The Cheapest Places to Travel Outside the US

Ah, the sweet siren song of travel – it calls to us with the promise of azure skies, enigmatic landscapes, and cuisines that can make our taste buds do the tango. But let's face it, fellow wanderlusters, the melody often fades when our wallets weigh in. Fear not, for I, Bryan Holiday, your seasoned travel maestro with a decade of trotting the globe, are here to conduct an overture of affordable escapades.

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In this digital odyssey, we'll venture beyond the star-spangled borders to lands where the US dollar stretches like Elastigirl from "The Incredibles," and the experiences are as rich as Tony Stark, minus the extravagant price tag. And as we embark on this journey, let's not forget our trusty sidekick in the realm of connectivity – the travel SIM card. A hero in its own right, ensuring we stay connected without the nemesis of exorbitant roaming fees.

So, buckle up, my intrepid friends. We're about to explore the cheapest places to travel outside the US, where the price of a latte can secure you a feast, and a night's stay doesn't demand a CEO's salary. Let's make your travel dreams an affordable reality!

Why Consider Traveling Outside the US?

In the immortal words of St. Augustine, "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." But why settle for the Cliff's Notes when you can immerse yourself in the full narrative? Traveling outside the United States isn't just a tick on the bucket list; it's a full-blown, 4K, high-definition experience that enriches your life narrative.

Cultural Enrichment and Diverse Experiences

From the bustling markets of Bangkok to the serene landscapes of the Scottish Highlands, every corner of the world offers a new chapter, a fresh perspective. It's about swapping your morning bagel for a warm, flaky croissant in Paris or trading in Netflix binges for a live Balinese dance that captivates more than any screen ever could.

Economic Benefits of Exploring Affordable Destinations

And let's talk turkey – or better yet, let's talk Thai Baht and Hungarian Forint. Venturing to lands where the cost of living is lower than the US can mean more bang for your buck. Imagine living like royalty in a castle (okay, a nice hostel) in Prague for the price of a pauper's accommodations in Manhattan.

The Role of Travel SIM Cards in Budget Travel

In a world where your smartphone is as essential as your passport, staying connected is non-negotiable. This is where our unsung hero, the travel SIM card, makes a grand entrance. It's the Robin to your Batman, offering the superpowers of affordable data and calls, faster than you can say "Where's the nearest Wi-Fi?" With a travel SIM card, you're not just a traveler; you're a smart traveler.

Criteria for Selecting the Cheapest Places

Before we jet off, let's lay down some ground rules, shall we? Selecting the cheapest places to travel is an art form, akin to picking the perfect avocado — it requires finesse and a bit of insider knowledge. Here's how we separate the budget paradises from the pricey pitfalls:

Cost of Living Index Comparison

First, we consult the almighty Cost of Living Index. Think of it as the Sorting Hat from Harry Potter, but instead of Gryffindor or Slytherin, it sorts destinations into "affordable" or "sell your kidney" categories. This magical index compares the cost of living across the globe, taking into account the price of groceries, housing, and other essentials. It's our first clue in the treasure hunt for affordability.

Average Cost for Tourists

Next, we don our detective hats and look beyond the locals' cost of living to focus on the tourist dollar. After all, a cheap monthly rent won't help if a cappuccino costs more than a Broadway show ticket. We're talking hotels, street food, museum fees, and yes, those irresistible souvenirs.

Accessibility from the US

Accessibility is key. There's no point in a cheap destination if the flight there costs as much as a down payment on a Tesla. We're looking for places where airlines frequently offer deals, or where you can make the most of airline miles — because who doesn't love a good bargain?

Safety and Traveler-Friendly Environment

Lastly, we're not just throwing caution to the wind like a hat in a Mary Poppins number. Safety and a welcoming atmosphere are paramount. We want you to explore, not end up in a plot twist worthy of a "Taken" sequel. We're aiming for a traveler-friendly vibe, where you can roam freely, meet the locals, and immerse yourself in the culture without worry.

Top Cheapest Places to Travel Outside the US

With our criteria set, it's time to unveil the main event. Drumroll, please, as we present the top cheapest places to travel outside the US. These destinations are like the Oscar winners for the budget-conscious traveler — each with its own charm, allure, and most importantly, affordability.

