One thing many of us travelers have learned by now is that any country can be cheap if you’re determined to stick to a strict budget. Go to New York City and live entirely on dollar slices and free events at public parks. Roam the canals of Paris munching on baguettes and washing it down with discounted wine.
However, this process is not an easy one and sometimes can leave you feeling like you’ve missed out on the full cultural experience by limiting your funds and yourself. In this case, it can be great to pick a place that you know won’t break the bank even when you opt for living your best life. Of course, there’s a lot to take into account when considering a cheap cultural destination. Think about what kind of activities or attractions interest you most. Are you looking for exciting new foods to try, some natural wonders to explore, city streets lined with historical buildings, or maybe even all of the above? Below are all the cheapest countries to visit across many continents to help you get started on your savvy spending sojourn.
Cheapest Europe Countries to Visit
Just a hop across the Adriatic Sea from Italy lies a lesser-known gem for travelers on a budget. This small Balkan country gained its independence as recently as 2006. As such, it has yet to pop onto the Mediterranean hotspot radar, but the diverse range of cultural customs here make for one very cool getaway. Hearty local fares are fantastic to ensure you and your funds are full.
One of our favorite traditional delicacies here is prosciutto, cut so thin you can see right through it. It takes a year to make, and the traditional process has been passed down over generations. With homemade cheeses famously found only in small towns and villages throughout, Montenegro is the place to make all your charcuterie board dreams come true. On the coast, you’ll find hip towns with spectacular surroundings, such as Budva and Kotor. Budva is best for relaxing on the sandy shores and partaking in some nightlife.
The bay at Kotor boasts two small islands to visit for more tranquil traveling and century-old facades. Ada Bojana beach in Ulcinj has a unique eastern feel and is known as one of the best among any naturalists. Inland awaits an awe-inspiring terrain, including majestic mountains, glacial lakes, and UNESCO World Heritage towns.
Durmitor National Park is a vast expanse with trails to hike to the tallest peaks or the deepest canyons. Tara Canyon boasts one of the most beautiful rivers anywhere, perfect for paddling adventures. You can also find what’s commonly called the lungs of Europe, the only rainforest on the continent, set inside the Biogradska Gora in Montenegro.
We all know there are plenty of budget-friendly picks in Eastern Europe, becoming more popular each year as affordable vacation spots. However, as far as Western Europe goes, Portugal will probably be your cheapest option. It’s known mostly for its sunsets and its surf, and what could be more appealing for an affordable adventure than that?
Lisbon and Porto are the main cities travelers flock to, and both have plenty to offer. Algarve and Cascais are a bit more off the beaten path and are super easy on the eyes and the wallet. You’ll find all sorts of scenery to soak up from iconic lighthouses on golden sands to the craggy cliffs of Nazare and Aveiro.
Madeira provides some of the best hiking around with rugged volcanic trails to trek, as well as sweeping views of the harbor and some stellar scuba diving. Ancient towns abound in Portugal, so if you’re into history, architecture, and that oh so special charm of narrow winding streets and brightly colored crumbling facades, check out Evora and Tomar.
You’ll discover elaborate and ancient castles and churches throughout, such as Monasterio de Jeronimos, Torre de Belem, and Bom Jesus do Monte. Indulge in the freshest possible seafood anywhere in the small and scenic country. Be sure to pair your plate with the perfect glass of wine as well. One bonus of its size is that you can likely do the entire country in one go if you want, as it’s only about a six-hour drive end to end.
The environment of Estonia is often compared to that of Scandinavia, but with a serious discount. You’ll find similar cuisines, accommodation options, transportation, and overall aesthetics for a fraction of the cost. It’s an eco-focused nation, with over 50% of the native terrain covered in forests. As such, Estonia has some of the cleanest air, for that crisp and fresh breath feeling.
This charming country boasts over 2,000 islands off the coast in the stunning Balkan Sea. Many are untouched with pristine nature to traverse. They speak so many different languages, from Russian to English to Finnish, odds are it’ll be fairly easy to get around. As a super tech-savvy region, Wi-Fi spots everywhere really help to make travel super accessible.
Unique curios are hidden at all ends of Estonia, so we highly recommend seeking out a bit of mystery at the likes of Rummu Underwater Prison or Kaali Meteorite Crater Field. Hit Parnu for a breathtaking beach getaway and the bustling capital Tallinn is chock full of cultural attractions. Soomaa National Park provides rolling hillsides, ethereal bayous, and crystal-clear river basins. Telliskivi is a hub for artisan creators and is known for the fabulous boho feel we’re all secretly seeking. The traditional culinary creations are warm and comforting, from meat patties called hakkihakotilet to tasty pastries like selma.
Though Hungary can be considered comparatively pricey to some of its neighbors, it’s still a cheap choice for saving a few bucks on a European holiday. The capital city of Budapest has been a long-standing fan-favorite amongst nomadic culture vultures. It will, of course, be the most expensive spot in the country, but is covered in cool attractions that are well worth the added fares. Walk over the Danube across the Chain Bridge, navigate the underground Castle Labyrinth, and take stock of unique souvenirs at the neo-gothic Great Market Hall.
Easy and inexpensive street food abounds here in the form of langos, a type of delicious, deep-fried pizza. Out in the vast countryside, you can visit the lake resort town of Tihany. The Buuk Mountains offer remote wilderness for plenty of outdoor adventure. Thermal baths are the main draw for Hungary and are a lovely luxury at very little cost.
