Need a vacation but have a tiny travel budget? Planing a trip on a student budget might not be as restricting as you thought. There are countries in the world where travel costs can be a fraction of what you would pay in other destinations. I did a little research based on cost of living and budget travel costs in certain countries and found some astoundingly cheap places to visit. There are also lots of cheap and free things to do in these countries.

My findings are broken out like this for each country:

  • Cheapest dorm bed at a decent hostel in the Countries capital. If staying outside the capital I am pretty sure you would find even cheaper.
  • Two trips on public transit a day (the counties average price).
  • One paid attraction a day based on prices in the countries capital.
  • Three cheap meals a day.
  • Three domestic beers a day.
  • Adding all for mentioned together for a total daily budget.

Here are 11 countries anyone can travel to on a college budget:

1. Colombia

Colombia- travel on a college budget

Photo via Flickr

Colombia has Caribbean coast, towering Andean mountains and mysterious Amazon jungle making it one of the most exotic and alluring countries in South America. Caribbean, Spanish and Indigenous cultures combine to create delicious cuisine, striking colonial architecture and the warmest, beautiful people. To make Colombia even more enticing, it can be as easy on the wallet as it is on the eyes. Colombia has a lot of cheap accommodation options and is loaded with free and cheap things to do.

Accommodation (hostel dorm bed) and attraction prices are based on prices in Cartagena and the rest is average pricing for Colombia.

  • Cheap accommodation- $11.77
  • Transportation- $1.62
  • Meals- $11.46
  • Drinks- $3.57
  • Attractions- $7.27
  • Daily budget- $35.69

2. Ecuador

Ecuador travel on a college budget

Photo via Flickr

Ecuador is Colonial architectural treasures, picturesque plazas and meandering cobbled streets. Coupled with misty Amazon rain forest, majestic volcanoes and you have all the makings of an adventurous fairy-tale. Whats even more surreal, travel to Ecuador can be quite cheap. Every city has many free and cheap things to do. Wander an open air market, they are free to visit and a great way to experience the culture in Ecuador or take a free walking tour and learn about the city you are visiting from a local guide.

Accommodation (hostel dorm bed) and attractions are based on prices in Quito and the rest is average cost of living in Ecuador.

  • Cheap accommodation- $10.75
  • Transportation- $0.50
  • Meals- $9
  • Drinks- $3
  • Attractions- $5.25
  • Daily budget- $28.50

3. Bolivia

Bolivia travel on a college budget

Photo via Flickr

Some say a little perplexing, rough around the edges even. Bolivia is unequivocally robust, complex and bewitching. One of the Earths best trekking countries, Bolivia offers towering peaks, swaths of dense jungle and sweeping forbidden expanses that beckon you even further into the wild. What this means is, Bolivia is unbelievable and one heck of a deal to explore. It is free or very cheap to visit most of Bolivia’s beautiful churches and Museums.Outdoor adventure activities abound in this intriguing country and are quite inexpensive as well.

Accommodation (hostel dorm bed) and attractions are based on prices in La Paz and the rest is average cost of living in Bolivia.

  • Cheap accommodation- $9.78
  • Transportation- $0.60
  • Meals- $6.51
  • Drinks- $4.51
  • Attractions- $1.93
  • Daily budget- $23.33

4. Nicaragua

Nicaragua travel on a college budget

Photos via Flickr

Smoldering Volcano Conception spills smoke over Lake Nicaragua and gives birth to one of the worlds most exciting views. Nicaragua’s Conception is fire from earth, wind over water telling the swirling, passionate tale of elemental importance in the countries tumultuous, distant past. It sounds intriguing doesn’t it? Good news is, it’s inexpensive too.

Accommodation (hotel) and attractions are based on prices in Managua and the rest is average cost of living in Nicaragua.

  • Cheap accommodation- $18
  • Transportation- $0.30
  • Meals- $15
  • Drinks- $3
  • Attractions- $7
  • Daily budget- $43.30

5. Costa Rica

Hike through the rain forest, zip line through the canopy. Enjoy gushing white water rapids and epic world class surfing. Hike lofty trails and behold smoldering volcanoes. Given its compact size, you can experience all of this in Costa Rica without breaking the bank.

Accommodation (hostel dorm bed) and attractions are based on prices in San Jose and the rest is average cost of living in Costa Rica.

