be the perfect destination for you if you don’t have a lot of money to spend.
With a rich history stretching back more than 11,000 years, Morocco offers you a chance to experience the culture of the Berbers and Amazigh in an area with incredible beauty.
Situated in northwest Africa, it boasts over 1200 miles of coastline on both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, so it’s a perfect place to relax on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world.
The Moroccan currency is the Dirham, and $100 USD will get you approximately 945 Dirhams.
What can you do with $100, or 942 Dirhams?
Quite a lot, actually.
Lodging is one of the biggest expenses when traveling, but there are plenty of inexpensive places to stay in Morocco. You can stay in a townhouse called a riad in the capital city of Marrakech for around $40 a night. There are listings for beautiful rooms on AirBnB for as little as $11/night. If you venture outside the main city, lodging is even cheaper. You can stay at a hostel in Chefchaouen near the Mediterranean Sea for as little as $7/night.
You don’t have to spend a lot of money on food in Morocco, either. There are plenty of street vendors selling food. You can get French fries (pommes frites) or Moroccan donuts (sfenj) for as little as $0.25. Some grilled chicken skewers with salad and bread costs under $3 USD. A nice dinner at a restaurant will only set you back around $15. Of course, there are many options available, both inexpensive and expensive.
You won’t have trouble filling your days with inexpensive things to do, either. If you’d like to explore the museums and attractions in Marrakech, entrance fees usually range from $1 – $6 USD. Visiting the souks (markets) is free, and you can often watch artisans making their handmade items.
Traveling around is affordable, as well. The local mini buses cost around $0.50 USD for a 9-mile trip. Taking a big bus to areas outside the city can cost about $12 for a 3-hour trip.
2. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is a safe and friendly country that provides incredible scenery and adventure. Located about 7000 miles north of the equator in Central America, the weather is warm all year round.
It has over 900 miles of coastline on both the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea, so relaxing (for free!) on pristine beaches should definitely be part of your itinerary.
Costa Rica is not as cheap as some of the neighboring countries, but you can experience the splendor of Costa Rica on a tight budget if you plan well.
A lot of Americans have relocated to Costa Rica, so you’ll save money if you choose local restaurants and hotels instead of ones that cater to tourists and expats.
With $100 USD, you can get around 57,430 Costa Rica colones.
You’ll find plenty of delicious food at local restaurants for far less than what you would pay in the States. A popular bakery chain offers a sandwich and a soda for under $2 USD. Local restaurants (not higher-priced ones that cater to tourists) offer a good-sized meal for around $3.50.
There are so many options for lodging, even in small towns. Airbnb is always an option. You can rent inexpensive, one-room bungalows or you can opt for a room in a fancy 400-room 5-star hotel. It’s not hard to find good lodging for under $35/night. If you don’t mind staying at someone’s house, there are even cheaper options available on the website couchsurfing.com.
Take a hike in one of the many national parks to see lush rainforest plants and exotic animals like sloths, monkeys, anteaters, and tapirs. Entrance fees typically range from $1 – $12 USD.
Many towns set up farmers markets on the weekends, and it’s free to walk around and check out all the local, handmade items. Renting a bike to explore on your own is cheaper than hiring a guide or renting a car. You can rent a bike in most places for less than $15 a day.
3. South Africa
South Africa is a great place to visit because there are so many diverse people here. The fact that there are 11 national languages should give you an idea of how diverse the population is, and that doesn’t include all the international visitors who pour into the country every day.
In addition to a diverse population, it has stunning natural beauty as well as plenty of wildlife refuges, national parks, and game reserves. You can see elephants, antelopes, giraffes, leopards, and more in their natural habitats, which sure beats going to your local zoo and seeing them in a small, artificial cage.
$100 USD will get you around 1300 South African Rands.
Prices in Cape Town and Johannesburg are generally much higher than other cities, so to get the most for your money, you might consider staying elsewhere, like Pretoria.
You can eat a hearty meal at a restaurant for less than what you’d pay in America. Typically, you can get a meal that includes a steak, a vegetable, and a drink for under $9 USD. As always, if you steer clear of restaurants that cater to tourists, you’ll be able to eat well on a budget.