Hungary has more medical spas than any other country in Europe and 1,000 hot springs to its name. Szechenyi and Gellert baths are both absolutely stunning settings. One is the largest on the continent, offering all kinds of alternative health spas, and the other is an opulent art nouveau palace. They are said to have numerous health and spirit benefits, aside from their obvious aesthetic appeal. Lake Balaton is the in-country destination for summer getaways of swimming, sailing, and fishing. The Eger and Tokaj wine regions are lousy with verdant vineyards growing special varietals to sip and savor.
Bulgaria will undoubtedly be your cheapest choice in Europe. Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of beauty to take in at this under-the-radar destination. Sofia is the capital city and boasts iconic cathedrals and rich Soviet history. We love scouring the streets for unique specialty shops and cool street art. Many come to bask in the Black Sea, and Sunny Beach says all you need to know right in the name.
The Central Balkan National Park is a top-notch trekking choice, with sweeping vistas and spectacular landscapes of towering peaks, glacial lakes, and old-growth forests. Plovdiv is bursting with architectural wonders to enjoy among cobblestone streets, such as an ancient Roman theater. The pastries here are divine, especially the banitsa.
Every traditional dish tastes fresh, and you’re sure to get your fill of many delicious salads. In Bulgaria, we highly recommend that you do go chasing waterfalls, right to the town of Krushuna. The Buzludzha Monument is a flying saucer-shaped shrine to socialism and a stark representation of brutalist design and political upheaval that has become its own awe-inspiring art installation.
Rose Valley in the Balkan Mountains is responsible for the production of most of the world’s rose oil. So when we say make sure to take some time to stop and smell the roses on any trip, this is quite literally what we are referring to. Melnik is the smallest town in the whole world and well worth (a seriously short) stop.
Similar to Bulgaria, another Eastern European country that is seriously underrated in our book is Romania.
Surprisingly, Romania has some of the fastest internet speed in Europe, is extremely inexpensive, but unfortunately, only has a small digital nomad community. This is a head scratcher for us considering Romania was ranked as one of the best countries in the world for digital nomads by CircleLoop.
Let’s be honest, Romania is for digital nomads that are willing to be a bit adventurous while saving some money at the same time (Did we mention that a digital nomad visa is currently in the works? Something to keep an eye out for those that are interested in spending a longer period of time in Romania!)
For digital nomads that are willing to venture out outside of the traditional hotspots, Romania is waiting to show off its charming medieval villages, some of the most stunning nature in all of Europe, incredible city energy, and warm, friendly locals. Not to mention, Romania is a great travel base for Eastern Europe.
Bucharest is a great base for digital nomads looking to get their start in Romania. Get a place near the Old Town to be close to all of the action the city has to offer, but be warned that the city is surprisingly spread out. Bucharest might just keep you around longer than you think with its livability.
Once you’re ready, take off to the more traditional, laid back towns such as Cluj or if you’re seeking some sea vibes, head to Constanta. Nomads will be pleasantly surprised by the low cost, sea breeze, and delicious seafood that Constanta has on offer.
Romania is a country that is set to become extremely popular among digital nomads in the near future especially once the country releases its version of a digital nomad visa.
Slovakia is one of those countries that continues to stay under the radar despite having incredible scenery, bustling city life, and an incredibly affordable cost of living. This cheap EU member country is perfect for digital nomads who want something a little different than the typical trail.
Bratislava is known for its Brutalist architecture and charming Old Town. The city is perfect for setting up a base to explore the rest of the country and only a 30 minute train ride from Vienna, but to be honest, there isn’t much in Bratislava. Compared to other European capitals, the city can feel a bit dead especially in the winter.
Kosice, on the other hand, is buzzing with activity! Slovakia’s second biggest city is located near the Hungarian border, Kosice has a lively alternative scene, great cafes to get work done from, and is about a 30 minute drive from the nearest ski resort. Be sure to visit the 19th century Jakab’s Palace, one of the most stunning castles in Central Europe and former residence of the Czechoslovak president.
If mountain activities are your thing, be sure to visit the Tatra Mountains and feel like you’re in Switzerland at a fraction of the cost. The area is known for their hot springs. People come from all over the world to soak in this warm mineral water with its supposed health benefits. You’ll be surprised how large Tatra National Park is so we recommend planning accordingly.
Slovakia may not be number one on most digital nomads bucket list, but the country has many sights to see at a cheap price.
Georgia is one of the most well known digital nomad friendly countries in the world and for good reason. The country has incredible nature, terrific food, some of the best wine on planet Earth, and is somehow still cheap (In fact, Georgia is considered one of the cheapest countries in the world) Oh yeah and did we mention that Georgia has introduced a digital nomad visa to make it even easier to spend time in this country? With skiing in the winter and sunbathing on beaches along the Black Sea come summertime, Georgia has everything you could dream of.
Most digital nomads are based out of the capital city, Tbilisi, but some venture out to towns near the Black Sea, but Wi-fi gets progressively worse the further away you get from Tbillisi. The capital city has everything that digital nomads need to get work done, have some fun, and meet other like-minded people. Not to mention, the locals are extremely friendly and happy to have you in their country.
One word comes to mind when we think of Georgia’s prices: Cheap! The cost of living in Tbilisi alone will make you reconsider why you ever lived in London for all of those years. One can find a well located one-bedroom apartment for anywhere from $400-$600 per month. The most expensive dinner that one can find will be under $25.
