Thrifty Travel: 9 World-Class Getaways Under $500

Want to travel internationally without putting your savings account at risk? Check out these 9 awesome countries that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. 

Don’t Give Up Your Travel Dreams

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With record-high inflation and rising costs of living in the last few years, it’s understandable that many want to put their international travels on the back burner. But you don’t have to give up your travel dreams completely.

Travel Smart for Less

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Traveling on a shoestring budget is entirely possible, you just have to make a few informed choices and pre-plan your trip with care.

What to Look For

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You want to choose a country with a relatively low cost of living and where the cost of return flights is affordable.

You should also prioritize travel during shoulder or off-seasons, and take into account any potential visa and/or travel vaccination costs. 

16 Locations For Budget Travel

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There are a number of countries with thriving tourist industries that are also affordable for U.S. travelers. Here are 16 of the best destinations to visit if you’re traveling on a tight budget.

#1. Mexico

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Since it’s right next door to the U.S., Mexico is an ideal location for affordable flights and a much lower cost of living.

July and August are the cheapest times to visit and enjoy amazing food, history, culture, and beaches. 

#2. Guatemala

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Another great destination for cheaper U.S. flights is Guatemala, known for its thriving Mayan culture, geographic diversity, and adventurous outdoor activities.

$1000 will be more than enough for a comfortable 2-week trip here, flights not included. 

#3. Nicaragua

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Continue south to Nicaragua, which has long been one of the cheapest travel destinations in Latin America, with world-class surfing, hiking, and more.

Costs are similar to Guatemala – $1000 is more than enough for two weeks, but you can spend significantly less if you budget carefully. 

#4. Colombia

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Costs for travel in Colombia can vary widely – from less than $500 for 2 weeks on a backpacker’s budget up to several thousand for luxury travel.

The choice is yours! Be aware that despite its affordability and continuing popularity, crime rates have increased notably since the Covid-19 pandemic began. 

#5. Peru

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Breathtaking ancient ruins, stunning scenery, and rich indigenous culture abound in Peru.

You’ll find hotels and hostels here for as little as $10 per night, and your biggest expense will probably be entry fees to the many national parks and heritage sites.

#6. Albania

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Let’s cross continents to Albania, one of Europe’s cheapest tourist destinations. This Balkan country is very underrated in the U.S., offering gorgeous coastlines, dreamy mountain towns, and medieval castles for as little as $1000 USD for 2 weeks of solo travel.

#7. Bulgaria 

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Further east you’ll find Bulgaria, a haven for architecture lovers where nature, history, and art blend together. It is similar in price to Albania and other affordable countries in the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

#8. Bosnia & Herzegovina

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Many people find Bosnia & Herzegovina to be exceptionally affordable compared to most of Europe, making it a must for budget travelers.

It has a slower and more rural atmosphere, with charming medieval villages and beautiful lakes, rivers, and mountain ranges. 

#9. Romania

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Travel to Dracula’s castle and ancient monasteries, or hike through the Carpathians while you visit Romania, a country bursting with fascinating history and historical sites.

Travelers on a budget should expect to pay around $1200 for a two-week holiday here. 

#10. Georgia 

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Vastly underrated by American travelers, Georgia is a hidden gem both for its affordability and attractions.

$1000 will be enough for a luxury two-week trip here, all the way down to just $500 for a budget holiday. 

#11. Turkey

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With its rich history, mouthwatering cuisine, and extraordinary natural and cultural sites, traveling to Turkey is a dream for many.

A 2-week trip here should only set you back around $1200 if you’re on a tight budget, and travel is cheapest in September and October. 

#12. Vietnam

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Vietnam is truly a miracle for travelers, being one of the cheapest and best travel destinations in the world.

You can comfortably explore vibrant cities, scenic countryside, and UNESCO World Heritage Sites for just $50 a day, or even less if you really want to tighten your purse strings. 

#13. The Philippines

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Slow beach days and busy city life are open to you in the Philippines, a country known for its welcoming people and gorgeous islands.

Though it isn’t as cheap as Vietnam, you can also travel well here for less than $1000 for two weeks. 

#14. Sri Lanka

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Jaw-dropping ancient Buddhist sites, exotic flora and fauna, and the best surfing beaches in Asia can all be found in Sri Lanka.

Prices on this exotic island nation can fluctuate but are generally very affordable, and $50-60 a day will be enough for budget travel.

#15. Thailand

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While travel prices have risen considerably in the last few years, Thailand is still an eminently affordable country for tourists.

Relax on the beach, party in Bangkok, and visit stunning temples and cultural sites for around $70 a day, give or take.

#16. Indonesia

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Head south to Indonesia, where you’ll find Buddhist islands, ancient rainforests, impressive mosques, and modern cities all in one country.

Remember that while Indonesia is generally very affordable, prices vary widely depending on where you travel – for example, a comfortable holiday in Bali will be much more expensive than a trip to Sumatra or Borneo.

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The post Thrifty Travel: 9 World-Class Getaways Under $500 first appeared on Thrift My Life.

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The content of this article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute or replace professional financial advice.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.