25 Cheap And Exciting Backpacking Destinations

September 28, 2018

Think traveling is out of your reach? There are plenty of places across the globe where you can easily backpack for just a few dollars a day, from Africa to Asia, while still experiencing authentic cuisines and amazing cultures. For the same price of an Ikea couch, you could spend 2 weeks water-skiing in Malawi, or hiking some of the world’s highest mountains in Nepal. Get ready to accumulate awesome backpacking experiences rather than things, and explore every corner of the globe without having to spend a fortune.

Did you know that you can fly your way across the world without spending a fortune? Yep, there's a wondrous travel hack that lets you score cheap flights for as low as $20

Of course,  a top-notch backpack is an absolute must for this kind of adventure. So, make sure to check out these durable, affordable and cool bags

Amazing and affordable backpacking destinations across the world

1. Thailand

Experience the beauty of nature in Thailand without over spending your dollars plus the unforgettable  yet affordable taste of Thai food

Yep, you read that correctly. Even though Thailand has evolved from it’s relatively unknown and off the beaten track destination into a country filled with all inclusive resorts (a backpacker’s true nightmare), there are still plenty of opportunities to enjoy Thailand’s beauty and culture without the hordes or tourist- or overpriced drinks.

For the best way to enjoy Thailand on a budget, head to the northern regions and inland- basically anyplace away from a beach. There backpackers can still enjoy tropical oasis and breathtaking exotic sights while only spending a few dollars a day. If you’re willing to shack up with others, dorm rooms will only run you around $3 US dollars a night, and the truly affluent among us can enjoy a private bed and bath for a little over $5. The Thai food is just as cheap; authentic Pad Thai from right off the street might cost you $1 for a filling and unforgettable lunch.

While it still might cost you a bit to fly into Bangkok, wander around for a few hours and then take the train outta town; a ticket will only cost you $10-20, and you’ll be able to backpack around the rest of Thailand for only a few dollars a day ala backpacking style.

Want to save some cash for your trip to Thailand? Look no further than these hotel bargains in Bangkok!

2. Albania

Explore the astonishing views of Albania with its beautiful tourist spots without spending too much

Want beautiful Mediterranean views, architecture, and culture without the expensive price tag you’ll find in Italy or Greece? Albania is a wonderful alternative, with just as many beautiful beaches, cities, and museums at a fraction of the cost. While more expensive than other locations in the world, it’s a great place to explore Europe and the Mediterranean without spending as much as you would in other countries. You can easily get there from the main hubs in Europe, and once there room will only cost you around $20 per night, and a cheap meal at a restaurant will only cost you around $5.

Bag the best hotel deal for your wondrous Tirana vacation!

3. Nicaragua

Explore Nicaragua’s beauty to experience awesome views without costing too much of your budget.

Costa Rica may be very English speaking friendly, but it’s increasing popularity as a tourist spot and retirement oasis have also caused prices to spike rather dramatically. Luckily, neighboring Nicaragua is the perfect alternative and offers plenty of Central American charm for backpackers without the hefty prices.

Even the most touristy towns only cost around $10 per night for a dorm room, and any number of the smaller towns more off the beaten track have plenty of hostels with even cheaper price tags. Typical South American fare will only cost you a few dollars each meal, making Nicaragua one of the best ways to explore Central America’s beauty while on a backpacker’s budget.

Looking for a remarkable yet affordable hotel in Managua? Why not check out these lovely hotel deals?

4. Colombia

Travel to Colombia and experience the most affordable accommodation and food trip you’ll ever know.

The best backpacking tip I can give you is this: go where the US has currently placed travel warnings. While you may slightly be more at risk, if you use your head and travel wisely, you can easily enjoy cheap backpacking without a tourist in sight. Colombia was where I first learned this lesson, and it still remains a backpacker’s haven today. While the country is significantly safer than it was back in the 80s, most of America seems convinced Colombia is still run by drug cartels and ex mafia members.

Use this to your advantage and travel often; you can easily find a hostel room in the heart of Cartagena for under $10 a night; a hammock on the beach on an island in the Caribbean at Playa Blanca will only cost you $3 a night, and around $10 for a round trip boat ride out. The food is a bit more pricey, but if you’re willing to buy most of your meals from street vendors you can easily survive on just a few dollars for each meal.

