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20 Best Budget Travel Destinations I’d Go At Least Once In My Life

20 Best Budget Travel Destinations I’d Go At Least Once In My Life

If you’re planning your next travel adventure on a limited budget, there’s good news. Price of Travel recently published the Backpacker Index of 136 countries for 2016.

The index is based on the price for a group of things, per day, for each city. Included is a dorm bed at a good and low-cost hostel, three value-for-money meals, two public transportation rides, one paid cultural attraction and three cheap beers.

To ensure diversity in terms of countries represented, we have excluded countries that appear more than once in the top 20 of the index, selecting the next best option. Here are 20 best budget travel destinations based on July 20th, 2016 Exchange rates:

1. Krakow, Poland

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    Photo Credit: Marcin Grabski via Flickr

    Krakow is one of Europes most interesting and affordable cities.

    1. Average daily budget: $24.83
    2. Main attractions/things to do
    • Auschwitz, the biggest Nazi German labour and concentration camp
    • Wawel Castle – this former castle is now a museum.
    • Bunker of Modern Art – museum located in the center of town.
    • Free walking tours daily

    2. Kiev, Ukraine

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      1. Average daily budget: $21.73
      2. Main attractions/things to do
      • Chernobyl Museum
      • Kiev’s Metro Stations, a byproduct of the Soviet era
      • Kievo-Pecherska Lavra – this monastery is one of the top attractions

      3. Belgrade, Serbia

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        Photo Credit: Nikola Smolenski/Vlada Marinkovic via Wikipedia under Creative Commons
        1. Average daily budget: $27.03
        2. Main attractions/things to do
        • Kalemegdan – Belgrade Fortress – this citadel is a top tourist destination
        • Palace of Princess Ljubice
        • Nikola Tesla Museum dedicated towards the famous scientist and inventor.

        4. Hanoi, Vietnam

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          Photo Credit: Hanoi Tourism

          Whilst Hanoi – the capital of Viet Nam – is more traditional, with less to do than the bigger Saigon, the busy city center makes up for this.

          1. Average daily budget: $17.14
          2. Main attractions/things to do
          • Overnight trips to the famous Halong Bay.
          • Hoa Lo Prison – this is where John McCain spent time during the American/Vietnam War.
          • The Water Puppet Theatre is one of the top attractions.
          • Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum allows you to see this leaders preserved body as you walk through the tomb.

          5. Goa, India

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            Photo Credit: Lonely Planet

            Beaches and bars. Need one say more.

            1. Average daily budget: $18.42
            2. Main attractions/things to do
            • Paradiso Club in Anjuna – this is a famous disco in the area.
            • Beaches – take time to unwind on the many beaches in the area.

            6. Chiang Mai, Thailand

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              Photo Credit: Panupong Roopyai via Wikimedia Commons

              After Bangkok, Chiang Mai is the second largest and second most popular cultural city.

              1. Average daily budget: $19.07
              2. Main attractions/things to do
              • Chiang Mai National Museum
              • Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders
              • Wat Phrathat Doi Suthep – this temple overlooks the city from the top of the mountain. There is a cable car which can take you up the last stretch.

              7. Vientiane, Lao People’s Republic Democratic Republic

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                Photo Credit: Remy Rossi via DHTRAVEL
                1. Average daily budget: $20.00
                2. Main attractions/things to do
                • Lao National Museum – this is the countries largest and most comprehensive museum.
                • Patuxai (Victory Gate) – staircases through several gift shops guide you to majestic views.
                • Wat Si Saket/Sisaket Museum – known for the hundreds of small buddha statues.

                8. Quito, Ecuador

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                  Photo Credit: Deviantart

                  Quito has spring-like weather all year round. This combined with high altitude gives it an exotic feel. Is is often the starting point of those who wish to venture to the Galapagos Islands.

                  1. Average daily budget: $22.20
                  2. Main attractions/things to do
                  • Teleferico cable car – provides stunning views of the city.
                  • Museo del Banco Central is the main museum, offering a mix of history and art.

