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10 Budget-Friendly Destinations to Visit in 2020

penguins in Cape Town South Africa

Choosing a new travel destination can be quite the task if you’re on a budget. Oftentimes, people consider travel to be expensive and tend to overestimate costs. But, let me tell you… I usually travel on a budget and I get to visit countries across the world without breaking the bank! And since I want you to get out there and travel the world, too, I’m sharing this list of budget-friendly destinations in hopes that it will help you plan your next trip! Hope you enjoy!

10 Budget-Friendly Destinations to Visit in 2020!

PLEASE NOTE:

– This information is based solely on my experiences and research. Results may vary.

– The flight fares will vary depending on when and where you depart from.

– The fares I provided are based on flights departing from SFO or LAX, booked 3-4 months in advance.

– Everyone’s preferred accommodation varies, therefore, lodging prices will depend on your choice of comfortability.

– The prices listed is what worked for me, others might require more or less.

With that in mind, let’s jump right in!


Boats in Thailand, Phi Phi Islands - budget destination

Thailand

Whenever I think budget, I think of Thailand. This country is ridiculous cheap and inexpensive to travel. I visited about 3 years ago and I backpacked through the entire country for 3 weeks with a budget of only $1300, including my flight ticket!!

Aside from Thailand being so cheap, it is also beautiful and culturally rich! The country has so much to offer! You can head south and find gorgeous, pristine beaches, go island hopping, and attend the Full Moon Festival. Or, you can go north and go mountain trekking, river rafting, and visit as many temples as you can find. There’s so much to see and experience!

Currency Exchange Rate: $1 USD = 30 Thai Baht (I mean…WHAT?!)

Suggested daily budget: $25-$35 USD

Average flight ticket: $480 USD but you can find it as low as $420 if you have patience and take all the right steps. I have a quick guide on my instagram highlights if you want to know the best way to book flights.

Average price for a guesthouse: $8 – $13 USD/night

Average price for a meal: $1 – $2 USD

Pro Tip: don’t book your stays in advance unless it’s an inexpensive AirBnb. Instead, research where you want to stay and show up in person to reserve. Have a list of backups just in in case there’s no vacancy. If you book in advance you will be charged more!


Cusco Peru plaza - budget travel

Peru

You’ll want to head to Peru to see Machu Picchu, obviously! But there’s so much more to experience in Peru. From sand dunes, to beachside cities, to the Amazonian jungle, and colorful, vibrant mountains — there’s something for everyone!

Peru is pretty affordable and has reasonable priced tours. Your trip to Machu Picchu will probably be one of the most expensive activities you partake on, but only if you choose to take the train instead of hiking. Other than that, you should be all set on budgeting.

Currency Rate: $1 USD = $3.31 Peruvian Sol

Suggested daily budget: $30 – $50 USD

Average flight ticket: $580 if you don’t mind having a layover

Average price for an Airbnb: $25 – $30 USD/night

Average price for a meal: street food will cost you $1 – $2 USD, restaurant meals will be $7 – $10 USD.

Pro Tip: book tours once you have arrived to the country (except for Machu Picchu), they’ll be much cheaper than online prices.


Check out my Peru Travel Guide here!


beach sunset in Cape Town South Africa - budget travel destinations

Cape Town, South Africa (and nearby regions)

One of my favorite places in the world and for good reason! You can find beaches with penguins, iconic mountains to hike, cliffs to overlook the city, safaris, sunsets like no other, food markets, and trendy spots in every corner! South Africa is a literal dream…and guess what?! It’s pretty affordable!!

Currency Rate: $1 USD = 14.61 South African Rand

Suggested daily budget: $35 – $45 USD

Average flight ticket: $800 USD

Average price for an affordable Airbnb: $38 – $50 USD/night

Average price for a budget meal: $8 – $12 USD

Pro Tip: Lion’s Head Mountain, Boulders Beach (with African penguins), Table Mountain, beach huts in Muizenberg, colorful neighborhoods like Bo-Kaap, and many other activities are either free or super cheap!! Make sure not to miss them!


Cathedral City Park in Portland Oregon - budget friendly destination

Portland, Oregon

Portland is often overlooked because we are home to cities that are popular world-wide; like New York, Miami, and LA! Therefore, they receive more attention and more visitors. But Portland can be a perfect destination if you’re outdoorsy, a food lover, and on a budget!

You can find super cheap Airbnb stays in Portland and even cheaper activities! The city is surrounded by mountains and parks, which is why most outdoor adventures and nature experiences will be free. The food options are endless, transportation is fairly priced, and Oregon does not tax, so…there’s that!

Suggested daily budget: $45 – $55 USD

Average flight ticket: $120 USD

Average price for an Airbnb: $35 – $40 USD/night

Average price for a meal: $12 USD

Pro Tip: Book your Airbnb 3-4 months in advance for even cheaper prices!!


grutas de tolantongo hidalgo Mexico - budget travel destinations

Grutas de Tolantongo, Hidalgo, Mexico

Mexico has some of the most beautiful destinations I’ve ever visited and they are all so cheap — it’s almost too good to be true! But one of my absolute favorites and most affordable is Grutas de Tolantongo. I spent a total of $600 for my entire trip, including the flight ticket! Of course, I traveled to other areas in Mexico since I was already there, but visiting Tolantongo cost me less than when I travel through my home state, California!

