Sometimes it’s really hard to decide where you should go on your next vacation. Should you just book a package at some resort or go backpacking through Europe? More often than not where you want to go and where you can go end up existing in completely different realities. But we’ve done plenty of research and are excited to share the top 17 most affordable places to go in 2017. It’s time to let your heart decide where you should go, not your wallet.
First on our list is Cambodia, better known as the Land of Smiles. Neighbouring Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam in Southeast Asia, this relatively small nation is a budgeter’s dream. Flying in will cost you, but each day will range around $9 – $18 USD. So picture this, you hop in a tuk tuk ($2) and head over to Angkor Wat ($20) to watch the sunrise (free) sipping a fresh fruit smoothie for less than a dollar. Fresh food, ancient temples, a vibrant culture and more — all without dipping into your saving. Need we say more?
When it comes to cheap exotic vacations, look no further than India. This cultural hub is not only one of the oldest civilizations in the world but is also home to one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Taj Mahal ($15). That’s not it though, the country is also host to 32 UNESCO World Heritage sites, making India a beautiful budget friendly must-see destination any time of year. Immerse yourself in the history and culture of this ancient empire for no more than $20 USD per day.
As with many countries in Southeast Asia, Vietnam won’t break the bank. Eat, drink and sleep like a local for less than $10 a day. Whether you’re indulging in the savoury and sweet Hanoi street food ($2-3 USD), zipping around the streets of Ho Chi Minh on a scooter ($4) or cruising along the Halong Bay, Vietnam is definitely a must-add to your 2017 vacation list.
Home to the largest lake in Europe (Lake Balaton), and over 1000 natural springs, Hungary is one of the cheapest (and hottest) travel spots for 2017. Imagine waking up in your $10 USD/a night bed, eating a healthy serving of chicken paprikash for less than a cup of artisan coffee, visiting one of the country’s many museums for the cost of a Krispy Kreme donut and enjoying a pint of beer for less than a dollar. This beautiful destination offers the perfect blend of history, art and culture, and for less than $40 USD a day, this Eastern European country is a lop (steal ~ in Hungarian).
5. South Africa
Discover the Rainbow Nation this year. Best known as the Cradle of Humankind, South Africa is a must-add to any bucket list. As the 25th-largest nation in the world, home to eight World Heritage Sites, and the Big Five, South Africa has something from everyone. Book your flight and accommodations in advance and you can live lavishly from Cape Town to Johannesburg for less than $70 USD/day. Enjoy a glass of local wine for less than a can of soda, visit a museum for free, stroll across pristine beaches or take a ride on the world’s fastest zip slide for $45 USD. Whatever you’re looking for, South Africa is the place to be in 2017.
With picturesque colonial style architecture at every turn and classic American muscle cars lining the streets, Cuba is an exciting yet quaint “frozen-in-time” destination. Especially true for Canadians, Cuba can be an extremely cost-effective place to visit. Putting aside airfare, you can experience all that this beautiful island nation has to offer, from very enticing food for no more than a dollar, to great music, to cheap lodging (you can rent a house for as little as $12 USD a night). Pro-tip: consider visiting smaller towns like Trinidad and Baracoa for even more savings!
Nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean, Nicaragua is not only one of the oldest countries in the Americas, but it’s also the perfect all-in-one destination for budget travellers. Often overlooked in favour of its more popular neighbours, Nicaragua remains to be one of the cheapest South American countries to visit, offering many of the same unique experiences for a fraction of the cost. If you’re looking to visit one of the world’s most ecologically diverse nations while spending no more than $15 USD a day for your basic necessities, make Nicaragua your next stop.
Mystical Morocco, the exotic gateway to Africa makes for a great budget escape. Spend your days enjoying refreshing glasses of mint tea following breathtaking sunrise journeys through the Sahara Desert on camelback, and your nights watch the awe-inspiring theatrics of the Djemaa El-Fna street theatre. Despite growing popularity, Morocco is still very affordable for the budget-conscious traveller. Steer clear of expensive souvenirs and you’re looking at a daily cost of no more than $40 USD.
