1. Hanoi, Vietnam
I personally feel like this is a bit of a hidden gem in the Southeast Asia country index. Everyone knows about Thailand, Indonesia, etc. but Vietnam is always just an afterthought, if thought of at all. This isn’t a country you want to miss! You can not only get by on a measly budget of $30 a day, but you will also be given so much culture, delicious food, and really kind and curious locals.
I would love to see this country become more explored by people of color especially because I don’t think this is a country on many of our radars yet when really it should be. Hanoi is a great starting point when it comes to exploring this country. Located in the Northern region, Hanoi is a city full of history & makes a great jumping off point to then go on a tour to see Halong Bay. The amazing food culture here alone should make you add this place on your 2020 travel list; you haven’t lived until you’ve eaten bun cha in a Vietnamese back alley. You can do so much here such as visiting the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Hoan Kiem Lake, budget shop at Dong Xuan Market, explore Ba Vi National Park and so much more. It’ a bit of a hectic city but also very laidback. The streets can be chaotic but the people are very friendly.
Daily budget: $30
Accommodation budget: $30-$50/ night
2. Lima, Peru
Lima is fast on track to becoming a huge travel destination in South America. With more and more flight options opening up, getting to Lima has become so affordable and quicker than ever! Lima itself is a city of wonder. The innovators of the ever popular ceviche, this country is full of flavor.
Lima, the capital, is a great place to start your exploration as it is not only huge but there are tons of things to do and the restaurant scene is one of the best in the world for my fellow foodies out there. There’s amazing and cheap accommodations to be found and your dollar goes far when it comes to things to do, where to stay and eat! You can make the city your oyster and bike around to really enjoy it. You can also head over to their beach front area and explore the rocky cliffs and the turquoise waters. Lima is full of ruins, just ready to be explored. Peru is also home of Machu Picchu so you can get a tour there & see some of the most amazing wonders of the world. Lima even has catacombs under the city so you can get a little spooky on your trip, too. If you’re into thrills, parasailing over the coast is another fun thing you can do. This city is really full of things to do, for every kind of traveler!
Daily budget: $60
Accommodation budget: $55-65/night
3. Bali, Indonesia
Bali is a MUST VISIT. A hotbed for tourism for quite a few years now, I highly recommend this country, especially before it begins to get more expensive.
Bali is a destination with something for everyone, truly. From humble hostels to luxurious five star resorts to sweet villas. From jungle to beachside, you’ll have no problem finding an area to love. This city doesn’t lack for activity: you can shop in Ubud’s market, surf in Seminyak, party in Kuta, ride bikes in the Gilis, play with monkeys in a jungle sanctuary or relax anywhere in between. The food is so diverse ranging from Indonesian street food like babi guling to hipster, international restaurants that make the perfect instagram photo like Bo and Bun, so even in this area there’s something for everyone! I even created an entire guide for Bali, which you can purchase here.
Daily budget: $60
Accommodation budget $30-45
4. Budapest, Hungary
When people typically think of Europe, their mind immediately goes to ‘expensive’. However, there are actually a ton of really affordable destinations in Europe that are not only cheap but really worth a visit and would give even the most popular city a run for their money! Budapest is one of those destinations.
Budapest is such an interesting country; the history of it alone makes it a cultural standout. It’s been invaded by just about everyone such as Celts, Romans, Turks, Habsburgs, the Soviet Union and German Nazis making the city a huge mix when it comes to food, architecture, and people. The Danube river is beautiful and divides the city in half; the river banks make for excellent sight seeing & really shines during sunset. You can come here and see castles and modern buildings all in one place. Budapest is also widely revered for its natural hot springs and this is an activity you won’t wanna skip when you visit. This is truly an unforgettable city and you don’t have to break your bank to experience it to the fullest.
Daily budget: $35
Accommodation budget: $40-60
5. Lefkada, Greece
Most everyone dreams of a Greek island getaway but most Greek islands can really put a damper on your wallet (I’m looking at you, Mykonos). But if you really want a Greek island adventure, there’s a few islands you can visit that won’t have you scared to check your bank account when it’s all said and done, such as Lefkada.
A lot of people have never heard of this island actually, making it that much better to visit in the New Year! It’s still one of those rare, hardly discovered places that is teeming with local life and budget options for the common explorer. You can still get everything you want from this destination such as bright, cerulean waters, white sand beaches, cliffs for diving, sunny days & the almighty Greek foods! You can get a little of everything here; the perfect mix of beach & mountains. This is an amazing beach destination that isn’t jam packed with tourists, making it ideal for those wanting something a little more off the beaten path but equally stunning.
