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When you’re looking for places to visit on a budget, you have a surprising number of options.

Even destinations you think are expensive can be budget-friendly if you know a few tips and tricks to lower your travel bill.

These destinations are not just great places for cheap travel, they are great destinations, period. So let’s go!

Where to Travel When You’re On a Budget

1. Northern Virginia

Otherwise known as NoVa, this historic area spans several cities from southwest Washington, D.C.

Old Town Alexandria, in particular, provides access to several monuments and attractions at a fraction of the price you’d pay when visiting our nation’s capital.

Simply enjoy the view from across the Potomac River. While you’re here, explore the quaint cobblestone streets, modern art, and culture off the beaten path.

This is horse country, and there are plenty of boutiques, breweries, history, and more.

2. Albuquerque, New Mexico

This high-desert city offers much for the intrepid wanderer. New Mexico’s largest city boasts a modern downtown area and adobe-filled Old Town district, ripe for exploring.

While here, expect an active and diverse metropolis with a rich Native American influence, not to mention gorgeous scenery.

Museum lovers will delight in plenty of cultural and artistic collections under one roof, and the traditional New Mexican cuisine is a party on the palette.

This town is also part of the famous Route 66.

Albuquerque just happens to be the hot-air ballooning capital, so if this sort of thing is on your bucket list, best to it here for maximum effect.

Related: 10 Easiest Ways to Make Money While Traveling

3. Las Vegas, Nevada

Contrary to what you may have heard on all of the travel shows, Sin City has not lost its inexpensive draw.

Even though the shows on the strip and the fine dining establishments have crowded out some of the cheaper alternatives, it is very easy to have an affordable vacation here still. Just avoid the slot machines and blackjack tables!

Affordable upscale hotels are easy to come by on and off the Strip.

Happy hour specials on food and drinks can be found practically everywhere, and there are plenty of free attractions to experience. Among the most stunning are the Fountains of Bellagio and the Wildlife Habitat at the Flamingo.

4. Chicago, Illinois

While the Windy City has its fair share of pricey options, you’ll find great hotel deals in the suburbs, where you can ride the L-train into the city for just a few bucks.

While in the city, there are tons of things you can do without even cracking open your wallet. Stroll the Navy Pier, snap an awesome mirrored selfie at “the Bean” at Millennium Park, and go to an event beneath the planet’s largest Tiffany dome at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Then walk the scenic Lakefront Trail with your favorite caffeinated beverage (which you will have to pay for). Don’t forget to indulge in that famous Chicago deep-dish pizza – which will set you back all of $20.

5. Mexico

Looking for a beach holiday full of sun, tequila, and ancient ruins? Then Mexico is your place.

Whether it is frolicking on the sand with a drink in your hand, diving into the local culture, or finding that perfect foodie dish, there is so much to do south of the border that will not break the bank.

Steer clear of the expensive Cancun resorts, and go the travel route starting in Mexico City.

Then head to Oaxaca, where you will find true local culture and incredible food. The Chiapas state is full of jungles, waterfalls, and epic Mayan ruins, ripe for discovery.

Here the travel costs are among the lowest. End your inexpensive journey at the Yucatan peninsula. Do the entire route, or just pick one or two, depending on how tight your budget is.

6. Colombia

This small country is gaining quite a nice reputation as an up-and-coming tourist area. Especially for coffee lovers!

It is an amazing country all around and has a little bit of everything that South America has to offer. Here you can explore both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, delve into the Amazon rainforest, and even see a bit of the Andes mountain range.

Then there are the cities of Bogota and Medellin, each with a distinctive vibe, but both with the warmth and hospitality of Colombians and their vibrant culture.

Go into the mountains on a coffee tour, or stay in town and chat up the locals, they will tell you the best places to go.

What’s more, the Colombia peso is very favorable compared with the US dollar, making this a budget-friendly destination.

7. Turkey

Fascinating and filled with history, Turkey will fill you with awe and wonder.

And it’s very inexpensive compared to its European countries to the west.

Located between the east and the west, it was once home to the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires.

Here you’ll find Roman ruins, buzzing bazaars, cave cities, and plenty of sunny Mediterranean beaches to keep you occupied for as long as you wish.

Tips and Tricks to Make it Affordable

  • Consider staying in a hostel. Nowadays there are some pretty fancy ones to be had, with private rooms if you wish!
  • Eat local street food where available. We’re not talking just any street food (you should be smart about it) but ask the locals what is good, and if you see a long line at a food vendor, get in it, because that tells you the food is GOOD.
  • If you can, get a credit card that gives you travel points. Use this credit card for your daily purchases, and watch the miles add up! Just be smart about it and pay off your card every month to avoid interest charges.


It is so doable to visit these fun destinations with not a lot of money. There is hardly a place on our great planet that is “too expensive.” You can get the most out of your money, meet fellow travelers and locals, eat incredible food, and best of all, have FUN.

So what are you waiting for? Start planning your affordable dream trip!