Lodging costs vary widely depending on location, but again, there are plenty of options for budget seekers. In South Africa, there are places called “backpackers” which are similar to hostels. Some of them are surrounded by incredible scenery, and the cost to stay at them ranges from $7 – $50/night.
Thailand is a wonderfully exotic destination that offers picture-perfect beaches, lush jungles, amazing animals, historical ruins, and interesting nightlife (in the cities).
$100 USD will get you around 33 Thai Baht.
There are an incredible array of options for housing and food, especially in the big cities of Bangkok and Chiang Mai. You can rent a room for as little as $5/night or opt for upscale hotels that charge several hundred dollars per night. You can easily find a decent hotel for around $30/night.
You can eat delicious food without breaking the bank, as well. The street vendors offer plenty of choices for $1-2 USD. A meal at an inexpensive restaurant costs around $1 – $3 USD. A combo meal at McDonald’s will cost you around $4.50 USD. A meal at a gourmet restaurant costs between $10 – $16 USD.
You have several inexpensive options for getting around inside the city, including taxis (starting at $1 and going up from there), trains ($0.70 – $1.30 each trip), buses (under $1 each trip), motorcycle taxis ($0.30 – $0.70 per ride), or tuk-tuks ($1+).
Travelling around inside the country also offers a lot of inexpensive options. A 10-hour bus ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai can cost around $12 USD. Trains and planes are other options. If you get a deal, you can get a plane ticket from Bangkok to Phuket for under $25 USD. A 12-hour train ride from Bangkok to Chiang Mai will set you back a measly $40 USD.
There are so many attractions to visit, but entrance fees are affordable. It costs a little over $8 to get into the Grand Palace in Bankgkok, and other museums and sights have entrance fees ranging from $1 – $13 USD.
Vietnam is the perfect exotic destination for people who want a phenomenal experience without spending a fortune. Nestled in southeast Asia by Cambodia, China, and Thailand, it offers incredible scenery, friendly people, great weather, and exotic food.
With $100 USD, you’ll have about 2,273,245 Vietnamese Dong.
Lodging is much less here than in other places. You can easily get a hotel for under $25/night. In Hoi An, you can get a room at a 4-star waterfront hotel for $45/night.
There are several options to get around, and public transportation provides the best value. There are buses, taxis, motorcycle taxis, bicycle rickshaws (called cyclo’s), boats, and planes. Taxis are amazingly affordable, costing around $0.66 per kilometer (0.6 miles).
Taking a city bus gets confusing (you’ll need to get yourself a map), so many people opt for a taxi instead. A cyclo costs around $0.67 for a short ride and about $1.80 for a long ride.
Food can be quite inexpensive or expensive, depending on where you choose to eat. You can get a bowl of Pho soup or a bahn mi sandwich for $0.67 – $1.10. Street vendors offers lots of tasty choices for less than $1 USD. Bangkok is a major international city, so there is something here for every flavor and every budget.
There are so many places to visit and things to see, but entrance fees to most places are very inexpensive. Most museums charge less than $1 to get in. The impressive Buddhist temples are free to get in and walk around. There are more expensive options, of course. A ticket to a fancy opera house will set you back around $8.50. It’s free to explore the fascinating open-air markets where you can see handmade items from local artisans.
It is possible to get away and have an incredible overseas vacation even when you don’t have a lot of money to spend.
These 5 countries offer plenty of things to do, see, eat, and experience without spending a ton of money. Of course, airfare to reach your destination may be the costliest part, but even so, diligent online planning can save you plenty of money on airfare, as well.
Choose somewhere that’d you love to visit and just get online and start finding information about it. Read advice from the budget travelers who have already been there, and heed their tips and tricks. Then, make a plan and go on that adventure that you thought you would get to “someday”.
This post was written by Michele Swensen, a mother and a blogger who loves to travel. You can see her latest article at http://www.welovecostarica.com/10-valuable-wedding-photography-tips-need-know/.