Destinations

18 Cheap Travel Destinations for 2020

Getting the best bang for your buck has always been at the top of travelers’ minds. In fact, 85% of leisure travelers believe that price is the most important factor when choosing a destination! On top of getting the best value for money, travelers are more and more interested in unique experiences. Creating lifelong memories, discovering new cultures and cuisines, or stepping out of your comfort zone are top of mind when booking a vacation.

Whether you prefer weekend getaways or traveler or longer vacations, we’ve listed the top 18 cheap travel destinations for 2020. Each of the destinations in this list offer unique experiences for all, so you’re sure to find something that fits your budget and travel style.  

Best of all? All destinations are also connected by bus, which is the cheapest and greenest mode of motorized transportation. We’ve also included a daily average price in US dollars per destination based on a budget for a dorm bed in a medium-level hostel as well as food from cheap eats.

The Americas

If you’re looking at cheap places to travel in the US, Canada, or Mexico, the following destinations are for you. 

1. Virginia Beach, Virginia, United States

Sunset view of Virginia Beach and its pier.
Virginia Beach is the ideal budget-friendly beach getaway.

Beach, sun, and sand. What more do you need? With a scenic 3-mile oceanfront boardwalk and idyllic white-sand beaches, Virginia Beach is the perfect beach destination, on a budget! The town of Virginia Beach also offers many free activities such as the Naval Aviation Monument, many beaches, and Mount Trashmore Park, which makes it one of the cheapest beach destination in the US.

  • Average daily cost: $60
  • Average bus ticket price: $25
Find cheap bus tickets to Virginia Beach

2. Washington DC, United States

Enjoy DC’s free museum to bring the cost of your trip down.

You might be surprised to see the US capital on this list. It is true that accommodations in DC can get quite pricey. This being said, you’ll save lots of money on experiences and things to do in Washington DC. 

For example, all the Smithsonian museums are completely free to visit. On top of some of the finest museums in the world, you can also visit the National Mall, the Library of Congress (the largest library in the world), and the US Capitol Building, all for free! If you’re a culture buff, DC is a cheap place to travel to.

If the price of accommodation in Washington scares you, take a moment to read our guide on cheap accommodations

  • Average daily cost: $85
  • Average bus ticket price: $23
Book cheap bus tickets to Washington DC

3. Quebec City, Quebec, Canada

Frontenac Castle in Old Quebec City in the beautiful sunrise light
A trip to Quebec city isn’t be complete without a visit to the Chateau Frontenac and Old Quebec City.

The picturesque capital city of Quebec is the ideal cheap place to travel. Its biggest attraction is its historic city center, dominated by the Chateau Frontenac, which will cost you nothing to tour on foot. Get lost in Quebec City’s cobblestone streets, or stop for a picture of the St Lawrence river on the Terrasse Dufferin for the perfect cheap getaway. The city also has a myriad of budget-friendly cafes and bistros, so you won’t have to shell out a fortune if you decide to eat out. 

  • Average daily cost: $75
  • Average bus ticket price: $45
Book cheap bus tickets to Quebec City

4. Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, Mexico

Beach at Caribbean sea in Playa del Carmen, Mexico.
Playa del Carmen is cheaper than Cancun and less crowded, which makes it the ideal destination on the Riviera Maya.

If you’re looking for an affordable vacation to Mexico, skip Cancun and head to Playa del Carmen! Playa del Carmen hasn’t been overtaken by tourism and five-star resorts and offers cheap, mouth-watering, and authentic eateries. 

Playa del Carmen is the ideal beach party town offering a wide range of bars, clubs, and lounges. Its beach is also a crowd-favorite, with miles on end of white sand. Getting to Playa del Carmen from all over the Riviera Maya is extremely easy by bus with ADO. With tickets starting at $5, you’ll be saving money by taking the bus in the region.

  • Average daily cost: $55
  • Average bus ticket price: $12
Book cheap bus tickets to Playa del Carmen

5. Oaxaca City, Oaxaca, Mexico

View of Oaxaca old town.
Oaxaca’s Old City is a charming place to visit on foot.