Get the best deals for the premier and most awesome hotels in Bogota!

5. Nepal

If you’re into trekking and backpacking adventures, visit Nepal that’s known for world’s highest peaks

Ready for some serious backpacking? Nepal offers more than just living out of a backpack; the country’s has some of the world’s highest peaks and thousands of miles of backpacking trails and treks that are filled with mountain vistas and unending skies. Best of all, the trails are filled with lodges, temples, and houses that offer cheap accommodation, sights, and food, i.e. all the backpacking essentials of a great trip. Kathmandu, Nepal’s main city, boasts the second cheapest hostel in the world, where you can get a bed inside for a mere $2 per night.

Planning on trekking Nepal's icy landscapes? Don't forget to pack some trekking and camping essentials. Take a look at these amazing hiking tools and camping gear for your next outdoor escapade. 

Enjoy amazing hotel bargains for your Kathmandu escape!

6. Malawi

Visit Malawi if you want a memorable and affordable traveling experience in Africa

Africa has lots to offer the average backpacker on a budget! While the plane ticket to Africa might set you back, backpacking around Malawi is surprisingly cheap; you can easily survive off of less than $20 a day, thanks in part to the poor economy of the country, and the lack of tourist industry.

Getting around the country is much cheaper than getting there, and the budget prices mean you’re in for quite an adventure, from crowded buses to the beds of pick-up trucks or taxis. You can easily find a bed for $2+ around most of the country, and meals can cost you as little as $1 if you eat local fare. Entertainment is cheap as well in Malawi; for only a few dollars you can enjoy the same world class water skiing that would cost you a week’s salary in other touristy areas of the world.

Grab the best deals to some of the finest and most beloved hotels in Lilongwe!

7. Turkey

Experience Turkey’s variety of delectable dishes which cost for only a few dollars

Cheap backpacking trips aren’t limited to just Southest Asia. For a taste of West meets East, head over to Turkey, where you can enjoy backpacking around the country for well under $40 a day. night in a dorm room hostel starts around $5 in Istanbul, while Turkish cuisine offers plenty of traditional and cheap dishes that help you feel full for only a few dollars each meal.

Eating off the streets is one of the best ways to keep costs cheap, and Turkey’s many markets are great places to find meals for under $5. Transportation costs aren’t going to break the bank either; flights to Istanbul are surprisingly inexpensive, and bus fares around the country are even cheaper, with a luxury bus ride across the country running only about $20 a person.

Score supremely affordable hotels in Ankara with these suggestions!

8. Vietnam

Explore Vietnam’s best ethnic dishes in restaurants and street vendors and be amazed with its scenic views

Vietnam is incredibly backpacker friendly, and not just in prices. The country has plenty of sights, activities, and things to do that are either free or can be done for just a few dollars. A dorm style hostel room can be found for under $3 a night, and often include breakfast. Your other two meals of the day will cost you even less; Vietnam’s plenty of street vendors and cheap restaurants allow you to try some of the best ethnic dishes for under $2 a meal.

Get the most affordable deals for your accommodations in Hanoi!

9. Bolivia

Be enthralled with Bolivia’s exotic nature’s attraction

South America isn’t as cheap as it once was, but there are still a few hidden spots where backpackers can enjoy exploring for only a few dollars a day. Bolivia is one of the best places, with plenty of South American charm and exotic destinations within reach of budget friendly accommodations. You can find rather primitive places to stay for around $5 a night, and meals filled with rice and beans will only cost you a few dollars per meal.

Experience a memorable trip to La Paz without spending a fortune with these great hotel bargains.

10. New Zealand

New Zealand’s alluring views and sceneries is one of the best travel destinations especially for a backpacking trip.

Backpacking with a group? Then, New Zealand is your perfect destination for a backpacking trip. The best, and cheapest, and very popular way to see the country is to buy and sell a campervan; gas is cheap, and you can find tons of free or very inexpensive campgrounds that are set up for campervans on both islands.

If you don’t want to invest the money up front to buy you, you can easily rent one for around $100 a day, which with a group of people can average around $15-25 a person per night; not a bad price for a day’s accommodation and travel expenses. The best bet for cheap food on the go to is to buy locally grown fruit and vegetables, or to find the few good cheap roadside stands and stock up on grub. Either way, you can easily backpack New Zealand while sticking to a budget.

