11 Cheapest Destinations for Travel & Adventure in 2020

November 16, 2019

Traveling the world is expensive, right? Maybe not. If you live in the United States of America, most of the world is actually very affordable to you. Goods and services in other countries tend to cost far less than the US counterpart, allowing you to really stretch that dollar.

In this article, we’ll use the Backpacker Index established by Price of Travel, a travel database, to determine the cheapest destinations for travel and adventure in 2018 – 2019.

What The Prices Below Mean:

“We found the price for a group of things for each destination, and then translated that into US dollars on a daily basis. … While this data is meant for backpackers and budget travelers, the proportions will be nearly identical, so the list should also be useful to those with more money to spend.” – By Price of Travel.

For each city this daily total includes:

– A dorm bed at a good and cheap hostel
– 3 budget meals
– 2 public transportation rides
– 1 paid cultural attraction
– 3 cheap beers (as an “entertainment fund”)

If you’re a traveler on a budget, like most of us, these destinations are the best places to stretch your dollar. Traveling the world is much more affordable than most of us realize, that’s why lists like these help inspire us. Remember, this is a barebones cost breakdown. If you have more money to spend than the daily budget, you’ll be living like royalty.

I highly recommend checking out at least one of these countries, especially if you haven’t been to a country like the ones listed. The difference in cultures and values will shock and amaze you; it will energize you. This is why I became a Sunchaser and it is why I urge everyone to chase the Sun.

Without further ado, here are the top 11 cheapest destinations for travel and adventure in 2018 – 2019.

#11. Granada, Nicaragua – $21.53/Day

(Image & excerpt from intrepidtravel.com)

“Revered for its colonial architecture, its streets are lined with buildings distinguished from each other by their successive shades of pastel hues. Palms rise amidst a sea of red tile roofs against the backdrop of lake shores and volcanoes. There are baroque and Moorish aesthetic influences interspersed throughout the cityscape.

Welcome to Granada, Nicaragua. The air is humid and hot, enveloping visitors with the unmistakable sense of stepping into a tropical Spain. The surrounding natural beauty has also inspired artists, poets, and writers well before the Spanish founded it in 1524. Combine these charming features with the relaxed air of the Nicaraguan people – one of the happiest in the world – and you have quite possibly the most laid-back and accessible city in Central America, fully imbued with color and culture.

It’s not surprising that people hail here from all over the world, and many can’t bring themselves to leave. As a result, the city is a hub for expats, which only adds to its cosmopolitan feel. As you will see, Granada provides an even draw for culture vultures and outdoor enthusiasts. If it’s not on your itinerary yet, by the time you finish this guide it will be.” By Lily Cichanowicz. Check out the rest of that article on their website.

#10. Delhi, India – $21.38/Day

(Image from airastana.com & excerpt from lonelyplanet.com)

“Delhi is a city where time travel is feasible. Step aboard your time machine (the sleek and efficient metro) and you can go from Old Delhi, where laborers haul sacks of spices and jewelers weigh gold on dusty scales, to modern New Delhi, with its colonial-era parliament buildings and penchant for high tea. Then on to the future: Gurgaon, a satellite city of skyscraping offices and glitzy malls.

This pulsating metropolis has a bigger population than Australia and is one of the world’s most polluted cities. But woven into its rich fabric are moments of pure beauty: an elderly man threading temple marigolds; Sufi devotional songs; a boy flying a kite from a rooftop.

So don’t be put off. Delhi is a city that has been repeatedly ravaged and reborn, with vestiges of lost empires in almost every neighborhood. There’s so much to experience here, it’s like a country in itself.”

#9. Goa, India – $21.24/Day

Goa, India

(Image from travelandleisure.com & excerpt from goatourism.gov.in)

“Known as ‘Pearl of the Orient’ and a ‘Tourist Paradise’, the state of Goa is located on the western coast of India in the coastal belt known as Konkan. The magnificent scenic beauty and the architectural splendors of its temples, churches and old houses have made Goa a firm favorite with travelers around the world.

