Budget-friendly Exotic Places to Travel in the World

Exotic Places to Travel in the World

Traveling to exotic places to travel in the world is often perceived as an expensive endeavor reserved only for the wealthy. If you are looking for exotic places to travel, it’s important to know that it’s often perceived as an expensive endeavor reserved only for the wealthy. However, with some savvy planning and research, budget-conscious travelers can experience the thrills of adventure in far-flung corners of the world without breaking the bank. However, with some savvy planning and research, budget-conscious travelers can experience the thrills of adventure in far-flung corners of the world without breaking the bank.

From backpacker havens in Southeast Asia to hidden beach paradises in Central America, exotic locales where your dollars can be stretched further abound across the globe. Even more expensive regions like Australia and New Zealand have ways for thrifty travelers to cut costs and still take in the majestic landscapes and unique cultures.

With an open mind, a spirit of flexibility, and strategic spending, uncovering travel gems that go easy on your wallet is possible in locales both near and far. Read on for tips and affordable destinations that prove you don’t have to be rich to have an unforgettable exotic places to travel.

Southeast Asia

Known as a mecca for backpackers and budget travelers, Southeast Asia offers some of the best bang for your buck when it comes to exotic travel. The tropical climate, mouth-watering cuisine, stunning scenery, and fascinating history available here make it a top value destination.


From bustling Bangkok to the lush northern hills, Thailand provides adventure on a budget. Spend days lounging on world-class beaches in the south for just a few dollars. Explore historic temples in the interior, and don’t miss the colorful floating markets. Chiang Mai and Chiang Rai are filled with gorgeous temples and elephant sanctuaries.

Lodging and food are very inexpensive throughout the country. You can easily find basic hotel rooms for under $20 a night, while street food and authentic local restaurants offer meals for just a couple of dollars.


Vietnam dazzles visitors with emerald rice paddies, bright city lights, and a rich culture. Hike among the mountain villages of Sapa in the north, explore the imperial capital of Hue, and get lost in the ancient streets of Hoi An. From the floaty markets of the Mekong Delta to the beaches of Nha Trang, adventures await.

Hostels with dorm beds can be found for $5 to $10 per night, while private rooms are easily under $30. Filling Vietnamese cuisine like pho noodle soup and banh mi sandwiches can cost just a few dollars. Intercity transportation by bus or train is incredibly affordable.


As the world’s largest archipelago, Indonesia offers tremendous diversity, from the jungles of Sumatra and Java to the bright coral reefs of Bali.

Outside of the tourist hotspot of Bali, Indonesia is very budget-friendly. Private hotel rooms can readily be found for under $20 per night throughout the islands, while food at local warungs (family-run restaurants) will only set you back a couple of dollars. Transport between the islands via ferry is also very reasonable.

While in Indonesia, don’t miss hiking around volcanoes like Mount Bromo, diving in the Gili Islands, and exploring the Komodo Dragons of Flores.

Central America

With turquoise waters, surf breaks, Spanish colonial architecture, and ancient ruins, Central America is an exotic and affordable destination. Thanks to low costs, it’s easy to hop around by bus and see several countries without breaking your budget.



Often overlooked, Honduras offers stunning Caribbean beaches, lush rainforests, and intriguing history at prices much lower than the rest of the Caribbean.

The Bay Islands off the coast have some of the region’s best scuba diving and snorkeling, while inland you can explore Mayan ruins and charming colonial towns for a fraction of the cost of other Central American countries. Private hotel rooms can be found for as little as $20.


From volcanic landscapes to magnificent Lake Nicaragua, Nicaragua has incredible natural beauty. Colonial Granada is one of Central America’s most charming cities, while San Juan del Sur is a surf mecca. Go swimming in crystal clear crater lakes and visit coffee plantations in Matagalpa.

Private hotel rooms are around $25, while food at local restaurants is just a few dollars for a full meal. Activities like surf lessons and volcano hikes cost a fraction of what you’d pay elsewhere.


Though English-speaking Belize is generally pricier than its Hispanic neighbors, budget travelers can find ways to cut costs and experience its beaches, jungle, and barrier reef. Stay in low-key villages instead of hotspots like San Pedro, use public transport, and cook your own meals.

