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Affordable world travel: Travel is one of the most common financial goals, and saving more money obviously gives you more flexibility when planning your next trip. Your budget may not permit you to travel to your dream destination, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find opportunities to travel.
Taking a vacation at least once each year leads to a number of important benefits for our physical and mental health, so you should try to make room for travel regardless of your financial situation. This article will cover some of the best destinations to target on a limited budget.
Our Top Destinations for Affordable World Travel:
#1: South Korea: Best for Affordable World Travel
Most people think of Japan or China when considering a trip to eastern Asia, but South Korea provides many of the same amenities along with a much lower cost of living. Seoul’s Incheon International Airport offers flights from a variety of locations worldwide, so it’s also a relatively accessible destination.
While traveling from the United States to east Asia can be an expensive flight, you’ll spend much less money after landing in South Korea. You can find high-quality dinners well under $10 along with hotels, vacation rentals, and hostels at better rates than in the US or many European countries.
Seoul is South Korea’s largest city and the nation’s main tourist hub, but you can explore other regions of the country if you’re interested in getting away from typical tourist destinations. As in most countries, costs continue to fall as you go further from Seoul and other major cities.
#2: Eastern Europe
Europe is typically considered a more expensive destination, and the cost of living is extremely high in many European cities including London, Paris, and Berlin. On the other hand, you’ll spend a lot less money to travel in a variety of other European countries, and eastern European nations have a rich and unique history that most Americans don’t know as much about.
While you’ll save a significant amount of money by traveling to less common tourist destinations like Croatia and Slovenia, costs fall even further if you go to a country further east such as Bulgaria or Ukraine. In contrast, countries closer to the Atlantic Ocean generally have a high cost of living.
Some people think they won’t be able to get the same experience that’s available in more well-known tourist destinations, but there’s a lot to do in eastern Europe. Spending less on transportation, food, and lodging also allows you to extend your stay.
Europe also offers relatively affordable rail services throughout the continent, so you can spend some time in a number of different cities rather than staying in the same location for the entire trip. 15-day Eurorail passes, for example, cost $870 and allow you to travel an unlimited number of times during that period.
Eastern Europe is an obvious destination for people on a tight budget, but Portugal is another great option if you’re set on staying in the western part of the continent. Portugal borders Spain and provides convenient access to many popular countries in western Europe.
Lisbon is Portugal’s largest city and its most popular tourist destination, but prices are obviously lower in other areas of the country. Whether you’re looking for nightlife, nature, history, or something else, you’ll be able to find it somewhere in Portugal.
Hostels are an easy option for affordable housing, and you can find low-cost hostels in every major city in Portugal. You’ll also have the chance to try a variety of new foods, learn about Portuguese history, and experience some of the best natural beauty in any country on this list.
India is one of the most populous countries on Earth, and there’s far more to see than you could cover in a single trip. Its cost of living is substantially lower than that of the United States and most European countries, and there are flexible options for nearly every traveler.
Like in many other affordable countries, you’ll probably save a lot of money relative to more conventional destinations even if you pay for nicer accommodations. That said, you can spend $30 per day or even less if you stick to places that primarily target locals and take the time to look for deals.
Since India is so large compared to most other nations in both population and physical size, you can visit it countless times and focus on different locations or activities. On the other hand, you may prefer to compress those into one longer trip, although you’ll likely need at least a few weeks to take everything in.
Mexico has an incredibly vibrant history and a large number of cities, beaches, and historical sites to visit during your stay. In addition to relatively low costs for most items, it’s also much closer to the United States than many of the other countries on this list.
With that in mind, Mexico may be a more manageable destination for those with a little vacation time or who don’t want to spend their travel budget on flights across the world. Mexico City, for example, is a cheap flight from many American airports and the largest city in North America.
Of course, your stay in Mexico doesn’t have to be limited to common tourist destinations like Mexico City and expensive resorts. From historical sites to the country’s smaller towns, you can spend a few days, weeks, or even months exploring everything Mexico has to offer.
If you’re interested in visiting more than one country, you could also extend your stay by traveling throughout Central America. Many Central American countries have even lower costs of living than that of Mexico, and each one has its own unique character that you won’t find anywhere else.
We often think of world travel as only for the rich, but it’s actually within reach for a much wider range of people. These are just a few of the countless worthwhile destinations should consider visiting if you’re planning to travel on a smaller budget.
Logan Allec, CPA
Founder, Money Done Right
Logan is a CPA, personal finance expert, and founder of the finance blog Money Done Right, which he launched in July 2017. After spending nearly a decade in the corporate world helping big businesses save money, he launched his blog with the goal of helping everyday Americans earn, save, and invest more money.