15 Countries You Can Travel to on a Frugal Budget

Like most of us, I work hard every day to pay my bills and navigate the daily struggles life throws at us. After all that hard work, we deserve a vacation.

When planning a vacation, the last thing I want to do is worry about whether I can afford it. That is why I have put together 15 places where a frugal traveler can have the time of their life for as little as $10 a day. That’s right, you could spend a week in these exotic places without depleting your savings account or going into debt.

1. Turkey

Tree with evil eye charms Uçhisar Castle, Cappadocia, Turkey
Image Credit: Graeme Churchard – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The Eastern European country of Turkey is home to many sites and attractions that appeal to vacationers. First, there is the Turquoise Coast, where you will find some of the most stunning beaches in Europe. Second, there is Instanbul, a city full of history from the Ottoman and Byzantine periods. Popular stops on city tours include the Grand Bazaar, Blue Mosque, and Hagia Sophia Mosque.

Even with all these sites, hostel dorms can be reserved for under $20. In this country, backpackers can live off as little as $35 a day, eating cheap meals and using public transportation.

2. Nicaragua

León Cathedral, Nicaragua
Image Credit: Guillaume Baviere – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

This Central American country is an ideal vacation destination because it offers a little bit of everything a traveler could want. Nicaragua will not disappoint you if you are into surfing, hiking volcanoes, pristine beaches, or historic culture.

Did I mention it is incredibly affordable? That’s right, Nicaragua is one of the most affordable countries in Central America, with hostels costing as little as $15 a night and quality meals costing around $5.

3. Thailand

Coral Island, Phuket, Thailand
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

The beach town of Phuket is home to crystal clear waters, soft sandy beaches lined with lush jungles, and a vibrant nightlife. It is a prime spot for travelers looking to relax during the day and party at night.

If this sounds too good to be true, it gets even better. Hostels with Wi-Fi and up-to-date amenities within walking distance of the beach can be booked for as little as $15 a night. Frugal travelers have also added that street food and take-out restaurants can keep you fed for under $10 a day.

4. Philipines

Postal Office Manila Philippines
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

The capital city of Manila is unique due to the combination of old-world Spanish architecture and modern-day skyscrapers. This makes it an excellent location for tourists looking to soak in some history, shop, and enjoy the bustling culinary and nightlife scene.

Maila is easily walkable or explored on foot, meaning transportation costs will be low. Add that to the average hostel cost under $30, and you have a fantastic opportunity for a low-cost vacation in the Philippines.

5. Malaysia

Petronas Twin Towers Kuala Lumpur Malaysia
Image Credit: James Kerwin – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The stunning capital city of Kuala Lumpur is filled with modern architecture, fine dining, and many shopping options. Famous for its glass-and-steel Petronas Twin Towers, the downtown center is a short walk to cultural centers like Little India and Chinatown.

One of the best parts of this fine city is the price. Tourists can easily find meals under $5; hostels can be reserved for just $15 daily.

6. Myanmar

Palace. Mandalay, Myanmar
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

If you are looking for a thrifty vacation but want to immerse yourself in a place with a rich history, Myanmar is the place for you. The capital city of Mandalay is home to the Royal Mandalay Palace, the last place the ancient Burmese Monarch ruled.

Trips to Myanmar will leave you touched by another culture without emptying your wallet. Rooms in town average less than $10 a night, and meals can be as little as $2.

7. Morocco

Majorelle Garden, Marrakech
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Very few cities live up to the hype and charisma of Marrakech, the capital of this North African country. The vibrant city has local restaurants, street performers, and marketplaces where local artists sell textiles, pottery, jewelry, and paintings.

You will be hard-pressed to have a bad time in Morocco. Trips to this lively country are so cheap you will be tempted to stay longer. Hostels can be found for as little as $12, while transportation and food can cost less than $10 a day combined.

8. India

Taj Mahal, Agra, India
Image Credit: Yann Forget – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

How does a trip to see the Taj Mahal sound? This mammoth mausoleum dates back to the 1600s and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The exquisite marble monument will leave you in awe as you wonder how it was built hundreds of years ago.

It is also a pretty frugal tourist spot. Hostels in the area can cost as little as $5, and meals cost around the same. Buses and trains are available to and from other cities, making transportation a breeze.

9. Laos

Pha That Luang, Vientiane, Laos
Image Credit: Aaron Smith – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Most of the countryside of Laos is covered by dense forest, making it a perfect place for outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, kayaking, or mountain biking. Still, many people look over the country when deciding on a vacation.

The secret might be out. In recent years, many tourists have been ditching the crowded beaches of Thailand for the rural, calmer shores of Laos. It also doesn’t help that you can enjoy your time exploring for about $25 a day.

10. Bolivia

Copacabana, Bolivia and Lake Titicaca
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Much like Laos, Bolivia often gets pushed aside on places people wish to visit. Those who choose to spend time in the land-locked South American country are rewarded with breathtaking views of Lake Titicaca, the world’s highest elevated lake, and the undescribable salt flats of Salar de Uyuni, which make you feel like you are standing on another planet.

The capital city of L Paz has many hostels ranging from $10 and up, making it an affordable option in South America. All in all, a trip to Bolivia can be done for around $30 a day.

11. Sri Lanka

Lotus Tower from Pettah Floating Market, Colombo City, Sri Lanka
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

A day in the Capital city of Colombo can be spent lounging on the beach, strolling through one of many museums, or sampling the local cuisine. Some top tourist spots are the Galle Face Green Oceanside promenade, Gangaramaya Temple, and the National Museum of Colombo.

With many outside markets offering delicious food, you can easily feed yourself three meals at around $2 each. Local hostels are also available for under $10.

12. Cambodia

Angkor Wat
Image Credit: Jakub Hałun, Own Work – CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Cambodia is home to one of the most visited temples in Southeast Asia. Angor Wat, once the center of the Khmer Empire, is considered the largest Hindu-Buddhist temple in the world. While many tourists visit the temple, Cambodia is also home to many small towns along the Mekong River.

Your dollar will go a long way wherever you stay in this marvelous country. Backpackers staying in hostels and eating cheap meals generally spend less than $30 a day while visiting.

13. Vietnam

Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City
Image Credit: Dennis Jarvis – CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

The energetic Ho Chi Minh City blends old-world French colonial architecture, new-world skyscrapers, and modern buildings. Tourists in this fine city rave about the tasty street food and local bodegas selling hand-crafted goods and souvenirs.

You can explore this buzzing town for as low as $10 a day. Locals suggest renting a moped and traveling to all the different corners of the city for cheap eats and unique experiences.

14. Indonesia

Pura Bratan Water Temple in Bali, Indonesia.
Image Credit: Kostasplus – CC BY-SA 3.0/Wiki Commons.

Would you call me crazy if I told you that a trip to Bali could be done for as little as $10 a day? Nope, I’m not pulling your leg. For the cost of your daily Starbucks order, you could sit on a warm, sunny beach looking off to the horizon.

Many local hostels can be found for around $20 a night. Local markets and street vendors serve delicious meals for as low as $2. Plus, you are at the beach, so you don’t have to worry about transportation costs.

15. Guatemala

Tikal Mayan ruins Guatemala
Image Credit: CC BY-SA 4.0/Wiki Commons.

Most travelers would choose Costa Rica or Belize as their ideal Central American destination, but I am here to tell you about Guatemala. The country might not be as developed, making it appealing and cheap.

Adventure seekers can trek the jungles to the Mayan temple of Tikal, hike volcano-rimmed villages, and swim in Lake Atitlan. A trip like this is hard to beat. Plus, you will only spend about $25 a day on food and living expenses.

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