                  9. Cairo, Egypt

                  the-sphinx-at-gizacairo-in-egypt-with-the-pyramid-of-chephren-khafre-in-the-background
                    Photo Credit: Domonik Golenia via FW
                    1. Average daily budget: $23.03
                    2. Main attractions/things to do
                    • Great Pyramids & Sphinx
                    • Great Pyramid of Khufu – the largest of the pyramids
                    • Mummy exhibit – contained within the museum, this is a separate fee
                    • Ride a camel
                    • Egyptian Museum

                    10. Colombo, Sri-Lanka

                    Sunset in Colombo
                      1. Average daily budget: $23.13
                      2. Main attractions/things to do
                      • Colombo Zoological Gardens

                      11. Phnom Phen, Cambodia

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                        Photo Credit: brendansadventures.com
                        1. Average daily budget: $23.75
                        2. Main attractions/things to do
                        • Royal Palace/Silver Pagoda – the main palace of the country.
                        • Killing Fields of Choeung Ek – the memorial is to be found 20 min outside town. A must visit.
                        • Wat Phnom – this is where the city gets its name from. This temple is the most impressive and is found on a mountain overlooking the town.

                        12. Bucharest, Romania

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                          Photo Credit: fusion-of-horizons via Flickr

                          Bucharest is one of Europes cheaper larger cities.

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                          1. Average daily budget: $23.94
                          2. Main attractions/things to do
                          • Parliament Palace – this Soviet-era structure is the second largest building in the world.
                          • Museum of the Romanian Peasant – immensely popular.

                          13. Manila, Philippines

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                            Photo Credit: travel-oriented via Flickr

                            Manila is becoming increasingly popular among cultural travelers. And there is no shortage of things to do.

                            1. Average daily budget: $24.68
                            2. Main attractions/things to do
                            • National Museum of the Philippines – displays of the history and the contemporary culture are too be found.
                            • Ayala Museum – special exhibitions are often showcased here.

                            14. Sofia, Bulgaria

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                              Photo Credit: Lauras Eye via Flickr

                              Sofia is not a destination that many would of mentioned in the past, but this is changing rapidly as people explore post-soviet life and the history and culture of the city.

                              1. Average daily budget: $25.99
                              2. Main attractions/things to do
                              • Walking tour of Sofia or bicycle tour – guided tour of the city to see the main sights
                              • St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral museum – it is free to enter the orthodox cathedral, but there is a charge for entering the crypt.

                              15. Pokhara, Nepal

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                                Photo Credit: Sharada Prasad CS via Flickr

                                Pokhara – the capital of Nepal – is often one of the first stops after arriving in Kathmandu and also the city with the most bang for your buck.

                                1. Average daily budget: $15.75
                                2. Main attractions/things to do
                                • Devis Falls – popular waterfall. Don’t bother during winter as the waterfall is merely a trickle.
                                • Trekking – can add to the cost, but do some research and shop around. The Annapurna circuit is popular.
                                • Huge choice of restaurants and bars serving a selection of food from around the world.

                                16. Jakarta, Indonesia

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                                  Photo Credit: Mikael07 via Wikimedia Commons

                                  Jakarta is the main hub for accessing almost anywhere in Indonesia

                                  1. Average daily budget: $26.81
                                  2. Main attractions/things to do
                                  • Monas (National Monument) – Whilst the monument itself receives mixed reviews, the top of the tower offers the best views.

                                  17. Yangon, Myanmar

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                                    Photo Credit: Ralf-André Lettau via Wikimedia Commons
                                    1. Average daily budget: $26.96
                                    2. Main attractions/things to do
                                    • Shwedagon Pagoda – this is the most important religious site in the country and should be on top of your list.

                                    18. Mexico City, Mexico

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                                      Photo Credit: Blok 7 via Flickr
                                      1. Average daily budget: $27.10
                                      2. Main attractions/things to do
                                      • Sightseeing bus tour – a tour that gives you hop-on, hop-off privileges
                                      • Chapultepec Castle – provides stunning city views
                                      • National Museum of Anthropology – visit the acclaimed museum.

                                      19. Fez, Morocco

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                                        Photo Credit: Nick M via Flickr
                                        1. Average daily budget: $27.13
                                        2. Main attractions/things to do
                                        • Shopping
                                        • Wander the complicated Medinas with a guide (recommended)

                                        Cities excluded to allow for diversity of locations:
                                        Saigon (Viet Nam), Kathmandu (Nepal), Luang Prabang (Lao People’s Democratic Republic), Delhi (India), Mumbai (India), Bangkok (Thailand), Hoi An (Viet Nam)

                                        20. La Paz, Bolivia

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                                          La Paz has extreme altitude and a climate that never changes. It is regarded as one of the most unique cities in the world.

                                          1. Average daily budget: $25.26
                                          2. Main attractions/things to do
                                          • Coca Museum – the cocaine trade is discussed.
                                          • Museum San Francisco – Bolivias historical artifacts can be found here.

