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Want to find the cheapest places to travel in 2020? You’re in the right spot. Welcome to our annual report on the world’s most affordable travel destinations! We’ve completely updated our rankings for this year, and for the first time ever, we have a new number one…but we’ll get to that in a bit!
As you know, finding cheap vacation ideas can be frustrating. To get the best travel deals, it typically takes hours of time-consuming research – including comparing hotels, finding cheap flights, and considering your meal options. And this is after you’ve spent weeks researching where to go.
So, we’ve taken the 100 most visited travel destinations in the world and ranked them according to price.
You’re welcome 🙂
But, before we get started, you might want to grab our free guide to saving up to 50% on your next vacation! Just click the button below get it now. (You’re welcome again 😉 )
Table of Contents
- The Cheapest Places to Travel: Our Observations
- Cheap Travel Destinations: Our Methodology
- Cheap Places to Travel: New Cities for 2020
- Cheapest Places to Travel: #100-#91
- Cheapest Places to Travel: #90-#81
- Cheapest Places to Travel: #80-#71
- Cheapest Places to Travel: #70-#61
- Cheapest Places to Travel: #60-#51
- Cheapest Places to Travel: #50-#41
- Cheapest Places to Travel: #40-#31
- Cheapest Places to Travel: #30-#21
- Cheapest Places to Travel: #20-#11
- Cheapest Places to Travel: #10-#1
The Cheapest Places to Travel: Our Observations
If you’re a veteran of budget travel, the results of our study shouldn’t shock you.
As expected, travel destinations in Asia and Oceania once again dominate the top half of our list. In fact, the Asia/Oceania region is home to the cheapest countries in the world – claiming a whopping 29 of the top 35 cheapest places to travel on our list…and all of the top 20. That’s a pretty incredible number.
Travel destinations in Europe and North America are generally the most expensive places to visit. This year, St. Petersburg moved up six spots to become the most affordable European destination, landing just outside the top 25 overall. For reference, no other European destinations make it into the top 35 while the cheapest place to travel in the United States is ranked a meager 67th.
Keep in mind, however, that comparing the best travel destinations by price is extremely relative. When searching for cheap places to travel, numerous factors come into play – including your proximity to the destination and the time of year you plan to visit. Seemingly cheap vacation spots can quickly turn into budget busters if you don’t account for every expense.
So, with dozens of variables at play, how can anybody accurately compare the cheapest travel destinations in the world?
Easy. We had to set some ground rules.
Cheap Travel Destinations: Our Methodology
Let me assure you, we haven’t taken this project lightly.
To accurately measure the cost of each location, we created a methodology which ensured that each destination stood on relatively equal footing. So, as we’ve done in the past, we focused our efforts on factors that were universal, controllable, and useful.
First, we had to decide which destinations to include. Although Brookings, South Dakota may be a cheap place to travel for fellow South Dakotans, how many people actually visit Brookings each year? How useful is that to the vast majority of people?
For that reason, we limited inclusion on our list to include Euromonitor International’s 100 most popular travel destinations in the world for 2019, as determined by the total number of international visitors.
Since everybody’s travel style is different, we also needed to determine which factors best represented the overall cost of a destination. Average food and beverage costs became an important factor in our rankings, as we feel they are indicative of an area’s overall affordability.
Using numbers from Numbeo, we based our food and entertainment numbers on the average cost of a meal at an “inexpensive” restaurant (3 per day) and the average cost of a domestic beer (3 per day). We added an extra 10% to both, just to be on the safe side.
Prices for accommodations were also a major factor in our rankings. Clearly, one’s travel preferences are going to affect the amount it costs to stay in a certain area. For instance, overwater bungalows, no matter how affordable, are going to cost a heck of a lot more than a standard hotel room.
Additionally, because rates change based on occupancy and the time of year in which they are booked, we needed to find a consistent way in which to apply our methodology. So, we based our numbers on a midweek stay during each destination’s “low season,” averaging the 5 cheapest 3-star options for accommodations during that time. New for 2020, we also ensured that the accommodations were located within the most popular tourist areas of the city.
To help you put this all together, here’s a quick breakdown of our methodology:
- Must be one of the top 100 most visited destinations in the world
- Average of top 5 cheapest accommodation options for each location
- 3-star+ accommodations
- “Low season” pricing
- Located within popular tourist area
- Midweek stay
- Double occupancy
- Average price of meal at an “inexpensive” restaurant
- 3 per day
- Plus 10% for accuracy
- Average price of domestic beer at a restaurant
- 3 per day
- Plus 10% for accuracy
Using this data, we created our “Affordability Index” – a metric used to compare costs between locations and rank each travel destination by their overall affordability. The lower the number, the cheaper the destination.
Known Issues with Our Methodology
This isn’t to say that our methodology is perfect.
As with any study, our rankings are only as accurate as the data we’ve collected. While we’re confident in our sources, there is certainly some room for error. However, the results tend to correlate with what most experienced travelers would expect.
Additionally, one of the biggest expenses for any vacation is transportation. This is an extremely difficult metric to gauge. Flight costs vary wildly depending on where you’re flying to and from. Because we couldn’t find a consistent way to apply airfares across the globe, we decided to leave them out entirely.
For that reason, some of the cheapest places to travel may not be as affordable for you. For example, flights from New York City to most Asian destinations can cost 2 or 3 times as much as flights to Europe. Keep this in mind before settling on a destination for your next vacation.
Since it’s nearly impossible to predict transportation costs from around the world, think of the Affordability Index as a metric of what you can expect to spend once you arrive.
Finally, some really cheap places to travel didn’t make the list because – well – they don’t have enough visitors. For instance, Sofia, Bulgaria and Bucharest, Romania are widely considered some of Europe’s most affordable travel destinations. However, they didn’t meet the standard of the number of visitors needed to make our report.
Cheap Places to Travel: New Cities for 2020
As we’ve mentioned, to qualify for our list of the cheapest places to travel in the world, a city must also crack the list of the top 100 most popular travel destinations. Since that list changes from year to year, our list of cheap vacation spots also reflects that change.
We made 7 new additions to our list of the cheapest destinations in the world for 2020. More importantly, they really shook up the list, with 5 of 7 landing inside the top 25 overall. Here they are:
- Bangalore, India
- Cebu, Philippines
- Da Nang, Vietnam
- Fukuoka, Japan
- Hurghada, Egypt
- Medina, Saudi Arabia
- Mugla, Turkey
And, here are the 7 travel spots that qualified last year, but didn’t receive enough visitors to make our updated list:
- Doha, Qatar
- Lviv, Ukraine
- Mexico City, Mexico
- Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
- Santiago, Chile
- Siem Reap, Cambodia
We’ll see if any of these places can rebound to make the list again next year!
Cheapest Places to Travel: #100-#91
Without further ado, here’s our list of the 100 cheapest places to travel in the world for 2019.
#100) Tel Aviv, Israel (Change: None)
Affordability Index: 255.93 Popularity: #79 (↑2)
Located on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea, Tel Aviv is a popular tourist destination for beachgoers and sightseers alike. As the second largest city in Israel, this spot has plenty to do and see – including some amazing day trips and excursions throughout the Holy Land. However, it isn’t a particularly cheap vacation spot. For the third straight year, Tel Aviv lands at the bottom of our list…and it’s really not even close. In large part, this is due to the lack of affordable accommodations, ranking dead last for affordability in that category for the third year in a row.
