The new year is upon us, and that means we have another 365 days to fill with adventures from all around the world. However, travelling to popular destinations such as London or New York can drain even the most frugal traveler’s budget.
Even if you have managed to score cheap flights to these popular destinations, no one wants to have to sell an organ or two just to finance a few drinks at the bar.
With the US dollar and Euro strong against many other currencies at the moment, it is prime time for backpackers to hit the road and explore some of the world’s cheapest destinations.
Need some ideas for your next trip? Grab a pen and add these budget-friendly destinations to your 2017 bucket list.
Backpackers who are looking to get the most bang for their buck should move Mexico right up to the top of their 2017 bucket list. Budget travellers will find it easy to spend less than $25 USD a day with dorm rooms going for as little as $7 USD a night and an abundance of delicious, but cheap, street food.
If the Rivera Maya is not your scene, head to Mazatlan for a chance to experience more of the culture, inexpensive hotels and top quality food for less than half the price you would pay in the United States.
Thailand is a staple on any backpacking route, and it is easy to see why. It is one of the cheapest countries to travel to in the world and gives backpackers hordes of cheap accommodation, food options and adventure activities.
However not everywhere is budget friendly. Avoid Phuket and Koh Samui which are famed for their luxury resorts and instead head north for budget travel heaven. Northern cities like Chiang Mai is where you will find beautiful landscapes, intricate Buddhist temples and some of the best value for accommodation.
3. South Africa
The weak South African Rand makes this country a top country to visit among frugal travellers. Not only is it excellent value for money but the country is also a developed tourist destination with a solid infrastructure. And when you include the plethora of activities available from safaris to shark cage diving – there has never been a better time to visit this vibrant African country.
If you want to make sure you stretch your dollar as far as possible, make sure you pick up a free copy of Coast to Coast. It is South Africa’s handy backpacking handbook filled with loads of travel tips, activities and a list of the best hostels in every single corner of the country.
Nicaragua is an emerging travel destination that offers all of the best things of Costa Rica for half the price. This budget destination has recovered from its years of political unrest to emerge as the “it” spot for travellers on a shoestring.
Dorm rooms average from $8 to 18 USD, and it’s possible to eat for less than $1 per meal. For the adventurous backpacker, there are loads of activities to explore from volcano boarding to hiking and kayaking all costing between $10 – 30 USD.
This beautiful North African destination is just a stone’s throw from Europe making it an excellent budget travel getaway. But the cheap flights isn’t the only reason to visit this country.
It is one of the most affordable African countries, and the country has a small but growing network of hostels. Morocco is a dream budget travel destination for vegans and vegetarians with fresh fruit costing less than $1 and typical meals ranging from $2.50 to $15 for two at the more upper-class establishments.
Bolivia is the cheapest South American country to visit in 2017 by far. It’s known as the Tibet of the Americas and is a remote landlocked country that is home to some of the best preserved colonial buildings.
Apart from its amazing traditional culture, you can also find the continent’s most amazing sights here like the world’s highest lake and the stunning salt flats of Salar de Uyuni. Bolivia also has some of the cheapest foods and drinks in South America with prices on par with Southeast Asia.
With over 13,000 islands, Indonesia is more than its main tourist hot-spot Bali. It’s home to jungles, white sandy beaches, savannahs and even blue flame spewing volcanoes! Spend your days relaxing on beaches, watching the sunrise at Bromo-Tengger-Semeru National Park or exploring the local culture by visiting the fantastic 9th century Borobudur temple complex.
For backpackers, it is a haven with its cheap local food and budget accommodation options. From buses to ferries and even flights, getting to and from the various islands is incredibly cheap and won’t put a huge dent in your budget.
Cuba is not a typical backpacking destination which only adds to its charm. While the food might not be on the same level as other countries, Cuba makes up for it with its beautiful national parks, pristine beaches and its fascinating local culture. With internet access still rare, you cannot rely too much on online booking sites. Instead, Cuba is a destination for intrepid explorers who have no problem arriving in a new country with very little plans and simply knocking on a door with a sign that indicates the owners have a room to rent.
These bed and breakfasts typically cost $20 per room and for only $6 you can get a great home-cooked meal and more food than you will know what to do with. With all these great savings, it’s easy to see why more and more backpackers are making their way to this trapped in time destination.
This landlocked country is flanked by Bhutan, Tibet, India and China making it a perfect destination for backpackers looking to do some overland travel between these countries. With the beautiful Himalayas as its backdrop, it’s the ultimate budget travel destination for adventurous travellers to explore.
In 2015, Nepal was hit by a devastating earthquake. Fast forward two years later, and the country is ready to receive tourists again. For hiking enthusiasts on a budget, make a beeline for the trekker’s base town of Pokhara. The city is famed for its low prices, incredible views and is a great starting point to explore the Annapurna mountains.
Gone are the days when travellers were once wary of visiting this Southeast Asian destination. Cambodia is now firmly on the backpacker route and a new favourite for holidaymakers looking for five-star luxury without the price tag. It is one of the region’s least developed countries and quite possibly the cheapest of them all.
Watch the sunrise at the world famous Angkor Wat Archeological Park, drink draft beers for less than $1 and fill your belly with a plate of delicious food for only $2. Just make sure you don’t spend all your time at Siem Reap, however. Cambodia has fantastic beaches, nearby islands and the cities of Battambang and Phnom Penh make for interesting stops along the way.
There you have it, the top 10 most affordable travel destinations for 2017! Whether you are looking for some fun in the sun, cultural immersion, or some epic hikes, it’s possible to make your dream 2017 vacation happen on any budget.
Which location or locations will you be stamping your passport at this year?