Looking for a super fun and inexpensive travel destination to visit in 2020? Trippy user Danielle did, and she brought that question to the community:
International Travel that is inexpensive but fun?
I just graduated college and really want to travel internationally at some point. I am going back to school in the spring for graduate school, so money is something I will be saving. I have been to Canada and Mexico but would love to go to Europe. Any suggestions, welcome!
Danielle received 24 answers from the community for destinations in Europe, Asia, and South America. Here are the 15 super fun and inexpensive travel destinations:
1. Bosnia & Herzegovina
Claus, an avid traveler highly recommended the Balkans. He wrote:
Balkan countries are cheap. Also cheaper than the other Eastern European countries further north. Places like Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania, Serbia, and Macedonia are very affordable to travel and very interesting too. They are maybe not as known as some other areas in Europe, but they are all very worth a visit and going there is way more adventurous than sitting in Prague or Venice with a million other tourists.
And I agree that you should have Bosnia & Herzegovina at the top of your list. Here’s why:
1. Sarajevo, the capital, is intriguing. This city went through 1425 days of hardship from April 5, 1992, to February 29, 1995. Tourists can get a glimpse into the dark days known as The Siege of Sarajevo at the War Tunnel Museum and gain access to a small part of the tunnel.
Other places of interest include the abandoned Olympic bobsled track, Baščaršija (the Ottoman part of the old town) bazaar and coffee shops, and the Austrian-Hungarian part of the old town. You can read more about Sarajevo: 7 Things to Do in Sarajevo.
2. Mostar’s Stari Most (old bridge) over Neretva River and old bazaar are top attractions in Bosnia and Herzegovina. You can watch men plunge off the bridge at almost 80 feet high, a 450-year-old tradition that has become an attraction in Mostar.
2. North Macedonia
North Macedonia, a country formerly known as Macedonia, has medieval churches, turquoise lakes, and beautiful old towns. And best of all, North Macedonia is exceptionally cheap. Ohrid is one vacation spot in North Macedonia that is not to be missed.
Located on the shores of Lake Ohrid, one of Europe’s oldest and deepest lakes, Ohrid is home to a Roman theater, medieval fortress, ancient churches, and well-preserved Ottoman-era buildings.
If you’re able to get to Kuala Lumpur, you’ll find that it is quite an international city, with a bustling street food culture, great nightlife, and in general, a lovely modern city with friendly people. Bukit Bintang is a popular area with great malls, great food, and nightlife. Jalan Alor for some good food, and the hustle and bustle of foreigners enjoying the sights and sounds of Malaysian street cooking.
Penang is a small island that has a beautiful mix of different geographies, beaches (Batu Feringghi), a heritage town (George Town), and hills. The plane tickets for all these destinations from KL are really cheap! The food is excellent in Penang; there was this one dumpling place called Restoran Zim Sum – very cheap dumplings, excellent quality, available early in the morning to mid-afternoon. Overall, Asia is fantastic, and I’ve only covered two cities. You can have the time of your life here on a budget.
Just a suggestion! If you are traveling to Thailand, yes, it is kind of a MUST that you stop in Bangkok – but only for a couple of days (there is only so much of it you can handle!) Looking for your next destination? Phuket? Overrated – not to mention expensive. I suggest you go to Koh Chang. It is the third-largest island in all of the Thai Islands! Despite Koh Chang’s increase in popularity, the island has maintained its unparalleled beauty, privacy, and delicious food! Stop by. It’s stellar 🙂
Chiang Mai provides a good nightlife with some added cultural sights – 5 days is good to see the city and perhaps some of the surrounding sights (you may need to find transportation if you are going to make your way to surrounding mountain areas, but you could fill up your time within the city and songthaews (like a pickup-truck style taxi) are really cheap within the city limits.
Bulgaria is easy on the pocket, and I highly recommend checking it out. From green mountains and ski resorts to medieval towns and medieval monasteries, this land won’t bore you. Here’s a write up about Bulgaria by Daniel, a Trippy user:
Destinations in Western Europe are usually very well-covered, but how about Bulgaria? It’s somewhat off the beaten path and offers no joke, some of the best food in the whole of Europe, and some of the oldest ruins on the continent. Bulgaria’s one of those travel destinations that really surprise those who visit it… It’s a beautiful country, and although the people here don’t smile very often, they’re very genuine and kind-hearted. And did I mention the food?
