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Want to find the cheapest places to travel? You’re in the right spot.
Welcome to our annual report on the world’s most affordable travel destinations! We’ve updated our rankings for 2022, and we even have a new number one…but we’ll get to that in a bit!
Finding cheap vacation ideas can be frustrating. Getting the best travel deals 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 top 100 travel destinations in the world and ranked them according to price. You’re welcome.
Before we get started, though, don’t forget to grab our free travel checklist! It’s a great tool to help you get organized and save money on your next big trip. Just click the button below to get it now. (You’re welcome again!)
Cheapest Places to Travel: Destinations #1-#10
Without further ado, here’s our list of the cheapest places to travel in the world for 2022.
1) Hanoi, Vietnam
Average Cost: $19.75/day
For the first time ever, Hanoi has managed to grab the top 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.
2) Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Average Cost: $19.83/day
Known as Saigon before the Vietnam War, Ho Chi Minh 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 comes in at #2 for the cheapest places to stay.
3) Pattaya, Thailand
Average Cost: $27.51/day
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 4th on our list for the cheapest places to stay and 11th in daily food costs.
4) Phuket, Thailand
Average Cost: $28.34/day
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.
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Average Cost: $29.18/day
Samui, Thailand continues the run for Thailand and is also the first of 20 new destinations to make our list. The second largest island in Thailand, Samui (a.k.a. “Ko Samui”) has become a bustling tourist destination. Resorts, bungalows, and private villas, grace the palm-lined beaches. Visitors should also check out the famous Big Buddha statue at Wat Phra Yai Temple.
6) Bangkok, Thailand
Average Cost: $30.06/day
Bangkok ranks as the cheapest place to eat on our survey. That, in combination with its affordable hotels, helps 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 enjoy.
7) Krabi, Thailand
Average Cost: $31.05/day
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. Located just across the bay from Phuket, Krabi is a super cheap vacation idea. While it may cost a few bucks to get over there, Krabi ranks in the top 10 for both meals and accomodations. With those types of prices, Krabi has definitely been added to our bucket list!
8) Chiang Mai, Thailand
Average Cost: $31.42/day
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 5th cheapest food prices and the 9th most affordable accomodations of any destination on our list. 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) Delhi, India
Average Cost: $36.70/day
Delhi scores high marks for its low prices across the board, which helps keep it in the top 10 on our list of the world’s cheapest places to travel. With an estimated 30.7 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.
10) Cusco, Peru
Average Cost: $37.24/day
Rounding our top 10 cheapest destinations in the world is Cusco, Peru. A newcomer to our list, Cusco also snags the distinction of being the cheapest place to travel in South America. This mountain town was once the capital of the Incan Empire and has been designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city features well-preserved archeological sites as well as some great examples of Spanish colonial architecture.
Cheapest Places to Travel: Destinations #11-#20
11) Istanbul, Turkey
Average Cost: $41.42/day
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, food, and beverages all rank within the top 20 of our list.
12) Antalya, Turkey
Average Cost: $43.93/day
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.
13) Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt
Average Cost: $46.20/day
Sharm El-Sheik is an Egyptian resort town located on the Siani Peninsula and sits directly on the Red Sea. The inviting sandy beaches and clear waters make this a great spot to kick back and relax. If you’re more adventurous, get up close and personal with a diverse aray of sealife wile enjoying a diving trip to Ras Muhammad National Park. When you’re done, be sure to grab a drink and a bite to eat while strolling along the promenade at Naama Bay.
14) Cairo, Egypt
Average Cost: $46.70/day
If checking out some ancient Egyptian ruins is more your speed, Cairo may be the place for you. Luckily, if you enjoy budget travel, it 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.
15) Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Average Cost: $47.47/day
Known throughout the world for its incredible beaches and nightlife, Rio de Janeiro is also one of the most affordable places to visit. Lucky for tourists, the pandemic appears to have made things even cheaper. Food prices have dropped in Rio, moving from the middle of the pack pre-pandemic to the top 25 today. Hotels have also gotten cheaper, ranking inside the top 20, while Rio ranks a stellar #9 for beverage prices. 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.
