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Exploring the Globe on a Student Budget: Top 10 Affordable Countries to Visit

Young students on a travelling adventure

Travelling is a dream for many students, but the fear of breaking the bank often holds them back. However, with careful planning and choosing the right destinations, exploring the world can be both enriching and budget-friendly. In this blog, we’ll uncover ten countries that offer unforgettable experiences without putting a dent in your wallet.

Bangkok Thailand Skyline
Bangkok Thailand Skyline

1. Thailand:

Thailand is the most affordable travel destination; it is well-known for its lively culture, breathtaking beaches, and mouthwatering street cuisine. Thailand provides a wide variety of activities at reasonable costs, from the busy streets of Bangkok to the tranquil scenery of Chiang Mai.

Begin your adventure in Bangkok, the bustling capital city where street food is king and there are many historical sites to see. Take in the vibrant marketplaces of Chiang Mai and unwind on Krabi’s immaculate beaches. You should budget between $2000-$2500 for a two-week trip for two, which includes flights from the US or Europe, lodging, food, transportation, and some shopping.

2. Vietnam:

Young woman taking a photo at Sapa lake with reflection and blue sky in Lao Cai province, Vietnam
Young woman taking a photo at Sapa lake with reflection and blue sky in Lao Cai province, Vietnam

Travelers on a tight budget will find Vietnam to be a treasure trove. Savour real Vietnamese food without going over budget, tour the busy marketplaces of Hanoi, and take a boat ride across Halong Bay’s limestone karsts. Vietnam is a great place for students to study because of its extremely cheap cost of living and transportation.

Start your journey through the busy streets of Hanoi, where you can discover historic temples and eat real Vietnamese pho. Take a cruise around Halong Bay’s limestone karsts and meander through Hoi An’s old neighborhoods. A two-week trip for two costs between $1800 and $2200, which includes flights, lodging, food, transportation, and shopping.

3. Portugal:

Porto city in Portugal
Porto city in Portugal

Portugal is an inexpensive European treasure, renowned for its exquisite food, gorgeous cities, and extensive history. Stroll through the winding alleyways of Lisbon, enjoy the sun in the Algarve, and treat yourself to some delicious pastries without going over budget.

Begin your adventure in Lisbon, the energetic city where you can eat mouthwatering pastries and stroll through bustling neighborhoods. Unwind on the Algarve region’s sun-kissed beaches and take in Porto’s medieval architecture. Aim to spend between $2500 and $3000 on airfare, lodging, meals, transportation, and shopping for a two-week trip for the two of you.

4. Hungary:

Budapest parliament in Hungary
Budapest parliament in Hungary

Hungary’s capital city, Budapest, is well-known for its breathtaking architecture, thermal springs, and exciting nightlife. Hungary is a great option for students wishing to travel around Central Europe on a tight budget because of its very inexpensive cost of living when compared to other European nations.

Discover well-known sites like the Hungarian Parliament Building and unwind in the famed Széchenyi Thermal Bath. Savour delicious Hungarian food while strolling around Buda and Pest’s picturesque streets. Aim to spend between $2000 and $2500 on airfare, lodging, meals, transportation, and shopping for a two-week trip for the two of you.

5. Indonesia:

Rice fields, Bali, Indonesia
Rice fields, Bali, Indonesia

There are many inexpensive attractions in Indonesia, ranging from the breathtaking beaches of Bali to the cultural treasures of Yogyakarta. Due to the extremely inexpensive rates of lodging, food, and transportation, students can enjoy Southeast Asia’s natural splendor without going broke.

Start your adventure in the vibrant metropolis of Jakarta and proceed to Yogyakarta, the cultural center of Indonesia, where you may visit historical temples like Borobudur and Prambanan. Unwind on Bali’s beautiful beaches and explore the Gili Islands’ underwater wonderland. Aim to spend between $1800 and $2200 on airfare, lodging, meals, transportation, and shopping for a two-week trip.

