Budget-Friendly International Destinations

  • Baños, Ecuador

    This Ecuadorian city is affectionately called the "Gateway to Amazon." Head here for an inexpensive way to see South America's stunning natural beauty. With a handful of waterfalls nearby and a volcano, too, you'll have plenty to hike towards. Or you might schedule a day trip into the jungle. Stay in an "eco hostel" to cut costs. Lodging can be found for as little as $20 a night. Luxury at just $150.

    Photo courtesy of Mark Goble

  • Bucharest, Romania

    Nicknamed "Little Paris," Bucharest is a haven for art, history and architecture buffs. A visit is cheaper than going to France. Reservations can be made at luxury hotels for less $100 night. After fluffing your Romanian pillow, visit the famous Triumph Arch or stroll Cismigiu Gardens.

    Photo courtesy of Florin Stanciu

  • San Jose, Costa Rica

    This capital city has a European feel, especially at its center. You'll find the architecture breathtaking, and the museums, too. San Jose was appointed the Ibero-American Capital of Culture; so expect excellence, and for not much more than a song. Hotels can be had for $50 a night. Day trips from San Jose will take you to all manner of natural wonders, including Volcan Poas, a huge and picturesque volcano.  

    Photo courtesy of Christopher Gosselin

  • Hanoi, Vietnam

    Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam, is a bustling metropolis and has been for almost a thousand years. It's possible to travel here on a dime, with luxury lodging starting at under $50 a night. Dollars go far in the way of shopping and dining, but there's plenty to enjoy that's free. Walk the city's streets and get a glimpse of architecture through the ages. The Old Quarter, especially, will charm you. 

    Photo courtesy of Jon Rawlinson

  • Chiang Mai, Thailand

    The largest city in Thailand will keep you occupied on the cheap for days on end. Visit an amazing 13th century temple or an elephant nature park. Take a street food tour. A warm, clean bed in a private room will set you back just $25. Treat yourself to a Thai massage before tucking yourself in after a memorable day in one of Thailand's most popular tourist destinations.

    Photo courtesy of Kiernan Lamb

  • Kathmandu, Nepal

    A visit to Kathmandu in Nepal is a surefire way to get in touch with the wonder of the ancient East. Its religious monuments and temples are renowned. Many are World Heritage Sites. In the mood for something more modern? There's plenty to do, see and eat on the cheap, too. Catch a Bollywood film before grabbing a plate of "American chop suey," then sleep for under $20 a night.

    Photo courtesy of Cheryl Marland

  • Siem Reap, Cambodia

    Plenty of free historic attractions make Siem Reap a great pick for budget travel in Cambodia. It's most well-known for its Angkor temples, including the famous Angkor Wat, a World Heritage Site and the largest religious monument on the globe. Other to-dos include a stroll through the Angkor Night Market and a visit to the Angkor Silk Farm. All free or very, very cheap!

    Photo courtesy of nonuou

  • La Paz, Bolivia

    Enjoy this portal to the days of colonial Bolivia without breaking the bank. Amazing cathedrals and museums pay tribute to the days of the Spanish conquistadors. Pick up a souvenir at a street market or just enjoy the views. This city is nestled in mountains that rise nearly 12,000 feet above sea level. La Paz is perfect for affordable outdoor fun. Lodging and restaurants are tremendously inexpensive, too.

    Photo courtesy of Florence.S.

  • Cusco, Peru

    Cusco, Peru was the site of the Incan empire and its remnants are awe-inspiring. Take a day trip from this Andes Mountains city to Machu Picchu, "the lost city of the Incas." Other affordable activities include the Planetarium Cusco where you can learn how Andean people interpret the stars. Budget hotels can be found for just around $50 a night. Hostels are even cheaper. Some less than $10 a night.  

    Photo courtesy of karlnorling

  • Bali, Indonesia

    This Indonesian island is famous for its beaches and its arts. Both can be had for cheap. You can go diving, snorkeling or explore a ship wreck off the shores, visit one of the many ancient ruins (like the 11th century temple Gunang Kawi), or head to one of the island's many art museums. For around $25 a night for a budget-friendly hotel, why not?

    Photo courtesy of Cazz