Go Far for Less: The 10 Cheapest International Places to Fly To
Go Far for Less: The 10 Cheapest International Places to Fly To - Unexpected Budget Destinations in Europe
Europe often gets a bad rap for being an expensive destination, but there are actually quite a few affordable cities and countries that are perfect for budget travelers. With some strategic planning, you can experience Europe without breaking the bank. Here are some of the most unexpectedly budget-friendly destinations in Europe to consider for your next adventure abroad.
Romania as a whole offers exceptional value, but the capital Bucharest is particularly budget-friendly. Between inexpensive accommodation, a fantastic public transit system, and loads of free attractions, it's easy to keep costs low here. Admission to top sites like the enormous Parliament Palace is just a few dollars, while tickets for the metro and bus only cost pennies. Meals at restaurants rarely top $10. With so much culture and history packed into this vibrant city, Bucharest delivers a stellar European experience without the high price tag.
While Iceland may seem like an expensive destination, it's actually possible to visit on a budget if you're smart. Avoiding the peak summer season and looking for discounts on activities like the Blue Lagoon can help lower costs. Opt for more affordable regional airports when flying in, and stick to cooking your own meals rather than dining out.
Camper van rentals provide budget lodging and transportation in one. With free attractions like waterfalls, volcanic landscapes, and the Northern Lights, you can experience Iceland's stunning natural wonders without spending a fortune.
Despite Greece's reputation as a pricey vacation spot, its capital Athens offers pleasant surprises for budget travelers. Hotels and Airbnbs can be found for as little as $30-40 per night. Public transportation like the metro, bus, and tram only cost about $1-2 per ride. Museums and historical sites like the Acropolis rarely top $20 admission. Enjoy affordable Greek food from street vendors, bakeries, and tavernas. And with free attractions like Mount Lycabettus and Syntagma Square, you can soak up the culture without paying a dime.
Prague consistently tops lists of Europe's most affordable destinations thanks to its inexpensive transportation, accommodation, and food. Centrally located hotels and Airbnbs can be found for $50 or less per night. An all-day public transport ticket runs just $4-5. Restaurants serve filling meals for under $10. Throw in free walking tours and attractions like the John Lennon Wall, Dancing House, and Charles Bridge, and Prague gives you the classic European experience on the cheap. Don't miss this uniquely beautiful and budget-friendly gem.
Krakow provides a fabulous European city break without breaking your budget. Accommodations are very affordable, with private rooms available for $30-50 per night. Public transportation costs a mere $1-2 per ride.
Restaurants serve hearty Polish comfort dishes for around $5-10. Many museums and churches in the Old Town offer free admission. Guided walking tours typically cost under $20. And with free attractions like the Main Market Square, Wawel Castle, and Planty Gardens, Krakow gives you plenty to see and do on a tight budget.
While not as well known as other European capitals, Sarajevo rewards budget travelers with its low prices and abundance of sights. Hotels and apartments in the Old Town can be found for $50 or less per night. An all-day public transit pass is only $2.50. Restaurants serve very affordable local cuisine, with mains priced $5-15. Nearly all of the attractions are free, including the Latin Bridge, Baščaršija district, and War Childhood Museum. For an immersive cultural experience in Eastern Europe without high costs, Sarajevo is a great choice.
Lisbon offers the classic European charm of cobblestone streets, medieval castles, charming cafes, and coastal views. Better yet, it does so at budget prices. Accommodation deals abound, with private rooms under $50/night. Public transit costs around $2 for a single ride. Multi-course meals at restaurants can be enjoyed for $15-20. Attractions like Saint George's Castle, Belem Tower, and the Santa Justa Lift range from €2-8. Free sights include the Alfama district, Monument to the Discoveries, and Miradouro viewpoints. Lisbon gives you a taste of Europe for less.
Budapest emerges as one of Europe's great affordable gems with its wealth of bathhouses, bridges, Buda Castle, and ruin bars. Hotels and apartments in the city center can readily be found for $60 or less per night. Transit passes cost under $5 for 24 hours of unlimited travel. Elegant 3-course dinners at nice restaurants run $15-25. Many museums and churches are free or under $10. And you can soak in the beautiful cityscape from the Danube and Chain Bridge at no cost. Budapest offers magnificent European ambiance on a modest budget.
Often overshadowed by Athens, Greece's second city Thessaloniki rewards budget travelers with its affordability and lively energy. Hotels and apartments within the city limits can be booked for $50 or less per night. Local buses only cost €1 per ride. Tavernas serve up cheap but delicious Greek food for around $10 per entrée. Attractions like the White Tower, Aristotelous Square, and Archaeological Museum are €2-5. And sights like the seaside promenade and Byzantine churches are free. For quintessential Greek charm without the price tag, check out Thessaloniki.