Goa is much more than just beaches and sea. It has a soul which goes deep into unique history, rich culture and some of the prettiest natural scenery that India has to offer. Much of the real Goa is in its interiors, both inside its buildings and in the hinterland away from the coastal area.”

#8. Quito, Ecuador – $20.90/Day

(Image from commons.wikimedia.org & excerpt from theglobetrottingteacher.com)

“Quito is the capital of Ecuador and a jumping off point for all Ecuador points of interest. The city is quite unique. It sits at an elevation of 9,350 feet (2,800 meters). La Paz, Bolivia is the only higher capital city in the world. Quito is also surrounded by several volcanoes. Cotopaxi, the 2nd largest active volcano in the world can be easily seen on a clear day.

While Ecuador is popularly known for a trip to the Galapagos and its eco-diversity from beaches to cloud forest to the Amazon, Quito continues to inch its way into the minds of South American travelers.

With so many cultural Quito things to do, travelers are staying longer rather than merely transiting through just to discover more of those Quito must-see places.” By Jackie Sills-Dellegrazie. Check out the rest of that article on their website.

#7. Manila, Philippines – $20.86/Day

Manila, Philippines

(Image from philippinescities.com & excerpt from thecrazytourist.com)

“The capital of the Philippines doesn’t always make the news for the right reasons, but if you want a vivacious and underappreciated city, Manila is ready to challenge your assumptions.

There’s a walled citadel from where the Spanish ruled their eastern empire for centuries, Baroque churches and packed, crazy markets that might be the wrong side of aromatic but are obligatory all the same. And insulated from the chaos and choked streets are some of the largest malls anywhere in the world, of such mind-bending proportions that you’ll feel like you’re in a whole other town.”

#6. Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam – $20.35/Day

Saigon (Ho Chi Minh City), Vietnam

(Image from traveldave.co.uk & excerpt from independent.co.uk)

“The whirlwind formally known as Saigon is a hot, noisy, dynamic city that rarely sleeps, with a complex history and plenty of cultures to soak up.

Combine this with the laughably good-value prices of everything from lodgings to lunch, and there’s never been a better time to explore this south Vietnamese gem. Here are 10 ways to make the most of a visit…” By Helen Coffey. Check out the rest of that article on their website.

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#5. Chiang Mai, Thailand – $20.11/Day

(Image from videoblocks.com & excerpt from chiangmai.bangkok.com)

“Chiang Mai is a land of misty mountains and colorful hill tribes, a playground for seasoned travelers, a paradise for shoppers and a delight for adventurers. On a trip to Chiang Mai, the curious traveler can expand their horizons with Thai massage and cooking courses. Others will be bowled over by the variety of handicrafts and antiques. The wild child will find plenty of lively nightlife, and the epicure can indulge in wonderful cuisine. Despite its relatively small size, Chiang Mai truly has it all.

Located 700 km (435 miles) north of Bangkok in a verdant valley on the banks of the Ping River, Chiang Mai was founded in 1296 as the capital of the ancient Lanna Kingdom. Today it is a place where past and the present seamlessly merge with modern buildings standing side by side with venerable temples.”

#4. Hoi An, Vietnam – $20.02/Day

(Image milesofsmiles.co & excerpt from vietnam-guide.com)

“Hoi An Town is an exceptionally well-preserved example of a Southeast Asian trading port dating from the 15th to the 19th century. Its buildings and its street plan reflect the influences, both indigenous and foreign, that have combined to produce this unique heritage site.

Hoi An has no airport, and no train station either. The only way to get there is by road. You can hire a taxi from the neighboring city of Da Nang, which does have an airport with daily flights from Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and other large Vietnamese cities. There’s also a train station in Da Nang, and bus services are plentiful. We have a wide selection of hotels for you to choose from in both Cua Dai Beach and Hoi An City, whatever suits your pocket and style.”

