Traveling in your 20s is great. You are legally an adult, but in many cases, you don’t have “adult” responsibilities like kids or a mortgage yet. You have a strong sense of adventure and you have the energy to spend hour after hour exploring somewhere new.
Unfortunately, for many twenty-somethings, money is a problem. The “broke college student” stereotype exists for a reason and, for many, funds remain tight until they are well into their thirties.
The good news, though, is that there are plenty of places to visit without breaking the bank. No, we aren’t talking about planning an overnight jaunt to a neighboring city. Believe it or not, it is possible to travel the world on a tight budget. Here are a few of the best inexpensive cities to visit in your 20s.
Thailand is a popular destination among young travelers, and for good reason. There are plenty of amazing cities and attractions to visit and flights and accommodations are inexpensive. In fact, a luxury vacation in Thailand costs little more than the average cost of living in a major American city.
A trip to Thailand wouldn’t be complete without visiting Bangkok, but you should also spend some time island hopping. The Phi Phi Islands are home to breathtaking white sand beaches and the kind of crystal-clear water you’ve likely only seen in magazines and on postcards.
When planning European getaways, many people overlook Hungary and the city of Budapest. You can book a hotel at a relatively inexpensive rate in the city thanks to a recent building boom during which many unused apartments were converted into high-end accommodations. Public transportation is cheap, but the entire city is very walkable, too. Daily expenses are on the low end of the price spectrum, too, so you won’t have to worry about spending a fortune on things like food and other necessities.
With the best scuba diving in the world, pristine white sand beaches, world-class surfing and picturesque jungles, Indonesia is home to plenty of things that simply must be seen. It is also one of the most affordable places to visit in the world. One U.S. dollar will get you about 14,500 rupiah which means you can often book beautiful rooms for as little as $20 (American dollars) per night. Renting a motorbike costs just a few dollars per day, and exquisite meals will set you back a shockingly small amount.
One important thing to note: Indonesia has high taxes on alcohol. If you plan on drinking while you are on vacation, the cost of visiting Indonesia increases significantly.
India is one of the most unique destinations on Earth. And when you want to stretch your budget, it is also one of the cheapest. The Indian Rupee is currently trading at 70 rupees per dollar and it’s possible to book decent rooms for as little as a few dollars per night. Meals are cheap, too.
Traveling throughout the entire nation is cheap as well. Bus and train fare cost very little. In fact, you can travel from Mumbai to Kolkata–a 30-hour journey–by train for just $11.
If you are yearning for a Caribbean getaway, make Cuba your destination of choice. While there are plenty of all-inclusive travel options, traveling independently will save you a lot of money and allow you to enjoy a much better experience.
Cuba is home to beautiful beaches, delicious food and incredible landscapes that must be seen. As an American, you are free to travel to Cuba if you travel one of the allowed categories. In the past, many Americans traveled under the People to People category—this is no longer a valid category of travel. It can be a bit confusing, though, so be sure to do some research on how to travel to Cuba when planning your trip and know how to travel within the law.
Apart from a few areas that are not well-suited to tourists, Mexico is typically a safe place to visit. There are a lot of amazing destinations in Mexico, so whether you are in the mood for a beach vacation, want to explore inland areas or just want to travel around and experience the culture, there is something for everyone.
Avoid visiting Mexico between November and March and you will be able to get a great deal on flights and hotel accommodations. No matter when you visit, though, you will be blown away by the low cost of food and beverages. What’s not to love about paying $1 to have strong margaritas served to you on the beach?
How to Visit Your Dream Destination on a Budget
The countries listed above are well-known for being affordable travel destinations. If you want to visit a different country, though, there are still plenty of ways to save money. You can save on baggage fees by packing lightweight, inexpensive clothing that works well with multiple outfits. Plain t-shirts work well and can be styled multiple ways to suit any look you are going for. Accessories like hats, totes, etc. can also be purchased in bulk to save you money and ensure that you won’t be brokenhearted if something gets lost. If you end up buying clothing at your destination, you can feel okay leaving a few things to make room in your suitcase.
Start looking for flights and accommodations as far in advance as possible and consider traveling during the off-season. You can save yourself a bundle of cash by simply being flexible about when you go.
When you are traveling to an area where costs are low, you may be able to save more money by purchasing toiletries and other essentials after you arrive. Do some research before you leave to find out the most affordable option.
Traveling when you are in your 20s is a great way to see the world and learn more about yourself. There are plenty of inexpensive countries to visit, but always remember to make safety your top priority. Stick to visiting areas that are known to be safe tourist destinations and use common sense. Leave the valuables at home, be aware of your surroundings, etc. and you will be able to enjoy the trip of a lifetime without facing any unexpected disasters.