Destination 1: Vietnam


Overview of the Destination: Picture this — a land where ancient pagodas stand guard among bustling street markets, and rice paddies stretch under the shadow of towering limestone karsts. Vietnam, a country with a history as rich as its pho broth, offers an intoxicating blend of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and culinary delights, all wrapped up in an incredibly affordable package.

Main Attractions and Activities:

  • Hanoi's Old Quarter: Dive into the labyrinth of streets and alleys, where history whispers from every corner.
  • Ha Long Bay: Explore this UNESCO World Heritage site with a budget-friendly day cruise or kayak rental.
  • Hoi An: Wander through this charming ancient town, especially enchanting during the monthly lantern festival.
  • Cu Chi Tunnels: Get a glimpse of history by visiting this immense network of underground tunnels from the Vietnam War.
  • Street Food Tours: Embark on a culinary adventure with a street food tour in any major city, often led by local students eager to practice English.

Tips for Traveling Cheaply in This Location:

  • Accommodation: Opt for family-run guesthouses or hostels with stellar reviews for a comfortable yet economical stay.
  • Dining: Eat like a local at street food stalls; not only is it cheap, but it's also where you'll find some of the best bites.
  • Transportation: Motorbikes are the veins of Vietnam's travel body. Rent one for pennies, but be sure you're comfortable with the bustling traffic. Alternatively, the country's train system offers scenic and budget-friendly routes from north to south.

Destination 2: Mexico


Overview of the Destination: Imagine a canvas painted with the vibrant colors of Mexico — from the sun-kissed beaches of the Yucatán Peninsula to the bustling streets of Mexico City. Here, every day is a fiesta of flavors, sounds, and sights, with a cost of living that makes it a haven for budget travelers seeking a spicy slice of life.

Main Attractions and Activities:

  • Chichen Itza: Marvel at the grandeur of the Mayan ruins without the grand prices, especially if you visit on a free Sunday if you're a resident.
  • Tulum: Enjoy the pristine beaches and turquoise waters without the luxury resort tag.
  • Mexico City's Museums: Take advantage of free admission days to explore rich history and art, including the famed Frida Kahlo Museum.
  • Cenotes: Swim in these natural sinkholes, a refreshing and cheap way to cool off.
  • Tequila Tasting: In the town of Tequila, find affordable tours and savor the national spirit.

Tips for Traveling Cheaply in This Location:

  • Accommodation: Choose from a plethora of budget-friendly posadas or beach cabanas for a fraction of resort prices.
  • Dining: Street tacos are not just a meal; they're a way of life and can cost less than a dollar.
  • Transportation: Buses in Mexico are affordable and extensive; you can reach most destinations comfortably and economically.

Destination 3: Morocco


Overview of the Destination: Now, let your senses be your guide as you step into the enchanting realm of Morocco. Here, the air is perfumed with the scent of spices, the sounds of bustling souks fill the atmosphere, and the kaleidoscope of colors from the medinas to the desert sunsets will capture your heart. Morocco is where the old world charm seductively meets the new, and it's all available on a shoestring budget.

Main Attractions and Activities:

  • Marrakech's Medina: Lose yourself (figuratively, of course) in the maze-like alleys, where every turn brings a new discovery.
  • Chefchaouen: Wander through the blue-washed streets of this serene mountain town, a perfect Instagram backdrop that doesn't cost a dime.
  • Fez's Tanneries: View the ancient art of leather dyeing from above — it's free, but a small tip for the guide is customary.
  • Sahara Desert Tours: Experience the vastness of the Sahara with an overnight camel trek, which can be surprisingly affordable if you haggle like a local.
  • Atlas Mountains: Trek the trails or visit Berber villages without the hefty price tag of other mountain destinations.

Tips for Traveling Cheaply in This Location:

  • Accommodation: Riads, traditional Moroccan houses with interior gardens, offer affordable luxury and a chance to experience local hospitality.
  • Dining: Indulge in street food delicacies like kebabs or harira soup for a few dirhams, and you'll be dining as richly as any sultan.
  • Transportation: The train network is both inexpensive and comfortable, offering a scenic view of the Moroccan landscape as you travel between cities.