Poland has emerged as one of Europe's great budget destinations, and the port city of Gdansk exemplifies this affordability. Hotels and vacation rentals are very reasonably priced at $50 or less per night. Public transportation costs under $1.50 for a single use ticket. Hearty Polish dishes at restaurants range from $5-15. Incredible sights like the historic old town, Neptune's Fountain, St. Mary's Church, and Gdansk Shipyard are mostly free. For the experience of a medieval Baltic port city on a budget, look no further than Gdansk.
What else is in this post?
- Go Far for Less: The 10 Cheapest International Places to Fly To - Unexpected Budget Destinations in Europe
- Go Far for Less: The 10 Cheapest International Places to Fly To - Affordable Asian Hot Spots
- Go Far for Less: The 10 Cheapest International Places to Fly To - South American Cities That Go Easy on Your Wallet
- Go Far for Less: The 10 Cheapest International Places to Fly To - Cheap Caribbean Getaways
- Go Far for Less: The 10 Cheapest International Places to Fly To - Bargain Airfare to African Safari Adventures
Go Far for Less: The 10 Cheapest International Places to Fly To - Affordable Asian Hot Spots
Asia offers an incredible diversity of cultures, cuisines, and landscapes at often shockingly affordable prices. While destinations like Japan and Singapore have a reputation for high costs, there are many budget-friendly spots across this vast continent for travelers looking to stretch their dollars. With some savvy travel hacking, you can experience Asia’s captivating history and natural beauty on the cheap.
One Asian country that consistently impresses budget travelers is Vietnam. The cosmopolitan cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City offer good value lodging, dining, and entertainment. Private hotel rooms in both cities can readily be found for under $30 per night, while food costs remain very low. Fill up on $2-3 banh mi sandwiches or $5 pho noodle bowls from street vendors. Attractions like Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Cu Chi Tunnels cost just a few dollars. Intercity transportation via train or bus is astoundingly cheap. Head north to cruise Halong Bay for around $100 for a multi-day tour or relax on the beaches of the south in places like Nha Trang without breaking the bank.
Neighboring Cambodia also rewards budget-conscious travelers with the splendors of Angkor Wat and Phnom Penh at affordable rates. Lodging runs less than $20 for dorms and $40 for private rooms. Local Khmer cuisine can be sampled for just a few dollars per dish. The entrance fee to the sprawling temple complex of Angkor Wat is only $37 for a 1-day pass. Phnom Penh attractions like the Royal Palace and National Museum cost $3-6. Intercity buses are just a few dollars for trips between Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, and Sihanoukville. With such low prices, Cambodia is a budget traveler’s paradise.
The Philippines dazzles vacationers with over 7,000 islands offering gorgeous beaches, volcanoes, rice terraces, and historical sites. The mega-city of Manila provides a convenient and affordable gateway thanks to rock-bottom hotel rates and dining prices. But for a true island-hopping adventure, head to places like Palawan, Boracay, and Cebu where you can snorkel with sea turtles and lounge on idyllic stretches of sand. Regional flights between the islands can be had for as low as $30-$50 thanks to local budget carriers. Accommodations run $15-40 per night. Load up on cheap and delicious local eats like adobo, lumpia, and halo-halo. The Philippines gives you that laid-back tropical vibe at a fraction of the cost of comparable beach destinations.
Indonesia is another Southeast Asian gem combining natural beauty and cultural delights while going easy on your wallet. Accommodations across the Indonesian archipelago offer terrific value, with private rooms available for $30-50 and dorm beds for even less. Indonesian cuisine enchants with flavorful curries, satays, and nasi goreng available from warungs (local restaurants) for a few dollars per meal. Attractions remain inexpensive like the temples of Borobudur and Prambanan for under $25. Intercity transportation via train, bus, and domestic flights is very reasonable. Simply put, Indonesia delivers some of Asia’s best bang for your buck.
India immerses adventurous souls in cacophonous cities, serene spirituality, and the majesty of the Himalayas on a tight budget. Lodging runs as low as $10 per night for basic but clean hotels. Street food and thali lunch specials can be bought for just one or two dollars. Many attractions like the Taj Mahal and Red Fort cost under $15. Intercity transportation including flights, trains, and buses all cater towards budget-conscious travelers. With a bit of tactical planning, India serves up an intense assault on the senses that won’t assault your wallet.