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                                          Last Updated on June 18, 2018

                                          What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

                                          What Really Works: How to Relieve Lower Back Pain Effectively

                                          Eight out of ten adults experience lower back pain once in their lifetime. I am one of those people and I’m definitely not looking forward to my participation award. I know how it feels like to step out of bed and barely being able to put on your socks. Having lower back pain sucks. But 9 out of 10 patients that suffer from lower back pain don’t even know the primary cause of it.

                                          Video Summary

                                          Back Pain? Blame Our Evolution

                                          Once upon a time in our fairly recent past, our ancestors felt the urgency to stand up and leave our quadruped neighbors behind. Habitual bipedalism, fancy word for regularly walking on two legs, came with a lot of advantages. With two rear limbs instead of four, we were able to more efficiently use our hands and create tools with them.

                                          Sadly, life on two legs also brought along its disadvantages. Our spine had four supporting pillars previously, but now it only got two. The back is therefore naturally one of the weak links of our human anatomy. Our spine needs constant support from its supporting muscles to minimize the load on the spine. With no muscle support (tested on dead bodies) the back can only bear loads up to 5 pounds without collapsing [reference Panjabi 1989]. With well-developed torso muscles, the spine can take loads up to 2000 pounds. That’s a 400-fold increase.

                                          Most people that come to me with a history of a herniated disc (that’s when the discs between the vertebral bodies are fully collapsed, really severe incident), tell me the ‘story of the pencil’. The injury with the following severe pain usually gets triggered by picking up a small, everyday object. Such as a pencil. Not as you may think by trying to lift 100 pounds – no, but by a simple thing – such as a pencil.

                                          This tells us that damage in your back adds up over time, it’s a so called cumulative trauma disorder. Meaning back pain is a result of your daily habits.

                                          Sitting Is the New Smoking

                                          Whenever I sit for too long, my back hurts. In fact, 54% of Americans who experience lower back pain spend the majority of their workday sitting. But isn’t sitting something that should reduce the stress of your back? No, just the opposite.

                                          The joints between the bones of the spine are not directly linked to the blood supply. These joints instead get nourished through a process called diffusion. Diffusion works because molecules (such as oxygen, important for cells) are constantly moving and try to get as much space for themselves as they can. A key element for diffusion therefore is a pressure difference. In the image below the left room contains more moving molecules than the right, that’s why the molecules from the left are moving to the right. This way nutrition gets transformed into the joints, whereas toxins are transported out of the joints.

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                                          Sitting puts a lot of pressure on your spinal chord. The diffusion process therefore can’t function as efficiently. Nutrition and toxins can’t be properly transported, the joints get damaged.

                                            Sit Properly

                                            If sitting can play such a huge part in the creation of your lower back pain, how do you sit properly then?

                                            Is it better to sit with a straight back or should you rather lay back in your chair? Can I cross my legs when I’m sitting or should I have a symmetrical position with my feet? These are questions that I hear on a daily basis. The answer might shock you – according to recent science – all of them are right. The best sitting position is an ever-changing one. An ever-changing position minimizes the pressure on certain points of your spine and spreads it on the whole part.

                                              Credit: StayWow

                                              Stand Up More

                                              Even better than a sitting position is a stand up position. Standing dramatically reduces the pressure on your spine. If you’re forced to work on a desk the whole day though, you have two options.

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                                              Take breaks every hour of about 2-3 minutes.

                                              Set an alarm on your phone that goes off every hour! In that time you stand up and reach to the ceiling, on your toe tips with fully extended arms. You’re inhaling during the whole process. You do this activity for 20 seconds. Afterwards you’re walking through the office for the next 2 minutes. You might grab a healthy snack or some water in that time. The exercise relieves the pressure on your spine, while the walking makes sure that the joints on your spine are properly used.

                                              Or get a standing desk.

                                              One of the best companies on the market for Standing Desks, according to my research, is Autonomous. Autonomous offers a rather cheap Standing Desk, with the ability to change the height. Which means you can start the day standing and switch to sitting if you’re tired.

                                              Exercise for Lower Back Pain

                                              Sitting is an immobile position. Your joints are made for movement and therefore need movement to function properly. If humans are moving, all moving parts: e.g. the joints, bones and muscles get strengthened. If you’re in a rested position for too long, your tissues start to deteriorate. You have to get the right amount of activity in.