#99) Jerusalem, Israel (Change: None)
Affordability Index: 227.52 Popularity: #61 (↑2)
Three of the world’s major religions lay claim to Jerusalem as a holy city. As such, pilgrims from around the globe flock here to visit some of the world’s most sacred sites. It also serves as a good starting point for other destinations in the Holy Land, with multiple tours leaving from the city each day. However, Jerusalem is an expensive place to stay. The city ranks ahead of only Tel Aviv as the least affordable destination on our list for accommodations. Still, because of its importance as a religious pilgrimage site, Jerusalem will continue to flourish as a popular travel destination.
#98) San Francisco, United States (Change: ↓1)
Affordability Index: 209.03 Popularity: #72 (↑1)
If you’re searching for cheap places to travel, San Francisco isn’t it. Long considered one of the most expensive places to live in the United States, San Fran is also one of the country’s most expensive cities to visit. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Golden Gate Bridge, check out Chinatown, and catch a ride on one of the city’s famous cable cars or trolleys. Finding a cheap place to stay could be tough, though. San Francisco ranks 97th in the affordable accommodations category. Food and drinks won’t come cheap either, ranking 97th and 90th, respectively. If you’re still looking for ways to save, you might want to try the San Francisco CityPASS.
#97) Honolulu, United States (Change: ↑1)
Affordability Index: 201.40 Popularity: #81 (↓4)
Hawaii is one of the most beautiful places in the world, but it comes at a price. Hotel rates in Honolulu are some of the most expensive in the world, with accommodation prices ranking 98th on our list of cheapest place to stay. Food and beverage prices in Honolulu didn’t fare much better, ranking no higher than 81st. Still, if you’re looking for a beautiful beach vacation, it’s tough to top the incredible sandy beaches and volcanic mountains of Hawaii. While you’re there, be sure to check out a luau, take in a sunset cruise, and maybe try a helicopter ride over the active volcanoes still lurking there. Check out the Go Oahu Pass for even more ways to save.
#96) Milan, Italy (Change: ↓9)
Affordability Index: 191.50 Popularity: #35 (↓3)
Located in the northwest corner of Italy, Milan is considered one of the most fashionable cities in the world. It also takes our survey’s crown for the most expensive city in Europe, mainly due to the lack of affordable accomodations. Like much of the country, Milan is home to some incredible art and architecture. The Duomo di Milano is third largest cathedral in the world, and Leonardo Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper” is hosted down the street at the convent of Santa Marie delle Grazie. Located a short distance from the Italian Alps and the Lake District, there is plenty to do outside the city, as well.
#95) New York City, United States (Change: ↑1)
Affordability Index: 188.10 Popularity: #8 (No Change)
The Big Apple is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world and the top destination in the U.S.; it’s also one of the most expensive. Anybody who has been to New York knows it can be tough to stretch a dollar there, especially in the tourist areas like Times Square. If sightseeing is your thing, a card like the New York Pass is a great way to save money on the city’s top attractions. Hotels, food, and beverages are another story, though. New York ranks one of the most expensive places in the world for all three. Even though it’s not a particularly budget-friendly destination, I highly recommend checking out New York City at least once!
#94) Los Angeles, United States (Change: None)
Affordability Index: 180.10 Popularity: #29 (↓2)
Looking for glitz and glamour? Los Angeles, California is as extravagant as it gets. Home to the stars, taking a stroll down Hollywood Boulevard will remind you why L.A. is recognized as the “Entertainment Capital of the World.” Of course, there’s more to L.A. than just entertainment. The City of Angels is also home to incredible museums, stunning scenery, and beautiful beaches of its own. The nightlife is pretty spectacular, too! Of course, a trip to Los Angeles isn’t exactly the cheapest vacation idea. Being this close to all that stardom is going to cost you, but it’s worth doing at least once. If you’re looking to save on sightseeing in L.A., the Go Los Angeles Card may be a good option.
#93) Copenhagen, Denmark (Change: ↑2)
Affordability Index: 169.42 Popularity: #71 (↑1)
Scandinavia isn’t known as an exceptionally cheap vacation spot, so it’s no surprise that Denmark’s capital city finds itself near the bottom of our list – although, due to our new accommodations figures, it has shed the title of most expensive spot in Europe. (That title now belongs to Milan.) Of course, expensive doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t consider traveling there. Copenhagen is a large city that still maintains a small town feel. Boasting a thriving historical center, great shopping, and a beautiful pier area that’s filled with atmosphere, this is still a city to keep on your bucket list. Read more about our trip to Copenhagen here.
#92) Amsterdam, Netherlands (Change: ↓4)
Affordability Index: 166.30 Popularity: #25 (↓2)
While not the cheapest place to travel in Europe, Amsterdam is certainly one of the most interesting. Famous for its “coffee shops” and red light district, there’s more to Amsterdam than its wild side. Take a stroll through the Van Gogh Museum or ponder the Nazi atrocities of World War II with a visit to the Anne Frank House. Enjoy a relaxing boat ride down one of the city’s many canals, or take a day trip to the Dutch countryside for some picturesque views – windmills included!
#91) Toronto, Canada (Change: ↓7)
Affordability Index: 166.16 Popularity: #53 (↓1)
Home to world-class theatre, restaurants, and shopping, Toronto is often referred to as Canada’s version of New York City. Although it used to be considerably cheaper than the Big Apple, according to our survey, that gap seems to be closing. Like last year, Toronto took another big, dropping 7 spots to #91. Prices for drinks and accommodations drove the change, falling 8 and a whopping 12 spots from last year, respectively. Still, Canada’s largest city welcomed more than 4.7 million visitors last year, landing it at #53 in overall popularity.
Cheapest Places to Travel: #90-#81
#90) Paris, France (Change: ↑2)
Affordability Index: 164.99 Popularity: #6 (No Change)
Paris is one of the best places to travel in the world, and for good reason. The City of Light is filled with instantly recognizable landmarks, incredible history, and several of the world’s foremost art museums. And, if you love food, Paris is the place to be. As you probably know, though, Paris isn’t typically considered one of the cheapest places to travel. While a tourist card like the Paris Pass may help you save money on sightseeing, food and drink prices here rank in the bottom 15% of our list. Also, while Paris does have some affordable places to stay, rates at top-tier hotels can be astronomical.
#89) London, United Kingdom (Change ↑1)
Affordability Index: 156.19 Popularity: #3 (No Change)
If you love history, art, and sightseeing, London is one of the world’s best places to travel. London ranks as the most popular travel destination in Europe, and for good reason. This place is filled with historical sites, incredible museums, and world-class entertainment. And since the British Empire controlled roughly 3/4 of the world at one point, many of us can trace our own history back to this incredible city. Although it isn’t the cheapest vacation spot, using a London Pass can help you see most of the city’s major sites for less. Trust me, a trip to London is one you’ll never forget.
#88) Brussels, Belgium (Change: ↑3)
Affordability Index: 150.47 Popularity: #60 (↑10)
Capital of Belgium and headquarters of the European Union, Brussels welcomed nearly 4.3 million international visitors in 2019. Although the city saw a significant rise in it’s popularity, climbing more spots in that category than any other city on the list, prices remained relatively steady. Of course, as one of Europe’s most important cities, food and hotel prices still make Brussels one of the most expensive places to visit. But don’t let the price tag deter you. Brussels is an exciting cosmopolitan city with plenty to do and see. Spend some time checking out the Grand-Place or take a day trip to experience the Belgian countryside. You won’t regret it.
#87) Miami, United States (Change: ↓1)
Affordability Index: 145.10 Popularity: #27 (↓5)
There aren’t a lot of world-class cities located on incredible beaches, but Miami happens to be one of them. Unlike many of the most popular destinations in the U.S., Miami enjoys warm and sunny weather throughout the year. It also brings a unique Caribbean flair (particularly Cuban) that you won’t find elsewhere in the states. As you might expect, prices in Miami reflect the flashiness for which it is known. But, if you want to see and be seen, Miami is the town for you.
