If you’re wondering how to travel on a budget in your 20’s, it’s by going to places like Thailand.
A popular tourist destination in Southeast Asia, Thailand is just as beautiful as the hype suggests. Sparkling Buddhist temples, limestone cliffs, turquoise waters, lush jungles, bustling cities, Thailand is full of diverse landscapes and welcoming locals. Thailand has the appearance and feel of an expensive vacation, but you can easily enjoy the same experience on a budget.
You can cross so many items off your bucket list in Thailand without spending a ton of money. A full day cooking class in Chiang Mai can cost under $30, a boat tour around the islands of Koh Phi Phi can cost under $20, a ticket to the incredible temples of the Grand Palace in Bangkok costs only $15, and a day playing with elephants at a humane sanctuary costs about $100. All these prices are pretty cheap for what they’re worth.
This gem of South America is most famous for its wonder of the ancient world, Machu Picchu. Peru is a rather large country with lots to offer, including the Andes Mountains, Amazon Rainforest, and countless beaches, forests, deserts, and small local villages.
Touristy adventures like hiking the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu can be pricey through nice tour companies, but you can also find treks through local hostel tour companies like Loki Hostel or Milhouse Hostel for much cheaper. For example, you can do the 5-day Salkantay Trey through Loki Hostel for only $249, as opposed to the average $500 is costs to complete the Inca Trail through a popular tour company.
Another great experience to have in Peru is hiking Rainbow Mountain, a stunning natural phenomenon where towering mountain peaks are naturally striped with vibrant colors. Though local tour companies in Cusco, you can join a full day guided hike for only $30.
Transport around the country is also great for budget travelers. Comfortable overnight buses can take you all over the nation for super cheap prices, and in every city or town you can definitely find delicious local food like ceviche, loom saltado and quinoa soup for very little money.
Visit this vibrant Caribbean island to feel like you’ve stepped back into the 1950’s. With a unique history of communism and a colorful culture full of aromatic Latin food, picturesque architecture and of course, Cuban cigars, there is no shortage of things to do in Cuba.
Luckily, all these things can be enjoyed on a budget. Stay in an Airbnb or in a Casa Particular with a local family for about $20-$30 a night. This is a bit pricier than a hostel dorm room, but the authentic experience with locals is worth the extra cash. You can make up for this by eating street food for $1 per meal and buying cheap cocktails in a bar for $2-$3.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy Cuba for free, such as lazing away on pristine beaches like the famous Varadero, the serene Playa Pilar, or the bustling Cayo Coco. You can also wander the archaic streets of Havana, admiring the baroque architecture of Plaza Vieja and studying the Christian art of the city’s many cathedrals.
Venture beyond the capital to small towns like Trinidad, where you can take salsa lessons and dance in the streets with locals near Plaza Mayor. Dive into the rich nature of Cuba as well by hiking about two miles through Parque El Cubano, and finishing with a swim in the refreshing Javira Waterfall.
4. South Africa
South Africa is the perfect country for experiencing lots of life-changing moments in one trip. Visit Kruger National Park for a thrilling safari and spot lions, elephants, leopards, zebras, giraffes, and more in their natural habitat. A luxury guided safari is pricey, but you can purchase a self-drive safari for only $100 a night; this can drop down to as low as $60 a night if you camp. Witness more natural beauty at the tabletop mountains of Drakensberg Park, which lies on the border of South Africa and the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Explore more jaw-dropping peaks at Table Mountain in Cape Town, one of the most popular cities in South Africa. You can hike Table Mountain for free, and there are numerous trails with varying levels of difficulty. Another free attraction in Cape Town is Green Point Park, the same spot where the FIFA World Cup was held in 2010. Scope out the architecture in Greenmarket Square or the neighborhood of Bo-Kaap, or learn to surf at Muizenberg.
Cape Town is such a welcoming city that you barely need to spend any money to enjoy it, except for food and accommodation. To save money on food, visit the V&A Market for super cheap vegan and vegetarian meals, and to save money on accommodation, make sure to check out
If you like to know more places that you should visit in your 20s follow this blog and stay tuned.