There are many beautiful and exciting places to travel to in 2023.
Here are some suggestions:
The world is full of affordable destinations, and it doesn’t require much effort to find them. No matter what continent, there are always places you can visit on a budget — even countries we think of as expensive are quite budget-friendly if you know certain tips and tricks.
No destination is really ever “too expensive.”
After 12 years as a frugal budget traveler and, in light of the release of my new book, today I want to talk about my favorite budget travel destinations.
These destinations are my favorite countries and regions for getting the most value for your money, meeting friendly locals and travelers, eating well, and having fun. If you’re looking to travel on a low budget and wondering where you should go, here are the 10 best and cheapest places to travel internationally
Most of us imagine Pacific Island destinations as expensive destinations filled with high priced resorts, food, and services. However, that’s not always the case. Fiji, unlike its expensive island neighbors and sharp marketing by Fiji water, is actually relatively cheap to visit. While there are many $1,000-a-night resorts in the country, you can manage to enjoy pristine beaches, world-class diving, tasty seafood, and friendly locals without having to mortgage your home.
Since Fiji is a stopover on Fiji Airlines, you’ll find a lot of flight deals to the country. Many backpackers take advantage of that and a small backpacker community has emerged. That means cheap guesthouses, transportation, and activities, especially in the popular Yasawa Islands.
Even if you’re not a backpacker, you can take advantage of all these deals and save money. Fiji is one of the best budget destinations in the region and not to be missed.
Want to roam ancient ruins, trek through the jungle, surf, and eat delicious food with few tourists around? Visit the smaller countries in Central America — think El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Here you will find most budget hotels for around $15 per night, meals for $3, most bus journeys for the same price, and beer for less than a dollar.
Belize, Panama, Costa Rica – these are expensive destinations by regional standards. If you visit the central Central American countries, you can get by on $40 a day as a backpacker or splash up to $60 a day and live large. Your money goes really far in this part of the world.
While you could put all of Southeast Asia on the list, Cambodia is one of my favorite countries in the region — it’s affordable, beautiful, and the locals are incredibly hospitable. You can get a private, air-conditioned room for $20 USD, street food for $2, and transportation across the country for $20. If you are spending close to $50 a day, you are living large. It’s way cheaper than all its neighbors, just as beautiful, and filled with some of the nicest people in the world. It’s one of the cheapest backpacking destinations in the world!
China has fascinated travelers ever since Marco Polo traversed the Silk Road. While the days of China being a super-cheap destination are long gone, the country remains a budget destination – and one of the cheapest in Asia – but with a caveat. You need to get out of the big cities. Sure, the cities are still a bargain. Hostels cost less than $20 a day, food is $2-5 per meal, and local transportation in cities runs less than a dollar. But, the country becomes even cheaper, when you get off the beaten path and the interior. This is where you’ll find the best travel deals and bargains! China still remains one of the best value places in the world.
While always a cheap country, the Indian rupee used to ride high at 39 rupees to the US dollar. Now, you get 73 rupees to the dollar — that’s nearly 50 percent more money to travel with. Unless you book five-star resorts and eat only Western meals, you’ll find it hard to spend $50 a day here. You can get by on closer to $30 by staying in cheap guest houses, taking second-class trains, and avoiding Western food. India is a cheap backpacking destination – heck, just a cheap travel destination – with a rich cultural history, top class food, helpful and curious locals, incredible regional diversity, great tea, and a lot to do. It’s a gigantic place best either explored in either one large trip or a few smaller chunks. Either way, don’t miss India.
You spend a lot of your time planning quarterly meetings, booking appointments, and arranging your day-to-day life; why not plan your ultimate vacation as well?
When you’re completely overwhelmed by the amount of work on your plate, I find that planning a vacation offers incredible benefits for your mental health, including reduced stress and a happier state of mind. By planning early, and giving yourself something to look forward to in the coming months, you may be better equipped to tackle the demands of everyday life.
Here’s how planning your next vacation can boost your mental health, and keep you inspired during the months preceding your vacation time.
In my decades of experience, I’ve spoken to many students and employees about how difficult it can be to maintain perspective during busier times of the year. When you’re working to meet your deadlines, you can occasionally forget that you need time to reset, relax, and enjoy more of your time with family, friends, and loved ones.
Although I talked about what unplugging from the virtual world can do for you in my previous blog, planning for a relaxing getaway can put you in a better frame of mind. If you focus on something positive, and on something that you can look forward to, you may feel less like you’re “going through the motions” and are instead working towards something positive in your future.