6. Mexico:

Zocalo Square and Mexico City Cathedral - Mexico City, Mexico
Zocalo Square and Mexico City Cathedral – Mexico City, Mexico

Mexico is known for its delicious food, gorgeous scenery, and rich cultural legacy. Without breaking the bank, take in the stunning beaches of Tulum, explore the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza, and indulge in mouthwatering street tacos. Mexico is a desirable travel destination for students looking for adventure on a tight budget because of its affordability.

Begin your adventure in Mexico City, the vibrant capital, where you can eat delicious street tacos and tour iconic locations like the Templo Mayor. Unwind on Tulum’s beaches while touring Chichen Itza’s historic Mayan ruins. Aim to spend between $2000 and $2500 on airfare, lodging, meals, transportation, and shopping for a two-week trip for the two of you.

7. Greece:

Santorini, Greece. A view of traditional Greek architecture.. Oia village, Santorini Island, Greece.
Santorini, Greece. A view of traditional Greek architecture.. Oia village, Santorini Island, Greece.

Greece is well-known for its famous sites and its pristine beaches, but it’s also surprisingly inexpensive for travelers on a tight budget. Spend less money and enjoy fresh Mediterranean cuisine, island hopping in the Cyclades, and exploring the old alleys of Athens. Start your adventure at the ancient city of Athens, where you can eat delicious Mediterranean food and tour the Acropolis. Explore the Cyclades by traveling between islands and unwinding on the stunning beaches of Santorini and Mykonos. Aim to spend between $2500 and $3000 on airfare, lodging, meals, transportation, and shopping for a two-week trip for the two of you.

8. Nepal:

Beautiful ghandruk village at Nepal
Beautiful ghandruk village at Nepal

For those seeking adventure on a budget, Nepal is an ideal travel destination. Experience the diverse culture of this enchanted country, trek over the gorgeous Himalayas, and tour historic temples in Kathmandu—all without going over budget.

Start your adventure in Kathmandu, the busy capital, where you may visit historic temples like Swayambhunath and Boudhanath. Experience the rural villages’ unique culture as you trek over the magnificent Himalayas. Aim to spend between $1500 to $2000 on airfare, lodging, meals, transportation, and shopping for a two-week trip.

9. Bolivia:

Mountains in Bolivia
Mountains in Bolivia

From the vibrant markets of La Paz to the surreal scenery of the Uyuni Salt Flats, Bolivia has a wealth of inexpensive tourist destinations. Bolivia is the perfect place for students wishing to travel South America on a tight budget because of the incredibly inexpensive expenses of meals and lodging. Start your adventure in La Paz, a historic city where you can explore vibrant shops like the Witches’ Market and enjoy expansive views from the top of the Mirador Killi Killi. Visit the Uyuni Salt Flats and take in the stunning surroundings. Aim to spend between $1800 and $2200 on airfare, lodging, meals, transportation, and shopping for a two-week trip.

10. Cambodia:

Cambodia
Cambodia

Cambodia, the country that is home to the amazing Angkor Wat temples, is an affordable travel destination that offers life-changing adventures. Discover the rustic charm of Battambang, stroll through the busy districts of Siem Reap, and indulge in mouthwatering Khmer food without breaking the bank.

Start your adventure in the vibrant city of Siem Reap, where you may tour the amazing Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom temples. Take in the rustic charm of Battambang and unwind on Sihanoukville’s immaculate beaches. Aim to spend between $1800 and $2200 on airfare, lodging, meals, transportation, and shopping for a two-week trip.

Traveling as a student doesn’t have to be expensive. Especially when you’re always on a tight budget. While the desire to explore the world is strong, the funds to do so can often be lacking. That’s why it’s essential for students to get creative with their finances to know more check out our blog Top 10 Student Earning Apps without investment in 2024! By supplementing your income with these money-making tips, students can afford to indulge in budget-friendly travel destinations like Thailand, Vietnam, Portugal, and others. Students can embark on unforgettable adventures without breaking the bank. Whether you’re craving a beach getaway, cultural immersion, outdoor adventure, or looking for a budget friendly vegan eater, there’s a fancy economical destination waiting to be explored. So pack your bags, grab your passport, and set off on the journey of a lifetime—all while staying within your student budget.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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