Many people are already planning their next travel destination as summer approaches. However, with various expenses to incur, such as airfare, accommodation, food, and other miscellaneous costs, it’s important to find budget travel options. This list will take a look at the 10 best budget travel destinations for summer 2023, offering a range of activities from soaking up the sun on the beach to exploring culture and history. All these destinations require a passport, so make sure to get one well before your trip.
With these affordable destinations, you can have a memorable summer getaway without breaking the bank. So get ready to pack your bags and hit the road or the skies as we explore the best budget travel destinations for summer 2023.
The World of Budget Travel
With summer just approaching, it is time to plan a vacation. While some may look to avoid travel right now because of the cost, know that the world is full of cheap vacation spots. No matter what continent you’re on or where you want to visit, there are countless places you can visit on a budget. And the best part, you don’t have to sacrifice exciting experiences or cultural immersion to save money. With a little research, creativity, and flexibility, you can find affordable accommodation, cheap food, and plenty of activities and excursions that won’t break the bank. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, a beach bum, or a party animal, there’s a destination out there for you.
Where there are many low-cost alternatives out there, here is a list of some of the best places to visit this summer that offer many great vacation options for the budget traveler.
Thailand: The Heart of Backpacking in Southeast Asia
Looking for an affordable adventure in Southeast Asia? Look no further than Thailand! With a long-standing tourist trail, Thailand is a backpacker’s paradise, but you do not need to live out of a pack to save money. You can easily get by on $25–35 USD per day with cheap guesthouses, budget street food (some as cheap as $1 USD), local buses, and many free or low-cost activities to keep you busy during your stay. Having spent many months in the country, I can honestly say that some of my best days have cost me little more than $30 a day, including food, lodging, transportation, and activities.
The islands may be pricier with more expensive accommodations, but you can still get some great budget travel deals. Plus, Thailand offers something for everyone with its rich history, stunning beaches, delicious food, and vibrant nightlife. Thailand is one of the most budget-friendly destinations in the world. So pack your bags and head to the heart of backpacking, where adventure and affordability go hand in hand.
Costa Rica: Affordable Adventure in Less-Traveled Countries
Costa Rica is an excellent choice if you’re looking for an adventure in a lesser-traveled country. Forget what you’ve read about it being expensive because it is not true. You can still have an affordable and unforgettable experience in this beautiful Central American gem. Costa Rica offers affordable accommodations, delicious street food that won’t break the bank, and plenty of adventure activities to choose from. Imagine hiking through lush rainforests, zip-lining above the tree canopy, or lounging on secluded beaches.
You can do all that and more on a budget of around $40–50 USD daily. Costa Rica is affordable and eco-conscious, with wildlife conservation efforts and a focus on sustainability in tourism. It’s a destination where you can connect with nature and have a unique travel experience without having to spend a fortune. So pack your bags, get ready for some adventure, and head to Costa Rica for an affordable escape.
Cambodia: Affordable Beauty and Hospitality
You, my frugal traveler friend, must visit Cambodia. This Southeast Asian gem is one of the most budget-friendly destinations you’ll ever find. Get ready to experience affordability, natural beauty, and warm local hospitality. A private, air-conditioned room will only set you back $15–25 USD, and street food can be found for $2–5 USD. If you’re spending close to $50 USD per day while in Cambodia, you’re living large!
But don’t just focus on the prices; Cambodia also boasts some of the most beautiful sites in Asia, such as the iconic Angkor Wat and stunning beaches in Sihanoukville. The locals are incredibly hospitable and always happy to share their culture with visitors. Go ahead and treat yourself to delicious local cuisine, like Amok, a traditional Khmer dish, or the famous fish curry. Cambodia is the perfect budget-friendly destination for those looking for a meaningful adventure without breaking the bank.
The Balkans: Europe’s Cheapest Region
If you’re looking for European destinations for your budget travels. you should consider exploring the Balkans. This region is known for its unspoiled natural beauty, rich history, and fascinating culture. Plus, it’s one of Europe’s cheapest regions, meaning you can enjoy plenty of amazing experiences without breaking the bank. Visit the stunning Plitvice Lakes in Croatia, take a stroll through the charming old town of Mostar in Bosnia & Herzegovina, or enjoy a delicious and affordable meal in Albania.
With its mix of bustling cities and picturesque countryside, the Balkans have something to offer every type of traveler, whether you prefer hiking, beach lounging, or exploring ancient ruins. Budget travelers can expect to spend between $25-50 USD for lodging, food, and activities, depending on where they stay and what they see. And with their central location between Europe and Asia, the Balkans make a great starting point for a longer trip, allowing you to easily explore neighboring countries like Greece and Turkey. So if you’re looking to stretch your budget and discover new and exciting destinations, consider adding the Balkans to your travel itinerary for summer 2023.