Planning a vacation doesn’t just facilitate better mental health: it has incredible benefits for your physical health as well. Since preparing for a vacation can reduce stress, you may experience some of the health benefits associated with decreased stress levels, including cardiovascular health benefits, lower blood pressure, and increased cognition.
I know how difficult it can be to decompress, especially when your work and personal life become hectic. However, if you start to feel like the burdens of everyday life are becoming too cumbersome, I recommend sitting back, taking a deep breath, and taking a look at some of your favourite travel destinations. Even if you’re not able to take a vacation in the near future, planning your dream vacation can still do wonders for your mental and physical health.
Although the summer is often ideal for many individuals looking to book vacation time. I find that the cooler autumn weather offers a regenerative alternative in planning the perfect getaway. While everyone else is scrambling to find time to get to the cottage, booking for the fall will not only ensure that you’ll have a better chance of getting that time away, it can also give you something exciting to look forward to after the summer is over.
Even if you’re a student, “fall break” is the perfect time to plan for a brief getaway. Many institutions in Ontario are ensuring that students have the opportunity to take a break during October. Which I believe is a big step in facilitating better mental health initiatives for students. If you’re a student, and you’re in a position to plan for a vacation during the first semester, I highly recommend taking advantage of it.
Planning for your vacation, whether it’s your dream getaway, or a brief holiday to relax and reset, is an excellent way to decompress and recharge your focus into something you’ll enjoy. For more tips on how you can use vacation planning as a way of inspiring better mental health habits, contact your Student Assistance Program or Employee Assistance Program provider today.
To some, San Francisco is the quintessential American city, and most first-time visitors discover a similar feeling upon leaving. The tumultuous roller coaster of the city’s history, tied in closely with the history of the United States, has created a mecca of modernism and tradition, revolution and reaction, sassy style and sophistication.
San Francisco began as the Spanish colony of Yerba Buena, followed soon thereafter by the California Gold Rush, which exploded the city’s population nearly 25-fold within a year. An earthquake followed by the Great Fire nearly destroyed the entire city in 1906. Since San Francisco’s early city hood it has been a mosaic melting pot of Chinese, Japanese and Italian immigrants (to name a few), many of whom were held at Angel Island, the West’s own Ellis Island equivalent. Today you can catch a ferry out to the historic island which is now a beautiful park suited for most outdoor recreation including cycling and jogging.
It’s Got That Groovy Feeling
San Francisco has been a bastion of social movements and progressive thinkers over the last century. Although it may not be the Summer of Love anymore, this city is still a product of its Hippie parents, civil rights protests and beatnik artist generation – as well as the dot-com boom and burst that came in the late 90s.
The Critical Mass ride on the last Friday of each month is true to form for San Francisco. Hundreds of bicyclists gather and ride a route through the city streets to a predetermined destination to claim their rights to the streets (make sure you are not driving that day!). A walk through The Castro, the predominantly gay and artsy neighborhood, is also a must do. You will find exquisite boutique stores, antique book shops and some excellent independent movie theaters.
Sea, See and Scene
The sights in San Francisco are just as diverse (and just as groovy) as its history. Discover the rugged terrain and map out the seascape of San Francisco from atop Telegraph Hill, where Coit Tower stands as a former beacon to sailing ships. From here you can drop easily down into North Beach where Fisherman’s Wharf is buzzing with street performers, sea lion shows, and some delicious seafood. Golden Gate Park, larger than Central Park, is an escape in many different forms with its numerous gardens, exhibits and memorials – you can even encounter some roaming bison!
Sophistication is certainly everywhere you so desire it. San Francisco’s ballet, symphony, opera and theater rank the city’s performing arts on a level unparalleled. Dining in San Francisco is as good as it gets, with superb Chinese, Vietnamese, French and Californian inspired fare. For dessert, take a visit to Ghirardelli Square; the famous chocolatier was founded in this American city. Or, head to Citizen Cake after the opera as they are the self-proclaimed “best dessert in the world.”
North America’s oldest and largest Chinatown
With more than one hundred restaurants, Chinatown owes no small part of its fame to the great delicacies that can rarely be found outside this part of town. There is something about the ambiance and atmosphere, the smells, sights, and sounds that make the food that much more appealing to the average diner.
Chinatown is made up of 8 streets: Clay, Commercial, Grant, Jackson, Pine, Sacramento, Stockton, and Washington; and 11 alleys: Beckett, Hang Ah, Joice, Old Chinatown Lane, Ross, Spofford, Stark, St. Louis Place, Walter U. Lum Place, Waverly, and Wentworth. Tucked in the nooks and crannies of these streets and alleyways, you will find herbal shops, gift shops, restaurants, and all of the many sights and sounds that make the Chinatown area of San Francisco a truly unique travel destination.
