Sick of the cold weather and looking for a change of pace this year? Well, I’m right there with ya! As travel restrictions (hopefully) start to lift as the year goes on, there are a few countries you should consider visiting. These are some of the best and cheapest travel destinations for 2021, not only for backpacking but for remote work as well!
Where to look for cheap flights:
- Google flights – This is my go-to when it comes to looking up flight prices. I love the calendar view that shows the changes in price each day!
- Skyscanner – A great place to compare flight prices after looking at Google flights. You can also utilize the fly ‘everywhere’ section to see what flights are cheapest from where you’re located.
- Hopper – It never hurts to get a third opinion! Hopper is known to have some great flight deals and give you insight into the best times to book.
- YYZ deals – If you happen to live in Toronto, this website is amazing for finding unusual flight deals and rates you may not find anywhere else.
PRO TIP: I’ve found it’s generally cheapest to book through Google flights BUT I always check the airline’s website to see if they have better rates before booking.
Booking cheap accommodation:
- HostelWorld – HostelWorld makes it SO easy to find cheap accommodation anywhere in the world. It’s great for anyone who travels solo and is looking to make new friends!
- Airbnb – Sometimes if you’re travelling with a partner or friend, Airbnb is more affordable and you might have access to a kitchen where you can make meals and save money on food.
Top cheap travel destinations:
Asia is known for incredibly cheap it can be for backpackers! Your dollar can go a long way in many countries but with that being said, there are some that are a little more pricey than others. Here are a few of the cheapest travel destinations in Asia:
You can’t go wrong with a trip to Vietnam! It’s one of the cheapest places I’ve ever travelled to with hostels starting at $3 CAD/night, $1 meals and endless activities you can do for a small fee. Almost every single hostel I stayed at had free breakfast as well which was amazing for saving money. Night buses are a common way to get around and will take you throughout the country for next to nothing!
You can find my 3-4 week backpacking itinerary here.
Taiwan is an Asian country that always seems to fly under the radar and hasn’t become too touristy yet. After handling the pandemic quite well, things are practically back to normal so it would be a great spot to visit when it’s safe for you to do so. Meals cost a few dollars and hostel accommodation will only set you back $10-20 per night. It may be one of the best destinations to visit in Asia if you’re hoping to avoid other travellers!
Nepal can be deceiving because you might believe it to be an expensive place to visit when you think of trekking to Mount Everest Base Camp. If you’re willing to try other treks that aren’t as mainstream and rough it a little, you can definitely do Nepal on a budget. Accommodation and food are cheap for the most part, so it really all boils down to trekking permits and gear you’ll need ahead of time. You can definitely travel through Nepal on $20/day.
Other noteworthy spots:
- Sri Lanka – Another super cheap spot to check out and home to stunning beaches, mountains and delicious food! Find my two week backpacking itinerary here.
- Thailand – Thailand is a tourist hotspot for a good reason – it’s one of the cheapest places to travel. If you’re new to travelling you can join a tour with a company like G Adventures to help you get around and meet new people.
- Indonesia – Bali is home to many expats and digital nomads who want to enjoy a low cost of living and natural beauty. You can experience luxury travel in Bali for under $50/day!
While Europe certainly isn’t known as one of the cheapest travel destinations, there are a few countries that are great if you’re on a strict budget!
Europe can get busy with tourists during peak season but you won’t have that problem in Romania. While more and more people are discovering all that Romania has to offer, it still remains fairly unknown to backpackers, making it a great spot to check out in 2021! Hostel dorm rooms start at around $10/night and you can eat well for cheap. Romania is also home to some spectacular hikes (which are free), giving you another reason to add it to your list of places to see!
Georgia is a small country of under 4 million people that is extremely mountainous and filled with valleys and lakes. There are over 2,000 mineral springs and over 12,000 historical sites for tourists to visit and because it’s even less visited than Romania, you’ll often feel like you have the place to yourself! Hostels start at about $7/night and there are numerous spots for camping in the summer, cutting down on costs even more. It’s also one of the safest countries you could visit in Europe, which is amazing for solo travellers!
Portugal is a beautiful country to visit, especially during the summer! Accommodation throughout the country is fairly cheap and anywhere from $15-20 for dorm rooms in a hostel, the food is great and reasonably priced (you must get your hands on a pastel de nata!) and there are so many great activities to do outdoors. My favourite stop was in Porto, which is the wine region of the country and super underrated in my opinion!
You can find a 1-2 week backpacking itinerary here!
