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.
2. Central America
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.
Planning Your Vacation For Your Mental Health
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.
A better sense of wellness
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.
Physical health benefits
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.
Planning ahead is key
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.