Destination 4: Portugal


Overview of the Destination: Welcome to Portugal, where the charm of old Europe meets the Atlantic's wild coastline. This is a land of timeless beauty, from the sun-drenched beaches of the Algarve to the vineyard-clad hills of the Douro Valley. Portugal offers a slice of the European dream at a fraction of the cost.

Main Attractions and Activities:

  • Lisbon's Tram 28: Hop on this historic tram for a few euros and see the city's highlights.
  • Porto's Wine Cellars: Sip on world-renowned Port wine during affordable tastings.
  • Sintra's Palaces: Discover the fairy-tale palaces nestled in the hills, with modest entry fees.
  • Algarve Beaches: Bask on some of Europe's most beautiful beaches without the luxury resort prices.
  • Douro Valley: Take a scenic train ride through the valley, known for its stunning landscapes and vineyards.

Tips for Traveling Cheaply in This Location:

  • Accommodation: Seek out pensions and guesthouses, which offer great value for money, especially in the off-season.
  • Dining: Enjoy hearty portions of local dishes like bacalhau at neighborhood tascas for a true taste of Portugal on a budget.
  • Transportation: Portugal's extensive bus and metro systems are an economical way to get around, with various discounts available for multi-day or multi-ride tickets.

Destination 5: Greece


Overview of the Destination: Greece is a symphony of crystal-clear waters, ancient ruins, and culinary feasts — all set to the tune of affordability. Whether it's the mythology-steeped mainland or the sun-soaked islands, Greece offers a journey through history and relaxation that won't require a Herculean budget.

Main Attractions and Activities:

  • Athens' Historical Sites: Visit the Acropolis and other ancient sites with a combined ticket for great value.
  • Santorini Sunsets: Experience the world-famous sunset without spending a dime.
  • Crete's Beaches: Explore Europe's longest gorge, Samaria, or relax on pink-sand beaches.
  • Thessaloniki's Waterfront: Enjoy the vibrant culture and nightlife of Greece's second city.
  • Island Hopping: Take advantage of the affordable ferries to explore multiple islands.

Tips for Traveling Cheaply in This Location:

  • Accommodation: Opt for family-run pensions or Airbnb for a more authentic and budget-friendly stay.
  • Dining: Gyros and souvlaki are delicious, filling, and easy on the wallet. Look for where the locals eat; it's usually a sign of quality and value.
  • Transportation: Greece's KTEL buses are an inexpensive way to travel between cities and towns.

Destination 6: Bolivia


Overview of the Destination: Bolivia is a hidden gem, where the Andes meet the Amazon. It's a country of incredible biodiversity, rich indigenous cultures, and surreal landscapes like the Uyuni Salt Flats, all available to the traveler on a shoestring budget.

Main Attractions and Activities:

  • Salar de Uyuni: Explore the world's largest salt flat, which transforms into a mirror of the sky during the rainy season.
  • La Paz: Visit the world's highest capital city and ride its cable car for breathtaking views.
  • Lake Titicaca: Step onto the shores of the world's highest navigable lake and visit the unique floating islands of the Uros people.
  • Potosí: Tour the historic mines of Cerro Rico, which funded the Spanish Empire.

Tips for Traveling Cheaply in This Location:

  • Accommodation: Hostels and guesthouses provide excellent value, often including breakfast.
  • Dining: Street food is king in Bolivia, with salteñas (savory pastries) and anticuchos (meat skewers) costing only a couple of bolivianos.
  • Transportation: Buses are the most economical way to travel long distances, though be prepared for a rugged ride at times.

Destination 7: India


Overview of the Destination: India is a feast for the senses, a vast tapestry of sounds, sights, and smells that never fails to captivate the soul. From the majestic Taj Mahal to the serene backwaters of Kerala, India offers an unparalleled travel experience that can be surprisingly affordable.

