You want to travel but you are hesitant because you don’t think you can do it on a budget. There are many awesome countries you can visit that happen to budget-friendly as well. I have been fortunate enough to live in Europe for the better part of eight years, and in that time I have traveled much of the continent. While many countries in Europe are expensive there are some that are reasonably priced. Most of this list will focus on Europe because I don’t think people realize how cheap you can travel throughout Europe especially if you do away with the hotels and stay in hostels.
The economic crisis has turned off some travelers from visiting but plenty of people are taking advantage of Greece’s scenic landscape and economical fares. Visit all the ancient ruins in Athens (there are a lot of them) for only $15. Enjoy specialty foods such as souvlaki and Greek salad or indulge in an Ouzo or Tsipouro drink. As a budget traveler, I lived off chicken souvlaki and Greek salad the entire week I was there. The food was delicious and the prices were hard to beat. Plus, you can view one of the most amazing sunsets in Santorini for free!
What’s unique about visiting Turkey is that it’s one of the only transcontinental countries or country that is in two continents. So you can visit Istanbul or another city within the European mainland and then take a ferry ride across the Bosphorus or Dardanelles strait into Asiatic Turkey, otherwise known as Anatolia or Asia Minor. I was stoked when I arrived in Istanbul to experience the variety of cultures and religions that make up this beautiful city. I was equally thrilled when I found out all I had to do was hop on a ferry boat for about an hour and I would be in the Asian part of this serene country. The best part was how inexpensive it was to explore history. Additionally, a kebab made with chicken or lamb meat is only going to cost you $1 or $2. A simit, a kind of Turkish bread usually eaten for breakfast, is even cheaper and my personal favorite, lahmacun or Turkish pizza, is very reasonably priced.
A short plane ride from Western Europe will land you in this incredible country. I didn’t know what to expect when I visited this African nation but I was happily satisfied with my experience. Unlike in Istanbul, visiting the local mosques is not possible for non-Muslims besides a couple exceptions. Regardless, there is a lot to see in this country, and in most cases it is free of charge or very inexpensive. There are two-day Sahara desert tours that leave from Fez and Marrakech that are as cheap as $65 per person. If I would have had more time there I would have definitely taken advantage of this.
I put on Hungary on this list for the simple fact that I am biased towards Budapest. I have not traveled much outside of Budapest, but I was immediately drawn to this city, and I didn’t want to leave. The vibe of the city is enticing and inviting at the same time. Everything was cheap there from the food to the beer; especially the beer. $2 for a 24-ounce beer is a heck of a deal. It is easy to get around the city on foot or by public transportation. I would stray away from taxi drivers because they tend to gouge tourists. I would suggest that a budget traveler visit one of the local spa baths. The prices vary depending on the spa but reasonably-priced ones will cost you about $10.
Germany is a huge country with lots to see. Unfortunately, it gets a bad rap for being too expensive for the budget traveler. I think most of this stems from some of the major attractions in the bigger cities in the country. But even some of the most popular German attractions are economical to experience. For example, Brandenburg Gate (Brandenburger Tor) which separated East Berlin from West Berlin during the time of the Berlin Wall is free of charge. You simply walk up the stairs from the underground station and there it is.
The point is — don’t sleep on Germany as a place to travel to on a budget. There are many convenient and cheap restaurants or food places to buy famous German specialties. Beer is very cheap as well probably because Germans love their beer and they want to share it with as many people as possible. Train travel within the country is relatively cheap especially if you do your homework early and order tickets as soon as you know where you are travelling.
I haven’t spent a lot of time in this beautiful country but I was really impressed with what I saw. I was especially excited about how cheap it was to eat and drink. I spent most of my time in the capital city of Zagreb. There is a lot of history to go along with an amazing culinary culture. If you go to Zagreb or anywhere else in Croatia you have to try some cepavici, a traditional meat dish. Travelling to Split and other spots near the Adriatic Sea are reasonable and worthwhile. Dubrovnik is very nice as well but be careful of the prices there because it is not so budget-friendly.
I have been fortunate enough to visit Tallinn, Estonia’s capital and largest city, on a few occasions. I love Northern Europe and would suggest that anyone visit these lands if they have the time and the money. Visiting Estonia is much cheaper than other countries in Northern Europe. There is a significant Russian influence, reminiscent of its time as a member of the Soviet Union. But I found this influence to be interesting and not predominant. Eating out and enjoying the night life are very reasonable as long as you stray away from the tourist stops right in the center of town. There are some really cool medieval castles that are worth seeing as a budget traveler.
Italy has so many places to see, and like Germany, the pricing of the country can vary depending on which places you visit. Yet, you can definitely travel to Italy on a budget. Even an expensive tourist city such as Venice and Rome can be visited by a budget traveler. It goes without saying that Italian food is delicious but it is also reasonable as well. You haven’t truly eaten pizza until you eat in Italy. Take advantage of the differences in the northern and southern cuisines. If you are into beach life than Italy is a great place to visit. Italians know how to enjoy their beaches and the best part is that they are free.
Simple ways to save money in Spain include opting for buses and metro stations as opposed to trains. It is not always the easiest way to get around but it will save you a lot of money, plus you get to really absorb yourself into the Spanish culture. Also, focus your meals on breakfast and lunch because typically these meals are much cheaper than dinner. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have dinner, rather that you should make sure you eat much bigger breakfasts and lunches. Bigger cities like Barcelona and Madrid are great spots to visit but there are also many smaller cities like Malaga and Marbella that are nice as well.
I have yet to visit but I hear this place is a hidden gem for budget traveling. I look forward to visiting the capital city Sofia or perhaps enjoying one of the cheaply-priced boat cruises.
You can travel almost anywhere on a budget. It takes a lot of planning and a sense of adventure. If you are willing to stay in hostels and explore places on your own, sans tour guide, than you can travel cheaply. You can still enjoy the local fair without spending an arm and a leg in expensive restaurants.
Featured photo credit: Topwalls via topwalls.net