20 Places to Travel on a Budget

Everyone wants to go on vacation to de-stress, but let’s be realistic: travel can be a stressor when it comes to money. Not everyone can afford to travel to popular, Instagram-worthy places because of how expensive tourist destinations can get. Luckily, there are some beautiful, fun, and exciting locations to enjoy without breaking the bank, and many of them are worth not posting on social media.

Here are some cost-effective destinations to visit this summer.

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1. Philippines

The Philippines has it all; good food, beautiful landscape, amazing culture – and all are affordable to experience. Street food can be purchased for the equivalent at $10.00 CAD and feed more than a single person. Making friends with locals and rooming in hostels are always cheap options, but Air BnB is available with rooms in the double digits – so long as you stay outside the major cities. Don’t forget that haggling is acceptable, too, so don’t settle for the first option for any activity you find.

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2. South Africa

Vacationing in South Africa is an experience all its own. Whale watching and salmon migrations are a few of the activities that are recommended by hundreds of people who travel there, and nothing beats an actual, real-life African safari. Sightseeing is a must – the Valley of Desolation, Nelson Mandela’s former home, and the beaches at Plettenberg Bay are just a few the more popular locations.

Of course, if you’re not a fan of nature, it might not be the place for you. Nature is everywhere, even in cities like Cape Town. Foliage can be found just about all over the cities, and wildlife has been spotted. That said, South Africa is a beautiful place, and should be added to everyone’s bucket list.

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3. Czech Republic

Compared to many other places in Europe, the Czech Republic is pretty affordable to travel to. It’s not too difficult to work off a budget of $50 CAD a day if you play your cards right. There are plenty of hotels and hostels to choose from, meals can be pretty cheap, and public transportation fare is based on travel time.

There’s a lot to take in from the amazing Old Town district and gorgeous castles to world-famous beers and hearty meals. Don’t forget to catch an opera or two, as it won’t disappoint. It’s one place you should add to your bucket list asap!

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4. Vietnam

A country rich with history and beautiful culture, Vietnam has something for everyone. There’s the modern city of Ho Chi, the rural villages, and everything in between. Some famous points of interest include My Son, a former holy location full of old temples, the maze of canals called the Mekong Delta, and the gorgeous Ha Long Bay.

Hotels can be found for as cheap as under $12.00 CAD, and food for as low as a dollar.  Who can argue with prices like that?

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5. Puerto Rico

San Juan is a popular vacation spot for many travellers, and rightly so. Even though there’s a high amount of crime, it still has a lot to offer. It’s a beautiful country with fine cuisine, and there’s so much to experience, it’s just a matter of being smart while travelling.

Originally a military town, but has been converted to a charming community. There’s lots of old architecture to admire, sunny beaches to swim at, and of course, the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico. Daily costs can average out to about $210 a day.  It’s a little more on the expensive side, but compared to other places in the USA or Europe, it won’t leave as big of a dent in your wallet.

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6. Indonesia

Aside from the Komodo dragons, Indonesia is a safe and fun place to visit. There are big, bustling cities like Bali and Jakarta, full of markets with exotic foods and clothes. There are the more rural regions, too, where a slower pace of life is prevalent.

It’s relatively easy to maintain a budget of $48 CAD a day. Cheap meals can be found for under $20, and rooms aren’t too expensive, either. You can pocket some extra money, too, by avoiding any expensive tourist-type activities. Definitely a place you’ll want to travel to in the winter.

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7. Cuba

There are parts of Cuba that are on the expensive side, but with some research, you`ll be able to avoid overpaying during your trip. Casa particulars are generally better for a more authentic (and cheaper) option for boarding, but Air BnB is always an option.

As far as food goes, try to stick to street food since it`s cheaper, and watch out for price increases when you travel between cities. Cooking your own meals is also a good way to keep costs low, but there are markets where street food can be found for under $10. Sticking to more relaxed activities will also help to keep your budget low. A lot of architecture related entertainment can be under $20, depending on the location of course.

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8. Nova Scotia

Alright, so Canada’s pretty expensive, but compared to other provinces, Nova Scotia’s not too bad. Thankfully, there are tons of deals to be found on accommodations, so that`ll save some money in your pocket. First off, avoid all the expensive tours and opt-in for the free and simple things: waterfront relaxing, canoeing, and festivals are a few examples. Try to find accommodations that come with some sort of kitchen, that way you can cook meals for yourself.

Halifax has some beautiful locations to check out, such as Peggy’s Cove and Lighthouse Cove, and Cape Brenton Island is gorgeous, too. Don’t forget checking out some hiking trails is always an option. Remember, it’s a fishing community, so enjoy all the fishing-town has to offer.

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9. Maine

Despite all the things Stephen King has written about Maine, it`s actually a very quaint and relaxing harbour town. Nothing’s better than a free walk along the shore or walks in the national park. There`s a beach for all your sun tanning needs, and of course, trying to find the locations of famous King novels.

Remember, just because you travel somewhere, doesn’t mean you need to spend all your money on expensive and luxurious things. Sometimes, all you need is to take the time to smell the roses – which is exactly what you can do in Maine.

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10. Mexico

Mexico can be expensive, yes, but it`s all about research. Hostels are always cheap, but so are guest houses, but don’t forget to explore your options. When it comes to food, don`t think about what you`ve seen in North America – there`s way more to it. The cuisine is very diverse, so don`t be afraid to dive right in and try something you may not have had before.