Tbilisi is filled with co-working spaces. We recommend Impact Hub for their fantastic working spots, ease of meeting other remote workers and digital nomads, and easy to access location in the city.
Georgia is set to take off as it has everything a digital nomad could ever want. It is only a matter of time before the prices go up so enjoy Georgia while it is still cheap!
How does the sound of medieval ruins, enchanting Old Towns with history galore, friendly locals, beautiful nature in the countryside, and an emphasis on enjoying life over working all of the time while being able to save money sound? If that’s the case, then Serbia might be the place for you. Just like Georgia, being outside of the Schengen Zone yet so close to other European countries is a huge advantage for Serbia.
Belgrade, the capital city, has only recently started to attract digital nomads with its low cost of living, exciting energy, and digital nomad friendly cafes and coworking spaces. The Wi-fi is also superb and is more than enough for any sort of digital ventures (In fact, many gaming and blockchain companies have established their headquarters in Belgrade.)
For those looking for a more relaxing pace of life, try heading to Novi Sad. The city is one of the biggest in Serbia, but moves at a surprisingly more relaxed pace. When you’re there, be sure to head to Fruska Gora National Park and wander around the 20+ monasteries located within the park. The views are also stunning and well worth a hike!
If you truly want to go off of the grid, head to the western part of Serbia. Get up close and personal with brown bears in Tatra National Park (if that’s your thing of course!) or go for a swim in the area’s pristine lakes. Camping is extremely popular with locals, so be sure to pitch a tent as well.
Serbia is one of those countries that digital nomads sadly overlook and misunderstand due to its poor international reputation, but once there, they don’t want to leave! With a noticeably cheaper cost of living, Serbia is an affordable destination to get started on your digital nomad journey.
Cheapest Countries to Visit in Central America
El Salvador may be small, but don’t underestimate all this spectacular country has to offer in personality. Many sandy beaches along these coastlines are considered the surf hotspots of the world. Whether you’re hoping to hang ten or not, the swells along the pristine coastline provide a surreal beauty. Among their natural treasures are volcanoes to hike, hot springs to soak in, and crystalline lakes to discover.
One of the best features here is that it’s easy (and affordable) enough to see the entire country. Rent a motorbike and ride down the Ruta de Las Flores, trek to the top of El Impossible, and exist amongst the clouds at Cerro Verde. Local pupuserias are always busy with natives and tourists alike enjoying a bite together, and they cook up unbelievably cheap and tasty meals.
The country boasts many coffee plantations, and as such, the java here is unbeatable. The largest cities and towns have quite diverse populations, and eco-tourism is rising fast all around. It’s now the first-ever country to mandate the acceptance of bitcoin as legal tender, so it’s an especially coveted destination choice for all of our crypto aficionados. The capital of San Salvador offers all the amenities of most large cities, and some impressive museums, monuments, churches, and palaces.
Outside of the city you’ll find an off-the-beaten-path vibe that lets you feel as if you’re discovering these hidden gems. These small authentic towns have all the basic benefits. Besides, what more do you need than scenic surroundings, good eats, and cheap beer?
Guatemala is a gorgeous pick for a getaway in South America. People often travel to these lands to see the famous pyramids of Tikal and the Mayan villages of the highlands. The centuries-old culture here is a striking scene to immerse yourself in. A modern monument to an ancient civilization, you’ll see influences in traditional clothing, food, customs, and of course archeological sites.
We loved our boat ride along the lush canyon of the aptly named Rio Dulce. Lake Atitlan may be its most iconic natural feature and bears the remarkable trait of being even better in person than in photos. Do not leave the country without seeing the most stunning swimming hole ever laid eyes on, Samuc Champey. For outdoor excursions, there is an array of jungles to trek through, rivers to raft, and mountains to climb.
Charming colonial towns like Flores stole our heart in this country, making it surprisingly hard to leave. We were able to combine two of our most serious nature loves in Guatemala, hot springs, and waterfalls. A visit to Finca Paraiso is good for anyone’s soul. Antigua is a colorful city combining the best of the old and new worlds, full of authentic markets and cobblestone streets plus modern amenities you may need while on the road. It’s one of the more vegetarian-friendly countries in Central America. Find a comedor, for authentic cuisine styles and heaping portions.
Nicaragua is a top-notch nation for savvy savers traveling in Central America. Often overlooked, the cost of living is the lowest in the region and the scenery is simply spectacular. The natural riches of Nicaragua are almost unparalleled, and the colonial architecture is one of its coolest cultural coups. The Caribbean coast is a lesser-known paradise here, though do be aware you may need to fly over as transportation is limited out to many of the islands.
The ring of fire runs through the country on the Pacific coast creating a landscape that is just chock full of lush volcanoes from Masaya to Apoyo. It’s easy to visit and climb these eruptive and enchanting peaks for verdant vistas of the landscape and a look into some seriously stunning craters.
The classic cuisine is certainly affordable and consists mainly of rice, beans, and plantains. However, there’s enough spice and variety in the street food to live off, so be sure to try as many roadside snacks as possible. If nightlife is a priority try the party town of San Juan del Sur, or for a more laid back vibe and some sick surfing head along the Pacific side for serious swells.
The major cities of Granada, Manuga, and Leon have plenty of cheap and comfortable hostels to stay in while exploring the bustling cultural attractions, like ample street art, craft markets and eco tourist activities. Take the local “chicken buses” to navigate the country for a real authentic and affordable experience. Nicaragua is one of the safest countries in the Americas.
