By Bridget Castner
Traveling the world doesn't have to break the bank. Many cities around the globe offer budget-conscious travelers incredible experiences, from exploring cultural landmarks to savoring delicious local cuisine.
In this article, we'll introduce where to travel on a budget that'll allow you to enjoy your wanderlust without emptying your wallet.
Valencia is a stunning and cost-effective way to travel Spain on a budget, distinct from other major Spanish cities but equally enchanting. The city boasts tons of inexpensive and free museums, including the Institut Valencià d'Art Modern (IVAM) and the Archaeological Museum.
Valencia's stunning beaches, including Malvarrosa and Playa de las Arenas, are open to the public and offer free access to the sun, sea, and sand. Additionally, the city's markets, cafes, and tapas bars serve up delicious meals at budget-friendly prices.
Public transportation is your best friend in Prague! You only need to buy a single ticket that's valid for multiple buses, trams, and trains, making your transportation cheap and easy. Plus, Prague's location makes it a convenient base for exploring other European cities, such as Vienna and Budapest, often at affordable rates! You can also indulge in hearty meals at reasonable prices, running between $7-$11 dollars for lunch and just upwards of $17 for dinner. Even better? A bottle of beer is just $2.
The city's historic Old Town Square, Charles Bridge, and Prague Castle are free to explore, allowing you to immerse yourself in Prague's rich history without spending a dime. There are also numerous parks and gardens open to the public, allowing you to marvel at panoramic city views from Petřín Hill or relax in Letná Park for free.
This one may come as a surprise, but Bangkok, the vibrant capital of Thailand, is one of the most budget friendly places to travel! The city offers an extensive range of accommodations to suit every budget, and its famous street food is both delicious and easy on the wallet.
Bangkok also features a plethora of free sights, including the Wat Phra Kaew monastery and Pha Daeng National Park, as well as low-cost activities like relaxing in hot springs for just $3. Thailand's capital is also a shopper's paradise, with markets such as Chatuchak, MBK Center, and Asiatique offering a wide range of products at competitive prices.
If you want to travel South America on a budget, then Medellin is the perfect spot to experience a range of culture and cuisine! You can admire Fernando Botero's impressive sculptures at Plaza Botero free of charge, join a salsa class or enjoy live music without spending a fortune, and get a unique aerial view of the city via a $4 gondola ride in Parque Arvi.
Local cuisine is also super affordable, with most meals costing between $3-$6 and snacks like empanadas or arepas for as little as fifty cents. Get a taste of Colombia's coffee culture with affordable coffee tours, or utilize Medellin's proximity to beautiful natural wonders like Guatape and Santa Fe de Antioquia to enjoy affordable day trips.
If you're looking for cheap places to travel in Europe, put Porto at the top of your list! Visit the Port Wine Museum for just $2.50 and learn about how the wine is made, or indulge in port wine tastings without breaking the bank. The efficient public transportation system is budget-friendly, while local eateries offer traditional dishes like bacalhau (salted codfish) and pastéis de nata (custard tarts) at prices that are refreshingly low.
Marvel at Porto's scenic beauty for free while strolling along the Douro River, wandering through the historic alleys of Ribeira, or hiking to the top of Clerigos Tower.
Known for its extensive history, lively art scene, incredible cuisine, and magnificent green areas, Mexico's largest and brightest city is one of the best places to travel on a budget. Explore the numerous free museums in Mexico City such as the world's first water color museum, Museo Nacional de la Acuarela, as well as Soumaya Museum and Estanquillo Museum.
As for cuisine, Mexico City's street food stalls, local markets, and traditional eateries offer dishes like tacos, tamales, and enchiladas at remarkably low prices. You can also enjoy affordable entertainment like lively mariachi bands in Plaza Garibaldi or traditional folk dance performances at Palacio de Bellas Artes.
One of the primary advantages for international travelers, particularly Americans, is the favorable exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and the Canadian dollar. This means your money goes further in Toronto, making dining, shopping, and entertainment more affordable.
Take advantage of the city's highly-efficient and reasonably-priced public transportation, for which you can buy a daily or weekly pass. Head to the World Food Market to savor worldwide cuisine at cost-effective prices or indulge in the city's dynamic street food. Best of all, Toronto's natural beauty can be enjoyed without spending a dime. Explore extensive parks like High Park, visit the Toronto Islands, or take a stroll along the scenic waterfront trails.
You may not think it, but NOLA is one of the best places to travel on a budget in the US with plenty of activities. You can enjoy live jazz, blues, and zydeco performances at no cover charge in many bars and clubs, or simply walk around to listen to street musicians.
Local eateries, po' boy shops, and street food vendors serve mouthwatering dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and beignets at wallet-friendly prices. You can also explore the city's natural beauty without spending a dime. Audubon Park, City Park, and the levee along the Mississippi River provide lovely outdoor spaces for picnics and leisurely strolls.
Built in the 12th century, Angkor Wat in Siem Reap is filled with history, amazing places to explore, and is one of the best places to travel on a budget. The entrance fees are remarkably reasonable, especially considering the unparalleled historical and architectural treasures that await. Various ticket options are available, including one-day, three-day, and seven-day passes, allowing you to explore at your own pace while keeping costs in check.
There are various modes of transportation in Siem Reap such as tuk-tuks, bicycle rentals, and even helium balloon rides available at inexpensive rates, offering unique and unbeatable ways to explore. You can find delicious and cheap meals in Siem Reap, where meals average $5-$10 per plate.