Score amazing and affordable hotel deals in Auckland with these superb options!

11. Estonia

Feel and embrace European influence as you travel to Estonia

The Scandinavian experience may be a bit out of reach of your budget, but you can still experience a hybrid of Scandinavian, Baltic, Russian, and European influence in Estonia. A hostel in Tallinn will cost you under $10 a night in the best of Old Town, and the city offers numerous restaurants that provide bigger and better meals for less than the cost of a fast food burger.

Get the best deals to the most Instagram-worthy and dazzling hotels in Tallinn.

12. Tanzania

If you’re an outdoor aficionado but on a limited budget, Tanzania must be on your list.

Tanzania is an outdoor enthusiast's dream, and if you’re in the mood for some serious backpacking you can enjoy all that the country has to offer without breaking the bank. You can easily enjoy local cuisine right off the street and only spend around $1 per meal for some of the best food you’ve ever tasted. Depending on how luxurious you want your accommodations to be, you can find plenty of places to stay ranging from $4 up to $10. Best of all, a visa only costs around $50, so you’re not spending the majority of your budget before you even get in the country.

Get the best hotel deals in Dodoma with ease!

13. Ethiopia

Ethiopia’s beautiful nature and interesting culture and an affordable travel expenses will make you go back

Ethiopia can easily be backpacked for under $15 a day, without missing any of the beauty and wonder the country has to offer. Authentic and filling meals will only cost you around $1 in a local restaurant, and backpackers who forage from food vendors on the street can easily eat for around 50 cents a meal. You can cheaply travel from city to city via public buses, which will only cost about $1 per hour. Backpacker crowds immune to a little discomfort and up for a bit of roughing it can easily find beds for around $3 a night, leaving plenty of money to explore the rest of Ethiopia’s beauty and welcoming culture.

Score amazingly affordable accommodations in Addis Ababa with these terrific suggestions!

14. Cambodia

Tour around Angor Wat temple in Cambodia which is known as one of the largest religious monuments in the world

Cambodia is a backpacker’s paradise, and the land backpacking trips are designed for. The extreme affordability is in part thanks to public transportation that is unreliable, ancient, and usually cramped. The beautiful trade off for all this character is an entire country where backpacker’s can survive for weeks at a time on the average allowance of a 8 year old.

Remember the beauty of Angor Wat? You can easily find a bed in Siem Reap, The city closest to Angor Wat for around $3; if you’re willing to fork over around $10, you can have a private room all to yourself. If you’re really on a ithgt budget, no problem; Cambodia is home to the world’s cheapest hostel, where only $1 is enough to get you a place to sleep for the night. Food will only cost you a few dollars for huge hearty meals of epic proportions, and the streets are filled with vendors offering some of the freshest meals for a few cents.

If you want beautiful beaches, exotic locations, and all for only a few dollars a day, Cambodia is the perfect place to explore by backpacking.

By the way, having a comfortable footwear is an absolute must in Cambodia. Remember, you'll have to walk often to explore the charms and eccentricities of this backpacking destination. That's why we recommend that you pack a pair of Vessi shoes for your trip. Not only is it durable and comfortable, but it's stylish and waterproof as well. 

Looking for ways to save money for your Phnom Penh trip? Why not check out these amazingly affordable hotel bargains?

15. Georgia

If you’re into adventurous discovery of little-known country, explore Georgia

Georgia is quite possibly the most undiscovered Eastern European country, and that’s the best plug for backpackers looking for a new country to discover. It is incredibly English speaking friendly, and very eager to increase their tourist industry. The result is prices are ridiculously cheap, and the country will most likely become a hub for backpackers and tourists in the next decade or so.

However, if you backpack there now, you can still enjoy plenty of tourist free activities and accommodations for cheap; you can find a private room in Tbilisi for around $7 per night, and even cheaper if you’re willing to buy lighter meals from street vendors.

Get the best hotels in Tbilisi with these terrific options!

16. East Timor

Feel the Portuguese influence in East Timor without spending too much

East Timor may be another Southeast Asian country, but it has a much different vibe and culture than other backpacking destinations like Thailand or Indonesia. It has a lot of Portuguese influence, thanks to its history, so if you’ve always wanted to visit Portugal but can’t afford the prices, East Timor can be a fun alternative.