Honduras has a reputation for high crime rates due to impoverished areas. However, it’s much safer than it used to be and often tourists will skip over all this enticing haven has to offer leaving the many attractions free for braver backpackers.
We always think that you can do your best to navigate any new space safely if you have your wits about you. Roatan is a resplendent beach scene with white sands and turquoise waters surrounded by palm trees, and the Bay Islands have some of the most incredible dive sites with coral reefs, ancient sunken ships, and abundant marine life to meet.
Utila is slightly more low key, ideal for any beach bums just looking to relax in a tranquil oasis. Charming towns like Trujillo have a rich history and small villages such as Garifuna offer a vibrant and unique cultural identity. Pico Bonito is a picturesque national park teeming with existing native wildlife within thriving ecosystems. The cities provide some amenities you won’t find in the more scenic and rural regions and can be especially fun to visit during holidays and festivals, such as Semana Santa and Carnival de la Cieba.
The national dish is a tasty latin creation called baleada, made with all the best ingredients – tortillas, cheese, cream, and fried beans. La Triga and Cusco let you hike among the cloud forests. Valle de Angeles is a dream destination for handicraft connoisseurs. Most of these attractions are super cheap and if not free. Untamed beauty and adventure always await in heavenly Honduras.
Mexico is a massive country broken up into many different regions that all have something different and alluring to explore. It’s a very accessible country to travel to and within. English is spoken more widely, though we always recommend learning at least the basics of any native language before arriving.
We all know that the food here is phenomenal, and dollar tacos everywhere is enough of a reason to go if you ask us. There can be stark changes between states, in everything from accents to cuisines to culture. Regardless, there won’t be a shortage of savory street foods to snack on, including tortas, chilaquiles, birria, flautas, and so much more. Just be ready for meat and cheese to become the staples.
The tourist visas in Mexico are for twice as much time and easy to extend, so for long term stays, we recommend this pick. We also advise skipping the more common hotspots like Cancun and Tulum. They have become built up with resorts, packed with tourists, and as a result are generally way overpriced. Opt for more authentic destinations like the quaint colonial cities of Oaxaca, Zacatecas, Puebla and Guanjuanto.
Sleepy surf towns like Zihuatanejo, Nayarit, and Troncones are more relaxed and idyllic spots to discover. San Cristobal in Chiapas is easily one of the most gorgeous places to go for a getaway in the country with the added bonus of many Mayan ruins, and the same goes for Merida. For partying Puerto Escondite has become the new hotspot.
Panama is the most southern Central American country and is well known for its international trading canal that runs through the heart of the country.
The country is trying to change its transportation reputation and become friendlier to digital nomads. In May of 2021, Panama introduced a 9-month digital nomad visa that can be extended for another 9 months (Total of 18 months). The visa can obtained within 30 days of submitting an application and costs $300 to receive.
But why choose Panama for your digital nomad lifestyle? It’s still under the radar and as a result, it is still affordable. According to Rovva, the monthly cost of living in Panama is around $1,300 per month. Not to mention, Panama does not tax income that is earned outside of its borders, which means more money in your pocket at the end of the day.
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, what is there to do in Panama? Sun, fun, and surfing are the main pros of Panama. One of the best places in the country to enjoy this is in Bocas del Toro. Located on Isla Colon, Boca del Toro is a dream destination.
If nature and waterfalls are more of your thing, then you must visit Boquete! The small town located in central Panama is teaming with activities. You’ll be able to see hundreds of different species of wild life including birds, sloths, and monkeys.
We haven’t even mentioned Panama City. While the capital has received a bad reputation as being boring in the past, all of that has begun to change as more and more businesses realize the advantages of Panama. Take a stroll through the Casco Viejo and get lost in the magic of the Old Town.
Will Panama be the next digital nomad hotspot? Find out for yourself!
Costa Rica is one most beautiful and ecologically diverse countries in the world, but also one of the most expensive in Central America. Have no fear, budget travelers can still thrive in Costa Rica considering it is still relatively inexpensive to North America or Western Europe.
In August 2021, Costa Rica introduced a digital nomad visa. The visa allows stays for one year and it is able to be extended for another year after that. Digital nomads must earn $3,000 per month, obtain medical insurance, and pay a fee. For digital nomads that want to visit Costa Rica, stay longer time, and as a result, spend less, the digital nomad visa is a great option.
Costa Rica’s sights are quite spreadout so having a base to explore from can be a bit difficult, but if you don’t mind bigger cities, San Jose works.
While the Pacific Coast is quite popular, the Carribean coast offers similar sights at a fraction of the cost. Tortugeuro National Park is one of the best places on Earth to see sea turtles in action. It can be difficult to get to, but it is well worth adventure and time.
If you do end up traveling the Carribean Coast, Puerto Viejo is the perfect base. The town is laid back, but has a good mix of relaxation and partying to keep you entertained. The only problem is that Wi-fi can be hit or miss.
Costa Rica’s biodiversity, sights, and people are one of a kind and it is certainly a country that cannot be missed. While Costa Rica is not the cheapest country on our list, if you do your homework, the country certainly has budget options for digital nomads.
While many other Caribbean nations have jumped on the digital nomad bandwagon and have started offering visas, Jamaica has not yet (Although this could change very soon as the government is considering such a visa). However, this doesn’t mean that Jamaica is not an inviting place to come work and visit for digital nomads that seek out affordability.
