Heading out of the country doesn’t need to send your savings account into the red. In fact, there are places you can visit on a budget where you’ll still feel like royalty. Of course, you’ll have to get a bit off the beaten path and explore countries in Southeast Asia or Eastern Europe where the dollar still goes a long way. Here, experts tell us where to get out of town without breaking the bank.
This budget hotspot is full of great deals and a 10-day stay can run under $2,000. “Fly into Bangkok and travel overland from there,” says Rolf Potts, author of Marco Polo Didn't Go There. Islands in the south of the country, like Koh Phi Phi and Koh Samui, have white-sand beaches and deluxe rooms go for as little as $80. Or head north to trek through the jungles and get a peak at some wild life.
Start your trip in Hanoi and travel south through this long, densely populated country on the coast of the Andaman Sea. Bargains are abound from getting custom-tailored clothing in Hoi An to taking advantage of the stylish new restaurants in Ho Chi Minh City. “I'm constantly recommending Southeast Asia to first-time international travelers, since it has great sights, great weather, and great bargains,” says Potts.
Just a 40-minute flight from Bangkok, tourists visit the country to explore Cambodia ’s impressive ancient temples at Ankor Wat. But after spending several days in explorer mode, you can visit Phnom Penh, the capital, to take in the colonial architecture. Whatever you decide, this war-torn country is making a comeback, so it’s only so long before the prices catch up.
Always on the budget IT list, Buenos Aires is a metropolitan city for those on a shoestring budget (think $10 steaks and $4 wine). “The great thing about Buenos Aires is the value,” says Potts who says it’s one of his favorite places to visit. “It's a beautiful city and full of culture.” After touring the capital, checkout the sleepy Mendoza wine region or Iguazú National Park to see the spectacular waterfalls.
This Central American country is a great place to visit for a winter vacation when temperatures in the region are still warm and it’s the dry season. It’s “the perfect winter escape,” says Barone. Besides sleepy colonial towns, there are plenty of natural jewels including volcanoes, picturesque cliffs and rainforest reserves to explore – all for less than $75 per day.
Situated on the coast of the Adriatic Sea, this country is significantly cheaper than it’s more upscale coastal neighbors like Italy. Most visitors flock to Dubrovnik to enjoy the town’s historic city center and a chance to relax by the deep blue water. But there are other places along the coast like Split and Zagreb that are worth exploring too. “Non-Euro eastern European countries like Bulgaria and Croatia are topping my travel wish list these days,” says Barone.
While the country has always been a historical mecca, it’s managed to bypass the high prices associated with never-ending flocks of tourists. There’s nothing like seeing the ancient Giza pyramids in real life or winding through the chaotic streets of Cairo. “Egypt in particular is full of bargains and attractions,” says Potts. It’s “been a tourist hot-spot for…3,000 years now.”
Though Prague is still the country’s main draw, destinations with fewer tourists like Morovia can provide a less crowded and more authentic experience. Easily accessible by air, the country is dotted with mountain wellness resorts and makes for a serene getaway. Once there, taking trains will let you access even the most remote parts of the country.