I wanted to add Tolantongo specifically because I can’t believe the beauty that I experienced for that amount of money, it was literally magical! BUT… you must know that all of Mexico is inexpensive and there are a ton of beautiful destinations in the country. Here’s a quick list to get you started: Cancun, Tulum, Merida, Veracruz, Puerto Vallarta, Oaxaca, Cabo San Lucas, San Miguel de Allende.

Currency Exchange Rate: $1 USD = $18.69 Mexican Pesos

Suggested daily budget: $25 – $35 USD

Average flight ticket: $250 USD

Average price for an Airbnb: $20 – $35 USD

Average price for a meal: $1 – $3 USD

Pro Tip: Mexico is literally so cheap, there’s no wrong way to do it haha!


Here’s a guide & list of things to know before you visit Tolantongo!


the great Sphinx Cairo Egypt

Egypt

Have you always wanted to visit the Pyramids of Giza but feel like it might be too pricy? Well… it’s not!! The flight might be the most expensive but everything else is cheeeeap cheap cheap!! You’ll get to visit some of the world’s most iconic and historic places and attractions without going broke!

Currency Rate: $1 USD = 15.79 Egyptian Pounds

Suggested daily budget: $25 – $30 USD

Average flight ticket: $650 USD

Average price for a hotel: $26 – $30 USD

Average price for a meal: $2 – $3 USD

Pro Tip: book a tour guide that will help you with everything, including haggling and harassment from salesmen.


New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is one of my favorite places in the US. It has its own charm and unique history, unlike anywhere else in the country. You’ll get to experience Bourbon Street, delicious food, and rich culture, all within a reasonable budget and without even leaving the country!! It’s a win-win!

Suggested daily budget: $60 – $80 USD

Average flight ticket: $250 USD

Average price for an affordable Airbnb: $55 USD

Average price for a meal: $13 USD

Pro Tip: prices for New Orleans are always reasonable except for Mardi Gras season, so avoid visiting in February. Although, I highly suggest you experience Mardi Gras if you’re not on a budget!


Prague tower

Prague, Czech Republic

Eastern Europe can definitely be less expensive than Western Europe, which is why Prague in Czech Republic is a perfect budget destination! It’s full of life, history, castles, towers, orange rooftops that compliment the sunset hues, medieval buildings, cobblestone streets, and a party scene for the young and free! The city is known to be a Disneyland for adults, and to be honest, it’ll probably cost you just about as much as a Disneyland trip to LA (if you don’t live in LA lol)! 

Currency Rate: $1 USD – 22.93 Czech Crowns

Suggested daily budget: $40 USD

Average flight ticket: $430 USD if you fly to London and then to Prague

Average price for a hostel or Airbnb: $43 -$52 USD

Average price for a meal: $7 – $10 USD

Pro Tip: book a hostel that offers breakfast at no extra charge, walk or ride the bus, and don’t spend too much on alcohol.


garden in Marrakesh Morocco, budget friendly places to travel in 2020, cindyycheeks.com

Morocco

Oh Morocco, Morocco! What an extraordinary experience and unforgettable destination. Where do I start? Other than inexpensive, it’s full of color, kitties, dessert, sand dunes, mountains, medinas, camels, riads, religion, and beautiful mosques. I’m really falling short on that list, but man…trust me when I say it is one of the most rewarding destination that will make every cent worth it!

Currency rate: $1 USD = 9.64 Moroccan Dirham

Suggested daily budget: $36 – $40 USD

Average flight ticket: $580 USD

Average price for an affordable riad: $35 – $50 USD

Average price for a meal: $4 – $10 USD

Pro Tip: avoid those instagrammy, touristy hotels and restaurants, they won’t do your wallet any good.


Oahu from above

Hawaii

Common misconception: Hawaii is expensive. Yeah, I used to think that, too. And it can be, if all you do is pay for a resort and never leave the area. BUT…if you book an Airbnb, rent a car, and explore the whole island, then you’ll realize that there are a kazillion free things to do and you really don’t need that much for activities.

Suggested daily budget: $45 -$50

Average flight ticket: $300 USD

Average price for an affordable Airbnb: $55 -$70

Average price for a meal: $15 USD

Pro Tip: rent out an airbnb that has kitchen access and purchase your own groceries, you’ll save a ton on food.


Read more about visiting Hawaii here!


Honorable Mentions 

There are a ton of other budget-friendly travel destinations but I didn’t want to include any that I haven’t visited personally. Either way, I feel inclined to share them with you:

  1. Turkey
  2. India
  3. Indonesia
  4. Cambodia
  5. Colombia
  6. Philipines
  7. Costa Rica

Other helpful tips and reminders…

– Alway keep in mind that the US dollar is one of the strongest currencies in the world, therefore, your dollars will stretch and go a long way in a lot of countries.

– Remember to look up conversion rates!

– Research flights on Skyscanner or Momondo!

– If you travel with a friend then you’ll be able to split lodging costs!

– Get $40 FREE Airbnb credit when you use my code!


There you go! I hope you enjoyed this list and I hope you find it helpful! Let me know what other countries you would add to this list!

cindyycheeks

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