                                              But not too much activity. There’s a chance that going to the gym may even increase your risk of lower back pain. I know plenty of friends with chiseled bodies that suffer from pain in the spine regularly. Huge muscles do not prevent you from back pain. In your training you should focus on building up the muscles that are stabilizing your back and relieve pressure. Squats with 400 pounds don’t do the trick.

                                              The more weight you carry around, the more weight your spinal chord has to bear on a regular basis. That’s one of the reasons why huge, muscular guys can suffer from back pain too. One of the most important goals of your exercise regimen should therefore be weight loss.

                                              Here are some important tips for you to consider when starting an exercise regimen:

                                              Make sure you implement cardiovascular training in your workout routine.

                                              This will not only help you lose weight, it will also make sure that your arteries, which flow to the tissue next to your spinal discs, are free of placque and can therefore transport nutrients properly.

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                                              Important: If you have rather strong back pain, maybe even an herniated disc, don’t start running on a threadmill. Running is an high-impact exercise. Which means there are continuous, reocurring high pressure points on your spine. Your endurance training should therefore either be fast-paced walking or a training on the elliptical trainer for the beginning, because both have little to no stressful impact on your backbone.

                                              Focus on developing your whole core if you want to minimize your pain.

                                              There are some people that do hundreds of sit ups a day. While sit ups are a good exercise for your abdomen, it also puts pressure on your spine due to the bending movement. A sixpack workout routine is one-sided. Your abs may become overdeveloped in comparison to your back muscles. You’ve created an imbalance. A great way to train your abdominal muscles and back muscles simultaneously, is holding the plank position.

                                              Stretch only if you have tight muscles.

                                              I remember stretching every morning after I woke up. I took 10 minutes out of my day to just work on my flexibility and prevent injuries. Little did I know that I was actually promoting an injury, by doing so.

                                              Contrary to common belief, stretching is only partially beneficial to treating lower back pain. Stretching makes sense if tight muscles (such as the hamstrings) are forcing you to constantly bend your back. Stretching to treat pain doesn’t make sense if you’re already on a good level of flexibility. Hyper-mobility may even enforce back pain.

                                              If you found out that you had tight muscles that you need to stretch, try to stretch them at least three times a week. Don’t stretch your muscles right after you wake up in the morning. This is because your spinal discs soak themselves up in fluid over the nighttime. Every bending and excessive loads on your spine is much worse in that soaked-up state. Postpone your stretching regime to two-to three hours after you’ve woken up.

                                              Where to Start

                                              The key to improving your habits is awareness. Try to get aware of your back while you’re sitting down, laying down or lifting an object next time. This awareness of your body is called proprioception. For example, you have to be aware whether your back is bended or straight in this very second. Trust me, it is harder than you might think. You may need to ask a friend for the first few tries. But the change that this awareness can make in your back pain is absolutely fascinating. This consciousness of your body is one of the most important things in your recovery or prevention.

                                              Here are a few behavioural tactics that you need to be considering:

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                                              If you’re leaning forward more than 30 degrees with your upper body, support your spine with your arms.

                                              Ever tried to show a colleague of yours a complex issue and found yourself awkwardly leaning forward on their desk, pointing with your fingers to his paper? If that ever happens again, make sure you’re using the not-pointing arm to support yourself on the desk.

                                              Keep a straight back.

                                              Be it while exercising, stretching or standing. If you’re bending your back you’re putting stress on small areas of your spinal chord. A straight back redistributes the force to a bigger area. You’re minimizing the pressure. Remember this whenever you’re at the gym and reracking your weights, focus on having a neutral spine.

                                              Put symmetrical loads on your spine.

                                              I used to play the trumpet when I was a child. The instrument is pretty heavy. The trumpet gets transported in a big, metallic suitcase – with no wheels. Being the nature of suitcases, you only carry it with one arm, on one side of your body. This forced me to constantly lean on the other side with my upper body, while transporting the instrument from A to B. Not really the healthiest activity for your spine as you can imagine.

                                              If you have to carry heavy objects, carry them with both arms. Put the object in the middle of your body and keep it as close to your mass of gravity as you can. If this is not possible, try to carry the same amount on the left side than you do on the right side. This puts the stress vertically on a fully extended spine. The load is much better bearable for your spine.

                                              Stay Away From the Back Pain League

                                              Our world is getting more sedentary. We will continue to develop faster transportation, more comfortable houses and easier lives. While our technological progress definitely has its amazing benefits, it sadly has its downsides too. The danger for back pain will continue to rise on our ever-increasing motionless planet. It’s time to raise awareness.

                                              Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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