Cheap Adventure Travel Destinations 2020
Query “Cheap Travel Destinations” and you will get the same list of countries travel bloggers have been telling you to go to for budget-friendly travel for years! Is it just me or are you sick of seeing the same list year after year? There is however plenty of other unique and incredible destinations waiting to be explored that are perfect for those on a budget! This list of destinations has fewer tourists, feels more authentic and will leave you with real travel memories that you will never forget, not to mention be able to brag about. Here is my list of true adventure and cheap travel destinations for 2020.
I hear it time and time again, “there isn’t much to do in Laos”. Why is it then that any experienced South East Asia traveler will tell you, Laos is a hidden gem? Laos is a treasure trove of off the beaten track sights that see very few tourist crowds. It boasts incredible landscapes and unique cultures. Laos also has a fascinating history with temples, Buddhist caves, and villages who make boats out of bombs from the Vietnam war!
Travel Budget for Laos
Food – Food in Laos is very cheap, $10 per day
Accommodation – Basic accommodation in Laos, $15 per day
Transportation – Transport in Laos is cheap but not so comfortable, $10 per day
Sights – There are so many sights that are free in Laos – $5 per day
Yes, we have all heard of Bali, maybe some of you have even been to Java, but what about the other hundreds of islands? From orangutans in the jungles of Kalimantan, the once cannibal tribes of West Papua, funeral processions of Sulawesi and summiting volcanoes in Lombok! Indonesia is full of surprises and so many new adventures are being discovered here. With plenty of budget airlines and Indonesia being one of the cheapest destinations in Asia its no wonder it is becoming more popular. Do not worry though, with how big this country is it will always be easy to find yourself on a budget-friendly off the beaten track adventure!
Travel Budget for Indonesia
Food – Indonesia has some of the best and cheapest food in Asia, $15 per day
Accommodation – Plenty of guesthouses and hostels in Indonesia, $10 – $25 per day
Transportation – Due to flights prices are a bit higher as it is sometimes the only way to travel in Indonesia – $10 – $75 per day
Sights – Most of them are cheap, but places like Borobudur are now expensive, $10 – $50 per day
Although the time has come where more travelers are beginning to arrive in Mongolia there is no need to worry. Traveling Mongolia is reserved for the most jaded travelers. This is the type of travel the hardcore crave, it’s a rough ride but will be one of the most memorable trips you have ever done. Scorching deserts in the South, endless grassy plains with nomadic villages in the center and eagle hunters in the west. Mongolia is a cheap destination full of amazing surprises, pack your bags and get ready for one of the planets last adventures!
Travel Budget for Mongolia
Food – Very cheap and when staying with families usually included with the accommodation – $15 per day
Accommodation – Mongolia’s accommodation tends to cost a bit more but includes food when your remote – $20 per day
Transportation – If you really want to see Mongolia you should rent a 4×4 or car, but bus it from main destinations within the country. You can also share transport with other travelers! – $25 – $75 per day
Sights – Not many sights in Mongolia charge anything – $5 per day
It’s a massive chaotic melting pot of cultures and will very quickly become your most favorite country you have been to. I have traveled to India over six times now and still feel as if I have only scratched the surface. It’s wonderfully easy to travel and full of unique experiences and ancient sights. Every day you are in India you will be pushed to your limits and filled with laughter. Travelers have always come to India to be changed and if you spend long enough here it’s bound to happen to you. Whether you came for the temples, history, cultures or just to be shocked, India will be sure to check off any travel list you have!
Travel Budget for India
Food – Wow! India has cheap and extremely delicious food – $10 per day
Accommodation – Hotels and guesthouses are getting more expensive, but deals can be found everywhere! – $10 per day
Transportation – Plenty of budget airlines nowadays making travel cheaper and easier in India – $10 per day
Sights – India has a lot of fun excursions, be prepared to haggle, but here is a rough estimate of a price – $5 per day
Pakistan $40/per day
A few years back nobody was coming to Pakistan as it was thought to be dangerous. These days Pakistan is safe and welcoming tourists more than ever. Pakistan’s bustling cities are full of historic sights, chaotic bazaars, colorful people and are virtually tourist-free compared to India. Head north and you will find remote villages and some of the Himalayas’ most stunning mountain scenery giving ample opportunities to hike off the beaten path! Pakistan has become one of my recent favorite destinations and I cannot wait to go back!