Turkey: A Surprisingly Affordable Gem
You should definitely consider visiting Turkey for your budget travel destination in summer 2023. It may come as a surprise, but this country offers affordable accommodation, food, and transportation without compromising the quality of your stay. In Istanbul, you can marvel at iconic attractions like Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, which offer a glimpse into the country’s rich cultural heritage. The bustling markets and bazaars like the Grand Bazaar and Spice Bazaar are perfect for budget-friendly shopping to find unique souvenirs and local handicrafts.
Ankara, the country’s capital, is culturally rich and has many historical and cultural attractions, such as Ataturk Mausoleum, the Roman Temple of Augustus, and the Haci Bayram Mosque, that can be explored on a budget. A visit to Turkey’s stunning coastline with turquoise waters and pristine beaches is perfect for sunseekers. With picturesque waterfront locations, there are plenty of opportunities for budget-friendly outdoor activities, such as taking a leisurely boat ride along the Bosphorus or enjoying a picnic in one of the city’s many parks.
Overall, Turkey is an affordable and exciting summer vacation destination that offers a unique blend of history, culture, and natural beauty to those on a budget, travelers should anticipate daily expenses in the $40-60 a day USD.
Vietnam: The Cheapest Place to Vacation
Not only is Vietnam one of the cheapest places to vacation, according to recent data, but it’s also a beautiful and culturally rich country to explore. For just $25–35 a day, you can enjoy everything from mouthwatering street food to stunning landscapes, such as the towering limestone cliffs of Ha Long Bay. And if you’re worried about transportation, fear not. GrabBike, similar to Uber but on bikes, is widely available in all major cities for as little as $0.50 for a 2km ride.
Accommodation is similarly cheap, with hostels offering rooms for as little as $5–$10 per night. Plus, with its fascinating history and vibrant cities like Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi, Vietnam offers plenty of cultural experiences and activities, from visiting elaborate temples to exploring bustling markets. Don’t miss out on this incredible destination that offers both affordability and adventure for the budget traveler.
India: A Budget-Friendly Feast for the Senses
If you’re looking for a budget travel destination that’s filled with delicious food and vibrant culture, India is the perfect place for you! With its diverse landscapes and regions, you can explore the lush hills of Munnar or the picturesque lakes of Udaipur, all while keeping within your budget. In Munnar, you can explore the iconic tea plantations and even visit an elephant training center, while in Udaipur, you can indulge in local cuisines like Dal Baati Choorma and Jalebi. For a more spiritual experience, head to Varanasi and revel in the cultural flavor of India at the Ganga Ghats.
With affordable accommodations ranging from shared dormitories to cottages, guesthouses, and delicious street food, budget travelers should anticipate spending about $40 per day. There is a virtual plethora of free and low-cost activities, making India a feast for the senses at a budget-friendly cost.
Portugal: A European Destination on a Budget
Portugal is a great option if you’re looking for an affordable European destination for your summer travels. Portugal offers something for everyone with its beautiful beaches, rich history, and delicious food. Not only are the prices for accommodation and food reasonable, but the country also offers plenty of free or low-cost activities. You can visit historical sites like the Palácio Nacional de Sintra or explore the charming streets of Lisbon’s old town. For beach lovers, the Algarve region is a must-visit with its stunning coastline and affordable accommodation options.
Portugal has some of the most amazing food, from fresh seafood dishes to the famous Pasteis de Nata (custard tarts). There are also many public transportation options, like local buses and trains, that are both affordable and convenient. Portugal offers the perfect balance of affordability and adventure for a memorable summer vacation. Budget travelers should anticipate $50–60 days for food, lodging, and entertainment expenses.
Morocco: Exotic Adventure at a Reasonable Cost
Morocco is an exotic destination with a budget-friendly price. With its warm and welcoming people, rich culture, and charming attractions, you’ll have an unforgettable experience without spending a lot of money. You can explore the ninth-century Medina in Meknes, relax on the sandy beaches in Asilah, or trek through the paradise of the High Atlas Mountains. For Game of Thrones fans, Essaouira has got you covered with its stunning white walls and blue doors. If you’re into history, spend some time in the ancient ruins of Aït Ben Haddou or visit the Mausoleum of Moulay Ismail in Rabat. You can also indulge in the exotic food, shop till you drop at the endless shopping avenues, or experience the bustling nightlife.
The best time to visit is in the spring or autumn when the weather is warm and pleasant. With affordable accommodation options and a favorable exchange rate, you can enjoy all these experiences at a reasonable cost. Budget travelers should expect to pay about $50–60 a day for expenses. Again, seeking low-cost activities and street food will help keep your costs down.