Chinatown is really a great place to explore while visiting San Francisco. Make sure you have plenty of time to explore the roads and alleys and that you bring a healthy appetite with you. If you have little ones in your life, whether they are making this trip with you or you are going solo, you will find that there are plenty of goodies to buy as souvenirs that will provide both delight and challenge.
Top Five Freebies for San Francisco
1. Golden Gate Bridge. This is a favorite among tourists for many reasons. One of those reasons is the fact that it is one landmark that belongs only to San Francisco. It is uniquely a part of this city and represents, for many, your entire trip. Another reason is that there are so many ways to get there. I recommend walking and if you’re up for it, try one of the guided walking tours-this will provide valuable background information about the bridge as well as insuring that you don’t get lost on the way.
2. Golden Gate Park. This park is larger than New York’s Central Park and in my opinion equally grand. There is so much to do and see in Golden Gate Park that you could spend a good portion of your vacation here alone.
3. Cable Car Museum. Kids of all ages will find this museum interesting, especially big and little boys. This museum definitely offers a great deal of education and excitement for the family. In addition to learning about these neat cable cars which have become a trademark of San Francisco transportation. This is one museum I would pay to go to, the fact that it is free is a bonus that I can’t resist and the primary reason it is on this particular top ten list.
4. Walking Tours of San Francisco. These free walking tours are not only entertaining; they are also very informative as well. Learn about the history of the neighborhoods that this city is famous for as well as the great people who rebuilt a grand city, literally from the ashes of what it once was and made it even better. San Francisco has a wonderful story to tell and these guides narrate it wonderfully.
5. San Francisco Botanical Gardens. The climate of San Francisco provides a unique atmosphere that allows the growth and maintenance of plants from around the world. As a result the San Francisco Botanical Gardens offers a look at plants that are rare almost anywhere else on earth. The Gardens are 55 acres and host more than 7500 plants from around the world.
FInd your perfect vacation to San Francisco HERE
Even if you’ve started flying only recently, you might have guessed that all seats are not equal. Everyone knows that being in the middle seat sucks: you don’t get to admire the view as easily as the window seat and can’t get a trouble-free access to the restroom as the aisle seat does. And I don’t even mention the lack of space should your lucky neighbors also steal your armrests.
Websites like Seat Guru will show you reviews of seats on the very plane you’re planning to take, as well as where to find USB ports and power outlets – yes, some airplanes do have those, even though it seems like it’s never yours. If you’re a first-time flyer, my tip is to choose the seat that will help you overcome your fear of flying.
By the way, some airplane builders have heard you and are starting to improve the middle seat!
Fear the crowd? When you’re flexible on your schedule and don’t mind a late departure, consider a red-eye flight. It takes off at night (between 9 pm and 7 am) and is generally way less packed than the others. There might be even fewer people for a flight early in the morning: most people don’t want to wake up early enough to be at the airport around 5am, even though you don’t need to arrive too early at the airport.
But that’s not the only benefits of flying by night. Taking such a flight can turn out to be much cheaper as well. Plus, imagine the awesome night pictures that you’ll be able to post on your Instagram to prove how cool a traveller you are.
Most airlines let you check your flight status online – this way, you will know in advance if it is delayed or canceled – which doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go check-innonetheless!
My expert tip? Download App in the Air before leaving. It lets you track your flight and will update you in the case that there is a change. You also get tips from the travelers’ community, from the best restaurants or places to charge your phone at the airport.
A very good alternative is Flio. With their comprehensive airport maps, you’ll find everything you need right away. By experience, it will save you the hassle of looking for the toilets with a full bladder during your layover. The app also gives you access to great deals for food shopping. And considering the prices at the airport, that’s not negligible…
Discover some more of the best travel apps!
Want the best tip to get free WiFi at the airport? Keep reading, I’m telling you everything further down!
Remember the time when you had to take 63 screenshots of the map to make sure you’ll know how to go to your destination once you land? That was yesterday. Maybe even the day before that.
Google Maps now lets you download and access registered maps offline. If you don’t have free WiFi when you land, that could come in handy.
My top favorite app for this though is Maps.Me. Once you’ve downloaded the map of the desired location, it works completely offline and is extremely detailed. Also a useful feature the app boasts is to let you add pins to remember a place you’ve been or want to go to.