  • Cheap accommodation- $12
  • Transportation- $1.48
  • Meals- $22.23
  • Drinks- $6
  • Attractions- $9.28
  • Daily budget- $50.99

6. Mexico

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Photo via Flickr

Mexico has it all; deserts spotted with juicy cactus, lush jungles teaming with exotic wildlife, white sand beaches and idyllic lagoons. Oh, and lets not forget all of the food that will make your taste buds rejoice. Mexico is a bonafide thriller for the senses. Not so much for the bank account.

Accommodation (hostel dorm bed) and attractions are based on prices in Mexico city and the rest is average cost of living in Mexico.

  • Cheap accommodation– $2
  • Transportation- $1.04
  • Meals- $13.26
  • Drinks- $4.41
  • Attractions- $6.32
  • Daily budget- $27.03

7. Romania

romania travel on a college budget

Photo via Flickr

Steeped in folk lore, Romania has all the trappings of a Grimms tale. There are heart-stopping castles perched ominously on jagged hilltops, villages that appear to have just stepped out of the middle ages and a small part of the population that still honestly believes in witchcraft. The stuff of fairy tales indeed.

Accommodation (hostel dorm bed) and attractions are based on prices in Bucharest and the rest is average cost of living in Romania.

  • Cheap accommodation- $12.85
  • Transportation- $1.12
  • Meals- $16.41
  • Drinks- $4.23
  • Attractions- $4.01
  • Daily budget- $38.62

8. Thailand

medium_301954879

Photo via Flickr

Thailand has culture, history, shining temples, outstanding food, tropical beaches and buzzing cities with bumping nightlife. There is something for every budget no mater how small in the land famous for it’s peoples enchanting smiles.

Accommodation (hostel dorm bed) and attractions are based on prices in Chang Mai and the rest is average cost of living in Thailand.

  • Cheap accommodation- $6.63
  • Transportation- $1.22
  • Meals- $5.01
  • Drinks- $5.49
  • Attractions- $3.34
  • Daily budget- $21.69

9. Albania

Albania travel on a college budget

Photo via Flickr

Europe is perceived to be expensive but some of its countries are great for travelers on a budget. Quite possibly Europe’s best kept secret, Albania is loaded with natural beauty, remarkable attractions and mountain villages seemingly frozen back in time (like the prices to visit this little gem).

Accommodation (hostel dorm bed) and attractions are based on prices in Tirana and the rest is average cost of living in Albania.

  • Cheap accommodation- $11.67
  • Transportation- $0.54
  • Meals- $18.66
  • Drinks- $3.72
  • Attractions- $6
  • Daily budget- $40.59

10. Sri Lanka

sri lanka travel on a college budget

Photo via Flickr

Ahh, Sri Lanka; Savory food, limitless stretches of beach, enduring relics. Best known for it’s tea, I was surprised to learn tiny Sri Lanka has 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Distances between things are short so it’s easy to get around cheaply. There is much to see, mountains, lush tea plantations,rain forest teaming with wild life and spectacular temples. Sri Lanka is alluringly beautiful, and affordable.

Accommodation (hostel dorm bed) and attractions are based on prices in Colombo and the rest is average cost of living in Sri Lanka.

  • Cheap accommodation- $16.02
  • Transportation- $0.46
  • Meals- $4.59
  • Drinks- $4.14
  • Attractions- $15
  • Daily budget- $40.21

11. Indonesia

indonesia travel on a college budget

photo via Flickr

Indonesia is a land of intrigue. Boasting thousands of islands, hundreds of languages, white sand beaches and simmering volcanoes. Indonesians staggering diversity equals one heck of a grand adventure. With so much to offer travelers there are many free and cheap things to do to experience the best of Indonesia.

Accommodation (hostel dorm bed) and attractions are based on prices in Jakarta and the rest is average cost of living in Indonesia.

  • Cheap accommodation- $17.22
  • Transportation- $.58
  • Meals- $6.12
  • Drinks- $6.12
  • Attractions- $1.02
  • Daily budget- $31.06

Booking plane tickets is another budget challenge. Airlines adjust prices regularly so check prices early and frequently. They can change pricing multiple times within a week so check daily until you find a price you like. The best pricing is generally seven weeks in advance. You are likely to pay more booking last minute or too far in advance.

Featured photo credit: Pedro Szekely via flickr.com

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