The Cheapest Places in the World to Travel

By James Story

Find out the cheapest and most expensive places to take your next holiday, plus handy tips for saving money.

Travelling is exciting, invigorating, challenging, fun and hundreds of other brilliant things. Unfortunately, it can also be very expensive.

However, there is some good news. There are more hotels, airlines and travel agencies than ever. Not only does this mean more choice for you, it crucially also means greater competition between companies. You are a valued customer and they want your custom, which means that amazing deals and offers are out there.

There are also some countries that, for numerous reasons, are far cheaper to visit and live in than others. Combining great deals with low-cost living expenses is the perfect formula. So, if you’re searching for ways to travel the world cheaply, you’ve come to the right place!

The cheapest places to travel to

Let’s take a look at some of the cheapest places to travel in the world:

Phuket, Thailand

You’ll find Thailand takes the top spot on every list you look at! A stunning country that has recovered well from the tsunami of 2004, cheap hostels are everywhere, as is motorbike hire and water-based activities like snorkelling. Food and drinks are also rock-bottom prices here.

Hanoi, Vietnam

Thailand’s next-door neighbour, Vietnam, is also highly affordable for what you get. Culture richness is combined with stunning beaches and destinations like the majestic Halong Bay and intriguing Mekong Delta. Food is also incredibly cheap here, and tasty!

Prague, Czech Republic

If you want to stick to Europe but are priced out of destinations like Venice and Barcelona, Prague is a great alternative. Visiting out of season will help you avoid the stag and hen parties, and you’ll find cheap food, drink and hotels.

Cape Town, South Africa

Sitting below the breath-taking Table Mountain, Cape Town is a very affordable holiday destination once you’ve there. Not only that, but safaris are also affordable, as is food and accommodation. There is also great nightlife here.

Uruguay, Cuba, India and Guatemala are also cheap countries to visit on holiday.

The most expensive places to travel to

On the other hand, here are some of the places you might want to avoid in order to make your funds go a little further:

Paris, France

The French capital and a beacon of romance always appears on lists of most expensive European cities. Everything from museum entry to a supermarket shop is pricey. Sorry about that, lovers!

Dubai, United Arab Emirates

This opulent destination, complete with man-made islands and more high-rise buildings than you can shake a stick at, is very expensive. That goes for visitors and locals alike! Its hotels are some of the priciest around the world and a quality meal out for two people could easily bankrupt budget travellers for a week.

Rome, Italy

Italy is very pricey in many areas, particularly its busiest cities and beach resorts. Venice is incredibly expensive on all fronts, but Rome tops the list. You also have to compete with busy crowds who flock to see the stunning city regardless of high costs. If you want to go on the cheap, a hostel out of season and booked well in advance is your only hope.

Oslo, Norway

We have bad news for ‘Frozen’ fans. Sky-high taxes mean that pretty much everything, from beer to petrol, is expensive in Norway. For locals, who have a much higher than average living wage, this is bearable. However, for visitors and holiday-makers, the Norwegian capital of Oslo and its other cities and towns could well get your bank account frozen!  

Hong Kong, Switzerland and the USA are also notoriously expensive countries.

Doing your trip on the cheap

There is no one cheapest way to travel the world. Instead, you need to combine a number of different tactics.

Go out of season

We can’t stress this point enough. Unless you absolutely have to travel at peak times, like Venice in August, or Lapland on December 24th, go out of season. It can save you a small fortune. You’ll also have fewer crowds to compete with, meaning more choice of accommodation and less queuing for restaurants, shops and attractions.

Utilise student and other discounts

Many travel agents offer discounts for students, people who work in certain industries or for certain organisations, and also people under and over a certain age. Utilise any possible discount and try to combine several together if you can get away with it. You may also get a discount if you book a trip in-store, while other companies will have online-exclusive offers. Wise up to this and you’re sure to save at least a bit of cash.

Hostels over hotels

Because you are sharing your bedroom and other amenities like your kitchen and bathroom, your trip will be far cheaper if you stay in a hostel. There is a middle-of-the-road option, though, if sharing a loo fills you with dread. Some hostels do have single, en-suite rooms, often for quite a bit cheaper than an equivalent room inside a hotel.

Resist temptation?

Fancy hotel across the road from your budget hostel? Steak on ‘special’ offer? New shopping mall just opened that has your name written all over it? It’s all very well and good going on a cheap holiday, but you can’t then blow your money on extravagances while you’re there. Resist the temptation and stick to the plan. You’ll be glad you did when you next visit the cash machine.

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