Main Attractions and Activities:

  • Taj Mahal: Witness the iconic monument to love, with entry fees that are a fraction of the cost of Western attractions.
  • Goa's Beaches: Relax on the beaches of Goa, where the cost of living is as laid-back as the lifestyle.
  • Rajasthan's Forts and Palaces: Delve into the royal past of India's most colorful state.
  • Kerala's Backwaters: Drift through the tranquil waters on a houseboat for a unique and budget-friendly experience.

Tips for Traveling Cheaply in This Location:

  • Accommodation: Budget accommodations are plentiful, from hostels to homestays.
  • Dining: Thali meals offer a variety of dishes at a low cost, and street food is both delicious and cheap.
  • Transportation: Trains are an iconic and affordable way to see the country, with extensive coverage.

Destination 8: Turkey


Overview of the Destination: Straddling two continents, Turkey is where East meets West, offering a blend of history, culture, and natural beauty. From the minaret-filled skyline of Istanbul to the lunar landscapes of Cappadocia, Turkey is a country that can be as kind to your senses as it is to your wallet.

Main Attractions and Activities:

  • Istanbul's Historic Sites: Visit the Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, and Topkapi Palace, many of which have low or no entrance fees.
  • Cappadocia's Hot Air Balloons: Witness the otherworldly landscape from above, or hike through the valleys for free.
  • Pamukkale's Thermal Pools: Bathe in the warm terraces that have been a spa destination since Roman times.
  • Ephesus: Explore one of the best-preserved ancient cities in the world.

Tips for Traveling Cheaply in This Location:

  • Accommodation: Stay in pensions or boutique hotels that offer charm without the hefty price tag.
  • Dining: Sample kebabs and mezes from street vendors for a taste of Turkey on the cheap.
  • Transportation: Domestic flights can be surprisingly affordable, and buses offer a cheaper alternative with extensive coverage.

Destination 9: The Philippines


Overview of the Destination: The Philippines, with its 7,000+ islands, is a beach lover's paradise on a budget. Beyond the sand and surf, it's a land of incredible biodiversity, warm hospitality, and a fusion of cultures that's reflected in every aspect of life.

Main Attractions and Activities:

  • Palawan's Natural Wonders: From the stunning lagoons of El Nido to the underground river of Puerto Princesa.
  • Boracay's White Beach: Enjoy one of the world's best beaches without the world's highest prices.
  • Chocolate Hills: Visit Bohol to see these unique geological formations.
  • Diving and Snorkeling: The Philippines offers some of the best and most affordable diving in the world.

Tips for Traveling Cheaply in This Location:

  • Accommodation: Budget-friendly beach huts and guesthouses are plentiful.
  • Dining: Indulge in fresh seafood and local dishes at roadside eateries.
  • Transportation: Jeepneys and tricycles offer local flavor and cheap fares, while ferries connect the islands.

Destination 10: Bulgaria


Overview of the Destination: Bulgaria, Europe's underrated gem, offers a rich blend of culture, history, and natural beauty. From the golden sands of the Black Sea coast to the spiritual serenity of Rila Monastery, Bulgaria is as affordable as it is beautiful.

Main Attractions and Activities:

  • Sofia's Cultural Sites: Visit the Saint Alexander Nevsky Cathedral and the Roman ruins within the city.
  • Black Sea Beaches: Enjoy the sun and sea without the crowds and high prices of other European beach destinations.
  • Rila Monastery: Experience the tranquility of this UNESCO World Heritage site.
  • Plovdiv's Old Town: Explore one of the world's oldest cities, with its Roman amphitheater and colorful houses.

Tips for Traveling Cheaply in This Location:

  • Accommodation: Budget hotels and hostels are abundant and offer great value, especially outside the capital.
  • Dining: Bulgarian cuisine is hearty and affordable, with plenty of delicious options like banitsa and shopska salad.
  • Transportation: Buses and trains are the most cost-effective ways to travel across the country.

Travel Tips for Budget-Friendly International Trips

As we venture into the heart of budget travel, let's channel our inner Rick Steves and uncover the holy grail of thrifty tips and tricks. After all, a penny saved is a penny you can spend on a gelato in Italy, or perhaps a poutine in Canada, eh?

