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World’s Cheapest Destinations: India

No matter where you travel around the world, big cities and popular tourist attractions are likely to be expensive. But if you don’t mind skipping the lap of luxury, you can visit an exotic location for very little money.

The most expensive part of a trip to India is getting there. After that, costs are stunningly low. On average, a traveler’s daily expenses are lower than anywhere else in the world. A beer will cost about $1.25, a budget hotel room $10 or less, a meal $2 and a cup of tea literally pennies. With incredible scenery, history and culture, plus a wide variety of attractions, India is our top recommendation for travel on the cheap.

World’s Cheapest Destinations: Indonesia

If you’re willing to live as the locals do, Indonesia can be wonderfully inexpensive. A beer will cost you around $1.65, but you can eat for pennies by subsisting on the Indonesian staple: rice, grown in the nation’s lovely terraced rice fields, which often are tourist attractions in their own right. If you choose to go more of a gourmet route, a seafood dinner with drinks might cost as much as $10. Indonesia is a vast nation of more than 17,000 islands, so if you want to see much of it, you’ll likely get to know the ferry system, through which you can ride from Java to Kalimantan for just $18.

World’s Cheapest Destinations: Nepal

Travel costs are a little higher here than in neighboring India — you’ll pay approximately $2.14 for a beer — but seldom by much. You can find budget accommodations for less than $5, and the same amount will feed you for a day. If you’re here for the famed trekking and mountaineering experiences, long jaunts cost a pittance. You can trek without porters or guides on $7, but even an organized expedition — certainly recommended for the higher elevations — will set you back as little as $25/day.

World’s Cheapest Destinations: Mexico

Most Americans should stay away from the border areas, where drug-related violence has been on the rise. But tourists who choose to avoid the country altogether are missing out on great deals and inexpensive travel opportunities. Visit the safer areas, 100 miles or so south of the U.S. border, and for the cheapest trip, steer clear of resort towns. You’ll find beer for $1.50 and admission to archaeological sites for about $3, in addition to easy (and generally cheap) airline travel from the U.S.

World’s Cheapest Destinations: Argentina

The U.S. dollar has fallen against most of the world’s currencies since 2009. One of the very few places it hasn’t is Argentina, where American travelers will get close to four pesos to the dollar. You can get a beer here for $1.30 or a burger for around $3, while a steak dinner with a bottle of wine might set you back as much as $10. For a quintessentially Argentine experience that won’t break the bank, visit one of the estancias — historic, working ranches — where you can see traditional gauchos (Argentine cowboys) and taste local cuisine.

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