Jamaica’s beaches and diving spots are some of the most sought after in the entire world. The food can be mouthwatering, spicy and refreshing. The people are warm and inviting. Not to mention, Jamaica is surprisingly cheap!
According to Numbeo, the average cost of living in Jamaica without rent is $680 USD for a single person. The island also has 4G coverage on virtually every bit of the island. So even if you’re in some remote beach town, you can still meet those client deadlines or launch that online storefront that you’ve been working on for the past few months.
While many beach towns such as Montego Bay and Port Antonio are considered great for luxury travelers, we recommend heading to Negril in the western part of the island. You’ll experience the same beautiful white sand beaches at a fraction of the cost! Negril can be a bit complicated to access, but once you arrive, you’d find it hard to want to leave. Working in between diving sessions and delicious Jamaican food… The good life!
Kingston is certainly worth a visit to learn more about Jamaica’s history and discover some of the historical sites (The Bob Marley museum is a favorite among music fans!) Visiting the Blue Mountains is a great option for digital nomads looking for an adventurous day trip.
Jamaica offers many highlights for digital nomads and the affordability of the country is a perk. Once a digital nomad visa is introduced, Jamaica may become the next cheap digital nomad hotspot!
Cheapest Countries to Visit in Asia
From top to bottom, Vietnam is a frequent stop for two of the most budget-conscious types of travelers – backpackers and digital nomads. Let’s start with the food, shall we? With steaming bowls of noodle soups like pho and banh mis being assembled on every corner for under a dollar, there’s a boundless assortment of street eats to indulge in for super cheap here.
Small stools line the outside of shops selling bia hoi, small glasses of local brews, that’s actually the cheapest beer in the world! The terrain is stunning, full of craggy towers of limestone and verdant rice paddies as far as the eye can see. Even just going from one town to the next is a gorgeous endeavor. It’s common to start in one of the big cities, Hanoi or Ho Chi Mihn, and end in the other. Both are cultural meccas featuring museums, art, shopping, cafes, and temples.
In between the most popular spots for stops are Halong Bay, Nihn Bihn, Hue, Hoi An, Da Nang, and Nha Trang. Several national parks are also true treats for the eyes with wondrous hikes, secret caves, and plenty of wildlife. It’s insanely easy to navigate the country, even without speaking the language. Buses and trains are cheap and frequent, and you’ll be hard pressed to find any town without an abundance of hostel accommodation options.
Laos is a little-known landlocked gem set in Southeast Asia. It’s retained a relaxed and old-fashioned charm that feels beguiling to explore. The Mekong runs the entire length of the country, and the borders are lined with rugged mountain ranges. It has some French influence, which can be easily seen in the capital city of Vientiane. Indigenous tribes and a diverse range of religions cover the country making for a surprisingly eclectic environment.
It’s cheap and easy to buy a motorbike here, and the roads aren’t quite as overwhelming as in some neighboring territories. The buses are easy to use to get around as well. Laos has quite a complex history, and even today, much of the country is covered in untouchable forest as a result of previous wars.
Beer Lao reigns supreme all over the countryside and is both tasty and cheap. Be sure to visit the herbal saunas everywhere, a lovely local tradition that’s certain to help anyone sweat their stresses away. Vang Vieng is a city for outdoor adventure, like paddling, tubing, caving, rock climbing, hiking, and even hot air ballooning. It has a fun nightlife for party minded people, and some laid back lounging on the river for more peaceful repites.
Luang Prubang is the land of many waterfalls, as well as sacred caves, riverside, grottos, and ethical wildlife encounters. Quiet towns up north, like Nhong Khiaw and Muang Ngoi, are great for trekking and experiencing the authentic rural culture of the country.
India is well known for its size, as it is a vast and expansive country. It offers an incomparable array of culture, cuisine, landscapes, and people. It’s easier than ever today to make your way around the giant and gorgeous terrain. From the mountains of the North to the jungles and beaches of the South, there are wide ranges of wonders to behold.
Of course, the Taj Mahal, the Western Ghats, Agra Fort, and Jaipur are must-sees while in India, but there are many lesser-known attractions that are just as magical. The train and bus systems are simple to navigate, and the prices will please any travelers worried about their wallets. Kerala, Goa, and Paololem are the palm-covered paradises and Mumbai, Delhi, and Kalkota are the major metropolises.
India is home to amazing biodiversity, so exploring the wilderness here will likely lead to some staggering sightings. The food is out of this world, and it’s great for any vegetarians out there. The spices are unreal, used to create culinary masterpieces in the form of masala dosas, papadums, and chaat. Regardless of the area there will be stunning temples, tasty tea, interesting traditions, and lively markets.
The senses will likely be overwhelmed with fields of marigolds drenched in sunshine, cows covering the streets, rushing tuk tuks everywhere you look, and strong scents of incense filling the air. You’ll be able to find anything you like accommodation wise, so it’s easy to go with simple and cheap or a small splurge for something fancy when you need. Easily the hardest part about a journey in India is deciding which culturally rich regions to adventure in.
Often called the pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka is one of Asia’s best kept secrets. It’s what you might call up-and-coming, and it has all the pros and cons that come with that title. It’s better to go sooner rather than later when it could be all built up and full of tourists. However, it’s much easier to navigate now and has a whole host of accommodation options for every price range. The scenery is stunning. Odds are, you’ve seen some photos on Instagram of the iconic train ride across the lush landscape, and we promise it’s just as breathtaking in person, especially over the Nine Arch Bridge. The Kanda to Ella route is usually the best bet. Miles of unspoiled, pristine beaches line the shores, ideal for people seeking peace and quiet, partying, or the scuba and surf life.