#86) Dublin, Ireland (Change: ↑3)
Affordability Index: 144.83 Popularity: #50 (↓4)
Dublin is another large city with some serious small town charm. With friendly smiles and neighborhood pubs on practically every corner, this place makes you feel right at home. Although the city’s food and hotel prices rank as some of the most expensive you’ll find, using a Dublin Pass is one option for controlling costs on your trip. Also, don’t miss out on visiting Kilmainham Gaol while you’re there. This tour provides an emotional context for understanding the long history of struggles faced by the Irish people, and it comes highly recommended from your’s truly!
#85) Sydney, Australia (Change: ↓9)
Affordability Index: 142.81 Popularity: #55 (No Change)
Sydney, Australia took a tumble in this years affordability rankings, dropping nine spots to #85. While it isn’t known for being one of the cheapest places to travel, it is a place that occupies a spot on many bucket lists. In addition to the cultural attractions found here, the city also provides a great starting point for visiting the rest of Australia. Prices are relatively in line with what you’ll find in the major European and North American travel hubs. However, if you’re traveling from the U.S. or Europe, just getting to Sydney can also cost thousands.
#84) Stockholm, Sweden (Change: ↑9)
Affordability Index: 140.66 Popularity: #88 (↓3)
Thinking about a trip to Scandinavia? Consider giving Stockholm a try. Known for its world-class restaurants and beautiful canals, Stockholm is a cosmopolitan city with lots to see and do. A trip to the Vasa Museum brings you up close and personal with an (almost) fully intact warship dating from the 17th century. After checking out Stockholm’s “Old Town,” you may also want to visit the Kungliga Slottet – the official residence of Sweden’s royal family. Oh, on a trip this expensive, don’t forget to carry some travel insurance.
#83) Singapore, Singapore (Change: ↓21)
Affordability Index: 139.61 Popularity: #5 (↓1)
Although it was the biggest mover in last year’s survey of the cheapest places in the world, Singapore took this year’s biggest drop, tumbling 21 spots back to #83. This was caused by big drops in rankings for both accommodations and meals, which suggests last year’s rise was likely an outlier. Still, Singapore is the 4th most popular tourist destination in the world, and hotel and beverage prices here are on par with the more expensive tourist destinations typically found in Europe and North America. Singapore now ranks 91st in hotel prices, 62nd in restaurant pricing, and 95th in beverage costs – easily making it the most expensive destination in Asia listed here.
#82) Vancouver, Canada (Change: ↑3)
Affordability Index: 138.02 Popularity: #69 (↑2)
Located on Canada’s west coast, Vancouver is one of the most popular travel destinations in North America. This cosmopolitan city offers plenty of things to do, plus you’re only a short drive from some of the best mountain resorts in the world. Although prices for accommodations fall in line with most destinations in North America, staying in Vancouver will definitely cost more than some other cheap places to travel. The city ranks #86 on our list for hotel prices.
#81) Auckland, New Zealand (Change: ↓12)
Affordability Index: 137.91 Popularity: #78 (↑1)
New Zealand is famous for its ridiculously beautiful mountain ranges (Lord of the Rings, anyone?), and Auckland is the perfect place to begin your tour. Before you go, though, spend some time gawking at the super yachts in Viaduct Harbor while sipping on a drink from one of the area’s many coffee shops and bars. Of course, you can’t miss the Sky Tower either, which can be seen from nearly anywhere in town.
Cheapest Places to Travel: #80-#71
#80) Florence, Italy (Change: ↑2)
Affordability Index: 135.70 Popularity: #51 (↓4)
Each year, millions of art and history lovers flock to Florence, Italy, making it one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe. While traveling to Florence isn’t cheap, it’s a city that warrants returning to again and again. Birthplace of the Italian Renaissance and capital city of the Tuscany region, Florence is home to some of the most famous works of art the world has ever seen. Additionally, the gigantic dome of the Florence Duomo was the first domed structure built in over 1,000 years. Oh, the food and wine here are pretty darn good, too!
#79) Vienna, Austria (Change: ↓14)
Affordability Index: 131.06 Popularity: #37 (↓3)
For nearly 400 years, the Habsburg dynasty ruled Austria. In fact, they were the most powerful family in the world. Branches of the Habsburg’s reigned over practically every corner of Europe, and Vienna was the center of it all. Today, in addition to visiting the royal palaces and gardens, be sure to check out some of Vienna’s other cultural activities – like taking a trip to the opera. Check out the Vienna Pass for ways to save while you’re there.
#78) Madrid, Spain (Change: ↓8)
Affordability Index: 127.88 Popularity: #47 (↓3)
Home to over 3 million people, Madrid is the largest city in Spain and serves as the nation’s capital. For centuries, Spain controlled one of the largest empires in the world, which makes Madrid a great place to visit for history lovers. Try the Go Madrid Pass to save money on tours of various museums and the Royal Palace before grabbing some tapas for dinner. Consider making Madrid your home base for your trip to Spain, but be sure to take some day trips outside of the city, as well.
#77) Melbourne, Australia (Change: ↓5)
Affordability Index: 125.75 Popularity: #73 (↑3)
Australia’s “Second City,” Melbourne is another popular destination for tourists from around the world. Accommodations and food prices in Melbourne are cheaper than in Sydney, which is what pushed Melbourne up a few notches on our list. In addition to Federation Square, the old Melbourne Gaol is also worth a visit.
#76) Munich, Germany (Change: ↑7)
Affordability Index: 125.22 Popularity: #56 (No Change)
Nestled against the foothills of the Bavarian Alps, Munich is a great place to start your Bavarian adventure. Famous for its beer gardens and jovial atmosphere, Munich is more than just a party town. While you’re there, be sure to check out the glockenspiel clock and The Residenz – the royal palace of the Wittelsbach dynasty. You should also consider taking a day trip to the fairytale castles of Mad King Ludwig II, which are just a few hours drive away.
#75) Nice, France (Change: ↑4)
Affordability Index: 124.77 Popularity: #92 (No Change)
Known for its natural beauty and glamorous appeal, the French Riviera is a popular destination for tourists from across the globe. Located on the pebble strewn shores of the Mediterranean, Nice is one of the area’s most popular destinations. Although it may seem out of reach for some family travelers, don’t be fooled. Prices for accommodations are relatively reasonable, ranking near the middle of the pack if you avoid the high season. Of course, with a coast line this lovely, this corner of France is definitely worth a visit.
#74) Rome, Italy (Change: ↑3)
Affordability Index: 123.10 Popularity: #16 (↓1)
Packed with astonishing history and breathtaking landmarks, Rome is home to some of the world’s most spectacular tourist attractions. Visiting Rome is like taking a step back in time. Tourists flock to the city in order to soak up sites like the Roman Colosseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, and more. Although it is actually a separate country, Vatican City is completely surrounded by the city of Rome, making this one of the most popular pilgrimage sites for the world’s 1.3 billion Roman Catholics. You may be surprised to learn that prices for accommodations rank 64th on our list. However, be sure to watch your food budget. While there are certainly some cheap places to eat, food prices in Rome are tied for 87th. Be sure to check out the Rome & Vatican Pass to see if it can save you time and money while you’re there.