Bird-watchers and trekkers unite, Nepal is the budget-friendly destination you’ve been dreaming of. Home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites and seven of the world’s highest peaks, Nepal is the perfect place for adventure seekers. Choose from an array of adrenaline pumping activities such as trekking, rafting, wildlife safaris, paragliding, bungee jumping or hot air balloon rides. Exuding cultural charm, Nepal is the ideal destination for the budget conscious (plan on spending anywhere between $10 – $30 USD daily). Conquer Everest without the mountain of debt.
There’s no doubt that exploring Greece is on everyone’s bucket list, and now visiting the birthplace of democracy has become easier (and cheaper) than ever before. Unfortunately for locals, the Greek economy is not doing well right now, but that’s good news for travellers whose foreign currencies will go much farther than usual. For as little as $40 USD per day you can fill up on olives and feta while enjoying all that Greece has to offer from the Acropolis to Mount Olympus without incurring the wrath of your bank.
11. Costa Rica
No trip to South America is complete without visiting the Rich Coast. Situated between Nicaragua and Panama, Costa Rica is one of the most biodiverse places on earth. Travel from Liberia to Limón for as little as $10 USD, surf some of the best waves in the world for less than $6, or enjoy a “plato tipico” (plate of food) for $3. This tropical beauty is definitely a must-see this year.
Despite what you may here in the news, Turkey is one of the most budget-friendly and worthwhile destinations for travellers in 2017. This unique region is home to some of the most famous (and breathtaking) pieces of architecture in the world, the Hagia Sophia and the Blue Mosque (both of which won’t leave you penniless by the way). With a castle in almost every city and free museums at nearly every turn, Turkey is quickly becoming a backpacker’s dream. With transportation, accommodations, and food costing no more than $15 USD per day, who wouldn’t want to be on two continents at once for less than the cost of a burrito bowl.
Amongst the cheapest destinations to visit in Central Europe this year is Slovenia. The budget-conscious can rest assured that a trip to Slovenia will not break the bank; a daily budget of $35 USD will have you living quite lavishly in this region of the Balkans. Spend your time in this awe-inspiring country taking a dip into the emerald blue waters of the famed Lake Bled, or ski the picturesque snow-capped mountains of the Julian Alps, or better yet, visit the magical caves of Postojna that call this small nation home without thinking twice about overspending.
Thanks to HBO’s Game of Thrones and a steady influx of tourists to the Adriatic coast annually, Croatia is solidifying its place as the must-visit Eastern European destination. With your daily expenses costing no more than $35 USD, you too can live like a debt-free Lannister this year while sailing around the coast, feasting on delicious seafood, and partying it up in Dubrovnik.
Portugal is really the newest and hottest in-demand destination when it comes to Europe’s already impressive array of travel options. You can do everything from sip on satisfying glasses of port wine for less than $5USD, munch on fish caught fresh that morning and hang out on beaches where the surf’s always good. Maybe you might even want to take a professional surf lesson for around $50 if you feel like “splurging” one day. All of this and more can be yours for the low, low cost of just around $60 USD a day.
16. Myanmar (Burma)
If you’re searching for a surprisingly inexpensive international adventure, look no further than Myanmar (Burma). This stunning nation littered with gilded pagodas should be the next stop on your 2017 travel list. For less than $30 USD a day you can experience all the charm (and hot air balloon rides) that this beautiful country has to offer. Cheap hostel style accommodations will run you about $10 a night and you can enjoy food and drink for under $10 as well!
Named after the Latin word for silver, Argentina is the is ultimate destination for the cost-conscious. Learn to dance in the country that invented the tango for as little as $50 daily. Enjoy world class cuisine, exciting nightlife and great shopping for a less than a night out in your metropolitan hometown. Break a leg, not your bank.