If you’re looking for a budget travel destination that offers world-class culinary and foodie experiences, then Oaxaca is the cheap place for you. With rooms starting at under $15 a night and delicious meals for $10, you won’t break the bank in Oaxaca.

This Mexican city gives you a good glimpse of day-to-day life in the country’s southern region. The exotic state of Oaxaca is also one of Mexico’s top culinary destinations, nicknamed the “land of the seven moles,” for its delicious sauces made with dozens of ingredients, often including chocolate.

  • Average daily cost: $55
  • Average bus ticket price: $30
Find cheap bus tickets to Oaxaca

 

Europe

The Old Continent has it all: history, culture, adventure. However, some might be intimidated by a trip to Europe, especially with cities such as London, Paris, Amsterdam, and Rome, which all cost a small fortune to visit. 

Don’t worry, here is a handpicked list of European destinations that are super cheap to visit, especially if you take the bus!

6. Sofia, Bulgaria

St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in the center of Sofia, capital of Bulgaria against the blue morning sky with colorful clouds
St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in the center of Sofia is the city’s most prized jewel.

Bulgaria consistently tops the list of the cheapest countries in Europe, and for a good reason! No matter your destination in the country, you’ll get good deals on food, accommodation, and activities. The capital city of Sofia is one of the cheapest places to travel in the country. 

Nestled behind the gorgeous Vitosha mountains, which are a great day trip from Sofia, the city is a top cultural and foodie destination. With the bus company FlixBus offering many daily departures to and from cities such as Budapest, Vienna, Munich, and Ljubljana for as low as $10, Sofia is much cheaper than one might think.

  • Average daily cost: $50
  • Average bus ticket price: $35
Find cheap bus tickets to Sofia

7. Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina

View of the historic centre of Sarajevo - Bosnia and HerzegovinaCompared the Western European countries such as France and The Netherlands, the Balkans offer much cheaper prices. On top of being better for your wallet, the Balkans usually have lesser tourists, which means that you get to explore this beautiful region, without the crowds.

Sarajevo buzzes with life. One of the most welcoming capitals in Europe, its central district of Baščaršija is a delight to wander through, browsing in the Ottoman-era bazaar or lingering over a Bosnian coffee. This city should be on your bucket list if you enjoy an underrated club scene and friendly locals.

  • Average daily cost: $55
  • Average bus ticket price: $30
Find your bus tickets to Sarajevo

8. Gdánsk, Poland

Gdansk old town and famous crane at amazing sunrise. Gdansk. Poland
Gdansk is a very cheap destination in Eastern Europe with its beautiful city center.

Eastern Europe is definitely a good place to start if you’re looking for a cheap destination to discover in Europe. Poland’s coastal city of Gdánsk, tucked away on the shores of the Baltic Sea, will surprise you with its quaint, narrow merchant houses as well as its colorful city center. 

With affordable accommodation and delicious, cheap street food, Gdánsk should be on your radar for cheap places to travel. This gritty port town is also connected to many other fantastic Polish cities by short bus rides, such as Warsaw, Szczecin, and Kolobrzeg.

  • Average daily cost: $40
  • Average bus ticket price: $15
Book your bus tickets to Gdánsk

9. Lisbon, Portugal

Rossio square and Santa Justa elevator in Lisbon, Portugal
Lisbon and Portugal still haven’t seen a spike in prices, even with their growing popularity. It is the ideal time to visit the second-oldest capital in Europe.

Portugal’s rise in popularity in recent years might make you think that this beautiful country is not as cheap as it used to be. However, its capital city of Lisbon still hasn’t seen a rise in prices, which means that 2020 is the time to visit the second-oldest capital city in Europe.