Best Times to Book Flights

Timing isn't just a comedy essential; it's the backbone of snagging flight deals that even a frequent flyer would envy. The golden rule? Avoid peak season like it's a spoiler for the latest "Stranger Things" season. Fly during shoulder seasons — those magical times between peak and off-peak — to enjoy lower prices and thinner crowds.

Affordable Accommodation Options

When it comes to lodging, think outside the big hotel box. Hostels aren't just for the young backpacker crowd; they're a goldmine for travelers seeking character and community. And let's not forget the sharing economy — Airbnb, Couchsurfing, and house-swapping sites can offer a more authentic and wallet-friendly stay.

Local Transportation Hacks

Master the local transit like you're a contestant on "The Amazing Race." Buses, trams, and trains are not only more affordable than taxis, but they also offer a slice of everyday life. Plus, many cities offer tourist passes with unlimited rides, so you can hop on and off as you explore.

Eating on a Budget Without Missing the Local Cuisine

Food is the soul of culture, and you haven't truly traveled until you've eaten like a local. Street food markets are your best friend, offering a smorgasbord of flavors for a few bucks. Plus, it's a chance to rub elbows with the locals — just be sure to follow the crowd to the best stalls.

Leveraging Travel SIM Cards for Savings

Let's circle back to our trusty travel SIM cards. These little chips of connectivity are like a genie in your smartphone — offering the magic of affordable data and calls. Say goodbye to the dreaded "I just got back from vacation and forgot to turn off roaming" horror story.

Planning Your Budget Trip

Planning Your Budget Trip

Embarking on an international journey without a plan is like trying to solve a Rubik's Cube blindfolded — possible, but unnecessarily challenging. Let's sketch out a blueprint that would make even the most meticulous of architects — say, a Phileas Fogg on his 80-day journey — tip their hat in approval.

Step-by-Step Guide to Planning a Budget-Friendly International Trip

  1. Define Your Budget: Start with the end in mind. Determine how much you're willing to spend overall, then break it down by category: flights, accommodation, food, activities, and, of course, a little extra for those "just because" treats.
  2. Research and Compare: Use every tool at your disposal — from travel blogs to comparison sites like Kayak and Skyscanner — to find the best deals. Remember, knowledge is power, and in this case, it's also savings.
  3. Book in Advance: While last-minute deals can be tempting, they're as rare as a quiet day on Twitter. Booking in advance often secures the best rates, especially for flights and accommodations.
  4. Pack Smart: Avoid checked luggage fees by packing like a minimalist. Think mix-and-match outfits, versatile shoes, and remember that laundry is a thing, even when you're traveling.
  5. Stay Flexible: Sometimes, a shift of a day or two can save you hundreds on flights and hotels. If your dates are set in stone, you might miss out on some serious deals.

Resources for Finding the Best Deals

  • Flight Deal Websites: Subscribe to services like Scott's Cheap Flights or Airfarewatchdog, and let the deals come to you.
  • Accommodation Aggregators: Use, Hostelworld, or Airbnb to compare prices and find unique places to stay.
  • Local Tourism Boards: Often overlooked, local tourism websites can be treasure troves of discounts and special offers.

Budgeting for Your Trip

Creating a travel budget isn't rocket science, but it does require some thought. Allocate funds for the non-negotiables first — think transportation and lodging — then see how much you have left for dining, entertainment, and excursions. And always, always have a contingency fund. Because sometimes, life throws you a curveball, like a spontaneous gondola ride in Venice.

Unexpected Costs and How to Mitigate Them

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and the same goes for travel budgets. Be prepared for the unexpected — a surprise airport transfer, a forgotten adapter, or an impromptu adventure. Consider travel insurance that covers cancellations, interruptions, and those "oops" moments.

Safety and Insurance

Speaking of insurance, it's not just a safety net — it's peace of mind. Look for policies that cover medical expenses, theft, and travel mishaps. It's like having a personal bodyguard for your bank account.

The Impact of COVID-19 on International Travel

In the era of COVID-19, international travel has more plot twists than a season of "Game of Thrones." But fear not, for with a bit of savvy planning and a dash of flexibility, you can still stamp your passport without turning your bank account into a ghost town.