Yala National Park is one of many magnificent natural wonderlands. It also has the highest density of leopards in the world, so if big cat sightings are on your bucket list, it’s the place to be. The overall vibe of the country is laid back. It’s an all-around serene endeavor that suits anyone not in a real rush. Check out one of the many tea plantations, rolling green hillsides covered in coveted herbs to see, smell, and ultimately steep.
The marine life is bountiful as well, resulting in plenty of fresh seafood dishes and superb snorkeling seas. It’s a diverse melting pot of cultures, creating a rich and alluring destination to discover, and it’s such a small nation that you’re likely to be able to cover a lot of ground.
Mongolia is a massive and magical country that offers one-of-a-kind adventures. For anyone who loves to get off the beaten track and travel cheaply it’s a perfect place. It’s great for off the grid wanderings. From camel treks through the desert to horseback rides with nomadic tribes, it has a full range of freeing excursions. The untouched landscapes are vast and rugged, for an unreal and authentic feel.
Ulaanbaatar is the capital, and it’s a captivating mecca for rich culture and history. It’s an emerging modern metropolis now full of fine amenities in both cuisine and accommodation. It’s certainly a stark separation from the untouched and idyllic landscape in the rest of the vast country. Camping is a common pastime here which is probably as affordable as you can get, so grab your pack and get to pitching those portable yurts.
Protected areas cover a fifth of the terrain, and locals are very eco conscious in order to preserve their own natural wonders. As a whole, Mongolians are a proudly peaceful people who are generous and welcoming. The festivals and sports are unique, their steppes windy, and their love of cattle sacred. Of course, be sure to study up on traditions and expectations as a traveler before you go. Be ready to try many types of milk products and a typical meal, which will likely be made up of meat in dumplings, pies, or with noodles. Mongolia is a fascinating foray into Asian culture on the cheap.
Cambodia was one of those countries that we didn’t even consider until we arrived in Southeast Asia and heard such positive reviews from other travelers. The country is much smaller than Vietnam and Thailand so it is easier to see everything, has many beautiful sites, thriving cities, and an equal or even cheaper cost of living. The country uses US dollars as their main currency so for our friends from the United States, Cambodia is a no brainer!
The capital of Phnom Penh is a great base for any digital nomad and has plenty of co-working spaces to enjoy while visiting the city. We tried out many during our time in Phnom Penh, but the winner is hands down Green Penthouse Coworking. Not only is the space stunning and with its emphasis on work and play, (The membership includes access to a dance and yoga studio as well as a rooftop bar) you will be able to enjoy the best of both worlds.
Outside of Phnom Penh, Kampot cannot be missed. Located in the south right on the Gulf of Thailand, Kampot is the perfect destination to relax and destress. The pace of life is slow and it’s easy to adjust. The Kampot River allows for swimming and kayaking, which is a peaceful and healthy way to get a feel for the local area. At night, the town comes alive with a bustling night market and plenty of bars and clubs to choose from.
While Cambodia may not be as talked about as several other Southeast Asia destinations (Thailand I’m looking at you!),the country has plenty to offer visitors. Cambodia is a great place for digital nomads searching for a cheap Southeast Asian destination with friendly locals and interesting sights. Don’t make the same mistake we almost made and overlook Cambodia.
When I mention Indonesia, one place in particular comes to mind: Bali. The island is filled with beautiful, pristine beaches, ancient volcanic mountains, incredible surfing, and more co-working spaces than you can even imagine.
This lifestyle could be had for extremely cheap. According to International Living, one could live well for $1,900 per month all in. If you want to cut down on expenses, you can still live lavishly for around $1,500 per month.
Indonesia is already very popular with digital nomads for the above reasons, but the government is set to introduce a 5-year visa specifically for digital nomads (Did we mention that this visa is tax-free if your income is earned outside of Indonesia…)
While this all sounds great, many digital nomads may be interested in getting out beyond the bubble that is Bali so what is another area in Indonesia that is cheap and digital nomad friendly? Yogyakarta may be your next stop.
Located on the island of Java, Yogyakarta is a relaxed place and is the perfect destination to get a feel for the real Indonesia. Buddhist temples dot the landscape with a great mix of friendly locals, beautiful scenery, and great Wi-Fi. Considering that it’s not as popular as Bali for digital nomads, it is also cheaper (If you can believe that!) It is also important to note that the nightlife in Yogyakarta is not the best, this is more of a place for those that want to explore nature, health, and a more authentic side of Indonesia.
Yogyakarta is just one of many lesser known spots in Indonesia for digital nomads. We recommend visiting Bali, but also trying to branch out beyond this one island. Indonesia is the perfect cheap destination for digital nomads!
The Philippines is one of those destinations that gets overlooked by travelers and that is a shame because the country has so much to offer. (All at a cheap price of course!)
Since the country is located right in the middle of typhoon alley, it’s best to visit the country during the cooler, sunny months that run from November to February. During this time, you’ll discover incredible beaches, unique wildlife, and delicious Filipino street food. According to International Living, one could comfortably live on around $800 per month, but anything above that will result in living like royalty!
One of the most exciting parts of The Philippines is that there is not such a strong digital nomad community that has been established. Unlike Indonesia, there is no central hub where nomads congregate. For any adventure seeking digital nomads, The Philippines offers an exciting opportunity to build the community in the country.