16) St. Petersburg, Russia
Average Cost: $48.34/day
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 5th cheapest city for hotels is the main reason St. Petersburg tops our list as the cheapest European city to visit in 2022.
17) Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Average Cost: $50.76/day
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and one of the 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.
18) Mexico City, Mexico
Average Cost: $52.26/day
Mexico City is one of the largest cities in the world, and – by our numbers – the cheapest place to travel in North America. With world-class museums, incredible architecture, and historical sites, Mexico City is a religious and cultural mecca that deserves a spot on your budget travel destinations list. While you’re there, take a day trip to the famed Aztec temple Teotihuacan – known as the “Pyramid of the Sun.” If you’re traveling with the kids, a stop by Six Flags Mexico may also be in order.
19) Buenos Aires, Argentina
Average Cost: $53.18/day
Continuing it’s rise in both popularity and our rankings, Buenos Aires jumped inside the top 20 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.
20) Zhuhai, China
Average Cost: $54.25/day
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 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.
Cheapest Places to Travel: Destinations #21-#30
21) Lima, Peru
Average Cost: $55.35/day
As the capital of Peru, Lima is the nation’s largest city. Hotel prices in Lima rank inside the top 40. However, food and beverage prices speak to every budget traveler’s heart – ranking 14th and 24th, 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.
22) Hurghada, Egypt
Average Cost: $55.79/day
Hurghada is the third Egyptian destination to make our top 25 cheapest places to travel. 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.
23) Beijing, China
Average Cost: $59.41/day
For 2022, Beijing moves up 9 spots to #23 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 1.5 hour drive to the Great Wall of China while you’re there. Don’t miss it.
24) Cancun, Mexico
Average Cost: $59.76/day
Warm weather? Check. Beautiful sandy beaches? Check. Fantastic nightlife? Cancun has it all. Even better, it is one of the cheapest places to travel in North America. While you can 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 #45 overall, and prices for an adult beverage rank just outside 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.
>>Related: Cancun Travel Guide
25) Mecca, Saudi Arabia
Average Cost: $60.43/day
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.
26) Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Average Cost: $61.66/day
Located south of Cancun on the Yucatan Peninsula, Playa del Carmen is the crown jewel of Mexico’s Riviera Maya region. Famous for its incredible sandy beaches and thriving coral reefs, this exciting city is more than a simple beach town. Lively 5th Avenue and the city’s close proximity to several Mayan archeologial sites makes Playa del Carmen a great and cheap vacation destination for almost any type of traveler.
>>Related: Playa del Carmen Travel Guide
27) Osaka, Japan
Average Cost: $66.03/day
Osaka may be the 3rd largest city in Japan, but it makes the biggest jump forward on this years’s list – ranking as the 27th cheapest city in the world for 2022. The city is most famous for its popular entertainment district, but it is also packed with museums, a stunning castle, and a family-friendly aquarium. Universal Studios Japan is also located here.
28) Busan, South Korea
Average Cost: $66.85/day
Busan is the second most populous city in South Korea, but don’t believe for a second that it takes a backseat to the capital city of Seoul. Here, you can wander through the bustling international market or go ice skating inside the world’s largest department store. Want to hit the beach? Busan has got that too. Haeundae Beach boasts nearly a mile of beautiful sandy beach while Gwangalli Beach offers a quieter respite from the city (and beautiful views of the evening lightshow at Gwangan Bridge).
29) Prague, Czech Republic
Average Cost: $66.93/day
When searching for affordable European holidays, be sure to put Prague near the top of your list. Why? For starters, it’s one of the cheapest place to travel in Europe, according to our methodology. 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.
30) Marrakech, Morocco
Average Cost: $67.57/day
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 to tour the palaces and their gardens. Also consider getting lost in the chaotic streets of Medina, the walled medieval city within the city which is designated as an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Located relatively close to both the mountains and the desert, nature and wildlife tours are also popular.