Just like this, but in your phone
It might not seem like it, but it’s a great airport hack to save money. I mean, for 12€ the chicken sandwich, I’d expect the rest of the chicken with roasted potatoes! If you’re a frequent flyer you’re familiar with the overpriced airport salespoints.
Bring your own sandwich, nuts and cereal bars, candy and other fruits, if you’re on a budget. Our favorite food and travel bloggers have a few tips of their own to give you inspiring ideas for a snack at the airport.
It doesn’t look so complicated, even I could do it at home!
This is by far one of my most precious items when I travel. When you see a large group of people at the airport, they are either queuing for the security check or have found a charging station. In any case, you don’t really want to go there.
Instead, buy a portable charger. They’re available to every budget, just make sure that it’s powerful enough to charge your phone completely at least once. You’ll find the device to be useful not only at the airport but also during your flight (if you forgot to charge your phone before leaving) or even during your trip: it’s not always easy to find a place to charge your electronics.
It’s one of my favorite travel hacks, also among my top picks of items to take with you for every flight. You can put your sandwich there, or your other snacks.
I used them to store my electronic devices and make sure that even if there’s a leak somewhere, my phone and laptop will be safe.
The best use of Ziploc I’ve seen so far? Put your clothes inside: it saves an incredible amount of space and guarantees they’ll reach the destination dry.
For some more genius travel hacks, check out what BuzzFeed compiled from Instagram.
I already detailed all the reasons why you should check-in online, but the one that you need to remember is: it’s an easy airport tip that will save you an incredible amount of time, especially if you’re only traveling with a carry-on.
Otherwise, you’ll still have to go to the counter and queue up. While some airports have a “luggage only” line which is faster than the regular check-in counter, it’s unfortunately not always the case. You should still check-in online though: it gives the airline a signal that you are more likely to show-up for your flight. This way, they probably won’t overbook the flight and deny you boarding.
Section W, level 3, parking C1… If you want to spare yourself the struggle with the parking lot’s architecture when searching for your car on the way back, just take a couple of pictures after parking and you won’t need to remember the details. Again, it’s a simple airport tip that might save you time on the way back.
But if you ARE coming by car, I strongly suggest that you look for cheaper parking before leaving. In the US, I recommend Discount Park & Ride, and Looking4parking for Europe. You can save so.much.money. by using these services.
Most airports grant you a free WiFi access. Some of them will let you connect for free only for a limited time though. And some will ask for a password which you obviously don’t know.
Now imagine a world where you’d have access to all WiFi passwords of airports around the world… Well, the map below grants you that wish. Just select the airport and you’ll find the associated password. You’re welcome!
The awkward moment when two other passengers from the same flight have the same luggage…
If you don’t fancy opening your luggage in front of everyone to prove that this is indeed your luggage, make yours stand out from the rest. Wrap something on the handle, add a ClaimCompass sticker, purposefully break a zipper (don’t): anything to identify it right away on the conveyor.
I would claim it mine even if it’s not and run away. So. Cool.
Be sure to verify your luggage allowance before leaving. But if you forgot and it turns out that you’re a little bit over the limit, wait a second before paying the ridiculously high extra fees (as though paying more would make the plane lighter anyway…).
Instead, put on a few more clothes from your luggage or put the heavy objects in your pockets as much as possible. That’s what I call a last-resort airport tip. Again, in the end, everything will get on the plane and it makes no difference whatsoever to the final weight of the plane, but let’s try to comply with the rule.
Another sneaky trick is to ask for a plastic bag in one of the many shops at the airport. Put you extra stuff inside and the agents at the gate will simply assume that it’s a purchase that you just made. Is it cheating? Let’s rather call it a payback deception.
Language: Thai is the local language, although all young people are taught basic English at school, and many signs are written in English.
Currency: Thai Baht is the local currency, exchanging at around 37 baht per 1 GBP.
Credit Cards and Banks: ATMs are common. While most places accept credit cards, it is wise to use cash where possible as card fraud can be a big problem.
Climate: Bangkok is hot and humid throughout the year, with average highs above 90 degrees (Fahrenheit) and lows around 70 degrees (F) throughout the year. April is the hottest month, September is the wettest and December is the coldest.
Rainy Season: Rain is most common between May and October, meaning most visitors come between November and April.
Culture: It’s considered crude to eat directly off a fork. It’s customary to use a fork to push food onto a spoon and eat from that. Also be sure to cover up your elbows and knees when visiting temples out of respect!
Water: Don’t drink the tap water, stick to bottles.