Current Travel Restrictions and Considerations

Before you start packing your bags, there's homework to be done. Each country has its own set of rules faster than you can say "variant." Websites like the International Air Transport Association (IATA) provide up-to-date travel regulations, which are as essential as your toothbrush.

The Importance of Flexibility and Insurance in Uncertain Times

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it's that the only constant is change. Flexibility is now your best travel companion. Look for airlines and accommodations with lenient cancellation policies. And travel insurance? It's gone from optional to downright essential, like a smartphone or a good pair of walking shoes.

Traveling Safely During the Pandemic

  1. Vaccinations and Health Requirements: Keep your health documents as close as Frodo kept the One Ring. Proof of vaccination, negative tests, and health forms are your passport to the world.
  2. Safety Measures While Traveling: Masks, sanitizers, and social distancing are the new travel trifecta. Embrace them like a local custom, and respect the rules of your host country.
  3. Stay Informed: The situation can change faster than a New York minute. Keep abreast of the latest news and be prepared to pivot your plans as needed.

As we wrap up this guide to budget-friendly travel, remember that the world is still out there, waiting to be discovered — even if it's from behind a mask or six feet away. The pandemic has reshaped the landscape of travel, but it hasn't diminished the wonders that await.

So, pack your bags, your masks, and your sense of adventure. The cheapest places to travel outside the US are calling your name, and with a little planning, a lot of flexibility, and a travel SIM card in hand, you're ready to answer that call.

Thanks for visiting our blog, are you planing to travel to Europe? Check out our eSIM Europe.

Before you take off make sure to check with local government of the travel status.


As we prepare to bid adieu to our budget travel masterclass, let's tackle some of the most burning questions you might have. Think of this as the encore at the end of a rock concert — the lights are on, but the crowd is still cheering for more.

Q: What are the cheapest countries to fly to right now?

A: The list of budget-friendly skies is ever-changing, but countries in Central America, parts of Asia, and Eastern Europe often top the charts. Destinations like Guatemala, Vietnam, and Romania offer a rich travel experience without the price tag of their more frequented counterparts. Pro tip: Use flight comparison tools and set alerts for price drops to catch the best deals.

Q: How can I save money on accommodations abroad?

A: Beyond the realm of hostels and budget hotels, consider vacation rentals or even monastic stays for a truly unique experience. Websites like Workaway offer opportunities to volunteer in exchange for accommodation — perfect for the adventurous soul. And let's not forget loyalty programs; those points can often be redeemed for free nights or upgrades.

Q: Are travel SIM cards really cost-effective?

A: In a word, absolutely. Roaming charges can be the financial equivalent of a vampire in Transylvania — they'll suck your wallet dry. A travel SIM card is your garlic necklace, offering local rates and saving you from a frightful bill upon return.

Q: How do I manage communication costs while traveling?

A: Besides a travel SIM card, apps like WhatsApp, Skype, and Zoom can keep you connected via Wi-Fi. Many cafes and libraries offer free Wi-Fi, so sip a coffee and send your updates from there. Just be wary of unsecured networks — a VPN can be your digital shield.

Q: Can I travel internationally during COVID-19?

A: Yes, but with caution and preparation. Stay updated on the entry requirements for your destination, remain flexible, and keep health and safety at the forefront. The world is open, but it's not quite business as usual — patience and planning are your visas in these times.

And there we have it, dear globe-trotters — the end of our journey together, but hopefully, the beginning of many for you. If you've found a spark of inspiration or a nugget of wisdom in these words, then my mission here is complete.

I invite you to share your own travel hacks, budget wins, and tales of wanderlust in the comments below. Let's keep the conversation going like an endless conveyor belt of luggage — always moving, always ready for the next adventure.

And remember, whether you're scaling the Great Wall of China or sipping espresso by the Colosseum, Simify is here to keep you connected every step of the way. So go forth, explore the cheapest places to travel outside the US, and do it with the confidence of a seasoned traveler. The world awaits, and it's more accessible than ever.

Safe travels, and may your journeys be as budget-friendly as they are breathtaking.

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