Travel Budget for Pakistan
Food – Pakistan’s food is super cheap and delicious, $10 per day
Accommodation – At the moment there is not a lot of options making this your biggest expense while in Pakistan, $15 per day
Transportation – Pakistan has amazing highways with great bus service – $10 per day
Sights – The majority of the Sights are free in Pakistan! – $5 per day
Looking for a country you will never forget? One that will defy everything you thought you knew about it. Welcome to Iran one of the most fascinating countries I have ever been to. The media portrays Iran in a negative way, but those travelers who make it here will find themselves in an ancient, friendly culture and constantly shocked by the country’s natural beauty. Its desolate deserts, hand-painted grand mosques, massive bazaars and quite possibly the friendliest people on the planet. It’s incredibly addictive and full of surprises! Iran will become one of your favorite destinations too!
Travel Budget for Iran
Food – Iran has decently priced food, but can be hard to find at times, $20 per day
Accommodation – A lot has opened in recent years, but prices remain higher, $15 per day
Transport – Plenty of cheap transport options in Iran, $10 per day
Sights – Most of the time the cities themselves are the sights! $5 per day
Although Madagascar is remote and, in the past, extremely expensive to get to, there has been a recent development in budget-friendly ways of getting here. From Asia, UAE and parts of Africa there are “cheaper” flights coming to the capital Antananarivo. Once in Madagascar, you will find it’s as cheap as traveling most parts of South East Asia. The best part is as most travelers still are taking expeditions you just might find yourself to be the only independent traveler. It’s easy to hop on cheap local transport and get to the National Parks as most are located right along the main highways! Come see some of the world’s most unique wildlife, landscapes, and cultures!
Travel Budget for Madagascar
Food – Outside the capital Malagasy food is cheap and delicious, in Tana its mostly French cuisine, $15 per day
Accommodation – Most National Parks only have resort-style accommodation, but it is very cheap especially when you arrive on your own, $15 per day
Transport – Madagascar’s local transport is cheap, but uncomfortable and slow, $10 per day
Sights – National Parks require guides making this the most expensive part of your budget, $20 per day
I tell everyone I meet who says they want to travel to Africa to go to Ethiopia! Ethiopia has all the typical African things most travelers want, plus so much more! Its ancient history can be found in the north with its amazing stone cut churches. For tribes head south where you will find the iconic lip disk tribes called the Mursi and hundreds of other unique cultures. Ethiopia is also where you can find almost every typical African landscape from soaring mountains, grassy plains, isolated deserts and parks full of wildlife! The food is also something to be said as its some of the most scrumptious I have had in Africa. Prepare to have your mind blown in this hidden wonder of the Horn of Africa!
Ethiopia Travel Budget
Food – Diverse, interesting and super delicious, $10 per day
Accommodation – Ethiopia has so many cheap digs to be found, $10 per day
Transportation – Ethiopia’s transport is not the best and lots of remote locations require a private car, $10 per day
Sights – This is where most of your money will be spent as each church charges its own price and tribes ask for “donations”, $20 per day
Once you get past the expensive and difficult visa you will find one of Europe’s/Asia’s best budget-friendly travel destinations. Even in the capital city of Moscow, there are plenty of cheap digs to keep your budget down. What I love about Russia is how truly enormous it is! Take a cheap flight to Siberia and you will enter a completely whole new world! You can find yourself in remote mountain villages, intriguing historic cities, remote landscapes in Siberia and even the high Arctic! Russia has it all and it can easily be done on a budget.
Russia Travel Budget
Food – Eat at cafeteria-style diners leftover from the communist times for cheap and good food, $20 per day
Accommodation – Plenty of cheap and nice hostels can be found all over, $20 per day
Transport – Great train connections that are very decently priced! Taxies can be pricey to use the apps, $15 per day
Sights – Limit how many major sights you see within large cities as they can add up, $10 per day
I love Peru! Every time I return there is a plethora of new sights to discover here, that is because the vast majority of Peru has yet to be discovered! Seeing Peru on your own also could not be easier, transport to even the most remote corners of the nation are cheap and easy to find. Peru has so many unique cultures and valuable historical/archaeological sights to keep you busy. What I love most about Peru is the sense of discovery, you can always find yourself in an Indiana Jones like adventure! Peru is for those with a passion for exploration and won’t break your budget finding authentic trips!