#73) Orlando, United States (Change: ↑1)
Affordability Index: 122.80 Popularity: #44 (No Change)
Home to several major theme parks, Orlando is one of the best places to travel in the world for families. Of course, most tourists come to see the granddaddy of all theme parks – Disney World. As anyone who has visited the Magic Kingdom knows, it pays to find ways to save for your Disney vacation. Still, it isn’t the cheapest place to visit. Beverage costs in Orlando rank 63rd, while food prices still remain in the bottom 15% of the destinations listed here.
#72) Venice, Italy (Change: ↑9)
Affordability Index: 120.77 Popularity: #46 (↓5)
Renowned for its world-famous canals, Venice is one of the most romantic places in the world. Wander through the labyrinth of narrow streets, make your way across the Rialto Bridge, and soak up the evening atmosphere in Piazza San Marco. And, of course, don’t leave Venice without enjoying a cruise on a gondola. (Hint: You can find cheaper gondola rides by walking a few blocks away from the busiest tourist areas.) Read more about our recent trip to Venice here.
#71) Barcelona, Spain (Change: ↓7)
Affordability Index: 118.01 Popularity: #33 (↓2)
As one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world, many consider Barcelona to be Europe’s best places to visit. Featuring incredible food, a fantastic Gothic Quarter, and beautiful man-made beaches, no trip to Barcelona is complete without a stroll down the city’s popular walking mall, La Rambla. The whimsical architecture of Antoni Goudi dots the city and is hard to miss.
Cheapest Places to Travel: #70-#61
#70) Frankfurt, Germany (Change: ↑5)
Affordability Index: 116.26 Popularity: #87 (↓4)
Frankfurt, Germany is the home of the European Central Bank and a major tourist destination in the west-central part of Germany. Like several cities in Germany, much of Frankfurt was destroyed during World War II and has been rebuilt. The city also makes for a great departure point for the ever-popular Rhine River cruises.
#69) Hong Kong, Hong Kong (Change: ↑9)
Affordability Index: 107.64 Popularity: #1 (No Change)
Hong Kong still operates as an autonomous region in China, and – with nearly 27 million international visitors per year – it is the world’s most popular tourist destination. While Hong Kong was once thought of as a relatively cheap place to travel, a booming tourism industry has increased prices, landing the city at #69 overall on our survey. This year, Hong Kong fared better in the accommodations category (up 15 spots to #74), but beverage prices still rank 86th overall. It may help to see if something like the Hong Kong Pass can help you save money while you’re here.
#68) Tokyo, Japan (Change: ↑5)
Affordability Index: 107.58 Popularity: #17 (↓3)
Tokyo is another ultra-modern city that finds itself on our list. However, if you’re looking for cheap places to travel in Asia, you may want to look elsewhere. Although Japan’s largest city is relatively affordable compared to places in Europe and North America, our survey still finds it to be the third most expensive destination in Asia. With that said, Tokyo is one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations, ranking 17th overall in terms of international visitors per year.
#67) Las Vegas, United States (Change: None)
Affordability Index: 107.30 Popularity: #34 (↓6)
In the past, Las Vegas was considered one of the cheapest places to travel in the United States. While it is still the most affordable U.S. destination on our list, prices in Las Vegas have creeped up over the last decade. Known as a gambler’s paradise, Sin City actually has plenty of free things to do once you arrive. If you don’t gamble and want to get outside the city, a Las Vegas Pass can help you experience the area’s sites for less.
#66) Berlin, Germany (Change: ↓3)
Affordability Index: 106.96 Popularity: #41 (↓5)
Berlin is a thoroughly modern city that is quickly becoming one of Europe’s hottest travel destinations. With relatively affordable prices, it’s not hard to see why. When it comes to the cheapest cities in Europe, Berlin ranks in the top half for overall affordability in the region. With its turbulent political landscape a thing of the past, Berlin’s world-class museums, historical landmarks, and modern feel are once again attracting visitors from around the world. A sightseeing card like the Berlin Pass may be able to help you save even more.
#65) Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Change: ↑4)
Affordability Index: 105.99 Popularity: #7 (No Change)
With over 16.3 million international visitors a year, Dubai is the most popular tourist destination in the Middle East. Home to the world’s tallest building, Dubai isn’t afraid to be flashy. The city is known for its exuberant nightlife and high-end shopping. While meals and accommodations rank near the middle of the pack, beverage costs push Dubai a little further down our list of affordable places to travel, coming in dead last overall in beverage prices.
#64) Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (Change: ↑4)
Affordability Index: 103.41 Popularity: #94 (↑1)
Moving up four spots is another spot in the U.A.E., Abu Dhabi. A major center for oil exports and commerce, Abu Dhabi has become a popular tourist destination for people from around the globe. Capital of the U.A.E., this place isn’t afraid to “go big.” The city is home to huge skyscrapers, gigantic shopping malls, and its enormous Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque which holds up to 41,000 worshipers. While meals and accommodations are relatively affordable, like other Middle Eastern destinations, beverage prices are expensive. Abu Dhabi lands at #99 in our rankings for that category.
#63) Rhodes, Greece (Change: ↓8)
Affordability Index: 99.69 Popularity: #97 (↑2)
Rhodes is an ancient city located on the island from which it gets its name. In addition to the numerous sets of ancient ruins found nearby, Rhodes is also a favorite spot for beach lovers. Although it is a resort area, Rhodes is considerably cheaper than most of the vacation spots in Europe, ranking #11 on our list for overall affordability in the region.
#62) Osaka, Japan (Change: ↓6)
Affordability Index: 94.14 Popularity: #28 (↑2)
With over 19 million residents, Osaka’s metropolitan area ranks as the 2nd largest in Japan. It has also become a major tourist destination for international visitors. Osaka is most famous for its popular entertainment district. The city is also packed with museums, a stunning castle, and a family-friendly aquarium. Universal Studios Japan is also located here.
#61) Macau, Macau (Change: ↑19)
Affordability Index: 93.67 Popularity: #4 (↑1)
After making the second biggest drop last year, Macau took the largest jump this year, climbing 19 spots all the way to #61. Like its neighbor Hong Kong, Macau is an autonomous region of China located on the country’s south coast. As a former Portuguese territory, the area features a mix of cultural influences and tastes. The area is also home to several mega casinos, earning the nickname the “Las Vegas of China.” Unlike other areas known for their showy nature, food and beverage prices in Macau rank near the middle of our list. However, prices for hotels are more in line with what you’d find in Europe and North America.
Cheapest Places to Travel: #60-#51
#60) Johannesburg, South Africa (Change: ↓12)
Affordability Index: 89.74 Popularity: #54 (↓16)
Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa, and the most expensive African destination to make our list. Beverage prices rank in the top 25%, but hotel and meal prices helped push the city further down the list (63rd for accommodations, 67th in restaurant costs). Popular things to do in Johannesburg include visiting the Apartheid Museum, checking out the “Cradle of Humankind” UNESCO World Heritage Site, and enjoying nature safaris.
#59) Athens, Greece (Change: ↓2)
Affordability Index: 85.24 Popularity: #42 (↑6)
In my opinion, a trip to Greece represents one of the best value vacations in all of Europe. Although some tell you to hit the highlights in Athens and leave quickly, I disagree. The birthplace of western culture, Athens is an incredibly unique city, filled with some of the most amazing historical and cultural sites you’ll find anywhere. Sure, you’ll want to head out into the Greek countryside, but the gritty, lively streets of Athens are something you should consider taking a few days to enjoy.
#58) Chiba, Japan (Change: ↑8)
Affordability Index: 83.73 Popularity: #86 (↑4)
Roughly 40 miles southeast of Tokyo, Chiba is a popular Japanese tourist destination of its own. Home to a variety of parks, museums, and shrines, Chiba is a great spot for families and couples alike. Prices here are generally a little less expensive than in Tokyo, making it is a good spot for access to both cities.
