A vacation is one of those luxuries people tend to put off due to financial limitations. But what if you could see some of the world’s most beautiful locations for just $20 a day? Many of us wouldn’t think twice about spending such a paltry amount on a single meal in our home countries. So maybe it’s time to start thinking more creatively about how to achieve a low-budget getaway.
Airfare aside, these exotic locales can be discovered for a lot less than you might expect.
1. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Also known by its traditional name, Saigon, Ho Chi Minh City is the largest metropolis in Vietnam and full of exciting things to see and do. Private hotel rooms can be found for around $10, while dorms are around the $6-7 mark. Beer fans will love frequenting the street corner “bia hoi” establishments, where a local draught beer can be enjoyed for less than 20 cents. Food sold on the street and in local cafés and restaurants won’t cost more than $6 per plate.
2. Lake Atitlán, Guatemala
Guatemala’s majestic Lake Atitlán will take your breath away. Surrounded by volcanoes and steeped in ancient Mayan culture, being here is a privilege that comes surprisingly cheap. Private hotel rooms can be snapped up for $7-10, while dorm beds in hostels are even more affordable at around $5 per night. Traditional Guatemalan meals cost anywhere between $3 and $5, and a beer will not set you back more than a buck. Hiking, kayaking, and general exploration of the area can be done at little to no cost.
3. Krakow, Poland
Europe is often ruled out for those traveling on a budget, but the eastern regions can actually be very reasonably priced. Krakow has a lively town square and is rich in history with a great festive atmosphere. A private hotel room falls in the range of $10-12, while dorms can be booked for around $6. Eating and drinking comes pretty cheap and meat lovers will enjoy the affordable massive pork knuckles available at many restaurants. World War II buffs can’t leave without a visit to Auschwitz, the most famous of Hitler’s concentration camps.
4. Bali, Indonesia
Though well and truly on the tourist trail, Bali has still retained its cheapness and is a great option for anyone looking for low-budget luxury. Fresh seafood meals go for $4, massages for as little as $3, and decent hotel rooms for less than $10. The price tags on activities such as snorkeling, diving, cooking classes, yoga, and biking are some of the lowest in the world, making Bali the perfect place to live it up without spending too much.
5. Little Corn Island, Nicaragua
For a slice of island life at a fraction of the usual cost, look no further than Little Corn Island in Nicaragua. Here you can find a hotel room or cabin for as little as $10 and have some of the most spectacular beaches at your feet. Some of the fancier restaurants won’t fit a humble $20 budget, but there are still a number of local places serving affordable food, as well as cheap baked goods. Big breakfasts including coffee, fruit, eggs, and local specialties such as coconut bread and “gallo pinto” (rice and beans) can be indulged upon for $4.
6. Hikkaduwa, Sri Lanka
If gorgeous beaches, cold $2 beers, and delicious $3 curries sound appealing, you can’t miss Hikkaduwa in Sri Lanka. Enjoy all of these things from your $10 hotel room or $5 hostel dorm. A chilled-out hippie vibe isn’t all that’s on offer; there’s great snorkeling and other water activities to keep you busy. It does have a “deserted paradise” feel, but that’s all part of the charm.
7. Sarajevo, Bosnia
Sarajevo has really come into its own now that it has finally recovered from the Bosnian War of the early 1990s. Gorgeous green hills surround the capital city as lively bars, super-friendly locals, and a fascinating history await those who make the journey. You can pick up a hotel room for $6-9, a hostel dorm for $4, and a great meal for $2-3, with plenty left over for $1.50 half-liters of beer.