Romania has to be on your list if you’re looking for cheap and fun destinations to visit. Make sure you spend a few days in Bucharest before heading to the Transylvania region. Cathy from Brussels wrote a lengthy suggestion:
I would suggest using Sibiu as the base from which to explore the extraordinary fortified churches of Biertan and Viscri. You could easily visit Biertan en route for Sighisoara, and then perhaps drop into Viscri on your way to Brasov. Sibiu and Sighisoara are probably the most heavily touristed towns, and I imagine that Sighisoara gets unpleasantly busy in the peak summer season, but both are still lovely and well worth visiting.
Brasov is a nice town, and if you’re an animal lover, the nearby (but somewhat difficult to find) Liberation Bear Sanctuary is a must – the founder has made it her life’s mission to rescue captive bears from zoos and restaurants so they can live out the rest of their lives with dignity in beautiful natural surroundings. The towns were lovely, but from our point of view, the fortified churches were the stars of the show. There are quite a number, so you’ll be spoiled for choice – our favorite was the amazing white fortified church at Viscri (the neighboring sleepy village is also lovely) and the church at Biertan, which houses a medieval lock with an astonishingly intricate mechanism that wouldn’t be out of place in a Harry Potter movie.
The countryside is just enchanting, with storks nesting on rooftops and atmospheric villages that have probably changed very little over the past couple of centuries. This is the real charm of the region, so I would resist the temptation to ‘overplan’ your itinerary and instead drive semi-aimlessly, exploring whatever attractions you stumble across. If you are visiting in summer, you will have the benefit of the long summer evenings, so I would suggest that you organize your schedule by determining the opening hours of the sites that you want to visit, and then spend the evenings exploring the countryside and soaking up the ambiance of the towns and villages.
There are many ways to travel within Peru. You have a choice of doing it cheaply or pricier. No matter how you travel, Peru offers plenty of fun things to do. Most visitors choose the following places to visit when in Peru:
- Cusco, Macchu Picchu, Sacred Valley
- Puno and Lake Titicaca
- Arequipa and Colca Canyon
- The Peruvian Amazon
- Lima, the capital
Trippy user Vincent said:
Lima has some interesting districts (Barranco) and things to do but I’d recommend cutting as much time out of lima and stacking it on to sacred valley (it’s pretty big and has lots to see), Cusco, or even go down to Ica/huacachina for a night of sandboarding and dune buggy fun! Also, since you’ll be in Puno (Lake Titicaca), I’d also recommend going straight to the Uros Islands or one of the islands and not to spend too much time in the city itself.
A Trippy user said:
Rio de Janeiro. Hands down. Stay in Lapa, the party place. Whole Airbnb apartment 30$ a day. Super cheap and the most fun we had-dancing drinking. We spent 10 days living it up and only spent $300. We hang glided off the mountain, did food tours, etc. A must for FUN.
Besides Rio de Janeiro, you may want to add Iguazu Falls, Paraty, and or Florianopolis when visiting Brazil.
Ecuador has the Galapagos Islands, Amazon basin, Andes mountain towns, and beach resorts. Besides the Galapagos Islands, you can get around cheaply in Ecuador. I suggest spending time in Quito, Cotopaxi, and the small towns surrounding Otavalo if you like history and culture. Additionally, Trippy user Rasto suggested the following:
If you want a unique Amazon experience with wildlife, you have to go on a multi-day overnight trip more in-depth into the jungle outside of populated areas or contact zones. This comes with way higher price but is usually worth it. One day trips from cities in contact zones like Banos or Puyo are a joke maybe good enough to make happy city metrosexuals and alike. You can still save some cash if you fly to the remote area in the Amazon basin on your own and then hire a local guide for 1-3 day trip rather than pay an arm and a leg to travel agency somewhere in Quito. But it all depends on your level of comfort, Spanish proficiency, and if you can find a reliable and knowledgeable guide. To find a good guide, you can trust and rely on is very important!
Moira said this about Vietnam:
I have traveled to Vietnam on my own several times. I was a woman in my 60’s when I traveled there. For culture, I recommend Hue and its surrounding hills with many temples, etc. The food in Hue is quite good in its small restaurants (you can get recommendations from locals), and an inexpensive but clean hotel is Than Thien (The Friendly Hotel). It’s best to hire a guide because of the distances between sites. I hope you are comfortable on the back of a motorcycle for this.
