There are countless destinations around the world that make it possible to travel on a budget. These places are safe and easy to explore, and they aren’t hard to find.
One of the best places to see is Central America, where you can enjoy lush jungles, ruins, and volcanoes with very little money spent. You can even stay in hostels for less than $30 USD a night!
1. Hot Springs
If you’re looking for a vacation that’s perfect for couples, families and singles alike, then look no further than Hot Springs, Arkansas. It’s a historic town known for its thermal springs, and it also offers plenty of activities to keep you busy.
You can soak in a mineral pool, visit historic spas, and explore the national park in Hot Springs. The cheapest time to visit is during early December, January and February, when hotels run deals because fewer people are traveling.
For a more luxurious and scenic experience, book yourself into one of the beautiful resorts in the area. These offer breathtaking views of the valley and access to some of the best outdoor activities in the city.
Another popular Hot Springs attraction is the Hot Springs Mountain Tower, a 216-foot-high lattice steel observatory that offers incredible panoramic views of the area. Take the elevator to the top of the tower for a glimpse at Hot Springs far above.
Alternatively, you can head to Funtrackers Family Park, where you can race go karts, play mini golf and have fun with bumper boats. The park also has a gyroscope, arcade games and a snack bar to replenish energy.
Located in Central America, Guatemala is a culturally vibrant and exciting destination for travelers. From its colonial architecture and cobbled streets in Antigua to the Mayan ruins of Tikal, this secluded country is full of surprises.
The tropical rainforests, active volcanoes and mountain lakes offer adventurers a chance to experience the natural world in a new way. You can also trek across the jungle, go zip lining, river rafting or even swim in natural pools.
In the highlands, you’ll find many farms that produce some of the world’s best coffee. You can also visit the ChocoMuseo in Antigua, which explains the process of turning chocolate from cocoa beans into delicious chocolate.
Food is a huge part of life in Guatemala, so it’s worth visiting local markets and haggling for fresh fruit and veggies. It’s also a great place to shop for ethical souvenirs like hand-woven textiles and fair trade coffee beans.
If you’re interested in learning about Mayan culture, consider arranging a day trip to the less touristy town of San Juan la Laguna. It’s home to dozens of women’s cooperatives where Mayan weavers use backstrap looms to create traditional fabrics. You can book a tour through a company such as Casa Flor Ixcaco to learn about their history and to support these artisans.
A sprawling, cosmopolitan country that’s home to one-fifth of the world’s population, China offers travelers plenty of opportunities to experience its enchanting culture and stunning natural wonders. The nation is also renowned for its staggering array of delicious food, its long history of invention, and its ancient martial arts practices.
The world’s third largest nation by territory, China is located in Southeast Asia and borders the Pacific Ocean. The country is surrounded by fourteen countries and two autonomous special administrative regions on its land side, while marine-side neighbors include eight countries.
Its vast territory encompasses rugged plateaus, foothills, and mountains that occupy nearly two-thirds of its surface area. Its terrain is varied and includes a huge desert, a lush tropical jungle, and the highest mountain in the world.
While most tourists go to China for the Great Wall, Forbidden City, and Terracotta Warriors, there’s much more to see here than these highlights. Whether it’s visiting the fanciful and fun-filled Bund in Shanghai or enjoying a canal boat ride at Suzhou, there are plenty of budget-friendly ways to discover the country’s rich heritage.
For an alluring taste of a more traditional way of life, the scenic 83-kilometer-long Li River cruise between Guilin and Yangshuo is a highlight. Mist-covered karst peaks, bamboo groves, and farming villages dot the landscape, and you’ll want to take your time while you’re there.
If you’re looking for a budget-friendly destination that offers plenty of cultural diversity, Laos is the place to go. While it’s not as well-developed as some other Southeast Asian countries, the country is slowly making improvements to its infrastructure and there are a variety of activities to keep you busy.
