Traveling is one of the best things in life, and luckily, low funds don’t have to dash your dreams of enjoying an epic adventure. A wealth of destinations—both in the U.S. and abroad—are so affordable that even hardcore penny pinchers can visit without worrying about their wallets. So if you’re itching to get away, but don’t want to hit the reset button of your bank account, here are some of our picks for the best places to travel on a budget.
Vacay Spots Close to Home
You don’t have to journey far to experience an adventure. Leave your passport at home and check out these ultra-affordable hot spots around the country.
Blue Ridge Parkway, Virginia and North Carolina
Spanning nearly 500 miles through dozens of counties in Virginia and North Carolina, the country’s largest linear park includes more camp sites and trails than even intrepid outdoors enthusiasts could enjoy in a lifetime. And with lodging fees of less than $20 per day, you could stay nearly a week in the wilderness without breaking a Benjamin.
Umpqua Hot Springs, Oregon
With cheap gasoline, nearby campsites and an abundance of beauty in all directions, there are tons of reasons to escape to southern Oregon’s steamiest spot. Behold breathtaking views from Diamond Lake, or slip on a swimsuit and partake in any of the aquatic activities offered here. You can also seek a more purifying experience while you’re here. Umpqua’s treasured hot springs feature more than 80 minerals that can help you reach new heights of relaxation without hurting your wallet.
Kansas City, Missouri
Enjoy some of that city life on your vacay. Appearing atop many lists of America’s most affordable metropolises is this shining Midwestern star. The ridiculously cheap room rates are largely responsible for Kansas City’s status as one of the best places to travel on a budget, but the famous BBQ is pretty affordable, too. On the cultural front, there are plenty of free galleries and brewery tours, along with inexpensive museums to visit, making it easy for explorers to save their loot for souvenirs during the monthly free First Fridays art walk.
Overseas You Go
Escape your comfort zone and see what’s beyond the horizon. If you’ve got enough cash to cover the cost of airfare, you could stay in some of the best cheap places to travel abroad for practically nothing on a day-to-day basis.
Cheap food, epic adventures and notoriously affordable hostels make Nicaragua an incredible bargain. Adrenaline junkies will find no shortage of inexpensive activities to undertake, while cultural crusaders can get their fix with the innumerable museums and captivating cathedrals peppering the landscape. And since transportation here is crazy cheap, you can see more while spending less.
Curaçao is an alluring destination for travelers in any age bracket. The stunning beaches are among the biggest draws, but there are oodles of wallet-friendly water activities as well, including scuba trips to nearby shipwrecks. And in case the already-low cost of travel isn’t enticing enough, the recent explosion of affordable Airbnbs make a trip here even harder to turn down.
Crazy low price tags on food, rooms and just about everything for that matter is what attracts so many cost-conscious travelers to this oft-overlooked area. Montevideo is home to stunning beaches, exquisite restaurants and a vibrant nightlife scene that’s unlike anywhere else.
The Azores, Portugal
A European escape is at the top of most people’s travel lists, and it’s 100 percent possible to make that trip a reality on a budget. Portugal’s Azores islands feature lush landscapes that offer an impressive assortment of free activities. Hopping between the islands is easy and inexpensive, and the (cheap) local fare is just as Instagram-worthy as it is delicious.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Insanely affordable accommodations and food that costs next to nothing makes it easy to live like a local in Vietnam for less than $20 per day. Bus travel is by far the cheapest way to get around, and the fact that most of the attractions revolve around the region’s natural beauty means you won’t get bogged down paying admission fees.
Johannesburg and Cape Town, South Africa
Emerging in recent years as one of the cheapest countries to live in, South Africa is shockingly affordable to visit, including its most celebrated cities. Thanks to inexpensive meals and rock-bottom rates on transportation and lodging, both Johannesburg and Cape Town are among the world’s most budget-friendly metropolises. And since U.S. dollars go further than many Americans expect, it’s never been cheaper to retrace the steps of Nelson Mandela, embark on an authentic safari or simply soak up a cultural scene that many view as a modern-day renaissance.
Treat your honey to a romantic getaway that won’t wreak havoc on your finances. Heed the call of Bali’s black-sand beaches and bring your sweetheart to the shores of this Indonesian isle. Inexpensive room rates on the Island of the Gods make 2016 an ideal time to visit and will leave you with more money left over for watersports, wilderness retreats or whatever tickles your fancy.
You don’t need a ton of cash to get out there in the world and explore. By checking out affordable spots in the U.S. and abroad, you can get to know new places and cultures without going broke. And remember, if you need help with budgeting before or after your trip, you can count on the Mint app to make things easier. Worry less about your finances and more about how many souvenirs you can stuff in your backpack home.