Janelle suggested Poland and Lola offered more detailed information about the country she loved.
Poland is another relatively inexpensive spot by European standards. I found Warsaw a bit disappointing, but Krakow, Oswiecim, Czestochowa, and Lodz are underrated spots.
I have been to Krakow in Poland. It’s a beautiful city full of history. I recommend stopping here for a few days. There are good pubs, restaurants, and shops. It is a very affordable city too. Not too far from Krakow is Memorial and Museum Auschwitz-Birkenau. If you have an interest in the history of these, you can take a bus from the city there, and it takes about two hours each way. You will probably spend 2-3 hours looking around and reading each exhibit. It’s a day activity, so just plan on going there that day. I didn’t have time to see other locations, but Wroclaw was mentioned to me by a roommate in the flat I stayed. She said it’s a bit smaller than Krakow but just as interesting. Zalipie is supposed to be a very colorful village where all the houses are painted with traditional flower art all over. I really wanted to go there but didn’t have time to…next trip 🙂 If you like the ocean, then check out Gdansk. Everyone during the summer seems to go there on long weekend getaways.
Bali is great. Lovely beach, town, and local guides for tours in the rice fields or hiking.
Most people visit Bali for the sun, sand, and sea. Of course, you will find lots of fun as well. It’s an island with a variety of beaches, terraced rice fields, active volcanoes, and thousands of temples. You have a choice of luxurious accommodations or inexpensive places that are both comfortable and safe.
Claudia had this to say about accommodation in Bali:
Do you prefer the beach, mountains or rice fields? Each region has different types of beaches with various activities. You get black sand in the north and west and white sand in the south. Some are more suitable for surfing and diving, while others are best for sun-bathers.
In Nusa Dua Beach, many of the hotels are perched on clifftops like Karma Kandara Resort and Banyan Tree Ungasan Hotel. Four Seasons Resort Bali At Jimbaran Bay is an oceanfront property, an ideal place for you if you are looking for luxury and traditional Balinese architecture. For high-end accommodation, I would certainly recommend the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay. I had dinner at the Four Seasons Jimbaran Bay and wouldn’t mind staying there on my next trip to Bali. The best beach hotels in Kuta tend to be crowded but cheaper than those in Nusa Dua and Jimbaran.
A friend from Singapore stayed at the Hard Rock Hotel Bali, located on Kuta Beach, and loved it because they had plenty of dining options and were close to the water parks (Waterbom Bali). I like history and culture, so I chose to stay in Ubud. My family and I stayed at a villa amongst rice fields for a week. The villa was close to Ubud Town Center, so we got to visit Ubud Palace, Ubud Traditional Art Market, checked out the yoga centers, bookstores, restaurants, and museums. If you like luxury hotels, choose the Four Seasons Resort Bali At Sayan in Ubud. Or choose Kamandhani Cottage in Ubud.
I suggest combining your trip to Bali with a two-day trip to Yogyakarta to visit Borobudur, the world’s largest Buddhist temple. This temple dates back to the ninth century and built during the Syailendra dynasty.
13. Costa Rica
Carlos from San Jose Costa Rica suggested his homeland:
It’s a natural destination with lots of unique destinations and activities to offer! If you ever consider traveling to Central America, Costa Rica is a must on your trip plan. And of course, I would be glad to help you out with any Costa Rica travel questions if your trip to this beautiful country ever comes true. Pura Vida, and enjoy this Costa Rica sunset!
Trippy user Olav suggested Portugal:
The entire country has something to offer, and while small, there is much to see and explore and places to just hang out. In terms of food/accommodation cost, it is said to be the cheapest in Western Europe.
Portugal is a destination for wine, food, coffee, surf, sun, sea, history, and more. It has become one of the most popular destinations in Europe in recent years. According to the World Tourism Organization UNWTO, 23 million in 2017 people visited, which was a jump of 12%.
15. Caribbean cruises
You should check out cruises if you like hopping from island to island in the Caribbean. For example, a 14-day cruise from Galveston, TX, will take you to Grand Cayman, Aruba, Curacao, Cartagena (Colombia), Panama Canal (Panama), Limon (Costa Rica) and Cozumel (Mexico) for just over $1,000.
Cheap but fun? Carnival Cruise Lines. You can get a room that travels to different countries every day (without the need to repack), for about $100/day with food and entertainment included. Where else can you do that?