While the northern mountainous region is a popular choice, there are also many interesting sights to explore in the south of the country. A few highlights include Luang Prabang, where you can explore the ancient temples and relax in a coffee shop on a beautiful riverside terrace.
For the more adventurous, Laos is also a great place for trekking and jungle exploring. You can hike to cliff points, zip-line through thick forests and even sleep in tree houses!
The best time to visit Laos is during the dry season, which runs from November to April. The weather is warm and dry during this period, attracting a lot of visitors from around the world.
If you’re planning on visiting Laos, you should always use your wits and be careful with your belongings. Travel insurance is a good idea to protect yourself from any potential emergencies while on your trip.
Located in mainland Southeast Asia, Cambodia conjures images of ancient temples, timeless ruins and undisturbed beaches. Its magic bewitches travelers across all age groups and interests, from adventure lovers to cultural connoisseurs.
The UNESCO-listed Angkor Archaeological Park is the region’s biggest attraction, but that’s just the start of this fascinating kingdom. Throughout the country, you’ll discover fabled temples, bustling markets and scenic national parks that will enchant even the most jaded traveler.
If you’re looking to get off the beaten path, head for Kampot, a sleepy town featuring charmingly dilapidated French colonial architecture on the Kompong Bay River. Alternatively, rock-climb through the country’s largest cave system with Climbodia or hike up Bokor Mountain for incredible views (cloud cover permitting).
To top it all off, dine at Kep’s waterfront crab market, where you can pick up a fresh, tasty seafood dinner. And don’t miss the Phare Ponleu Selpak, a circus that transforms the lives of local children by providing them with training and performing arts opportunities.
And last but not least, don’t forget to take a boat ride to Rabbit Island to snorkel and enjoy some relaxing beach time. It’s a top-rated activity for travelers and one of the best budget-friendly things to do in Cambodia.
Located in Southeast Asia, the Philippines is a tropical paradise filled with beautiful beaches, wildlife and landscapes. Its 7,000 islands are a natural playground for the active traveler, offering volcanoes and azure lagoons to explore.
There are so many different things to do in the Philippines, from island hopping and swimming with whale sharks to learning to surf. This stunning country is a must visit for travelers looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of daily life.
The Philippines is a cultural mix of East and West, blending centuries of Spanish and US influences with Asian traditions and cuisines. Sophisticated cities like Manila contrast with villages where people still live a traditional way of life.
A great way to immerse yourself in local culture while traveling in the Philippines is to take a jeepney ride. These colorful, noisy vehicles are a popular form of transport and will give you an insight into the local lifestyle as you pass by people going about their daily business.
Another iconic attraction in the Philippines that should be on your bucket list is the Banaue Rice Terraces. These stair-like rice fields have been around for over 2,000 years and have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Hiking the steep, narrow pathways to the secluded coffins is an experience that requires some physical stamina and effort, but will reward you with incredible panoramic views of this magical place.
Georgia is a popular budget destination, with a wealth of cheap accommodation options. If you’re traveling on a budget, consider staying in a hostel rather than a hotel, since they are typically cheaper and come with free Wi-Fi.
If you’re looking for a more luxurious stay, consider booking into a luxury hotel or guesthouse. These properties are usually located in historic districts and are equipped with amenities like private bathrooms, TVs, and coffee/tea makers.
You can also save money by eating at local restaurants instead of dining out in touristy restaurants. A traditional Georgian lunch, including a beer or glass of wine, costs about 20 GEL.
There are also a number of inexpensive activities and attractions in Georgia, such as exploring historical sites. The Atlanta History Center is a popular place to visit, and the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site is also a must-see.
If you’re interested in nature, visit the Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge, a 680-square-mile preserve that is home to diverse species. The refuge also features a range of outdoor activities, such as fishing and hiking. In addition to this, there are many museums and historical sites throughout the state. To learn more about the state’s history, visit the Old Slave Mart Museum in Albany.