Lastly, Sri Lanka stands out as an up-and-coming budget haven thanks to its diversity packed into a small island. Accommodations for under $50 per night are readily available across Sri Lanka. Enjoy a traditional rice and curry dinner for around $5. Transport costs remain low whether by bus, train, or tuk-tuk. Nature experiences like wildlife safaris in Yala or tea plantation visits in Kandy and Nuwara Eliya come with smaller price tags than comparable activities in nearby countries. And sights like the rock fortress of Sigiriya, the Temple of the Tooth, and the stilt fishing villages on the southern coast each cost under $30. Sri Lanka gives travelers a quintessential Asian experience without the premium price tag.
Go Far for Less: The 10 Cheapest International Places to Fly To - South American Cities That Go Easy on Your Wallet
South America dazzles the senses with majestic natural landscapes, captivating cultural experiences, and lively urban energy. While the costs of visiting world-famous attractions like Machu Picchu or Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival can add up quickly, budget-minded travelers will delight in discovering South America’s up-and-coming affordable destinations. With strategic planning, these exciting cities south of the equator can be experienced without draining your wallet.
One of South America’s best bargains, Lima offers a cosmopolitan Peruvian experience at a fraction of the cost of the more touristy Cusco. Accommodations in safe and central neighborhoods run $25-40 per night for budget hotels. Take advantage of Peru’s fantastic cuisine at popular local eateries known as “quintas” where you can get 3-course lunch specials for under $5. The historical center’s ornate colonial architecture and imposing cathedrals like the Basilica Cathedral of Lima can be explored for free. Experience Lima’s modern vitality through its world-class foodie culture and arts scene without paying premium prices.
Colombia’s sophisticated capital Bogotá often gets overlooked, but savvy budget travelers are catching on to this urban gem’s affordability and cultural riches. Hotels in downtown areas like La Candelaria or Chapinero offer rooms for under $50 per night. Try cheap and authentic Colombian plates like bandeja paisa or sancocho soup for less than $5. Many top attractions like the Gold Museum, Botero Museum, and the graffiti-covered alleyways of Calle 26 are free. Getting around via the TransMilenio bus system costs mere pennies. And the nearby colonial town of Zipaquirá rewards visitors with its vast underground salt cathedral for just $15 admission. Bogotá delivers big city splendor and a fascinating clash of old and new worlds of South America for bargain prices.
Although Chile conjures up images of Patagonian treks and Easter Island’s mysterious moai statues, its compact capital Santiago surprises budget travelers with its affordability. With strategic booking, centrally located hotels cost around $50 or less per night. Grabbing empanadas from street vendors or the local favorite completo hot dogs costs only a couple of dollars per meal. Major sights like the Metropolitan Cathedral, Santa Lucia hill, and the hip Bella Vista neighborhood can be experienced for free. An extensive local bus system quickly gets you around town for just a couple bucks. Enjoy world-class museums, lively plazas, and views of the Andes without paying premium prices in Santiago.
While many travelers rush through Sao Paulo to reach Rio de Janeiro’s beaches and carnival atmosphere, Brazil’s largest metropolis rewards those who linger with affordable pleasures. Paulistanos, as the locals are known, pride themselves on being able to enjoy their city’s cosmopolitan delights on modest budgets. Hotels catering towards both business travelers and families provide rooms for under $40 per night. Sample classic Brazilian fare like feijoada or churrasco at lunchtime rodizio restaurants for under $10. Free attractions like the Municipal Market, Japanese Pavilion, and the sprawling Ibirapuera Park mean taking in Sao Paulo’s diverse neighborhoods costs you only subway tokens. Experience Sao Paulo’s dynamic indie music scene and always buzzing energy for a reasonable price.
Argentina dazzles vacationers with pristine Patagonian vistas, sultry tango dancers, and succulent steaks. But its capital Buenos Aires delivers all the passion and pleasures of authentic porteño culture far more affordably than the tourist mainstays up north. Snag centrally located hotels for $60 or less per night in neighborhoods like San Telmo or Palermo. Indulge in tender grilled steaks or go gourmet at closed-door restaurants known as puertas cerradas for less than $30 a meal with wine. Free attractions abound like the scenic waterfront of Puerto Madero, the tango demonstrations in La Boca, and historic Plaza de Mayo. Hit the late-night underground bar scene for cheap drinks and live music until the break of dawn. Buenos Aires’ gritty old world elegance and lively energy comes at a surprisingly low cost.
