Traveling for less = more travel. It just makes sense.
Flights are a big piece of any travel budget, and we’ve got you covered for flights with Thrifty Traveler Premium, our international flight deal service that can easily save you hundreds on airfare. Maybe you’ve dipped your toe into the world of points and miles, too.
But the key to traveling more for less is going where it’s cheap. Here are a few of our favorite countries and regions that won’t break the bank.
Paradise on a Budget in Southeast Asia
Aside from the long flight, the hardest part about going to Southeast Asia is picking which country (or countries) to visit.
With the exception of Singapore, nearly every spot in this corner of the globe is cheap. Check out countries like Cambodia, Indonesia (hello, Bali), Malaysia, or the Phillippines on the cheap! But two of our favorites are Vietnam and Thailand.
While traveling in Vietnam and Thailand, you’ll save a ton of money on food and drinks. Vietnam is the land of beer for a quarter, after all! Plus, you won’t be able to resist “splurging” on luxuries like an hour-long Thai massage for $8 or less.
Ready to explore Vietnam? Check out our guide to Hanoi, Vietnam and you’ll easily see why the whole TT team has fallen in love with this area of the world. Get your e-visa, read the first thing you need to do when planning your trip, and get excited for some unbelievable coffee and food.
Visit the Charming Thrifty Cities of Eastern Europe
Go beyond the well-tread countries in Europe and head east.
From Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, and everything in between, Eastern Europe has a ton to offer for the savvy traveler. Many of these countries aren’t in the Eurozone and the local currencies offer great exchange rates with the U.S. dollar.
Besides being affordable, these countries are typically less traveled, which means far fewer crowds! If you love history, great architecture, wine, and vibrant nightlife consider traveling to this part of the world. Check out these 6 destinations in Eastern Europe you’ve got to see, and how to save even more in Eastern Europe.
Hidden gem Bratislava: You may not have heard of Bratislava, but Slovakia’s capital city is a true gem.
Want to visit Georgia? We’re talking about the country, not the U.S. state! Read why it should be at the top of your list.
Now is the Time to Visit South America
Getting to Brazil is often expensive, but flight prices to the rest of South America have finally been dropping recently! Consider this part of the world for your next trip.
Here are a few selling points: No jet lag (same time zone), cheap food and drinks, and great scenery are among the many reasons to add South American cities to your list. Check out the Amacaya Desert or Torres del Paine in Chile, the vibrant city of Buenos Aires in Argentina, or go off the beaten path and visit the salt flats in Bolivia.
Argentina’s calling: It’s never been cheaper to spend time in Argentina, thanks to an amazing exchange rate with the U.S. dollar. It’s one of the best places in the world to make your dollar go farther.
Think Beyond Beaches for Thrifty Destinations in Mexico
Mexico is generally a budget-friendly destination, but popular resort areas put a dent in that reputation. Leave the beaches behind and head for a truly cheap vacation in Mexico City or Oaxaca. You could easily spend less than $30 a day on all meals and tourist sites.
Thrifty Heaven, Oaxaca: The Thrifty Traveler team fell in love with the Mexican city of Oaxaca last fall, and we know you will, too. If you’re looking for amazing food, the best mezcal in the world, and the most colorful and vibrant town you’ve laid eyes on, it’s time to head to Oaxaca (before it gets popular!).
Surprisingly Thrifty European Spots
Europe and “cheap” generally don’t go together, but there’s one big exception: Portugal.
This western European country is cheap with a capital C, despite being next door to both Spain and France. A great glass of Portuguese wine will run you 3 euro, and sometimes less. An amazing, classic Portuguese dinner for two can be yours for close to 20 euro total – a price point you won’t find eating on your own in Paris. This, among many other reasons, is why you need to visit Portugal.
Another surprisingly affordable destination, if you do it right? Greece. Greece’s economy may still be struggling, but Athens remains a major tourist city, fetching high prices for food, drink, and tourist sites. So instead, be sure to head outside of Athens for a great value vacation – including the islands.
Affordable Islands in Greece: After spending just a day or two in Athens, hop on a cheap flight to the massive island of Crete, where liters of wine will cost you just 8 euro (less than $9 USD)! Or visit the peaceful island of Paros, just as beautiful as Santorini but cheaper and less crowded.
If you are strategic, you can travel to amazing places and experience everything – all without spending down your savings.
Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any card issuer.