We all want to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, but not everyone wants to foot the expensive bill that comes with that journey. To combat pricey travel experiences, we’ve compiled a list of the best budget destinations on every continent. Now all that’s left for you to do is choose which one to visit next.
British Columbia, Canada
For gorgeous views that won’t break the bank, head to the Great White North. Canada’s westernmost province, British Columbia, is home to a host of natural wonders like the Canadian Rockies and Whistler, and thriving metropolitan areas like Vancouver and Victoria. But, for the purposes of this budget-friendly trip, we’re directing you to Kootenay National Park. You probably haven’t heard of this gorgeous expanse of land before, but chances are that, after you visit, you won’t be able to stop talking about it. For fantastic weather and even more beautiful views, visit between May and September. If you’re a fan of camping (or you’re simply willing to brave the great outdoors for a few days), you can do Kootenay on an even smaller budget. While traversing the area’s towering peaks and flowering meadows, you’ll spend very little money but feel as though you’ve seen it all.
Visitors to South America may be alarmed at the high costs of neighboring destinations in Brazil and Argentina, but Uruguay offers a unique cultural experience for just a fraction of the cost. While the country itself boasts crystalline coastlines and colorful cities, Montevideo — the capital — is the perfect introduction to the country. Traverse the historic downtown area and photograph the mix of neoclassical and art deco buildings before taking in a show at one of Montevideo’s numerous theaters or dancing the night away at a tango bar. With the capital as your base, it’s easy to explore the rest of Uruguay’s destinations, including Punta del Este, Colonia, and surrounding wine countries.
Slovenia is one of Europe’s best-kept secrets. Nestled between Hungary, Austria, Italy, and Croatia, this relatively small country is home to a variety of stunning landscapes that range from mossy mountains to turquoise-blue lakes. And it’s a budgeter’s paradise. We recommend starting your Slovenian adventure in Bled, a location that will take your breath away. Surrounded by alpine peaks and featuring glassy Lake Bled as its focal point, this town is beautiful year-round and boasts one of the longest vacation seasons in the Alps. From there, explore the country’s capital, Ljubljana, and the Slovenian Coast — just don’t forget to bring your camera along!
While Southeast Asia has received its fair share of tourists in recent years, Nepal’s borders have been traditionally traversed by hopeful climbers looking to conquer the tallest peak in the world. This trend is changing, however, as the country opens itself to more traditional forms of tourism. Nepal is a welcoming, unique, and deeply peaceful place, and its cities reflect just that. Located in central Nepal on the edge of Phewa Lake, Pokhara is the epitome of laid-back. If you’re lucky, your trip to Pokhara will include a room with a (spectacular) view of the surrounding snow-capped mountains. If you’re in the mood for a little adventure yourself, Pokhara has that as well — the locale is both a paragliding hotspot and a haven for white-water rafting.
This tiny country in southeastern Africa is known for its big heart. Long regarded as one of the continent’s friendliest countries, Malawi is a hub of adventure and budget backpacking. Start your trip in the nation’s capital, Lilongwe, and be sure to explore the differences between the Old and New Towns. From there, make your way to Lake Malawi for a stunning escape. Framed by sandy coastlines and smooth turquoise waters, the lake offers a variety of activities for visitors, including wildlife watching, swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving. For those who aren’t necessarily interested in sports, the region still offers vibrant culture in the nearby towns and incredibly scenic views of the surrounding landscapes.
While the pristine islands of Fiji may seem inaccessible to many travelers, both geographically and monetarily, this collection of islands is easier to visit that you think. A trip to the paradise of Fiji can be affordable if you stick to a few rules. Visit a single region — the islands are divided into two: Mamanuca and Yasawa — and accept ahead of time that you will likely not visit every island in that region if you’re adhering to a budget. From there, be mindful that accommodation rates will vary enormously, though even the cheapest hostels are generally well-managed and hospitable. Let the gorgeous environs of Fiji entertain you — after all, enjoying the sun, sand, and surf is free!
Did we miss your favorite budget destination? Let us know in the comments below.