#57) Heraklion, Greece (Change: ↑4)
Affordability Index: 79.74 Popularity: #66 (↑2)
Located on the island of Crete, Heraklion is another popular resort area of Greece. Heraklion remains a relatively cheap vacation spot in Europe, rising four spots to #57 overall, fueled by its 11 spot jump in the price of accomodations. While families may come to enjoy a beach vacation, they can also soak up some of the area’s remarkable museums and ancient ruins. Just a few minutes from the city, tourists will find the ancient archaeological site of Knossos, believed to be Europe’s oldest city.
#56) Lisbon, Portugal (Change: ↓2)
Affordability Index: 78.48 Popularity: #63 (↓1)
Portugal claims the two cheapest cities in Western Europe, and the capital city of Lisbon is quickly becoming one of the most popular places to visit on the continent. This coastal city is home to beautiful sandy beaches, but there is plenty of sightseeing to enjoy, as well. Travelers will love wandering through the area’s royal palaces before taking a day trip to soak up the rugged beauty of Sintra. With relatively affordable prices in all three of our major categories, Lisbon makes for a great value vacation in Europe.
#55) Moscow, Russia (Change: ↓10)
Affordability Index: 78.24 Popularity: #45 (↑3)
Speaking of cheap places to travel, in terms of value, Russia’s capital city is one of the best places to visit in Europe. While you’ll definitely want to spend time visiting the Red Square and the Kremlin, Moscow is also a major cultural hub. Wander around the city’s cadre of art and history museums before catching a performance from the Bolshoi Ballet.
#54) Fukuoka, Japan (Change: N/A)
Affordability Index: 77.54 Popularity: #93 (Change: N/A)
Fukuoka, Japan is the first new city to grace our list in 2020. Situated on the northern coast of Kyushu Island, the city is known for more than just its beaches. Fukuoka is a popular destination for shopping, boasting the enormous Canal City Hakata shopping center. You’ll also want to explore Fukuoka’s historic ancient temples and check out the view from the Fukuoka Tower observation deck – Japan’s tallest seaside tower.
#53) Cancun, Mexico (Change: ↓17)
Affordability Index: 76.36 Popularity: #40 (↓5)
Warm weather? Check. Beautiful sandy beaches? Check. Fantastic nightlife? Cancun has it all. And even though Cancun took a nosedive in this years rankings, it’s still one of the cheapest places to travel in North America. The biggest reason for Cancun’s drop is because of our new criteria for accommodations. While you can still find super-cheap hotels, if you want to stay in the hotel zone along the beach (and you definitely do), you’ll end up paying significantly more. Still, that’s right in line with most hotels throughout North America and Europe. Meals here still rank #40 overall, and prices for an adult beverage rank in the top 25 of all the destinations listed here. So, if you’re looking for cheap beach vacations, Cancun should be near the top of your list.
#52) Warsaw, Poland (Change: ↓3)
Affordability Index: 76.06 Popularity: #83 (↓9)
If you’re searching for cheap vacation spots in Europe, Warsaw definitely needs to be on your list. Poland is one of the cheapest countries to visit, and Warsaw – Poland’s capital and largest city – is the cultural heart of a country that has withstood a tumultuous history. The city’s Old Town is one of the most popular tourist attractions and has undergone extensive restoration after receiving heavy damage during World War II. For those who wish to ponder the horror of that time, taking a day trip to Auschwitz or another Nazi death camp is also popular.
#51) Seoul, South Korea (Change: ↑1)
Affordability Index: 73.53 Popularity: #24 (No Change)
South Korea’s largest city, Seoul, is widely considered to be one of the world’s top cultural and economic hubs. Blending ancient cultures and architecture with modern skyscrapers and entertainment, Seoul provides a unique mix of the past meeting the present. In addition to visiting the area’s numerous palaces and temples, be sure to check out the incredible views at nearby Bukhansan National Park.
Cheapest Places to Travel: #50-#41
#50) Porto, Portugal (Change: ↑1)
Affordability Index: 73.40 Popularity: #96 (No Change)
Slipping barely inside the top half of our cheapest places to travel list is Porto, Portugal. Located on Portugal’s northwestern coast, this city is known for its majestic bridges, cobbled streets, and port wine. While prices for accommodations and meals are some of the best you’ll find in Western Europe, beverage prices rank as some of the cheapest in the world. Porto ranks a solid 32nd overall in the beverage category. We’ll drink to that!
#49) Kyoto, Japan (Change: ↑10)
Affordability Index: 72.94 Popularity: #67 (No Change)
Once the capital of the Japanese empire, Kyoto is now one of Japan’s best places to travel. Famous for its traditional wooden houses, buddhist temples, and imperial palaces, the city also provides beautiful views of the surrounding mountains. While you’re there, be sure to enjoy a kaiseki dinner and a geisha show.
#48) Jeju, South Korea (Change: ↑2)
Affordability Index: 70.80 Popularity: #95 (↓8)
Jeju, South Korea is a popular island destination located in the Korea Strait. Known for its beaches, the area’s volcanic mountains and craters are also popular with outdoor enthusiasts. Adventure seekers will love hiking through Hallasan National Park to the top of South Korea’s largest mountain. Exploring Manjanggul Cave is another of the island’s most popular tourist attractions.
#47) Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (Change: ↓3)
Affordability Index: 69.78 Popularity: #49 (↓9)
If Saudi Arabia hasn’t been on your travel radar, it should be. In 2019, the kingdom began issuing tourist visas and relaxed requirements on the dress code for visitors. With the news, we expect Saudi Arabia will be an extremely hot tourist destination in the near future. Riyadh is located in the center of the Arabian Peninsula and serves as the capital city of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Surrounded by desert, the city is a bustling metropolis, complete with world-class museums, high-end shopping, and important religious sites. Visiting ruins of Old Dir’aiyah, which lay on the outskirts of Riyadh, is also a popular tourist activity.
#46) Shanghai, China (Change: ↓17)
Affordability Index: 69.41 Popularity: #30 (↓4)
Located on China’s central coast, Shanghai is one of the busiest tourist destinations in the world. Now the world’s second largest city by population, tourists are sure to find plenty of things to do. (Many of the most popular sites are also included on the Go Shanghai Card.) Shanghai is also one of the world’s largest financial hubs, but that doesn’t mean that prices for visiting here are out of control. In fact, among the destinations we’ve listed, the city ranks 38th and 12th for meal and beverage prices, respectively.
#45) Krakow, Poland (Change: ↓11)
Affordability Index: 69.20 Popularity: #74 (No Change)
Cracking the top half in all three of our categories, Krakow lands at #45 on our list of the cheapest places to travel in the world. The city is famous for its medieval town center, which is remarkably well preserved considering all of the political turmoil this country has faced throughout history. Wandering through the large Jewish quarter is also a must. Located within close proximity to Auschwitz-Birkenau, Krakow also makes a good home base for a journey there.
#44) Marrakech, Morocco (Change: ↓13)
Affordability Index: 67.52 Popularity: #75 (↑3)
Our stricter guidelines for accommodations on this year’s survey claimed another victim, with Marrakech dropping 37 spots in that category – causing it to fall 13 spots overall. Located in western Morocco, Marrakech is an important economic and cultural center in North Africa. A former imperial city, one of the most popular things to do here is tour the palaces and their gardens. Also consider getting lost in the chaotic streets of Medina, the walled medieval city within the city listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located relatively close to both the mountains and the desert, nature and wildlife tours are also popular.
