CHEAPEST COUNTRIES TO VISIT
“The splendor of luxurious locations has its attraction, however, permits admit it: the extra costly an area is, the extra you need to adapt the duration of your journey and your activities to stretch your dollar.
There is something to be said for traveling to inexpensive countries, where an entire meal in a local restaurant costs as much as a movie ticket back home – or where you can sleep in a nice hotel for what would only get you a bed in a hostel in other places.
Take a look at our list of some of the cheapest countries in different destinations around the world and why you should consider going there.
1. CHEAPEST SCANDINAVIAN COUNTRY: DENMARK
Nyhavn harbor in the center of Copenhagen
The Scandinavian countries are known for being the most expensive destinations in Europe, but if you are determined to visit Northern Europe, there are ways to do it right without spending a fortune.
Of all the Scandinavian nations, Denmark is the cheapest, even though it continues to be pretty steeply-priced as compared to different regions of Europe. To save money on this trip, you’ll need to skip the intense summer season, and probably also spring, as the pleasantly warm weather means many tourists and higher prices. Flight and accommodation prices, however, are up to 40 percent less between September and November, right after the summer crowd has gone home but before the windy cold has arrived.
Denmark additionally gives a terrific manner to save money on meals: bakeries. Forget about paying for expensive meals in your hotel or a tourist restaurant and instead enter a neighborhood bakery away from the central area. Bakeries offer a great budget option for breakfast: Wienerbrød or Danish pastries: fluffy crispy pastries filled with jam or custard.
Most bakeries also sell open-faced sandwiches known as Smørrebrød, which are popular lunch options for locals. Open-faced sandwiches are a slice of rye or rye bread topped with a series of condiments: pickled herring is a popular choice, but you can opt for lighter options like cheese, sliced cucumbers or pickled red cabbage, boiled eggs, and some type of mayonnaise or creamy spread.
In addition, many of Denmark’s most famous attractions are free or very cheap to visit. Watch the changing of the guard ceremony at Amalienborg Castle, visit Hans Christian Andersen’s tomb at Assistens Cemetery, or take a stroll in the gardens of Rosenberg Castle.
The world’s second-oldest amusement park, Tivoli Gardens, charges a fixed admission ticket, but you’ll have free access to all kinds of rides and entertainment areas once inside.
2. CHEAPEST EASTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRY TO VISIT: BULGARIA
Sozopol, Burgas region, Bulgaria
For cheap prices in Europe, few places beat Bulgaria, an unassuming Eastern country that remains well off the beaten track. In the summer, tourists from neighboring countries come to Bulgaria to enjoy the Black Sea at incredibly low prices, but the rest of the year the country is quiet. That means no big crowds, no noise, and no crazy prices for accommodation, food, and admission to attractions.
In reality, the maximum exciting destinations in Bulgaria won’t price you a penny. Sofia, the country’s capital, is an ancient city where you can see Turkish and Byzantine influence, but the real charm of the country can’t be truly discovered until you venture into the countryside. Here, ancient villages stand next to imposing castles atop mountains. In Bulgaria, you can get a daily lift ticket for one-tenth of what you would pay elsewhere in Europe, and hiking trails will take you up mountains as high as the Alps for free.
“To make your journey even extra inexpensive, pass the summertime months at the same time as seashores are crowded and lodges grow their expenses to take benefit of the quick tourist season. Late spring and early autumn are great times to visit, especially if you’re spending time outdoors: the weather is nice, tourists have left (or have not yet arrived), and prices are more than reasonable.
If you’re a winter person, consider Bansko or Razlog, two fantastic skiing areas where you can enjoy the snow on a tight budget.
3. CHEAPEST SOUTHEAST ASIAN COUNTRY TO VISIT: CAMBODIA
Sunrise at Angkor Wat
Cambodia is known primarily for being the home of Angkor Wat, the largest religious monument in the world. Even this world-famous destination is incredibly cheap to visit: you can simply hop on a tuk-tuk (open motorcycle taxi) to get to your destination, buy a temple ticket at the entrance of the first temple, and explore until your heart’s content for just a few cents. When you’re ready to move on, your tuk-tuk driver will take you to the next temple and wait for you. Renting a tuk-tuk for the entire day will cost you the equivalent of a 15-minute taxi ride in New York.