Other noteworthy spots:
- Hungary – A slightly more expensive country for backpackers but still budget-friendly! Make your way out of the capital city, Budapest the see floating homes, palaces, national parks and wine tasting.
- Albania – Think Greece on a budget! It’s not uncommon to find pristine beaches similar to those in Greece along the Albanian coast. It’s a stunning country with many national parks, beaches and great nightlife. It would be a solid spot for remote work in my opinion!
Central and South America is home to so many beautiful countries, some of which are great for backpackers who are looking to stretch their travel for as long as possible!
It seems as if Mexico has been the best place for tourists to travel through during the pandemic. It’s known to be a great spot for digital nomads because of how built up it is, while still offering gorgeous beaches, cenotes and nature to explore. The food is a given – I mean, who doesn’t love a Mexican feast? Accommodation is also reasonable and you’re sure to meet lots of other backpackers there!
Uruguay is a little off the beaten track but it’s truly a spectacular country in South America! It’s one of the safest countries in the world, ranking at the topper absence of terrorism and contributing more troops to UN peacekeeping missions per capita than any other country. Aside from it’s safety, it’s a cheap place to travel a great place to escape other tourists.
If you’re concerned about safety as a solo traveller check out my female safety tips here!
While your dollar won’t go as far in Costa Rica as it would in Mexico and Uruguay, it’s still super affordable for backpackers! Hostel dorms are anywhere from $10-20/night depending on if you’re in a city or by the beach. The country is lush, there are plenty of places to explore and it’s pretty safe for solo travel! Many expats live and work in Costa Rica and enjoy the laidback lifestyle.
Other noteworthy spots:
- Bolivia – Besides the salt flats, Bolivia has many stunning national parks and La Paz overlooks the mountains. Hostels start at $7/night and you can often get your hands on $1 meals.
- Nicaragua- If you’re looking for volcanoes and unique terrain, Nicaragua will be right up your alley. Budget travel can be done for about $30-40/day.
Africa has been high up on my list of places to visit this year or in the near future. Some countries can be rather expensive to travel as a backpacker but other’s are surprisingly easy on your wallet.
Morocco is said to be a hectic and overwhelming country to travel but if you’re able to look past that you’ll see just how beautiful of a place it is. There are many food options, great surf pots, historical sites and the Atlas mountains for hiking. Hostels start at around $10/night and you can easily limit how much you spend on activities.
South Africa has been on my list of places for visit for quite some time now! I’ve heard nothing but amazing things from everyone I know who’s visited and it’s surprisingly cheap considering the quality of life. Hostel dorms start anywhere from $10-15/night and food is reasonably priced in comparison to western countries.
Namibia is a slightly more expensive country to visit but it can definitely be done on a budget. Since public transit is limited, getting from place to place may add up but hostels are only about $15-20/night. You can cut down on accommodation costs even more by camping, splitting a rental car with other travellers to visit the sand dunes and beautiful beaches!
Other noteworthy spots:
- Tanzania – After looking into Tanzania a bit over my quarantine this year, I’m sold. It’s a beautiful country with so much to offer in terms of the picturesque beaches in Zanzibar, Great African lakes and Mount Kilimanjaro. Hostels range from $10-30/night depending on where in the country you’re travelling. Tanzania could be an expensive trip if you don’t budget accordingly and put your money towards many excursions like safaris that will add up quickly!
The Middle East is often more expensive to travel to than many other places in the world but there are a few countries where travel is still pretty affordable as a backpacker!
Turkey is a unique travel destination, as it has European and Asian influences. While some places such as Cappadocia are touristy, you can also explore lesser-known spots. When you cross the Bosphorus Bridge, you’ll be on the Asian side of Turkey which has a completely different feel to the rest of the country. Dorm rooms are typically anywhere from $!0-15/night and you can grab meals for a few dollars, making it an extremely affordable option for the middle east!
Believe it or not, everyday expenses in Egypt are actually pretty cheap! Things start to add up with all of the entrance fees for historic sites such as ancient tombs and pyramids. If you work you plan you budget around the cost of these entrance fees, you can still explore the country on a dime!
How to travel cheap:
Wondering how you’ll manage to travel on a dime? If you don’t want to work while you’re travelling, there are plenty of ways you can save money before you head off. Here are 10 easy ways that you can save money for travel and don’t forget to check out my cheap travel hacks to see how I’m able to travel regularly!
I hope this list of the cheapest travel destinations will help you start planning upcoming adventures around the globe. I’ll be back next week with another budget travel post so stay tuned!