Camping on uninhabited islands and snorkeling the reef are once-in-a-lifetime adventures that won’t break the bank in Belize. Slow paced Caye Caulker provides a less expensive island experience than Ambergris Caye.

South America

From the jungles of the Amazon to the peaks of the Andes, South America is filled with natural wonders perfect for budget travelers looking to go beyond the beaches.


Home to Machu Picchu, Lake Titicaca, and the Sacred Valley, Peru offers archeological treasures and stunning scenery. The range of climates from the Andes to the Amazon also make for diverse adventures.

While the main tourist sights like Machu Picchu aren’t cheap, it’s easy to travel Peru on a budget. Affordable options like cabins, homestays, and local guesthouses are plentiful. Taking overnight buses between cities saves on accommodation costs too. Excellent, filling meals can be found for as little as $2 to $3.


One of South America’s poorest countries, Bolivia is very easy to travel on a budget. La Paz offers fascinating culture and history, while the salt flats and high-altitude landscapes of the Altiplano provide surreal beauty.

Minimal tourism infrastructure keeps costs low. Private rooms in hotels or guesthouses can readily be found for under $20 per night, with dorms around $5 to $10. Local food like salteñas (meat pies) and llapingachos (potato cakes) is also very inexpensive.


Once known for its turbulent past, Colombia is now one of South America’s rising tourist destinations. Visitors are rewarded with unspoiled beaches, lush cloud forests, rumbling volcanoes, and vibrant cities.

While prices are higher than neighboring countries, Colombia remains affordable especially if you avoid pricey hotspots like Cartagena. Street food, local restaurants, and undeveloped beach towns still fit into a backpacker’s budget. Stunning locales like the Ciudad Perdida can be reached on multi-day tours for under $200.

Under-the-radar Islands

Island getaways are some of the most desirable and expensive trips, but not all tropical paradises will break the bank. Under-the-radar island destinations offer the chance to unwind on the beach without high costs.

Palawan, Philippines

Often voted one of the most beautiful islands in the world, Palawan in the Philippines offers jungle-clad limestone cliffs, sparkling coves, and stunning lagoons. While popular, it remains very affordable and isn’t overdeveloped.

Small local guesthouses can be found across the island for $20 to $30 per night. Outdoor Filipino food like grilled fish or adobo chicken served with rice will only set you back a few dollars. Island hop or take a boat tour for reasonable day rates.

Príncipe, São Tomé and Príncipe

The tiny island nation of São Tomé and Príncipe off the coast of Africa remains completely off the radar for most travelers. Príncipe is the smaller, even more secluded island, with phenomenal beaches and jungles teeming with wildlife.

Very few tourists make it here, so prices on hotel rooms and tours are quite reasonable. The lack of large resorts keeps costs down, and activities like hiking and snorkeling can be arranged affordably. Take a real Robinson Crusoe-style adventure for a steal.

Lombok, Indonesia

Lying just east of Bali, Lombok provides a similar vibe for a fraction of the cost. With hardly any visitors beyond the main town of Senggigi, the white-sand beaches, surf breaks, waterfalls, and towering volcano offer serenity and natural beauty.

Accommodations and food are extremely cheap, with basic hotels under $20 per night and ample local warungs for eating. Get away from the crowds and enjoy paradise without breaking the bank.

Budget Safaris in Africa

Budget Safaris in Africa

While safaris often conjure images of lavish lodges and ultra-wealthy tourists being pampered, budget options exist for checking Africa’s incredible wildlife off your bucket list on a reasonable budget.

Self-Drive Safaris

One of the most affordable exotic places to travel in the world with safari options is renting a car and self-driving through national parks and game reserves. South Africa is the easiest place to arrange this, with excellent infrastructure and map-marked routes. Entry fees are under $20 per day and gas is reasonable, so you can DIY an incredible wildlife experience.

Camping Safaris

Another option for affordability while still having trained guides is booking a camping safari where you sleep in tents instead of lodges. Operators in Kenya, Tanzania, and South Africa offer camping safaris with all meals included that allow tons of game viewing and cost a fraction of a hotel-based trip.