Daily budget: $75
Accommodation budget: $80
6. Zanzibar, Tanzania
Africa, for many, is not even a thought when it comes to traveling, unfortunately! People don’t seem to realize the big thing about Africa: it is REALLY big and incredibly diverse. No country is like the other, truly. You can visit Africa and get a little piece of everything: safaris, modernity, upscale, downscale, beaches, mountains! That being said, Zanzibar is where to go for your beach fix.
Zanzibar is a region that is made up of many small islands and two big ones: Unguja, which most people refer to as Zanzibar when talking about visiting, and Pemba Island. Most of it is still fairly undeveloped and not hit by over tourism yet, making it an amazing place to discover and not hard on your wallet either. It’s known for its mild climate and crystal clear waters. The beaches are perfect for catching a tan and it’s coral reefs make for amazing diving possibilities. You can wander through Stone Town & visit the old quarter which is also a UNESCO World Heritage site! You can visit the Jozani forest and see endangered monkeys, slide down to Kizimkazi and swim with dolphins, or explore the rich and tumultuous history at a museum. Zanzibar doesn’t lack for interesting things to do and everything comes at a low price.
Daily budget: $45
Accommodation budget: $55
7. Split, Croatia
Croatia has become a huge tourist destination, largely in part to the success of Game of Thrones. I highly recommend Split because even though it is full of stunning beaches & beautiful architecture, it still remains very affordable & really fun. Also; the wine is to die for.
Split is a city that is full of all kinds of things to do: from wine tasting, to an amazing coffee culture, to beaches, to partying. The city is really rich in history dating all the way back to the 7th century; the old town itself is essentially a breathing museum! Split is also a great jumping off point to visit other Croatian islands that are equally as beautiful and full of life! You can also take Game of Thrones themed tours, showing you diff sites the show was shot at, a truly amazing experience. The weather is pretty nice year round, too; the winter can be a bit chilly but it isn’t unbearable in the least.
Daily budget: $60,
Accommodation budget: $70
8. Accra, Ghana
Ghana has been undergoing a HUGE boost in tourism as of late, shoutout to their tourism board. It’s a vibrant and pulsing hub that everyone should consider in the new year. I think it’s going to burst really soon and become one of the hottest places to go sooner than we think, so it’s a good time to go before it starts to become super expensive to accommodate the demand.
Visiting Accra should be on your list not only for the amazing history the city has but also because it’s a city that is growing and we have seen that a lot in the last decade! Ghana is fast becoming a driving force in fashion especially so I would highly recommend for those interested in the industry. Their food scene is especially special and features some amazing street food that you can get for so cheap it’ll make you want to pay more, if that makes sense. The nightlife here is some of the best and has everything from live music venues to bars to clubs, so you can find something for everybody. Accra is just a really fun, up and coming city and should be added to every 2020 list!
Daily budget: $35
Accomodation budget: $65
9. Palawan, Philippines
Southeast Asia is, of course, full of amazing budget destinations to travel to. The Philippines I feel gets overlooked for some reason, however. Palawan is an awesome destination for the adventure traveler, sure to live up to expectation while keeping the costs low.
Wondering why you should visit Palawan? Well, not only is El Nido (one of it’s amazing beaches) one of the most beautiful places in the world but it’s a must for those who love nature and golden beaches. There’s a ton of adventure activities to be done such as snorkeling, swimming with whales, diving, zip lining, hiking and just exploring and enjoying some fairly untouched natural areas. The people are so friendly and helpful and the food is LITERALLY SOME OF THE BEST EVER. You could really spend month here and not fully get to see and do it all and never get tired of it.
Daily budget: $30
Accommodation budget: $37
10. Dallas, Texas
Dallas, also known as Big D or a Triple D, is a city in America that oft gets overlooked by bigger and other metropolises. But I think that time is soon to come to an end. It’s on my list of cities that is constantly striving to be better and bigger, but remains affordable for the moment. Seize the opportunity to go this year before it gets much more pricey.
People often find themselves in Dallas and wonder what to do but Dallas doesn’t lack in things to do, at all. It has a really cool food scene that can be experimental or traditional; the restaurants themselves are a huge cultural melting pot & you won’t want for variety. Dallas is known for its amazing bbq so that is something you must try! Dallas is a haven for shoppers, of any budget; visit Northpark Center or the West Village and really indulge. Want live sporting events? Look no further! From the Cowboys to the Mavericks to the Rangers to the Stars, Dallas has a sporting team for literally everything and they take their sports seriously. There’ all kind of hipster, cool neighborhoods, like Turtle Creek, to explore and tons of natural parks. There’s something for everyone in triple D.
Daily budget: $80
Accommodation budget: $90