Unfortunately, the internet in the country remains an issue, that’s why digital nomads will have to stick to bigger cities such as Manila and Cebu for the time being.
However, with this being said, if you are looking for some down time away from your computer, The Philippines might be the best country in the world for this. You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to island hopping.
We recommend checking out the remote destination of El Nido. Located right on the South China Sea, this region is paradise. If you love to snorkel, the region is a marine sanctuary and is home to hundreds of species of rare fish. Bohol is another region worth exploring as it’s incredible hidden waterfalls.
The Philippines is not for new digital nomads, it is extremely affordable, but Wi-Fi can be a source of constant frustration. The tradeoff is a truly unique and authentic experience in Southeast Asia.
Bangladesh is certainly not considered to be a digital nomad hotspot, but that may all change once the secret gets out and the Wi-fi is improved, which is supposed to be happening very soon.
Considered one of the cheapest countries in the world, Bangladesh is not often visited by many travelers or digital nomads, but they are missing out on incredible food, warm, friendly locals, tranquil UNESCO World Heritage sites, and beautiful scenery. For a one of a kind travel and adventure experience, Bangladesh has it all.
Unfortunately, for the time being, Bangladesh has poor Wi-Fi. It will be important to come prepared with a backup plan for Wi-Fi. Luckily, there are several co-working spaces located in Dhaka. In fact, one of the most beautiful and clean co-working spaces we’ve ever seen is in Dhaka. Colab Dhaka is the place to go if you’re a digital nomad in Bangladesh. Another great coworking option is Workstation 101. Day passes can easily be had at both co-working hubs for $8.
While there may be some complications, digital nomads will be thrilled with the prices. According to Numbeo, one can easily live on $395 per month without rent. With rent, living costs are estimated to cost around $500 per month.
As we mentioned, Bangladesh has three UNESCO World Heritage sites. While each location is special, easy to visit and worth the effort, the Ruins of Buddhist Vihara stand out. Located in northwestern Bangladesh, these 8th Century Ruins are an ancient Buddhist monastery and are considered to be the second largest Buddhist monastery south of the Himalayas. It is well worth the visit and the history of the structure is fascinating.
Bangladesh is not an easy country to visit, but for those that are willing to plan ahead and put some effort into discovering this country, they’ll be rewarded with an amazing experience at a cheap price.
Cheapest Countries to Visit in South America
From the Andes to the Amazon, Bolivia has got it all and at some of the best prices in South America. The range of terrains within this country is astounding. There are snow covered mountain tops, vibrant rainforests, vast savannahs, otherworldly salt pans, and towering volcanoes. It doesn’t even lose any landscape enticement being landlocked. Amboro National Park has more bird species than North America. Plus, the elusive pink river dolphin is worth spending some time and effort trying to spot.
Main cities include Potosi, Sucre, La Paz, and Santa Cruz where most of the population is concentrated, despite such a large land mass. It has stayed off the bucket list for some travelers in the past due to talk of instability. However, today it’s actually one of the safest countries on the continent. This means benefits for our budget and all the best spots to ourselves.
You’ll find a beautiful balance of the modern and traditional in many towns. Lake Titicaca has always been a highly heralded highlight of Bolivia, and let us say, the hype certainly holds up. Check out the Yungas region for the quaint and relaxed atmospheres of small towns like Coroico and Chulumani. For the Amazon, Rurrenabaque is an amazing jumping off point. There are colorful parades almost every month, as a country that truly loves to celebrate, and hey, don’t we all? The food is just as diverse as the people here, and it’s always a blast to hit a local market and taste test all the meats, stews, and pastries around!
Colombia is commonly lauded as one of the most beautiful countries in the world. It’s really a hiker’s paradise with destinations like Cuidad Perdida, a multi-day jungle trek to ancient ruins, and El Cocuy, with trails that ascend high into the Andes. San Gil has a reputation for outdoor adventure. Providencia and Tayrona along the Caribbean coast are oases for scuba diving with colorful coral reefs beneath clear azure waters.
San Augustin is an iconic mythological site of an archaeological wonder. 500 statues of unknown origins fill the scenic countryside here. Bogota, Cartagena, and Medellin are bustling hubs of culture boasting the best foods, museums, art, and historical attractions. Many people speak English, and the public transportation is cheap and easy to use. For any java lovers, Colombia is the ultimate place to go.
Eje Cafetero, aptly meaning the coffee axis, has stunning plantations for tours, tastings, and stays. From the ajiaco to arepas, all the traditional dishes here are delicious. Quieter villages can be a nice middle ground between the natural wonders and busy cities, try Salento and Mompox. Letecia is a super base for all things Amazon, meaning eco tours and wildlife sightings. La Guajira is the northernmost point in South America and is a rarely frequented pristine paradise. Vast desert meets the turquoise sea in an otherworldly combination of biomes that feels magical, just like Colombia.
Ecuador is a small country with a big personality that’s budget friendly. It offers tropical beaches, historical towns, Amazonian jungle, and Andean highlands. The Galapagos Islands are an archipelago of Ecuador, and likely its most famous area. This, of course, means it costs a great deal more than the mainland, but if there’s room for a splurge it’s well worth a trip out off the coast to this veritable oasis. The transportation infrastructure is super easy to use.