Cheapest Places to Travel: Destinations #31-#40
31) Kiev, Ukraine
Average Cost: $68.67/day
Home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Kiev is more than just the capital of Ukraine. It is one of the most important cultural, educational, and industrial hubs in all of Eastern Europe. Packed with beautiful churches and a thriving street art scene, this city will delight art, history, and architecture lovers alike. Although political tensions in the region are currently running extremely high, be sure to put Kiev back on your travel bucket list once the tensions subside.
32) Seoul, South Korea
Average Cost: $69.46/day
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.
33) Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Average Cost: $69.49/day
If beautiful beach vacations are more your thing, Punta Cana may be a great fit for you. As one of the cheapest places to travel in the Caribbean, Punta Cana is an attractive option for budget travelers from the United States and Canada. With spectacular sandy beaches, relatively affordable prices, and the incredible turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sean, this place is sure to help you get your relax on.
34) Sapporo, Japan
Average Cost: $69.97/day
Known across the world for its beer, the Japanese mountain city of Sapporo is also one of the world’s most affordable travel destinations. Skiers come for the magnificent slopes while ice scupltors from around the world transform the city into a winter wonderland during the Sapporo Snow Festival. Check out the city’s fantastic museums, catch a game at the Sapporo Dome, and sample a local dish called “kegani” (hairy crab) while you’re there!
35) Budapest, Hungary
Average Cost: $70.96/day
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.
36) Fukuoka, Japan
Average Cost: $72.22/day
Situated on the northern coast of Kyushu Island, Fukuoka, Japan is known for more than just its beaches. It 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.
37) Taipei, Taiwan
Average Cost: $72.64/day
Taipei, Taiwan ranks as the 37th cheapest city in the world for 2022. 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.
38) Moscow, Russia
Average Cost: $74.87/day
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.
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39) Macau, Macau
Average Cost: $75.74/day
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 hotel prices in Macau rank relatively affordable on our list. However, prices for adult beverages are more in line with what you’d find in Western Europe and North America.
40) Porto, Portugal
Average Cost: $77.20/day
Slipping barely inside the top 40 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 31st overall in the beverage category. We’ll drink to that!
Cheapest Places to Travel: Destinations #41-#50
41) Tokyo, Japan
Average Cost: $77.56/day
Tokyo is another ultra-modern city that finds itself on our list. Although finding cheap places to travel in Asia is pretty easy, Tokyo ranks among the most expensive in the region. Still, Japan’s largest city is relatively affordable compared to many places in Europe and North America. With that said, Tokyo is one of the world’s hottest tourist destinations, ranking 15th overall on Euromonitor’s Top City Destinations Index for last year.
42) Johannesburg, South Africa
Average Cost: $78.27/day
Johannesburg is the largest city in South Africa and ranks as the #42 cheapest travel destination in the world for 2022. Beverage prices rank in the top 25%, but hotel and meal prices helped push the city further down the list (39th for accommodations, 56th 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.
43) Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Average Cost: $79.06/day
Located in the UAE, Sharjah is a popular and affordable travel destination which sits on the shores of the Persian Gulf. Families love the fun-filled theme parks and aquarium. Architecture lovers and religious travelers enjoy the Al Noor Mosque and the Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization. Of course, the bustling waterfront attracts travelers of all types.
44) Heraklion, Greece
Average Cost: $80.26/day
Located on the island of Crete, Heraklion is a popular resort area in Greece. Heraklion remains a relatively cheap vacation spot in Europe, coming in at #44 overall. 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.
45) Krakow, Poland
Average Cost: $80.66/day
Cracking the top half in two of our three 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.
46) Athens, Greece
Average Cost: $82.07/day
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.
47) Cape Town, South Africa
Average Cost: $82.45/day
The second largest city in South Africa, Cape Town is another newcomer to our list. This naturally beautiful seaside city is filled with fun things to do. It also serves as the home of South Africa’s parliament. Be sure to check out the various beaches, check out the Bo-kaap neighborhood, and ride the cable car to the top of Table Mountain for some breathtaking views.
48) Kyoto, Japan
Average Cost: $85.81/day
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.
49) Guangzhou, China
Average Cost: $86.94/day
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.