Walking Safaris

Getting out on foot with experienced guides and trackers allows you to experience the bush up-close. Walking safaris, like in South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, provide in-depth encounters with wildlife for a much lower cost than jeep safaris.

Shoulder Season Travel

Visiting during the “green season” when animal sightings are still plentiful but tourist numbers are much lower can yield significant savings on safaris. Look at May through early July for cheaper rates before peak season starts again.

More Ways to Save

In addition to choosing budget-friendly destinations, following money-saving strategies during your travels enables you to make the most of your funds:

  • Travel off-season when prices are lower
  • Use public transport instead of tours
  • Cook your own basic meals
  • Stay in hostels or homestays
  • Avoid expensive activities like helicopter rides
  • Visit free attractions like parks, beaches, and markets
  • Take overnight buses or trains to save on a night’s accommodation
  • Look for free walking tours
  • Drink local beer instead of imported alcohol
  • Get phones and SIM cards locally
  • Use a money belt instead of purses or backpacks

With some creative planning, budget travelers can still experience once-in-a-lifetime thrills in exotic corners of the world. You don’t have to sacrifice adventure to be wise with your money. By choosing affordable destinations and being a savvy spender, you can take the trips of your dreams without going broke.


Budget-friendly Exotic Places to Travel in the World

Venturing well off the beaten path no longer means you have to drain your bank account. With savvy planning and locking down exotic places to travel, you can experience exotic locales and thrilling adventures without going overboard on spending. There are so many ways to cut costs by choosing exotic places to travel in the world and accommodation, transportation, and eating like a local.

By breaking free of the mindset that far-flung travel has to be expensive, you can rewrite what’s possible on a budget. Your dollar can be stretched much further in the developing world, giving you a chance at transformative experiences. Don’t let money be what holds you back. With an intrepid spirit and wise spending, the most exotic corners of the planet can be accessible even on a backpacker’s budget. The travel memories of a lifetime await.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some tips for saving money on food when traveling on a budget?

  • Eat street food and at small local restaurants instead of hotels and big chains
  • Shop for groceries at markets and cook basic meals yourself
  • Take overnight buses/trains where meals are often included
  • Book accommodations with kitchen access so you can prepare food
  • Try lunch specials which are usually cheaper than dinner
  • Avoid excess alcohol which can add up quickly

How can I find cheap flights to expensive destinations?

  • Use flight search engines like Skyscanner to get an overview of options
  • Be flexible with your dates if possible
  • Look for budget airlines that fly to your chosen destination
  • Consider flying into a cheaper airport in the region as your gateway
  • Use miles/points instead of cash to book flights
  • Set fare alerts and pounce when airfares drop

What should I budget for daily expenses in exotic locations?

  • Asia: $20-50 per day
  • Central America: $30-60 per day
  • South America: $30-70 per day
  • Africa: $50-100 per day

Of course, shoestring backpackers can get by on less, while those seeking more comfort can spend more. But these per day estimates allow you to see key highlights without pinching pennies.

How can I lower accommodation costs when traveling?

  • Use private rooms in hostels instead of hotels
  • Look for homestays with local families
  • Consider couchsurfing if you’re comfortable
  • Camp in approved parks and protected areas
  • Travel outside peak tourist season when room rates are lower
  • Use Airbnb for short-term apartment rentals
  • Stay in one place for a week or more to get discounted weekly rates

What are the best resources for finding budget travel deals?

  • Apps like Hopper, Priceline, and HotelTonight
  • Travel deal websites like The Flight Deal and Secret Flying
  • Booking platforms like Hostelworld and Airbnb
  • Travel hacking communities who share budget tips
  • Local travel blogs detailing deals at your destination
  • Tourism board websites highlighting free activities

How can I stay safe when traveling on a tight budget?

  • Research safe areas and avoid dangerous locations
  • Only use official licensed transportation like taxis
  • Avoid traveling alone in isolated areas
  • Don’t flash expensive electronics or jewelry
  • Use common sense as you would at home
  • Purchase travel insurance in case of emergency
  • Spread valuables in different bags or wear in money belt
  • Stay sober and keep your wits about you

Author: Brielle Walker

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