When it comes to activities, there are a lot to choose from. Keep in mind that just like any other tourist destination, it’s important to do the research in finding the best-priced activities. Overall, Mexico has beautiful scenery, vibrant culture, and generally, a lot to offer anyone who visits.

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11. Quebec

Again, Canada is fairly expensive if you’re not playing it smart. There are tons of activities to do in Quebec without breaking the bank. Visit some waterfalls or go hiking on local trails, take a walk through historic Montreal, or sit back and enjoy comedy at the Just for Laughs festival. If you’re feeling ambitious, take a trip during the winter and experience the excitement and festivities of Carnival (which includes the Snow Bath).

Want to save on cash and maintain your health? Quebec has a bike share program for anyone who wants to get around without having to dish out money to rent a car.

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12. Texas

Texas may not be the first state that comes to your mind when you think of vacations, but it actually has a lot to offer. Housten is diverse with tons of food, activities, and culture to offer. Take a tour of the local street art, and of course, try to find the best BBQ place you can find (remember, high prices don’t always mean high quality).  Despite being the butt of many jokes, there’s a lot to take in, especially in the city of Huston. It’s gained a lot of buzz in the past few years making it just as larger-than-life as seen on t.v.

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13.  Zanzibar

If white, sandy beaches and wide open waters are your things, Zanzibar is a great place to travel to. There are nearly-deserted islands to explore, the heritage of Stone Town to experience, and small fishing villages to visit. Of course, there are exciting activities as well. Snorkelling is very popular, and there are beautiful national parks to relax in. Don’t forget to enjoy the traditional Swahili dishes, as well.

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14. Turkey

While there is a bit of a sense of danger in parts of Turkey, there are other regions that are relatively safe. Destinations like Istanbul and Aegean are very popular, but there are smaller and gorgeous parts that are a bit more affordable. Gaziantep, for example, is the pistachio capital and is often overlooked by tourists. There’s a deep history linking back to the fourth millennium making it the ideal place for history buffs to explore with museums and ancient architecture.

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15. Fiji

The number one thing to remember when you travel: shop around for accommodations (especially in Fiji). There are many alternatives to staying in a resort, which is important because you’re going to want to save money for the fun stuff.

While palm trees and warm weather is a legitimate reason to visit anywhere, Fiji has a certain extra charm, so get out and experience it. Many locals live the traditional lifestyle and a lot of it is very laid-back. There are a few old-school activities to participate in, like drinking kava. There are also museums to learn about the history, parks to hike in, and underwater sights to see while snorkelling. Overall, it’s a great place to sit back and relax. Afterall, when in Rome…

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16. Ukraine

There are mixed reviews about visiting this country, but it’s definitely worth it for anyone who’s up for the challenge. While it’s known for its architecture both new and old, there’s more to do in Ukraine than just walking around the city. There’s the tunnel of love, city beaches, and of course the mountains.  History fans will love visiting the older parts of the country, and nature lovers will want to visit the Askania-Nova Reserve, complete with African wildlife.

While Air BnB is hard to come by, there are rooms available as low at $12.50 CAD a night. Most places are about $15 CAD, but there are places that serve food for as low as a mere $4 CAD. Just as with any other country, the best way to save money is to stay out of the cities.

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17. Dakar

Darak is known as one of the most modern cities in Africa – but horse-drawn carts are still very present. While there are a lot of pricey hotels, dig around for a few cheaper options. The local markets are full of good deals, and many recommend taking the morning safaris. L’Institut Français has a lush garden in the centre of town, and if you really need to zen out from the hustle and bustle, the town of Ile de Gorée is not that far away.

Make sure to sharpen up on your French, seeing as how there aren’t many English-speaking citizens.

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18. Russia

Again, English isn`t exactly the strongest language spoken there, so make sure to learn some key phrases before heading out. Something else to keep in mind: Russia isn`t freezing all-year round, so be sure to check the weather before packing your three parkas.

Russia is well-known for their elaborate and intricate architecture. Taking a personal tour of the buildings could be a three-day event on its own considering all the churches, castles, and other historical locations (it helps transit is fairly affordable). With its rich history and culture, there are many museums, and orchestras, so there`s no excuse to be bored. While there is some political unrest, many who travel here say it’s well worth it.

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19. El Salvador

Home of lots of food and culture, El Salvador has a lot to offer visitors. Tazumal is said to be an important Mayan temple and should be added to everyone`s bucket list. Joya de Cerén, Lake Ilopang, and San Salvador Volcano are all fantastic locations to visit as well. That being said, not every attraction is based on volcanos or history. Suchitoto is a small town full of culture and a favourite spot for visitors.

With rooms available at $20 CAD and food at $4, El Salvador is popular among those who like to travel on a budget.

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20. Caledon

A mere 30 minutes outside Toronto, Caledon still has that small-town charm that many seek. While accommodations and transportation are limited, there are endless options when it comes to cheap sight-seeing activities in this historic town.

For the most part, a lot of the sight-seeing is nature based. There`s the Caledon Trail that runs through town, the Cathem Badlands, and farms to pick fresh produce. Each community in Caledon has something to offer, too. Bolton offers delicious Italian cuisine, Belfountain has a beautiful conservation area, and Palgrave is home of the Pan Am Equestrian Park. These communities are all separated by rolling hills and farmlands, making for a scenic day trip.

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