50) Medina, Saudi Arabia
Average Cost: $86.98/day
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.
Cheapest Places to Travel 2022: Complete Results
|Rank||City||Country||Avg. Cost/Day (USD)|
|2||Ho Chi Minh City||Vietnam||19.83|
|15||Rio de Janeiro||Brazil||47.47|
|19||Buenos Aires City||Argentina||53.18|
|26||Playa del Carmen||Mexico||61.66|
|33||Punta Cana||Dominican Republic||69.49|
|47||Cape Town||South Africa||82.45|
|59||Dubai||United Arab Emirates||103.68|
|60||Hong Kong||Hong Kong||103.96|
|65||Abu Dhabi||United Arab Emirates||108.92|
|68||Palma de Mallorca||Spain||115.94|
|90||New York City||USA||177|
Let me assure you, we haven’t taken this project lightly.
To accurately measure the cost of each location, we’ve created a methodology which ensures that each destination stands on relatively equal footing. So, as we’ve done in the past, we have 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 have limited inclusion on our list to the cities which appear on Euromonitor International’s Top 100 City Destinations Index for 2021. The index ranks international travel destinations accross 6 key metrics – including Economic & Business Performance, Tourism Perfomrance, Tourism Policy & Attractiveness, Tourism Infrastructure, Health and Safety, and Sustainability. It also replaces Euromonitor’s now defunct Top 100 City Destinations Report – which is what we have used in the past to determine which cities make our list.
Since everybody’s travel style is different, we also must determine which factors best represent the overall cost of a destination. Average food and beverage costs are an important factor in our rankings, as we feel they are indicative of an area’s overall affordability.
Using numbers from Numbeo, our food and entertainment numbers are based 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 have added an extra 10% to both, just to be on the safe side.
Prices for accommodations are also a major factor in our rankings. Clearly, one’s travel preferences will 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, it is important to find a consistent way in which to apply our methodology. Therefore, our numbers are based on a midweek stay during the “low season” in each destination – averaging the 5 cheapest 3-star options for accommodations during that time. We have also ensured that the accommodations are 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 listed in Euromonitor International’s Top 100 City Destinations Index
- 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
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.
Of course, there are some really cheap places to travel that didn’t make the list because – well – they don’t qualify. 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.
This year, in particular, sees a big change in some of the destinations that made our list. In the past, we have used Euromonitor’s Top 100 City Destinations Report to determine the 100 cities on our list. This report ranked cities based entirely on international arrivals. With Euromonitor replacing the report with their Top 100 City Destinations Index (which ranks destinations on a number of factors outside of simply arrivals), this has caused a reshuffling of which cities we’ve included on our list.
For example, since the last time we published our list, 12 of the cheapest 20 cities are no longer included because they did not qualify for Euromonitor’s Top 100 City Destinations Index. That is a huge shift.
Although this may seem unfair, many of these cities represented a redundancy of cheap tourist areas. The 12 cities no longer listed are located in just 5 different countires. All but one of those countries is still represented by other cities in the top 20 cheapest places to visit.
Additionally, the new index allows for a broader representation of cheap travel destinations across the world. In our last survey, all of the top 20 cheapest places to visit were located in Asia and Oceania. While these areas still dominate the top spots, at least one city from every region of the world now cracks the top 20.
Moving on, 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, our list represents a metric of what you can expect to spend once you arrive.
Final Thoughts on Cheap Travel Destinations
If you’re a veteran of budget travel, the results of our study shouldn’t shock you.
As expected, the cheapest countries in the world are found mostly in Asia. However, while travel destinations throught Asia dominate the top spots on our list, our new criteria has opened the door for places around the world to climb in our rankings.
Several affordable destinations in South America, Africa, and the Middle East now grace our list. And, although travel destinations in Europe and North America are generally the most expensive places to visit, our updated criteria even allows a few cities from these regions to sneak into our top 20.
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.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of the cheapst places to travel in the world. Thanks so much for reading and happy traveling!
Are any of these cheap travel destinations in your budget travel plans? Let us know in the comments below!
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