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11 Amazing Countries Anyone Can Travel To On A College Budget

11 Amazing Countries Anyone Can Travel To On A College Budget

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.

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      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.

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          • 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

          medium_8563067756
            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.

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              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.

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                  • 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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                      Last Updated on September 2, 2020

                      How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                      How to Set Financial Goals and Actually Meet Them

                      Personal finances can push anyone to the point of extreme anxiety and worry. Easier said than done, planning finances is not an egg meant for everyone’s basket. That’s why most of us are often living pay check to pay check. But did anyone tell you that it is actually not a tough task to meet your financial goals?

                      In this article, we will explore ways to set financial goals and actually meet them with ease.

                      4 Steps to Setting Financial Goals

                      Though setting financial goals might seem to be a daunting task, if one has the will and clarity of thought, it is rather easy. Try using these steps to get you started.

                      1. Be Clear About the Objectives

                      Any goal without a clear objective is nothing more than a pipe dream, and this couldn’t be more true for financial matters.

                      It is often said that savings is nothing but deferred consumption. Therefore, if you are saving today, then you should be crystal clear about what it’s for. It could be anything, including your child’s education, retirement, marriage, that dream vacation, fancy car, etc.

                      Once the objective is clear, put a monetary value to that objective and the time frame. The important point at this step of goal setting is to list all the objectives that you foresee in the future and put a value to each.

                      2. Keep Goals Realistic

                      It’s good to be an optimistic person but being a Pollyanna is not desirable. Similarly, while it might be a good thing to keep your financial goals a bit aggressive, going beyond what you can realistically achieve will definitely hurt your chances of making meaningful progress.

                      It’s important that you keep your goals realistic, as it will help you stay the course and keep you motivated throughout the journey.

                      3. Account for Inflation

                      Ronald Reagan once said: “Inflation is as violent as a mugger, as frightening as an armed robber and as deadly as a hitman.” This quote sums up what inflation could do your financial goals.

                      Therefore, account for inflation[1] whenever you are putting a monetary value to a financial objective that is far into the future.

                      For example, if one of your financial goal is your son’s college education, which is 15 years from now, then inflation would increase the monetary burden by more than 50% if inflation is a mere 3%. Always account for this to avoid falling short of your goals.

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                      4. Short Term Vs Long Term

                      Just like every calorie is not the same, the approach to achieving every financial goal will not be the same. It’s important to bifurcate goals into short-term and long-term.

                      As a rule of thumb, any financial goal that is due in next 3 years should be termed as a short-term goal. Any longer duration goals are to be classified as long-term goals. This bifurcation of goals into short-term vs long-term will help in choosing the right investment instrument to achieve them.

                      By now, you should be ready with your list of financial goals. Now, it’s time to go all out and achieve them.

                      How to Achieve Your Financial Goals

                      Whenever we talk about chasing any financial goal, it is usually a two-step process:

                      • Ensuring healthy savings
                      • Making smart investments

                      You will need to save enough and invest those savings wisely so that they grow over a period of time to help you achieve goals.

                      Ensuring Healthy Savings

                      Self-realization is the best form of realization, and unless you decide what your current financial position is, you aren’t heading anywhere.

                      This is the focal point from where you start your journey of achieving financial goals.

                      1. Track Expenses

                      The first and the foremost thing to be done is to track your spending. Use any of the expense tracking mobile apps to record your expenses. Once you start doing it diligently, you will be surprised by how small expenses add up to a sizable amount.

                      Also categorize those expenses into different buckets so that you know which bucket is eating most of your pay check. This record keeping will pave the way for cutting down on un-wanted expenses and pumping up your savings rate.

                      If you’re not sure where to start when tracking expenses, this article may be able to help.

                      2. Pay Yourself First

                      Generally, savings come after all the expenses have been taken care of. This is a classic mistake when setting financial goals. We pay ourselves last!

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                      Ideally, this should be planned upside down. We should be paying ourselves first and then to the world, i.e. we should be taking out the planned saving amount first and manage all the expenses from the rest.

                      The best way to actually implement this is to put the savings on automatic mode, i.e. money flowing automatically into different financial instruments (mutual funds, retirement accounts, etc) every month.