In recent years, Bolivia has captured the attention of budget-minded travelers seeking awe-inspiring landscapes and indigenous culture for a good value. While the otherworldly salt flats of Uyuni garner much fanfare, the city of La Paz offers an affordable base to experience fascinating Bolivian history and hospitality. Hotels located near the city’s iconic cable car system cost around $30-$50 for cozy accommodations. Sample local cuisine like salteñas and api for just a couple dollars from street vendors. Intriguing attractions like the Witches Market, former prison turned arts complex San Pedro, and the Valley of the Moon can all be visited for under $5. And the views overlooking this beautifully chaotic city nestled in the Andes are free. La Paz delivers a quintessential Bolivian experience, uno barato por favor.
Go Far for Less: The 10 Cheapest International Places to Fly To - Cheap Caribbean Getaways
Who says you have to spend a fortune for a slice of tropical paradise in the Caribbean? While iconic spots like St. Barts or Anguilla cater to the well-heeled traveler, budget-minded sun seekers can still soak up those soothing turquoise waters and swaying palms for affordable prices. With some tactical planning and digging beyond the touristy hotspots, a Caribbean escape can be experienced for far less than you’d imagine.
Dominican Republic emerges as one of the best value destinations in the region, thanks largely to its endless inventory of all-inclusive resorts. While I’m generally not a fan of hermetically sealed vacation bubbles, the Dominican Republic’s all-inclusive packages deliver an abundance of food, drinks, activities, and entertainment for rates often hundreds less per night than comparable nearby islands. Neighboring Puerto Plata offers the most affordably priced resorts and greatest variety. But also look at La Romana for luxury properties like Casa de Campo available for a fraction of the cost in other Caribbean locales. Outside the confines of the resorts, private vacation rentals and authentic local restaurants keep costs low.
Jamaica dazzles with its alluring turquoise waters, laidback island vibes, and spicy jerk cuisine. Luckily for budget travelers, it offers relative value compared to many of its Caribbean neighbors. Look for flight deals into Montego Bay, which provides easy access to beaches and resorts along the northwest coast. All-inclusive packages can start as low as $150 per night for two during the low season. For a more local and economical experience, base yourself in Negril where casual beach bars and guesthouses cater to backpackers and families seeking bang for their buck. Fuel up at roadside jerk shacks and jump on public vans to explore waterfall hikes and secluded coves around the island.
Puerto Rico combines vibrant Latino energy, jungle landscapes, and bioluminescent bays with wallet-friendly appeal. Skip past the crowded resorts of San Juan and head west to find the real deals. Rincón delivers stunning beaches perfect for surfing and snorkeling on a budget. Simple guesthouses and Airbnbs can be found for $50-75 per night, especially in the low season between May and December. Stock up on snacks and beers at supermarkets to avoid pricey restaurants. Nearby Aguadilla and Isabela also offer affordable lodging so you can beach hop. Or escape to the mountains to explore jungle waterfalls and scenic hikes without paying premium rates.
Most Caribbean islands boast dazzling white or pink sand beaches, but few offer the diversity of landscapes found on Dominica. This ruggedly beautiful nature-lover’s haven rewards adventurous souls with boiling lava lakes, towering waterfalls, and primeval jungles. Dominica avoids mass tourism and mega resorts, meaning a night in a guesthouse or local hotel will only run you $60-80. For budget meals, stop at Creole snackettes serving fried chicken, plantains, and saltfish cakes for just a few bucks. Then work off the calories hiking to stunning sites like Boeri Lake and Middleham Falls which charge only a nominal entrance fee. Rent a car and circle the island to experience Dominica’s raw unspoiled interior at affordable rates.
While stuck in the shadow of its posh French neighbors, the Dutch Caribbean island of Curacao charms visitors with candy-colored Dutch colonial architecture, excellent wreck diving, and picture-perfect beaches. Along the lively capital Willemstad, tourists mingle effortlessly with locals as a more authentic Caribbean experience plays out at lower costs. Comfortable hotels and guesthouses away from the resort zone start at $75-100 per night. Fill up on cheap local snacks like pastechi and keshi yena dished up at family restaurants. Dive trips and boat excursions come with smaller price tags thanks to less tourist demand. And many of the best beaches for snorkeling and lounging like Playa Grandi are free to access. Curacao feels undiscovered compared to other Dutch islands, and budget travelers reap the rewards.
Although technically located in the Atlantic rather than Caribbean, Bermuda has been wooing visitors to its pink sand beaches and colorful colonial cottages for decades. As with most island destinations, forging beyond the tourist trail uncovers bargains galore. Avoid pricey mainstays like Horseshoe Bay and book an Airbnb rental in a residential parish like Warwick or Devonshire. Take advantage of public buses to reach stunning coves like Jobson’s Cove and coral reefs ripe for snorkeling. Pick up poke bowls and sandwiches from local food trucks and shops for tasty budget meals. Scope out hotel happy hours for discounted Dark n’ Stormy cocktails. With strategic planning, you can experience Bermuda’s old world island charm at down to earth prices.