But Cambodia has much more to offer than just stunning ancient temples. The capital, Phnom Penh, is rich in beautiful French colonial architecture, cheap French bakeries (perfect for breakfast or on-the-go snacks), and many temples that are free to visit.
For the price of a Starbucks coffee, you can have a meal at a nice restaurant in Cambodia, and a modern, comfortable room in a beautiful hotel will likely be cheaper than a shared room in a hostel in Europe. Don’t try to save money by drinking tap water, though: that’s a no-no in Cambodia.
To save even more money, come during the off-season, which runs from November to February. This is the high tourist season, and the month when prices go up and crowds increase. Any other time, you’ll find amazing deals everywhere you look.
4. CHEAPEST COUNTRY IN ASIA: NEPAL
Namche Bazar and Mount Thamserku in Nepal
Unless you’re planning a full guided expedition up Everest – which is not a budget undertaking – Nepal is incredibly cheap. Better yet, you can still enjoy a ton of trekking and even climbing for just a few cents. Even mass trekking trips, like an 11-day trek in Langtang Valley, will only cost you a few hundred dollars, a quarter of what it would cost for an Everest Base Camp trek.
Nepal is difficult to visit in the low season, as the months between mid-June and mid-September mean lots of rain, potential flooding, and sometimes dangerous landslides that block trails and make hiking impossible. Additionally, the weather is foggy and cloudy during these months, which means you often have poor visibility and no views of the mountains.
If you’re not heading here for climbing, winter (which runs from mid-December to mid-February) can be a pleasant time to visit, as temperatures often hover around 10 degrees Celsius in the city. Trekking can be tricky in winter due to winter storms and unexpected snow. March to May and from September to November are the best months to visit: you’ll get the best weather and prices are still incredibly low.
There are affordable local guided treks, but double-check that they offer safe trips: you’ll get cheaper prices if you sign up for a trek once you arrive rather than booking in advance. If you’re not going anywhere too technical, you can rent basic gear
5. THE MOST ECONOMICAL NORTH AFRICAN COUNTRY TO VISIT: IS MOROCCO
Morocco is one of those countries that can either cost you a lot of money or be incredibly cheap, depending on the choices you make. For example, visiting the famous Marrakech bazaar in Morocco can become expensive, especially if you’re looking for handmade carpets or painted glass, but if you learn to bargain as if your life depends on it, you’ll leave with some affordable treasures.
First-class intercity train travel in Morocco will cost you about the same as a subway ride in the West. Even better, you don’t need to pay a guide at any of the major attractions, such as the Saadian Royal Tombs or the 12th-century Menara Gardens, as they are easy to discover on your own or with an English-speaking guide included in the ticket price.
For cheap eats, nothing beats local specialties, such as kabab el ghazal, a crescent-shaped cookie filled with almond paste (great as a quick snack), slow-cooked Moroccan stew tagine, or couscous served in many different ways. Sitting down at a restaurant in Morocco often means a higher price, but eating street food or ordering something from a local tea or coffee shop will give you a taste of the real Morocco and save you money at the same time.
If you avoid the high season (November to March), you’ll also find cheaper accommodations. And you can spend a lot of time walking around places like the white and blue Kasbah Oudaias neighborhood in Rabat or the dusty trails on the Rif Mountains without any cost.
Accommodation: Best beach resorts in Morocco
6. THE MOST ECONOMICAL WESTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRY: PORTUGAL
Beautiful bay near Lagos city, Algarve, Portugal
With good bus, tram, and train connections, it’s easy to travel to Portugal without spending much. While Lisbon may be slightly more expensive, eating and having fun anywhere else in the country is very affordable: even famous beach destinations like Camilo Beach in Algarve can be visited with little money if you plan your trip well and don’t need to sleep directly on the beach.
The real high season in Portugal lasts only two months (June and July), so traveling outside of those months will help you find good deals on transportation and accommodation to save even more. Winter is also a great time to visit the city for incredible discounts, especially if you’re heading to the cities: with temperatures around 15 degrees Celsius in January, Portugal is never really cold.
Most of Portugal’s must-see attractions are in Lisbon and Sintra, where you’ll find things like the medieval defensive tower of Belem; the Gothic Monastery of Jeronimos; and the public square Praça do Comércio, surrounded by shops and cafes. These are either free or cost very little.