Known for its beautiful viewpoints and quaint yellow trams, and delicious cuisine, Lisbon is a charming city that has something to offer to everyone. If you want to stretch your dollars even further while in Portugal, the bus company Rede Expressos offers cheap bus rides to many cities across the Iberian Peninsula. If you’re in need of inspiration, check out our guide about the top destinations in Portugal.

  • Average daily cost: $60
  • Average bus ticket price: $20
Find your cheap bus tickets to Lisbon

10. Bratislava, Slovakia

Aerial view of the Bratislava castle.
Adventure-seekers, rejoice! Bratislava is the ideal destination for a cheap skiing getaway. The beautiful city is also a plus.

Bratislava, in Slovakia, is as stunning as better known European cities such as Vienna, Zurich, and Prague, but is much cheaper! 

If you’re looking to step off of the beaten path and visit a capital city that’s perfect for adventure and thrill seekers, then Bratislava is the cheap destination for you. It is surrounded by stunning nature and forests perfect for hiking. 

If you’re into winter sports, Bratislava is also a stone’s throw away from the Tatra mountain range. Lesser-known than the Alps, the Tatra mountains offer views that would give Innsbruck fierce competition. 

  • Average daily cost: $55
  • Average bus ticket price: $20
Book cheap bus tickets to Bratislava

 

Asia

The cost of travel in Asia greatly varies from country to country. For example, Japan, Taiwan, and some parts of China are on the expensive end of the spectrum, while most of Southeast Asia will offer you cheaper destinations. 

If you’re looking for the best street food, absolutely gorgeous and lush nature, and friendly people, then the following destinations are for you.

11. Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Phnom Penh tourist attraction and famouse landmark - Royal Palace complex, Cambodia
With an average daily cost of $30, you can visit Phonm Penh and its many attractions, such as the Royal Palace.

When people think of Southeast Asia, most people think of Bangkok and the Thai islands. However, its neighbor, Cambodia, is an even cheaper destination with fewer tourists than Thailand.

The capital of Cambodia, located along the Mekong River, has a walkable riverfront, lined with parks, restaurants, and bars. Its Royal Palace, which serves as a residence for the king of Cambodia, is also a beautiful example of Khmer architecture. You can get accommodation for $15 and can taste local delicacies for as low as $1. Your money will definitely go a long way if you decide to discover this city!

Cambodia is also connected with a safe and reliable network of intercity buses. The rest of this magical country is easily accessible for very cheap.

  • Average daily cost: $30
  • Average bus ticket price: $15
Find cheap bus tickets to Phnom Penh

12. Vientiane, Laos

Patuxai Gate in the Thannon Lanxing area of Vientiane,Laos
Vientiane will surprise you with its friendly locals, affordable cafés, and delicious street food.

Known for being one of the most ethnically diverse countries in the region, Laos will offer some wonderful opportunities for local interaction. 

The capital city of Laos, Vientiane, is one of the cheapest capitals in Asia. You can easily get by with under $30 per day. Famous for its biking, swimming, trekking, and spas, Vientiane will be a city you fall in love with. Vientiane also has some of the best cafes in Asia serving up freshly roasted java.

  • Average daily cost: $25
  • Average bus ticket price: $15
Book your cheap bus tickets to Vientiane

13. Istanbul, Turkey

Hagia Sophia in Istanbul. The world famous monument of Byzantine architecture. View of the St. Sophia Cathedral at sunset.
The famous Hagia Sofia awaits you in Istanbul.

Although Istanbul is half in Europe, half in Asia, 95% of Turkey’s landmass lies in Asia, hence its position on our Asian list.

Istanbul is not the cheapest place to travel in Turkey, but it definitely cheaper than its major European capital counterparts in Europe. You can get lost in Istanbul’s Old City or marvel at the world-famous Blue Mosque and Hagia Sophia Museum. Take in the smells and colors of the Grand Bazaar, where you can shop for cheap delicacies and souvenirs.

  • Average daily cost: $75
  • Average bus ticket price: $20
Find your cheap bus tickets to Istanbul

14. Chiang Mai, Thailand

Aerial view of Chiang Mai province in Thailand.
Northern Thailand and Chiang Mai are considerably more affordable than Bangkok and the South. Head to this luxurious region for the best trekking trails.