Go Far for Less: The 10 Cheapest International Places to Fly To - Bargain Airfare to African Safari Adventures
Africa stirs the imagination with visions of expansive savannas, thundering wildebeest migrations, and prides of lions resting under acacia trees. But for many, an African safari remains a once-in-a-lifetime splurge item. That need not be the case anymore. Like with any region, strategic planning and knowing where to look uncovers remarkable flight deals to a diverse range of safari destinations. You just need to think beyond the tourist circuit hotspots.
Tanzania rightly emerges near the top of most bucket lists, thanks to the sheer density of wildlife found in legendary parks like the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. While lodging inside the parks carries premium rates, consider flying into Kilimanjaro International Airport and basing yourself in the nearby city of Arusha. Here comfortable hotels catering to safari-goers start around $50 per night, and you can arrange day trips into the parks through reputable local outfitters. For a more immersive experience, look for four day/three night camping safari packages that include transport, park fees, meals, and guides. During low seasons between March to May and November to December, these can be found from just $500 per person.
The Okavango Delta in northern Botswana provides a decidedly different safari experience, where instead of roaming the savanna you’ll drift silently in a traditional mokoro canoe past hippos, elephants, and endless waterfowl. The town of Maun serves as the launching point for accessing the Okavango, with safari camps and lodges starting around $100 per night during low season. To save even more, look for mobile safari operators that allow you to camp out in the bush. A 4 day/3 night mobile safari combined with mokoro excursions can cost between $350-500 per person. Your nights are spent sleeping under the stars and days filled with game walks and waterborne adventures.
Bordering South Africa, Zimbabwe may not spring to mind first when planning an African safari. But that oversight presents opportunity, as Zimbabwe offers terrific value on flights, lodging, and safari activities compared to its neighbors. Look for flight deals into Victoria Falls to experience one of the world's natural wonders and then head to Hwange National Park. Here dozens of lodges cater to mid-range budgets, with comfortable stays starting around $100 per night including meals and game drives. Visit Mana Pools to experience lions, leopards, and wild dogs up close for just $50-$70 per day. Nyanga National Park only costs $15 to enter and rewards visitors with abundant elephant and buffalo sightings.
Skip the crowded southeast parks of Kenya and venture west to Samburu National Reserve near the desert frontier with Ethiopia. You’ll be rewarded with amazing elephant and big cat sightings for a fraction of the cost at Masai Mara. Flights arrive conveniently into Samburu’s own national park airstrip, and cozy lodges dot the banks of the Ewaso Nyiro River starting around $150 per night. Hire a car and self-drive safari to enhance privacy and access. Use Samburu as a gateway to continue exploring northern Kenya’s unspoiled parks like Lake Turkana and Matthews Range. You can put together a diverse 10-day northern circuit safari for under $1,500.
South Africa justifiably lands near the top of most dream African journeys, thanks to legendary parks like Kruger and the stunning coastlines of Cape Town and Garden Route. While South Africa carries higher costs than much of the continent, sticking to the Rand and strategic booking uncover deals. Opt for Johannesburg over Cape Town when flying in, as the gateway to safari parks in Mpumalanga province and the famous Panorama Route. Self-drive safaris allow flexibility and savings. Or look for safari packages that include transport and accommodation from around $100 per day. Select accommodations in quieter towns and nature reserves to save over popular destinations like Camps Bay or Knysna.
Namibia's hauntingly beautiful deserts, adrenaline-pumping activities, and free roaming wildlife make it perfect for budget-minded adventure travelers. Windhoek provides a convenient and affordable entry point. Renting a camper van allows you to maximize flexibility while minimizing accommodation costs. Soak in the solitude of Namib-Naukluft National Park for under $10 per day, then head to the southern coast to 4x4 over massive sand dunes and snorkel with Cape fur seals in Walvis Bay. Overnight campsites and guesthouses cost just $15-50 per night. Finish off tracking elephants and lions through Etosha National Park for under $100 per day. Namibia offers epic African adventure on a budget.
While most travelers flock to Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Kruger, South Africa’s northeastern Limpopo province remains an untapped gem for safari-goers. Just a short flight from Johannesburg or Durban, Limpopo’s network of game reserves offer Big Five sightings and comfy lodges from around $100 per night. Experience forgotten parks like Mapungubwe, Marakele, and Welgevonden to spot rhinos, lions, and hyenas roaming among ancient baobab and marula trees. The San people share their knowledge of the land and ancient rock art in remote villages. Limpopo provides an easily accessible and affordable slice of the real Africa.