As travelers, we like to enjoy new destinations without necessarily breaking the bank. Travel is a great way to relax, explore and get inspired; but not every destination allows us to do this with a small to modest budget. Luckily, there are several countries around the world that offer us the opportunity to enjoy them for a fraction of what it would cost in other places. Think of it as a good return on investment on your travel experience. So, here are eight destinations you should visit to stretch your budget wisely.
1. Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic has long been a popular destination among Americans and Europeans alike. There are several all-inclusive resorts that offer deals for as low as $500 for a week, including your round-trip flights! Outside of resorts, you can enjoy the historic and culture-full cities like Santo Domingo, or the white fine sand beaches of Juan Dolio and Punta Cana, among others. Being a tropical destination, you'll easily find ways to enjoy mangrove canals, beautiful underwater rivers and caves, pristine forests and a healthy marine life.
Mexico might be a major tourist destination and might have a strong economy, but this has not limited Mexico's reputation as a cheap destination. In fact, Mexico's prices thrive on supply and demand, not to mention stiff competition.
Several all-inclusive hotels offer competitive prices and include a bunch of activities like personal watercraft riding, snorkeling and more. But if you're not into resorts, you can easily make your way on your own throughout the country by using their excellent bus network and staying at inexpensive accommodations like hostels and budget guesthouses. And the street food? Do not miss it! Not only is it cheap, but it is also delicious and more often than not served in huge amounts.
Among the Central American countries, Nicaragua is famous for its ease to accommodate budget travelers. Sights like the cobblestoned streets of Granada, the Concepcion Volcano, the island of Ometepe with its twin volcanoes, and the beautiful islands of Big Corn and Little Corn, have lured budget and luxury travelers alike to experience this beautiful country.
You can travel Nicaragua with as little as $25 a day and still enjoy the exhilarating activities the country offers like volcano boarding and diving, and also enjoy the low-cost beachfront cottages of the breathtaking Corn Islands in the Caribbean Sea.
When you think of budget destinations you might not think of Europe, but a struggling economy has made countries like Spain cheaper than what they used to be and one of Western Europes most budget-friendly destinations. Here you can enjoy the beautiful flamenco dance, the historic streets and architecture, the beaches of the south, and the gorgeous landscapes. Spain also has the benefit of the Eurail Pass, which allows you to travel the entire country through its rail network at a lower price. Also, when it comes to food, Spain does indeed deliver. With its delicious tapas and men del da (budget daily menu) you will find easy ways to fill your stomach with just a few Euros.
Even cheaper than Spain is its neighbor, Portugal. Just like in Spain, you can travel the country with a Eurail Pass to enjoy the nation's beaches, exquisite seafood cuisine, and the breathtaking coastline of Algarve - where rugged cliffs hide crescent bays that are perfect for bathing under the sun.
But Portugal is not just about the coast and beaches; history enthusiasts can enjoy the Moorish castles and opulent chapels that decorate Portugal's countryside, as well as other historic sites located in Lisbon, Porto, and other smaller cities.
Eastern Europe and the Balkans don't stay behind on this list. Among those countries in the region, I'd like to recommend Macedonia. Not only is it affordable to travel the country, but you can enjoy the unparalleled natural beauty of its canyons and lakes, and the historical sights and monasteries, with as little as $30 a day. If you're already in Europe it is relatively cheap to fly to Skopje with a budget airline, and once in Skopje, traveling around this small country is cheap and easy with their well-connected bus network.
Southeast Asia has always been on the map as a general budget travel destination, and with good reason. In fact, many backpackers go there and do what is known as the banana pancake trail, which is the unofficial trail that goes through most Southeast Asian countries, stopping at all major destinations.
Even though Laos forms part of the banana pancake trail, it does not share the same high number of visitors like Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam and Cambodia do. This, on the other hand, has allowed Laos to still feel a bit more rugged and keep even lower prices than its neighboring countries.
When in Laos, you must visit Luang Prabang to get a good sense of the historical aspect of the country, and don't be afraid to go deeper into the country, where things are less explored and even less expensive.
India is an intense destination. Most people who visit it either love their experience or hate it - no middle ground. But, love it or hate it, one thing everyone truly loves about India is its cheap prices. India is one of the cheapest countries in the world where you can travel with a budget of under $25 a day, and even much less if you really want to save money. I did it with an average of $15 a day as a backpacker and managed to visit cities like Delhi, Agra, Jaipur, and even the beautiful northern side of Kashmir and the Himalayan circuit of Leh, Srinagar, Jammu, Manali, and Amritsar.
You'll be so surprised how far your money will go when you travel through India that when you go back home you will feel like everything is very expensive. Trust me!
Now, where would you like to go to stretch your budget? Is it on this list or do you have other recommendations?