Tips Before You Go
Don’t forget to sign-up for fare-drop alerts, error rate alerts, and deals on Airfare Watchdog, Fare Compare and SkyScanner. Also, try to be as flexible as possible with your travel dates, if you don’t need to vacation during a certain month. This can help you save with the “getting there” part. Additionally, if you don't necessarily nead "all the comforts of home", consider alternative accommodations like Air BnB and hostels, it's really where your going to get a lot of bang-for-your-buck.
Known for incredible street food, gorgeous beaches, and wonderfully hospitable people, Thailand has been a haven for backpackers, beach lovers, and Tony Bourdain disciples for years, and if you’re looking for bang-for-your-buck, this Southeast Asian country should definitely be on the top of your list. Whether you’re looking to post up at a screen-saver-worthy beach for a week on one of Thailand’s many incredible islands or explore the cities, culture, and mountains in the North, it’s a bargain hunter’s paradise. A guesthouse or hostel can cost as little as $10 a bed a night, if you don’t mind sharing some space with other guests. Even a stay at a 4-star hotel can range set you back only $40-$60 a night. Food is especially cheap if you stick to street fare, and even budgeting around $10-15 a day will have you eating like a king.
Ecuador is truly a goldmine for the budget traveler seeking an adventure. There are a ton of day trips for outdoor activities that are under $100 in the South American nation, including exploring mountains and waterfalls and hiking volcanoes. Ecuador also has incredible beaches on it’s Pacific-facing coast that aren’t overrun with tourists. For low-end accommodation, a shared room at a hostel in Ecuador’s capital, Quito, you can expect to spend about $10-12 a bed a night. If you’re looking for something large and more private, entire apartments available on Airbnbs for as little as $30. To save on food, try to hit up food stalls or explore one of the many central markets. In addition to scoring fresh produce, there are often food vendors cooking up all manner of delicious things, right inside the markets.
Costa Rica is a paradise for anyone who enjoys being on the water; it’s like a rite of passage for surfers to make a pilgrimage here. And who can blame them when there are hundreds of beaches, really great food, and appealing travel costs? It's really what the locals mean when they talk about "Pura Vida". Puerto Viejo on the Caribbean Coast offers room options starting as low as $7 a bed a night in a hostel, so it shouldn’t surprise you that you can find 3 or 4-star hotel for around $60-70 a night. In general, food in Costa Rica won’t cost you more than $3-8 a meal, depending on where you eat, but it’s best to stay out of tourist-heavy areas. As with the other countries on this list, street food is your best bet and you’ll be rewarded for your efforts in scouting out fresh fish, tacos, ceviche, and more.
Visiting Cambodia will help you get a lot of bang for your buck. Like Thailand, it’s a favorite spot of backpackers, who are known to travel cheap and light. Even if you’re not about the backpacking life, go for the rich history, gorgeous architecture, amazing temples, and rural charm that won’t leave your wallet feeling light. Cambodia is definitely for the adventurous at heart and now’s the chance to experience this still relatively undiscovered country. Even in tourist magnet Phnom Penh you can get 4-star accommodations for as low as $40, and Airbnbs for entire homes are priced around the same. Food is ridiculously cheap on the street at $1-2 per meal and much like Thailand, central markets and low-key establishments will blow your mind.