                      Taking the automatic route will help release some control and compel us to manage what’s left, increasing the savings rate.

                      3. Make a Plan and Vow to Stick With It

                      Learning to create a budget is the best way to get around the uncertainty that financial plans always pose. Decide in advance how spending has to be organized

                      Nowadays, several money management apps can help you do this automatically.

                      At first, you may not be able to stick to your plans completely, but don’t let that become a reason why you stop budgeting entirely.

                      Make use of technology solutions you like. Explore options and alternatives that let you make use of the available wallet options, and choose the one that suits you the most. In time, you will get accustomed to making use of these solutions.

                      You will find that they make it simpler for you to follow your plan, which would have been difficult otherwise.

                      4. Make Savings a Habit and Not a Goal

                      In the book Nudge, authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein advocate that, in order to achieve any goal, it should be broken down into habits since habits are more intuitive for people to adapt to.

                      Make savings a habit rather than a goal. While it might seem to be counterintuitive to many, there are some deft ways of doing it. For example:

                      • Always eat out (if at all) during weekdays rather than weekends. Weekends are more expensive.
                      • If you are a travel buff, try to travel during off-season. You’ll spend significantly less.
                      • If you go shopping, always look out for coupons and see where can you get the best deal.

                      The key point is to imbibe the action that results in savings rather than on the savings itself, which is the outcome. Focusing on the outcome will bring out the feeling of sacrifice, which will be harder to sustain over a period of time.

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                      5. Talk About It

                      Sticking to the saving schedule (to achieve financial goals) is not an easy journey. There will be many distractions from those who are not aligned with your mission.

                      Therefore, in order to stay the course, surround yourself with people who are also on the same bandwagon. Daily discussions with them will keep you motivated to move forward.

                      6. Maintain a Journal

                      For some people, writing helps a great deal in making sure that they achieve what they plan.

                      If you are one of them, maintain a proper journal, where you write down your goals and also jot down the extent to which you managed to meet them. This will help you in reviewing how far you have come and which goals you have met.

                      When you have a written commitment on paper, you are going to feel more energized to follow the plan and stick to it. Moreover, it is going to be a lot easier for you to track your progress.

                      Making Smart Investments

                      Savings by themselves don’t take anyone too far. However, savings, when invested wisely, can do wonders.

                      1. Consult a Financial Advisor

                      Investment doesn’t come naturally to most of us, so it’s wise to consult a financial advisor.

                      Talk to him/her about your financial goals and savings, and then seek advice for the best investment instruments to achieve your goals.

                      2. Choose Your Investment Instrument Wisely

                      Though your financial advisor will suggest the best investment instruments, it doesn’t hurt to know a bit about the common ones, like a savings account, Roth IRA, and others.

                      Just like “no one is born a criminal,” no investment instrument is bad or good. It is the application of that instrument that makes all the difference[2].

                      As a general rule, for all your short-term financial goals, choose an investment instrument that has debt nature, for example fixed deposits, debt mutual funds, etc. The reason for going for debt instruments is that chances of capital loss is less compared to equity instruments.

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                      3. Compounding Is the Eighth Wonder

                      Einstein once remarked about compounding:

                      “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it… He who doesn’t… Pays it.”

                      Use compound interest when setting financial goals

                        Make friends with this wonder kid. The sooner you become friends with it, the quicker you will reach closer to your financial goals.

                        Start saving early so that time is on your side to help you bear the fruits of compounding.

                        4. Measure, Measure, Measure

                        All of us do good when it comes to earning more per month but fail miserably when it comes to measuring the investments and taking stock of how our investments are doing.

                        If we don’t measure progress at the right times, we are shooting in the dark. We won’t know if our saving rate is appropriate or not, whether the financial advisor is doing a decent job, or whether we are moving closer to our target.

                        Measure everything. If you can’t measure it all yourself, ask your financial advisor to do it for you. But do it!

                        The Bottom Line

                        Managing your extra money to achieve your short and long-term financial goals

                        and live a debt-free life is doable for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort. Use the tips above to get you started on your path to setting financial goals.

                        More Tips on Financial Goals

                        Featured photo credit: Micheile Henderson via unsplash.com

                        Reference

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