#43) Medina, Saudi Arabia (Change: N/A)
Affordability Index: 67.12 Popularity: #23 (Change: N/A)
Located in western Saudi Arabia, Medina is an extremely popular destination for pilgrims. Inside the city, you’ll find the Al-Masjid an-Nabawi mosque. The mosque was originally built by the Prophet Muhammad in the year 622 and is considered to be the second-holiest site in Islam – containing the tomb of the the Prophet Muhammad himself. Medina is also home to another important mosque, Masjid al-Qiblatain. After the Prophet Muhammad received the revelation to change the direction of prayer, it was here that Muslims first began to pray toward Mecca instead of Jerusalem
#42) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (Change: ↑1)
Affordability Index: 65.12 Popularity: #98 (↓4)
Known throughout the world for its incredible beaches and nightlife, Rio de Janeiro is also one of the most affordable places to visit. Although hotels and meals rank near the middle of the pack, Rio ranks a stellar #19 for beverage prices throughout the world. In addition to visiting Copacabana and Ipanema beaches, you’ll want to check out the famous “Christ the Redeemer” statue towering over the city from the mountains above. While attending the city’s Carnival festival (the world’s largest) may be on your bucket list, remember that prices during this time of year are significantly more expensive.
#41) Buenos Aires, Argentina (Change: ↑5)
Affordability Index: 63.92 Popularity: #85 (↑4)
Continuing it’s rise in both popularity and our rankings, Buenos Aires, jumped another five spots in 2020. That puts the Argentinian city just outside the top 40 on our list of cheapest places to visit. Tourists will find Buenos Aires to be one of South America’s most cosmopolitan areas. While you’re there, be sure to visit the Casa Rosada, Argentina’s famous presidential palace. The Teatro Colon, a 2,500 seat opera house, is also worth a visit.
Cheapest Places to Travel: #40-#31
#40) Lima, Peru (Change: ↓5)
Affordability Index: 63.21 Popularity: #89 (↑2)
As the capital of Peru, Lima is the nation’s largest city and the cheapest place to travel in South America listed here. Hotel prices in Lima rank just inside the top 50. However, food and beverage prices speak to every budget traveler’s heart – ranking 24th and 27th, respectively. While spending time in Lima’s well-preserved town center is enjoyable, taking a trip to the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu is a must while in Peru.
#39) Istanbul, Turkey (Change: ↓2)
Affordability Index: 62.06 Popularity: #10 (↑2)
For more than 2,000 years, Istanbul has straddled the continents of Europe and Asia, making it one of the most important and culturally rich cities in the world. It is literally the point on the map where east and west collide. Thankfully, it is still one of the cheapest places to visit, too. Prices for hotels and food both rank well within the top half of our list, while beverage prices land right in the middle at #51.
#38) Antalya, Turkey (Change: ↓6)
Affordability Index: 60.15 Popularity: #12 (↑4)
Moving from the city to the beach, Antalya is a Turkish resort city located on the country’s Mediterranean coast. It’s also one of the cheapest vacation spots in the world. Known for its beaches and Old Harbor, the city serves as the gateway to Turkey’s “Turquoise Coast,” named for the beautiful blue waters that are found there. But, beaches aren’t the only thing that Antalya has going for it. The area is home to museums, ancient Roman ruins, and a variety of waterfalls that give Antalya a certain splash appeal.
#37) Prague, Czech Republic (Change: ↑1)
Affordability Index: 59.16 Popularity: #22 (↓2)
When searching for affordable European holidays, be sure to move Prague near the top of your list. Why? It’s one of the cheapest place to travel in Europe, according to our methodology. Although it’s no longer Europe’s cheapest vacation spot (we’ve got it listed as #3 for the region), it is still extremely affordable for European travelers. Known for its cheap beer, affordable hotels, and reasonable meal prices, Prague is a great place to hang out. Sure, there is plenty to see – like visiting the Old Town Square and Prague Castle – but simply soaking up the atmosphere is the city’s main attraction.
#36) Budapest, Hungary (Change: ↑5)
Affordability Index: 58.66 Popularity: #62 (↓5)
Central and Eastern Europe are full of cheap vacation ideas, and Hungary is one of the cheapest countries to visit. Budapest, the nation’s largest city and capital, is a delight for tourists – both for its sightseeing and the fact that it’s easy on their pocketbook. While food, hotel, and beverage prices are some of the cheapest you’ll find in all of Europe, taking a short cruise through town on the Danube River is something you’ll never forget.
#35) Shenzhen, China (Change: ↓10)
Affordability Index: 58.51 Popularity: #13 (↓3)
Want to travel to Hong Kong but don’t like the prices? Shenzhen is the perfect compromise. Bordering Hong Kong to the north, Shenzhen is significantly cheaper than its neighbor. The city is home to several theme parks, making the area an especially great place for families. Shopping is also a big draw. The enormous COCO Park shopping mall covers 85,000 square meters over 5 levels. As a side note, Shenzhen is tied as the 14th cheapest destination for beer on our list.
#34) Mecca, Saudi Arabia (Change: ↑6)
Affordability Index: 56.08 Popularity: #20 (↑1)
Mecca is the birthplace of the Prophet Muhammad and is Islam’s holiest site. Millions of muslims descend upon the city each year during the Hajj pilgrimage, making their way to the Kaaba – the most sacred shrine in all of Islam. Be aware that only muslims are allowed to enter this sacred city. Non-muslims could be fined or deported for trying to pass through.
#33) Dammam, Saudi Arabia (Change: ↓4)
Affordability Index: 55.70 Popularity: #64 (↓3)
The fourth and final Saudi Arabian city on our list, Dammam is a popular tourist destination located on the Persian Gulf coast. Families will enjoy relaxing on Marjan Island, a man-made island famous for its park and relaxed atmosphere. Of course, drinking alcohol in the kingdom is strictly forbidden, which is bound to make any vacation cheaper!
#32) Beijing, China (Change: ↑7)
Affordability Index: 55.39 Popularity: #58 (↓4)
For 2020, Beijing moves up 7 spots to #32 on our list of cheap places to travel. Although the city is roughly 3,000 years old, the Chinese capital offers an excellent blend of ancient and modern sites. Inside Beijing, visiting the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square are a must. You should also be sure to make the 1 1/2 hour drive to the Great Wall of China while you’re there. Don’t miss it.
#31) Mumbai, India (Change: ↓8)
Affordability Index: 54.44 Popularity: #14 (↑4)
A major financial and cultural hub, Mumbai is also India’s largest city. Formerly known as Bombay, Mumbai is now home to the Bollywood film industry. The city is filled with dozens of important historical and religious sites, including the Gateway of India, Elephanta Island caves, Haji Ali Dargah mosque, and more. Prices for accommodations, food, and beverages are all pretty solid, ranking no lower than 30th but no higher than 39th in any one category.
Cheapest Places to Travel: #30-#21
#30) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (Change: ↓11)
Affordability Index: 52 Popularity: #9 (No Change)
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and one of the top 10 most visited cities in the world. The city itself is instantly recognizable because of the Petronas Towers – the tallest twin skyscrapers in the world. Although Kuala Lumpur has plenty of notable sites, touring the Batu Caves makes for a great day trip outside the city.
#29) Guangzhou, China (Change: ↓18)
Affordability Index: 50.70 Popularity: #21 (↓3)
Guangzhou took the second largest tumble in this year’s rankings (fueled again by our stricter accommodations standards), falling 18 spots to #29. Located just to the northwest of Hong Kong and Shenzhen is Guangzhou, China. Like its neighbors, Guangzhou is a popular destination for tourists of all stripes. Adventure seekers may wish to go bungee jumping at nearby Baiyun Mountain. The Chimelong Safari Park and Chimelong International Circus tend to be popular for families traveling with children.