Sintra is home to numerous palaces and castles, including the stunning medieval Castle of the Moors on top of the hill, which has entrance tickets, but skipping the tours and spending time exploring the gardens is equally stunning and significantly cheaper.
Overall, a visit to Portugal means enjoying local food, walking along the coast, and discovering places of interest, which will keep costs low and allow you to see more of the country on a limited budget.
Accommodation: Best holiday resorts in Portugal.
7. SOUTH AMERICA’S CHEAPEST COUNTRY: BOLIVIA
Flamingos in a Bolivian salt lake
Bolivia is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbors Peru and Brazil, but this country in the heart of the Andean mountain range has an impressive collection of places to discover. Bolivia is a multiethnic country with 36 official indigenous languages and an ecosystem that ranges from the llanos (plains) deserts to the polar mountains of the western Andes.
Many of Bolivia’s most famous places can be visited for free, including Lake Titicaca on the border between Bolivia and Peru (the largest lake in South America); some pre-Columbian archaeological sites; the Laguna Verde salt lake at the foot of a volcano; and Salar de Uyuni, the largest salt flat in the world.
Trekking in the Valle de la Luna is an experience to remember, and the protected area charges no entrance fee: walking through the high stone spires and mountains colored in tones of red, brown, and even dark purple beats almost all desert hikes in the world.
Food, transportation, and accommodation in Bolivia cost a fraction of the prices you will find in other South American countries, and prices are even cheaper during April and May, before the start of the high season.
8. AFRICA’S CHEAPEST SAFARI DESTINATION: UGANDA
Mountain gorilla and baby in Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest Park, Uganda
Kenya and Tanzania are world-renowned as great photographic safari destinations. The Serengeti and Masai Mara reserves have the world’s largest population of elephants, lions, and giraffes. But safari camps are not cheap, and both countries suffer from some civil unrest that often means tourists must take guided tours to see anything outside of the cities, and this means additional expenses that end up making the countries less than affordable.
Uganda, on the other hand, is a safe and stable country with plenty of great animals to spot, plus one very special extra: this is the ultimate destination for gorilla trekking and the last place on earth where you can see large populations of mountain gorillas living free.
There are very strict rules for gorilla trekking, and Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest Park can only be explored in small groups by obtaining a trekking permit and then taking a guided jungle tour. Gorilla trekking permits are not cheap or easy to get (the waiting time can go up to 24 months since there are only a limited number of permits available each year), but a trip here is still very affordable for a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife viewing experience.
To get even better prices, visit between March and May or during October and November. These are the rainiest months, so trekking is more challenging and slippery, but also packages and trekking permits are much cheaper.
9. THE CHEAPEST CARIBBEAN NATION TO VISIT IS: DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Tropical beach in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Caribbean is one of those destinations where using travel packages and all-inclusive stays can sometimes turn out to be cheaper than budgeting on your own, and this holds for the Dominican Republic as well.
If you’re heading to Punta Cana, Puerto Plata, or other major beach destinations, restaurants, and accommodation will be your biggest expenses, as prices skyrocket during high season, which runs from mid-December to mid-April. For sun lovers who don’t mind temperatures in the 30s, it may be convenient to visit in the summer, which is considered low season and significantly cheaper.
Many of the things to see and do in the Dominican
10. CHEAPEST COUNTRY FOR HISTORY ENTHUSIASTS: EGYPT
Camels and the Pyramids of Giza
For those interested in ancient civilizations, many countries around the world are more than affordable. You could go to India to discover the opulence of the Taj Mahal, go to Jordan to see ancient tombs and temples, or fly to Peru to hike among the ruins of the lost city of Machu Picchu.
But Egypt, with its pyramids, Valley of the Kings, Great Sphinx of Giza, and 13th-century BC temples of Abu Simbel, holds a prominent place at the top of the list. Even a limited budget will go a long way in Egypt, where for the price of a movie ticket, you can enter the ancient temples of Abu Simbel, take a full guided tour from the city of Luxor to the Valley of the Kings, or spend several hours sipping incredible hot and sweet local drinks in one of Cairo’s many tea houses.
While you can find affordable accommodations anywhere in Egypt, you can make your trip even cheaper by jumping on a three-night cruise from Aswan to Luxor. At the same price as a couple of movie tickets, you get a place to sleep, some of the best views of temples and monuments on the coast, and often the chance to snorkel or swim in the Nile along the way.
The best tourist attractions in Egypt