A popular section of train is called the Devil’s Nose – it runs rapidly down mountainsides, for a sweeping scenic thrill. The country is such a manageable size that it’s possible to cover lots of ground, or just find your ideal climate to settle in for the long haul. They use the US dollar which can help in currency exchanges and budgeting for some. Accommodation fares are often inexpensive, so you’ll have plenty to spend on attractions.
Shop away at the markets for unique handcrafts. The hot pools at Papallacta Springs are just the thing to soak all the stress away. Quito is a quintessential stop as the capital city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Cuy is a local delicacy tried by those with a more adventurous palette (it’s guinea pig meat). The colonial architecture is always charming. Otavalo is an artisan’s paradise surrounded by valleys, volcanoes, and glimmering lakes. Montaita, Salinas, Zaruma, and Puyango are laid back spots full of easy-going charm. Ecuador has the most biodiversity per square meter of any other country in the world.
When people think of Peru, generally iconic images of Machu Picchu flood their minds. It’s true that this site is a wonder of the world that’s well worth visiting, but odds are, big attractions like this will be expensive. If it can fit in the budget, factoring in fees, transportation, tours and inflated costs of the basics, then we say go for it! If not, not to worry, Peru has so many other picturesque places to discover for a fraction of the cost. The entire country is rife with the magical markings of ancient civilizations.
For instance, there’s Puna where the Incan empire was born; Trujillo has huge pyramids and the largest adobe structure on the continent; the arid plains of Nazca contain mysterious geoglyphs; and Chan Chan has the largest pre-Columbian ruins in all of the Americas.
Lima is a modern capital city that seamlessly blends the beauty of cultural tradition into the environment. It’s lousy with museums exploring the intoxicating past of the nation, lost civilizations and their living traditions. Venture up north for breathtaking beaches and deep into the Amazon basin for one-of-a-kind jungle trekking. Culinary delights await at markets and on street corners. Try the fresh ceviche or anticuchos, and of course any Amazonian chocolate you can get your hands on.
The colorful heritage that pulses through Peru is never more obvious than during one of the many festival times or local fiestas. Arequipa is the hotspot for volcano aficionados. Our favorite part might just be the aguas calientes that surround these majestic fixtures.
For digital nomads that have been eyeing the best time to go to Argentina, that time may have finally come!
The Argentine Peso has declined rapidly against major currencies such as the US dollar and Euro. As of time of writing, 1 US Dollar could buy 99 Argentine Peso. Just a few years back that would have been an unthinkable rate. That bucket list trip to Patagonia suddenly seems that much more intriguing now 😉
Buenos Aires is a fantastic base for digital nomads and in our opinion, is underrated among the community. Known as the “Paris of South America”, Buenos Aires brings a certain distinct European flair to South America. The cost of living is extremely low (Easily can rent a nice place for $500 per month), the city feels very international, and has more cafés and coworking space than you can even try to visit. The only downside is how far it is from other places because we think that few travelers even realize that Buenos Aires is easily a 10 hour flight from the US! For our European friends, India might be closer.
If you’d be closer to fresh air and vineyards, then look no further than Mendoza. This western town near the Chilean border is home to some of Argentina’s best wine and is known for being the birthplace of Malbec. The town’s size gives visitors the distinct feeling of being in a bigger city yet the intimacy of knowing your neighbors and seeing other people around town. For those on a budget, you’ll enjoy the fact that Mendoza is significantly cheaper than the Buenos Aires.
Argentina might be the most European feeling country in South America, but don’t worry, it hasn’t lost its distinct continent feel. Take advantage of the exchange rate while you still can!
Take the road less traveled, straight to the captivating country of Paraguay. It may not be high on your backpacker bucket list, but it has endless beauty and financially friendly inroads to offer. It’s reputation rests on a beguiling obscurity that translates into a magical in-person adventure. It doesn’t have the same tourist infrastructure as some of its neighbors after years of political isolation, making for some real rugged wilderness that’s super rewarding if you’re up for it.
Asuncion is the capital, a charming colonial city that doesn’t feel overwhelming to navigate. Venture out from here, and there are endless and exotic natural wonders to explore. To the east are dense forests, scenic savannahs, yerba mate plantations, and sleepy towns unchanged by the modern era. The north is marked by lagoons and rainforests full of exciting wildlife.
Chaco, to the west, is the home of many indigenous tribes living as one with the earth. For local eats try the ubiquitous chipa and empanadas. Buses and accommodation options are easy to find within the city, but once out in the wilderness, they may be few and far between. It’s best to plan ahead and ask for help from nice natives. Tour the Itaipu dam, for awe-inspiring, man-made falls. Iguazu Falls and Saltos del Monday are the impressive natural versions and some of the country’s best kept secrets. Paraguay is prime to provide you with one of the most authentic South American experiences anywhere.
Cheapest Countries to Visit Conclusion
Some pro tips we’ve picked up are that it’s always a safe bet to adventure during a country’s off season! Oftentimes prices will be lower, and you’ll have the added bonus of missing out on the crowds of tourists. Sure, the weather might not be as perfect, but this rarely has the serious impact on your trip that you may anticipate.
One great way we love to gauge how far our budget will stretch in a new palace is to price out the cost of a beer and a hostel room beforehand. These two things will usually reflect the overall range of cost and will probably end up being the staples you spend on anyway. There will almost always be cheap street eats to survive off of and a cool heritage site you want to splurge on, but if you can afford to sleep in some place comfortable and enjoy an array of scenic surroundings, you’re likely good to go.