#28) Taipei, Taiwan (Change: ↑14)
Affordability Index: 50.30 Popularity: #19 (↓2)
From the second biggest slide to the second biggest climb (tied), Taipei, Taiwan moves up 14 spots to rank as the 28th cheapest city in the world for 2020. With incredible night markets and tons of street food, Taipei is one of the most popular travel destinations in the world. The city is also home to a host of temples and museums for tourists to enjoy. Elephant Mountain and Yangmingshan National Park make for great day trips from the city.
#27) St. Petersburg, Russia (Change: ↑6)
Affordability Index: 50.25 Popularity: #59 (No Change)
Serving as its capital for more than 200 years, St. Petersburg is one of the best places to travel in Russia. The city has a more European feel than other cities in the country, and that goes beyond just the architecture. St. Petersburg is filled with dozens of museums, churches, and historic sites. Prices for hotels in St. Petersburg are also the cheapest of any European city you’ll find on our list. Coming in as the 10th cheapest city for hotels is the main reason St. Petersburg is the only European city to land inside the top 30 this year.
#26) Zhuhai, China (Change: ↑2)
Affordability Index: 47.95 Popularity: #68 (↓3)
Neighboring Macau, but significantly less expensive, is the thoroughly modern Chinese city of Zhuhai. While Macau offers more adult-themed entertainment (like casinos), Zhuhai can be considered a bit more family friendly. In addition to golf courses and parks, the Chimelong Ocean Kingdom is one of the most popular attractions here. Thankfully, adults can still take advantage of the sites in nearby Macau but at a fraction of the cost.
#25) Mugla, Turkey (Change: N/A)
Affordability Index: 47.64 Popularity: #84 (Change: N/A)
Mugla, Turkey is the largest city in a region that bears its name, and it debuts on our list of the cheapest places to travel at #25. Located about 30 km from the coast of the Aegean Sea, Mugla is the perfect starting point for your journey to some of Turkey’s best beach resorts. But don’t skip the city of Mugla because you’re in a hurry to hit the beach. Mugla’s old houses, narrow streets, and ancient history come with a charm you don’t want to miss.
#24) Kolkata, India (Change: ↓3)
Affordability Index: 46.61 Popularity: #76 (↑6)
Formerly known as Calcutta, Kolkata is the second of seven cities in India on our list. For over 125 years, the city served as the capital of India and is now known for its colonial architecture. Kolkata is a major cultural and religious hub, home to dozens of museums and holy sites. It’s also a popular spot for Roman Catholic pilgrims who come to visit the “Mother House” – Mother Teresa’s home and final resting place.
#23) Cairo, Egypt (Change: ↑1)
Affordability Index: 44.61 Popularity: #42 (↑8)
For many people, a trip to Egypt occupies one of the top spots on their bucket list. Luckily, if you enjoy budget travel, Cairo still ranks as one of the cheapest places to travel in the world. While you’ll want to visit Tahrir Square and several of the city’s museums and mosques, Cario’s biggest tourist attraction is the nearby location of Giza – home of both the Giza Pyramids and the Great Sphinx.
#21 -Tie) Penang Island, Malaysia (Change: ↑6)
Affordability Index: 43.70 Popularity: #65 (↑1)
Penang Island is home to the largest island city in Malaysia and a popular vacation destination for tourists from around the world. Heavily influenced by a variety of cultures, the area is full of historic and religious sites that are worth visiting. Cheap food and hotel rates help Penang consistently rank in the top 30 cheapest places to travel in the world. Oh, and the beaches are definitely worth checking out, too.
#21-Tie) Hurghada, Egypt (Change: N/A)
Affordability Index: 43.70 Popularity: #82 (Change: N/A)
Hurghada is the second Egyptian destination to make our top 25 cheapest places to travel, debuting in a tie for #21 overall. Located on the Red Sea, Hurghada’s sandy beaches occupy roughly 25 miles of coastline. Still, beaches and scuba diving isn’t all the city has to offer. This resort town is also known for its restaurants, nightclub scene, and even it’s old town known as El Dahar.
Cheapest Places to Travel: #20-#11
#20) Guilin, China (Change: ↑2)
Affordability Index: 39.21 Popularity: #80 (↑4)
After a surprising tumble last year, Guilin makes it back into the top 20 cheap places to travel for 2020. Guilin’s stunning natural beauty makes it one of the most spectacular places on the entire planet. Renowned for the spectacular limestone hills surrounding it, Guilin is a nature photographer’s paradise. And, even though it tumbled this year, it’s still pretty easy on the pocketbook.
#19) Johor Bahru, Malaysia (Change: ↑1)
Affordability Index: 39.10 Popularity: #38 (↓1)
Johor Bahru is a popular travel destination located at the southern edge of the Malay Peninsula. Like some of the other cheap places to travel we’ve mentioned, Johor Bahru neighbors another more expensive city – Singapore. Hotel prices rank in the top 20 and food prices rank in the top 10 worldwide, making this a great home base from which to explore the entire region. Johor Bahru is also near some of Malaysia’s best beach resorts, so it is a popular spot for vacations of all types.
#18) Delhi, India (Change: ↓3)
Affordability Index: 30.94 Popularity: #13 (↓1)
Although it has slipped out of the top 15, Delhi’s extremely affordable hotel prices help keep it in the top 20 on our list of the world’s cheapest places to travel. With an estimated 29.5 million inhabitants living in the metropolitan area, the city is also huge. Delhi is home to a ridiculous amount of important sacred and religious sites. At just 3.5 hours away by car, it’s also a decent starting point to explore the Taj Mahal. Be sure to check out the Chandni Chowk bazaar and the Red Fort as well.
#17) Krabi, Thailand (Change: ↑1)
Affordability Index: 37.76 Popularity: #99 (↑1)
You know those beautiful photos of the jagged limestone cliffs you see on Instagram? Most of those are pictures of Thailand, and many of them come from Krabi province. Just across the bay from Phuket, here’s what’s even better: Krabi is a super cheap vacation idea. While it may cost a few bucks to get over there, Krabi ranks in the top 20 for both meals and accomodations. With those types of prices, Krabi has definitely been added to our bucket list!
#16) Pattaya, Thailand (Change: ↓4)
Affordability Index: 37.37 Popularity: #18 (↑7)
Sure, there are plenty of cultural activities for visitors to enjoy in Pattaya, Thailand. However, what people really come here for is the beach. Situated on the Gulf of Thailand, Pattaya’s is home to some of the most beautiful beaches you’ll find anywhere. The area is also famous for its lively nightlife and excellent shopping. Best of all, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to stay here. Pattaya ranks 17th on our list for the cheapest places to stay and ties for 20th in food costs.
#15) Bangalore, India (Change: N/A)
Affordability Index: 35.80 Popularity: #100 (Change: N/A)
Recognized as the high-tech capital of India, Bangalore is about more than just modern skyscrapers and business. The city is also home to over 1,000 Hindu temples, 400 mosques, and about 100 churches. India’s third-largest city is also several palaces, including Bangalore Palace. Bangalore ranks as the 13th most affordable destination for food, 19th for accommodations, and 27th for beverages.
#14) Chennai, India (Change: ↑3)
Affordability Index: 35.67 Popularity: #36 (↑9)
Chennai is a major tourist destination situated on India’s coast of the Bay of Bengal. While the area is home to plenty of religious sites and important historical monuments, Chennai is best known for its beaches. If you’re looking for deliciously cheap eats, you’re sure to find them here. Chennai ranks 3rd on our list for cheapest food prices.