#3. Vientiane, Laos – $19.49/Day

(Image from independent.co.uk & excerpt from visit-laos.com)

“Vientiane delivers a relaxing riverside break where one of the best things you can do is grab a drink and enjoy the sun’s spectacular show as it sets over the Mekong. Despite being the largest city in Laos and the hub of commerce and administration, Vientiane is still refreshingly laid back.

The city offers a great choice of accommodation, restaurants and pavement cafes some adding a French air with their style of architecture which contrasts pleasingly with the old Buddhist temples dotted around. There are plenty of things to do after dark and bars cater to all tastes from backpacker beer haunts to elegant cocktail lounges. Navigating Vientiane is relatively simple due to its size and sightseeing can be done either on foot, by bike or by hiring a song-teow. The countryside is never far away, with rice paddies providing a backdrop to most streets. Culture buffs should make the Laos National Museum their first stop.

When in Laos, do as the Laos do and the slow the pace right down. A common joke is that acronym PDF (Peoples Democratic Republic) actually stands for ‘Please Slow Down’. A word of warning to the anally punctual, the country is decidedly laid back and some visitors may mistake this for a lack of ambition or impolitesse but regardless, it’s best not to expect things to run like clockwork.”

#2. Pokhara, Nepal – $19.18/Day

Pokhara, Nepal

(Image from holeinthedonut.com & excerpt from welcomenepal.com)

“Pokhara is Nepal’s number one adventure and leisure city, a trekking gateway to the Annapurna’s with plenty of entertainment for individual travelers as well as families with kids.

In Pokhara you can experience the best in trekking, boating, hiking, pony rides, paragliding or simply relax at one of the lakes near the city with the stunning Annapurna mountain range at the background.

Pokhara will overwhelm you with one of the greatest photo spots in the world. While you walk along the shores of the Fewa lake you will be surrounded by a panoramic view over  the Himalayan peaks of the Annapurna Massif that reflect in this lake. A beautiful color combination that is created by the wooden boats and paragliders that are sailing, flying and rowing over the lake is probably going to be one of the highlights of your travel experience in Nepal.”

#1. Hanoi, Vietnam – $18.14/Day

Hanoi, Vietnam

(Image from tourradar.com & excerpt from vietnam-guide.com)

“Hanoi, located on the banks of the Red River, is one of the most ancient capitals in the world, where travelers can find well-preserved colonial buildings, ancient pagodas, and unique museums within the city center. A great place to explore on foot, this French-colonial city is also known for its delectable cuisine, vibrant nightlife, silks, and handicrafts, as well as a multicultural community that’s made up of Chinese, French and Russian influences.

Meanwhile, its tranquil countryside is a short drive away, featuring lush parks, verdant mountains, and traditional villages, and not forgetting, the iconic Ha Long Bay. If you’re a first-time visitor to the Vietnamese capital, our Hanoi travel guide has everything you need to know for a fulfilling holiday, including the best accommodation, restaurants, attractions, shopping, and detailed information on the local culture, currency, climate, and  transport options.”

Final Thoughts

Reminder, this is a barebones cost breakdown. If you have more money to spend than the daily budget, you’ll be living like royalty.

Once again, I highly recommend checking out at least one of these countries, especially if you haven’t been to one of them. If you enjoyed this article you’ll most likely love one, if not all, of these places. Traveling energies every part of my life, that’s why I’m a Sunchaser and I urge everyone to chase the Sun with me.

When you’ve found your next adventure destination, check out TripAdvisor for the best deals on flights and lodgings along with ideas for what to do once you arrive. They have verified reviews for everything from restaurants to activities. I trust TripAdvisor and I recommend it to everyone.

Did we miss a location that you think should be on this list? Comment down below and let us know your top cheapest destinations for travel and adventure.

Check out our fantastic selection of Travel backpacks designed to carry your essentials and keep them safe.


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