CHEAP PLACES TO TRAVEL: BUDGET ADVENTURES
One of the most overlooked budget destinations out there is Iran. Backpacking Iran is a truly incredible experience, and Iran is probably the easiest country worldwide to hitch a ride; you will often be invited into homes so you rarely even have to pay for a place to sleep.
Iran is an often misunderstood country and frequently slated in the media, something which continues to anger me. I’ve spent nearly six months in Iran, visiting four times across 2016, 2017 and 2018. My wife is Iranian, I speak some Farsi, and I feel strongly connected to this amazing country. Iran is one of the cheapest countries to visit in the world and is a broke backpacker haven…
With gorgeous Islamic architecture, legendary hospitality, beautiful women, and the stunning island of Hormuz, this is a country which will take your breath away at every turn.
Backpacking across Iran is a truly amazing experience and it’s one of my favorite budget travel destinations in the world. If you’re happy to hitch and to Couchsurf, you can travel here for under $10 a day.
I’ve camped out all over Iran, Couchsurfed with dozens of hosts, hitchhiked thousands of kilometers – the legendary Iranian hospitality means it’s totally possible to travel on a tight budget and Iran is actually a very safe country and is a cheap place to travel in as well! Score. If you’re into hitchhiking, this country is a mecca…
For more inspiration about budget backpacking in Iran, check out these articles:
- Backpacking Iran Travel Guide
- 6 Things Nobody Told Me About Iran
2. Sri Lanka
Somehow, Sri Lanka has slipped off the radar for many budget backpackers. With the ever-increasing popularity of India and Southeast Asia to either side, I expected Sri Lanka to be a little more crowded. Or, maybe just a little better known from folks back home.
What I found there is a country full of landscapes just begging to be explored by foot or train and a smaller community of vibey backpackers spending their holiday hiking mountains or chilling on the pristine beaches.
Okay, so maybe the backpacking route is well-trodden here, but that makes it easy to get to different sections of the island – from where you can set out on your own to find a lesser-known beach or a wild section of jungle.
Some of the best hostels in Sri Lanka will set you back about $7, and you can expect even less for the cheaper sort. Also, the government has announced that it will reduce the cost of flights into and out of the country, making it all the more accessible for budget travelers!
I mentioned those train rides, right? If you can save enough on everything else, splurge on a train ride. Yes, they’re worth it.
For more inspiration about budget backpacking in Sri Lanka, check out these articles:
- The 35 Best Hostels in Sri Lanka
- Ascending Lakegala in Sri Lanka
An easy introduction for backpackers… Nicaragua is a fine cheap place to travel in Central America and makes an excellent quick vacation spot for those on a budget. Nicaragua is a wonderland of volcanic peaks, crazy parties, jungle treks, and Mayan sites.
I spent nearly three months exploring Nicaragua and it’s hands down my favorite budget travel destination in Central America. It’s safe, easy to get around, and has something for everyone.
You can score a room for under $10 a night and expect to eat street food for under a dollar. Alcohol is cheap and the beaches are free! If you’re a first-time budget backpacker, Nicaragua is a solid choice.
Compared with other countries in Central America, like Costa Rica (right next door), Panama, or Belize, Nicaragua is certainly one of the cheapest countries to travel to in all of Central America. A hostel bed in Costa Rica may well cost you double what it does in Nicaragua!
For more inspiration about budget backpacking in Nicaragua, check out these articles:
- Backpacking Nicaragua Travel Guide
- Best Hostels in Granada
- Where to stay in Leon
A popular stop on the backpacker rail, Cambodia is not as cheap a place to travel as it used to be, but you can still score beers for 25 cents and budget dorm rooms in hostels for just a couple of dollars.
Many backpackers in South East Asia save Cambodia for the last part of their trip as this is the place you can make your money stretch the furthest in this part of the world. Cambodia used to be the cheapest country to visit in the SEA but today, that is probably Laos.
At a fraction of the price of neighboring Thailand and with plenty of gorgeous beaches, steamy jungles, and the amazing Angkor Wat, Cambodia is another solid choice for a first-time budget traveler as it’s safe, easy, and fun.
If you only have a couple of weeks holiday and you want to live it up, Cambodia is a good place to travel for a cheap vacation extravaganza.
For more inspiration about budget backpacking in Cambodia, check out these articles:
- Backpacking Cambodia Travel Guide
- Where to stay in Siem Reap
- Best Hostels around Siem Reap
Pakistan might not be the first budget travel destination to spring to mind when planning out your ’round the world trip, but think again; backpacking across Pakistan is a simply awesome experience!
The mountains in Pakistan are hands down the best in the world and the hospitality you will experience here is truly very special. I Couchsurfed my way across Pakistan with no problems and have spent over three months in this amazing part of the world.
Whilst transportation costs can add up, it’s possible to hitchhike and once you have made some local friends you will rarely have to pay for much; you can expect numerous offers of a place to crash. Food will rarely set you back more than a couple of dollars and you can camp for free in the Karakoram mountains.
Pakistan is a wonderland of stunning treks, friendly people, underground parties, and ancient traditions. Best of all, Pakistan is an excellent cheap place to travel if you want to explore one of the ‘stans.
For more inspiration about budget backpacking in Pakistan, check out these articles:
- Backpacking Pakistan Travel Guide.
- 10 reasons you should travel to Pakistan
6. Eastern Europe
As you head East through Europe, you enter a whole other world of backpacking protocol. In recent years, Eastern Europe has become the go-to destination for travelers wanting to escape the standard Europe backpacking route found in the Western part of the continent.
You’ll notice as soon as you leave the Euro currency countries behind, things are suddenly much more affordable.
Backpacking Eastern Europe is one hell of a good time for any aspiring adventurer. Beer is often the same price (or less) as bottled water. You can score a dorm bed and breakfast for $10, and a long distance bus ride for less than that.
Most countries of Eastern Europe were part of the former Soviet Union, and the relics of those times are still visible across the region. There are many awesome backpacking delights to be had in this part of Europe.
If you are looking to get off the beaten path, spend less money, and experience a totally different part of the continent, backpacking Eastern Europe is where it’s at.
The Czech Republic and Hungary (in Central Europe), Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Albania, and Georgia are all prime backpacking destinations and good places to start with. I strongly encourage all travelers to experience the magic of Eastern Europe.
With epic Soviet ruins, friendly locals, frozen cities and colorful traditions, Eastern Europe is a great place to explore if you are on a tight budget. It’s extremely easy to hitchhike across Eastern Europe and beer is almost always cheap.
Albania is probably the cheapest cheap place to travel in Europe, followed closely by Bulgaria and Romania. For kick-ass parties and beautiful people, head on up to Ukraine or Russia. Check out this post for a full list of the cheapest places to go backpacking in Europe.
For more inspiration about budget backpacking in Eastern Europe, check out these articles:
- Bulgaria’s UFO.
- Backpacking Georgia travel guide
- Where to stay in Tbilisi