You can easily and cheaply get around the country via public bus, which averages about $2 per hour of travel time. There aren’t a lot of budget friendly accommodations, but backpackers can find dorm style hostel rooms for under $15 a night. The cheapest, and tastiest part, is the food; street vendors are everywhere, and you can easily budget around $3 for delicious street food.

17. Canada

Visit Montreal, Canada for a budget-friendly travelers

While visiting the affluent Vancouver may cost you a bit, you can still enjoy backpacking in other parts of Canada for the same price as other cheaper countries. Montreal is incredibly backpacking friendly, with hostel prices for dorm rooms starting at around $15 a night. There are plenty of free things to do and enjoy, and if you’re willing to buy groceries and live off of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and fruit you can usually stay under $15 a day for food.

Get the best rates for the top and most gorgeous hotels in Vancouver!

18. Cuba

Explore lively colors and culture of  Cuba for a fun-filled entertainment

Cuba can be notoriously difficult to get into, but those who do can enjoy a country filled with vibrant colors, culture, and simple bragging rights of having been to Cuba. The best way to enjoy the country is by bus; the fares are cheap and the buses are ancient and full of character. A hostel in Havana will cost around $10 a night, while each meal will only cost a few dollars per meal.

19. Djibouti

Unleash your curiosity in Djibouti, Africa to discover exciting things to wander

One of the best parts of visiting Djibouti is coming back home and watching your friends try to mask their confusion at the mention of a country they’ve never heard of before. The fact that it is so unknown helps keep the prices somewhat low; it’s not as cheap as other areas of Africa, but it’s still a really great country to backpack through. And it won’t take you long; the entire country is about the size of Vermont.

Hostel prices can be a bit steep for backpacking standards, running about $20 a night, but you are welcome to try to barter a deal. Food is inexpensive and plentiful; a full blown meal at a restaurant will only cost you around $5.

Explore a plethora of remarkably affordable hotels in Djibouti!

20. Philippines

Visiting Philippines will leave a mark on your mind and heart because of its different natural wonders

In the Philippines, Backpackers can get a room for around $8 a night, and spend about $2 to 3 on each meal at any restaurant or street vendor. While not as popular as Thailand, the country's tourism has been on an upswing lately, thanks to its incredible wealth of natural wonders. Plus, it has plenty of outdoor thrills to offer to outdoor lovers and adrenaline junkies. And, did I mention that it's incredible diverse, when it comes to landscapes?

Want to hit the Instagram-worthy waterfalls and beaches in the Philippines? Don't forget to grab a stylish, comfy and lovely swimsuit before your trip. See this page, to grab stunning swimsuits for an affordable price tag.  

Experience Palawan's finest and most breathtaking natural wonders for a very affordable price by booking a stay at any of these hotels!

21. Indonesia

If you want to experience a paradise filled with ancient temples within a limited budget, Indonesia is the best

Parts of Indonesia may seem unattainable, and you’d be right; for the average backpacker, staying in the same room as surfers from the land down under on Spring Break may seem both pricey and touristy. But skip the main Bali crowd and take your backpacking essentials to the nearby island of Lombok, which still offers plenty of bang for your buck without competing against the tourist crowd.

If you’re really feeling adventurous and in the mood for an authentic Indonesian backpacker experience, pick pretty much any island as far away from Ubud as possible; there you can easily find an a full dinner for around $2 and tasty snacks and food vendor treats for half of that. Finding a place to stay can run you a few bucks for a shared dorm to a private Indonesian paradise for only $10 a night.

Get the best deals for the premier and most awesome hotels in Bali!

22. Armenia

Armenia’s budget-friendly transportation and sumptuous dishes will make your trip memorable

Armenia is a great country to backpack around; nearly every town has a hostel that averages a few dollars per night’s stay, and public transportation between towns are notoriously inexpensive. Backpackers can easily afford to eat out and only spend around $4 a meal. You can take a day trip from the capital city for only about $15, and easily experience all of Armenia’s beauty without running into a hoard of tourists.

Enjoy amazing hotel bargains for your Yerevan escape!