The north of Thailand is one of the best regions if you’re traveling on a budget. If you venture south towards Bangkok and the Thai islands, accommodation and transportation prices can quadruple! 

Chiang Mai, located in the northern mountains of Thailand, is divided into two distinct areas. You can visit the old city, which is a preserved area with traditional night markets, local street vendors and stunning temples, or get lost in the countryside, where you’ll find your perfect trek in lush nature or even bathe with elephants in a sanctuary. 

Easily accessible from Bangkok by bus, Chiang Mai is a traveler’s favorite in the budget destinations. If you need any tips on Chiang Mai, check out our full Chiang Mai travel guide.

  • Average daily cost: $30
  • Average bus ticket price: $20
Book cheap bus tickets to Chiang Mai

15. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Little street of Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam
Soak in Ho Chi Minh City’s energy by heading to this pulsating city for as low as $40 per day.

From the finest of hotels to the cheapest of guesthouses, the classiest of restaurants to the tastiest of street stalls, the choicest of boutiques to the scrum of the markets, Ho Chi Minh City is a city of energy and discovery. It is also an incredibly cheap destination, where luxury hotels will only set you back around $50. 

A delicious bowl of traditional pho is only about $2, so you will be able to taste many of their world-renowned dishes. 

  • Average daily cost: $40
  • Average bus ticket price: $20
Book cheap bus tickets to Ho Chi Minh City

 

Africa

The African continent is probably the most diverse in the entire world. With 54 countries, Africa is a massive land with many places to discover. 

Countries in Southern Africa are also all connected by an extensive network of modern, long-distances buses. It is therefore very cheap and easy to travel between countries. If you’re still unsure about this mode of transportation, you can read our guide on taking the bus in Southern Africa.

16. Johannesburg, South Africa

View of sunset over Johannesburg's cityscape
Johannesburg’s eclectic concrete jungle is the perfect city for a cosmopolitan getaway.

Compared to Cape Town, Johannesburg is much cheaper and more cosmopolitan than its rival city. Located in the eastern part of the country, Johannesburg is a cosmopolitan and bustling city.

Johannesburg prices vary greatly depending on your budget and travel style. You can find mouth-watering local food joints for as low as $5, but you can also shell out a small fortune in a fine dining restaurant.  

  • Average daily cost: $70
  • Average bus ticket price: $35
Book your bus tickets to Johannesburg

17. Harare, Zimbabwe

Blooming Jacaranda trees lining Milton Avenue in Harare, Zimbabwe
Milton Avenue, in Harare’s downtown area, is lined with Jacaranda trees, making it the city’s most famous street.

The capital of Zimbabwe is an amazing place to visit due to its rich cultural heritage and easy access to Zimbabwe’s national parks. You can visit the National Gallery of Zimbabwe, a museum with over 6,000 pieces of art for an entrance fee of only $1.

Harare’s food scene will also impress you with delicious local dishes starting at $5.

  • Average daily cost: $45
  • Average bus ticket price: $35 
Find your cheap bus tickets to Harare

18. Tangier, Morocco 

Aerial view of the old medina and the port of Tangier, Morocco
Tangier, the “Gateway to Africa” is a beautiful port city that can be discovered on a small travel budget.

Did you know that you could easily visit Morocco by bus from Europe? You can take a bus from Southern Spain to Morocco with the bus company ALSA

Coined “the gateway to Africa”, Tangier is a gorgeous port city on the Strait of Gibraltar. One of the most affordable cities in Morocco, Tangier’s beach rivals the best beaches in the world. 

  • Average daily cost: $35
  • Average bus ticket price: $55
Book your cheap bus tickets to Tangier

Here you have it, 18 cheap destinations to discover for 2020! If you need any information about how you can travel the world, you can check our tips on how to save money for travel and our guide on scoring cheap accommodations when traveling.