Peru Travel Budget
Food – It’s up and coming and you can find plenty of cheap/delicious meals in Peru, $10 per day
Accommodation – Major centers have more options, but cheap accommodation in Peru is easy to find, $15 per day
Transport – Buses connect all the major cities in Peru, but cheap flights are more common now, $10 per day
Sights – Easily your biggest expense as there is so much to see in Peru, don’t cheap out on all the amazing sights here, $15 per day
Brazil is now visa-free for North Americans and is one of South America’s most fantastic destinations. Brazil’s culture is a vibrant and colorful melting pot in which each region identifies in its own amazing way. You can find chaotic cites, white sand beaches, mountains and humid jungles teeming with wildlife, Brazil has it all for the adventure traveler. It is best to avoid high season especially in places like Rio de Janeiro during Carnival as it will be difficult to keep under budget then.
Brazil Travel Budget
Food – BBQ is king here and can be easily found cheap, $15 per day
Accommodation – In the off-season, you can find expensive hotels dropping their prices to hostel prices! $20 per day
Transport – Brazil has lots of budget airlines to cover those huge distances, $10 per day
Sights – Apart from major sights in Brazil like Christ the Redeemer most are very cheap, $10 per day
Papua New Guinea $80/Day
Most don’t expect to see Papua New Guinea on this list as it can easily be one of the most expensive countries you will travel too, but with some careful planning and putting up with some discomforts I can tell you that Papua is a budget-friendly destination! The chance to see cannibalistic tribes and colorful sing-song festivals will make you think you have become a Natgeo explorer! Not to mention the landscapes are completely untouched here. Papua New Guinea is one of my top picks when it comes to Adventure Travel Destinations.
Papua New Guinea Travel Budget
Food – Local food isn’t that exciting but its cheap, $15 per day
Accommodation – Stay in churches or ask around town for guesthouses, $35 per day
Transport – Everytown has a local bus stop where you can car share, $10 per day
Sights – There aren’t any real sights, Papua is itself the sight, but tribes will charge you to visit, $20 per day
Myanmar is becoming ever more popular and for good reason! It still has a sense of being untouched and many regions are virtually tourist-free. A trip to Myanmar is a trip back in time, you won’t find high-speed internet connections or many other modern amenities. Instead, you will enter a world you never thought existed so close to places like Thailand! Myanmar has so much to offer with outdoor activities, cultural interactions, and enough temples to fill that SD. Check out one of South East Asia’s most exciting destinations.
Myanmar Travel Budget
Food – Cheap, delicious and diverse. Lots to discover about Myanmar’s cuisine, $10 per day
Accommodation – Every year more and more are opening due to tourist numbers, $10 per day
Transport – Cheap but very slow and rarely comfortable. Budget airlines are good, but not that cheap, $5 per day
Sights – Lots to see so expand this part of your budget as much as possible, $10 per day
Central Asia has so much to offer yet remains far from the tourist radar. Uzbekistan has made progress in making visas for tourists more accessible. Uzbekistan historically is one of the most fascinating countries in Central Asia. The beautiful blue-tiled cities of Khiva and Samarqand will far exceed your expectations. Uzbek culture is also something to be said as its people are open and love to let you fully immerse into this amazing country.
Uzbekistan Travel Budget
Food – Cheap and easy to find everywhere, $10 per day
Accommodation – Great guesthouses and quality, $10 per day
Transport – Uzbekistan is well connected with a minibus service or train, $10 per day
Sights – Cheap and incredible sights can be found in Uzbekistan, $5 per day
Saving one of the best for last, Turkey is a land of contrasts. In the west, you can find many European influences mixed with Anatolia’s Central Asian and Middle Eastern Cultures. Turkey’s history and landscapes are just as diverse and with a short bus ride, you can find yourself in a different world. Do not get me started on the food as Turkey’s cultural influences have seriously made its cuisine one of the tastiest, you’ll ever have! Turkey is still one of the top budget-friendly travel destinations and tends to top many lists online.
Turkey Travel Budget
Food – So delicious and diverse, easy to find cheap, $15 per day
Accommodation – Plenty of cheap places even in the big cities, $15 per day
Transport – The only thing where prices have seemed to be gone up, $10 per day
Sights – Major sights can really add up, limit how much you see per day, $10 per day