#13) Cebu City, Philippines (Change: N/A)
Affordability Index: 32.64 Popularity: #77 (Change: N/A)
For those in the know, the Philippines has long been considered a cheap vacation destination. However, no place in the Philippines has ever met our criteria for visitors…until now. Cebu City vaults into our rankings as the #13 cheapest place to travel. This bustling port city is a great place to call home while you explore the areas sugary white beaches. It’s also super cheap, ranking 19th for accommodations and 6th cheapest for beer. Now that sounds like a party!
#12) Phuket, Thailand (Change: ↑2)
Affordability Index: 32.51 Popularity: #15 (↓4)
Do you love cheap vacation spots that are home to beautiful mountains, lush rainforests, and pristine beaches? Traveling to Phuket, Thailand may be for you. Although some luxury travel options are available, one of the best things about this island is that you don’t have to mortgage the house to stay here. There are plenty of 3 and 4-star accommodations from which to choose. In fact, of all the travel destinations we’ve surveyed, Phuket ranks #1 for cheapest hotel costs. As with other places in Thailand, the nightlife here won’t disappoint you either.
#11) Batam, Indonesia (Change: ↓4)
Affordability Index: 32.13 Popularity: #91 (↑6)
With incredible beaches, famous nightlife, and great shopping, it’s no wonder Batam moved up the list of the top 100 most visited places in the world this year. And even though it fell out of our top 10, it is still super affordable, ranking 4th cheapest place for hotels. If you’d like to get off the resort while you’re there, Singapore is just a short boat ride away.
Cheapest Places to Travel: #10-#1
#10) Chiang Mai, Thailand (Change: ↓8)
Affordability Index: 29.66 Popularity: #70 (↓6)
Chiang Mai is one of the most interesting places to travel in Thailand, and one of the world’s best bargain vacations. Chiang Mai offers the 2nd cheapest food prices of any destination on our list, but falling from 1st to 13th in hotel prices nearly knocked it out of our top 10 overall. Located in the mountains of northern Thailand, the city is home to countless Buddhist temples and sacred religious sites. Nature and wildlife tours are also popular excursions in Chiang Mai.
#9) Jakarta, Indonesia (Change: ↓3)
Affordability Index: 29.48 Popularity: #57 (↑3)
Jakarta fell 3 spots this year but still claims a place in the top 10 of our cheapest places in the world. With over 10 million residents, Jakarta is a massive metropolis located on the island of Java. It also represents a crossroads of different cultures, melding together a variety of different influences from across Asia and Europe. Indonesia is famous for its beaches, and Jakarta has plenty to offer in that department. It’s also a great place for shopping and sightseeing.
#8) Agra, India (Change: ↑8)
Affordability Index: 28.12 Popularity: #26 (↑3)
Located in northern India, Agra is home to one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world – the Taj Mahal. Although the Taj Mahal is clearly the area’s biggest attraction, Agra has a number of other notable tourist spots – including the Agra Fort, the Tomb of Itimad-ud-Daulah, and more. It also offers some of the world’s most affordable hotel prices, ranking as the 8th cheapest place to stay on our survey.
#7) Bangkok, Thailand (Change: ↑6)
Affordability Index: 27.15 Popularity: #2 (No Change)
Bangkok is the second most popular tourist destination in the world, and cheap hotels and food help the city land solidly inside our top ten for this year. The relatively high cost of beverages is the only thing keeping it from moving higher. Renowned for its exciting nightlife and entertainment, Bangkok isn’t just a party town. While you’re there, don’t miss out on the city’s amazing religious sites, including the Wat Phra Kaew – the most sacred Buddhist Temple in Thailand. There’s also the Grand Palace, the Wat Arun Temple, and some serious shopping for you to do.
#6) Hanoi, Vietnam (Change: ↓3)
Affordability Index: 26.14 Popularity: #52 (↓1)
Falling to 12th in hotel prices caused Hanoi to slip a few notches this year, but it still manages to snag the number six spot on our list of cheap places to travel. As the capital of Vietnam, the city is a cultural hub full of museums and important places of interest. The hectic Old Quarter is definitely something you don’t want to miss. Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum, the Temple of Literature, and Hoan Kiem Lake are also popular spots for tourists.
#5) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam (↓4)
Affordability Index: 25.94 Popularity: #31 (↑8)
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam climbed eight spots in popularity, but rising prices knocked the city out of the number one spot for the first time in two years. Known as Saigon before the Vietnam War, the city is home to a vibrant arts scene and loads of French colonial architecture. Many visitors enjoy spending time in the energetic Ben Thanh Market, where street vendors serve up local flavors at a price that can fit inside anyone’s budget. Those seeking quieter spaces will enjoy wandering through the Cu Chi Tunnels, a network of underground tunnels built by the Viet Cong during the war that span thousands of miles. It’s also worth noting that Ho Chi Minh City ranks in the top 6 cheapest places to travel for food and beverage prices, while it slides just outside the top 10 rankings for the cheapest places to stay.
#4) Jaipur, India (Change: ↑1)
Affordability Index: 25.54 Popularity: #39 (↑3)
India is clearly one of the cheapest countries to visit, and Jaipur is that country’s most affordable destination on our list. Known for its famously pink-colored buildings, the city of Jaipur ranks as the 4th cheapest travel destination on our list. The city is home to several palaces of note, including the pink “Palace of the Winds” and Jaipur’s City Palace. While getting a ride on an elephant may be more fun for some, there are also numerous forts and religious sites for tourists to visit.
#3) Ha Long, Vietnam (Change: ↑5)
Affordability Index: 25.34 Popularity: #48 (↑5)
Ha Long Bay, Vietnam is one of the most picturesque places on the planet, making it perfect for nature lovers and adventure travelers alike. Renowned for its towering limestone islands jutting up from the sea floor, it’s hard to imagine many places more beautiful than here. Besides that, everything is remarkably cheap. Ha Long ranks in the top 10 for all 3 of our categories, which helps make it the #3 cheapest place to travel in the world.
#2) Denpasar, Indonesia (Change: ↑7)
Affordability Index: 23.36 Popularity: #32 (↑1)
Never heard of Denpasar? It’s the capital of the Indonesian province of Bali. Recognize it now? Although the main attraction is clearly the beaches, Denpasar has a variety of cultural spots to interest sightseers of all types. Scuba diving and snorkeling are also very popular attractions for the area. Of course, if you decide to stay at a luxury resort, your costs are going to be considerably higher. With that said, Denpasar earns a top 5 ranking for both hotel and meal prices. Ranking 32nd in beverage pricing is the only thing holding this spot back from being the cheapest travel destination in the world.
#1) Da Nang, Vietnam (Change: N/A)
Affordability Index: 21.60 Popularity: #90 (Change: N/A)
We have a new cheapest place to travel, and it should come as no surprise that it is located in Vietnam. What may surprise you, however, is that our top spot goes to a complete newcomer. Da Nang may have cracked our list for the first time, but that doesn’t mean it is lacking in offerings. While not as well known as some other places on the list, visitors to Da Nang will enjoy the city’s beautiful sandy beaches, spectacular Marble Mountains, and the gorgeous views from the Ba Na Hills. The city is also ripe with history, museums, and architecture. With so much to do, and by earning a top-10 ranking in all 3 of our categories, Da Nang can proudly claim the mantle of the world’s cheapest travel destination for 2020.
Thanks so much for reading and happy traveling!
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