23. Myanmar

Myanmar must be on your bucket list if you want new discoveries without costing too much

Myanmar often gets forgotten in the list of Southeast Asia backpacking countries people have backpacked, and that’s exactly why you should visit. It’s off the beaten track, and it’s undiscovered side equates to plenty of cheap places to stay and things to do. It offers all of the things Thailand does, but without a tourist in sight. You can easily spend less than $10 a night for a simple hostel room throughout the country, including the bigger cities. Browse food stalls and keep to the streets for your meals, where you’ll be able to enjoy authentic dishes and even seafood for only a couple dollars per meal.

Grab the best deals to some of the finest and most beloved hotels in Yangon!

24. India

Enjoy the appetizing taste of authentic Indian cuisine at the most affordable price

If you’re the kind of backpacker who dreams of hiking the PCT, i.e. ok without taking a shower and living in minimal comfort, then India is your backpacking paradise. While there are plenty of accommodation choices that rival the best hotels in the world, if you’re willing to stay in the most basic of conditions, you can easily book hostels that will run you only a dollar or two per night. But what you give up in personal comfort you’ll make up for at mealtimes; Indian cuisine is to die for and wonderfully cheap. You can gorge yourself happily on authentic dishes from restaurants for only a few dollars, while lighter meals can be bought on the street for only a few cents. The entire Indian economy works on a bartering system, so if you’re willing to work for a deal, India has the potential to be a great place to enjoy travel on the cheap.

Score supremely affordable hotels in Agra with these suggestions!

25. Morocco

Morocco is one the best countries for backpackers for prices are cheap including food and accommodation

Backpacking through Morocco is the best way to experience the country. Food is incredibly cheap, and if you’re up for buying most of your meals from street vendors and market stalls you can easily eat like a prince while surviving off of less than $13 a day for food.

Thirsty? Freshly squeezed orange juice or freshly brewed tea will only cost you a few cents. You can easily find hostels in Marrakesh for around $5 a night, and while transportation can be sketchy, you can get around safely for only a few dollars for a bus ride or taxi fare.

Get the most affordable deals for your accommodations in Casablanca!

How to Backpack Cheap Around the World While Loving Every Second! 

Eliminate all of the stress of planning your trips. Travel like a local and get all of the insider secrets for your backpacking trips!

Where will you be backpacking next? Visit Trekeffect for the best travel itinerary planner to plan your next trip and find the best backpacking tips, tricks, and backpacking essentials!

Book Your Trip: Logistical Tips & Tricks

Book your accommodations

Let's face it.  Expedia, hotels.com (and all the other hotel booking engines) typically earn huge margins off of you.  You might think you're getting a deal, but you're not getting a deal.  Want the best deal when you book your hotels?   Of course you do! With Trekeffect you can get FREE access to discounted hotel prices and save a bunch of money.  

How does it work? Simple... 
1. Sign up for Trekeffect [FREE]
2. Click the hotels tab in the navigation
3. Search for the city you are visiting
4. Book a hotel and save a ton of money

Shop for Travel Essentials

Get all of your essential travel gear right from our store. We hand pick the best travel products. Get everything from luggage to camping gear and other travel accessories for your trip. 

Book your flight

Find cheap flights using SkyScanner. This search engine is are our favorite, making sure you get the best deal for tickets all over the world.  They are great at aggregating flights from multiple providers.  

Don't forget travel insurance

Protects yourself against illness, injury, theft, and even cancellations with travel insurance. You're buying comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. We never recommend traveling without it. We’ve been using World Nomads, a great company, with great service and highly recommend them.

     - World Nomads (for everyone below 70)

     - Travelx Insurance (for those over 70)

Looking for the best companies to save money with?

Check out our resource page for the absolute best companies to use when you travel! We list our favorite companies that save people the most money when they travel and we think it will help you too!

Disclosure: Some of the links above may be affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we earn a commission if you make a purchase. We only recommend products and companies we use and the income keeps the community supported. 

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Bryn Wied
Bryn Wied is an outdoor enthusiast and serious travelaholic. She explores every inch of the globe in her Sanuk flip flops with her favorite travel buddy/hubby Matt. Matt and Bryn live in California where they blog, surf, snowboard and raise kids in between road trips and camping adventures.
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