In order to travel cheaply, you don’t need to have special connections or be willing to sleep outside every night and live on very little food. In fact, in many countries in the world, it’s possible to travel cheaply at a very high standard of living, simply because the difference in relative economy between many economically advanced nations and those countries is so great.
When looking to travel cheaply, there are a few things you need to decide. The first is whether you want to be somewhere that has a fairly established tourist infrastructure, which will be more comfortable but not nearly as cheap, or whether you’re comfortable making your own way in a country or region that may not be set up for tourists. You can often travel cheaply and stay in nice places while traveling off of the beaten path, but it requires a bit more ingenuity and an ability to go with the flow.
The second big thing you need to decide is what section of the world you want to travel in, and what exactly you mean when you want to travel cheaply. If that means spending $5 US Dollars (USD) a day, you’ll be limited to the cheapest regions in the world, or else wind up sacrificing a lot of comfort. If, on the other hand, $20 USD a day would qualify as being able to travel cheaply, then you’ll have no problems in much of the world.
In Asia, many of the countries that are not hugely popular as tourist destinations are very cheap. Cambodia and Laos, for example, are remarkably cheap locations. Lodging can be had at the low end for only a few dollars a day, and even nice rooms can be found for around $10 USD a day. Meals rarely will cost more than a dollar or two, and even restaurants catering to tourists cost around $5 USD for a good meal. It is quite easy to travel cheaply in Cambodia in relative luxury for $20 USD a day, and Laos is even cheaper. Much of Southeast Asia is incredibly cheap, and budget travelers will also find incredible deals in Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
Within the countries, the cheapest destinations are usually those less appealing to mainstream tourists. So, for example, in Indonesia Bali is relatively expensive when compared to other islands that are less well-known. Similarly, in Cambodia, the town of Siem Reap, near the Angkor complex is considerably more expensive on average than a small beach town like Sihanoukville.
In Europe most of the best opportunities to travel cheaply are found in Eastern Europe. Countries like Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Hungary all offer strong tourist infrastructures and beautiful European destinations, at a fraction of the cost of nations in Western Europe.
Much of Central and South America is very cheap to travel in, as well. Venezuela, Honduras, Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia are some of the best deals for countries that are relatively stable. Countries such as Costa Rica, which at one point were very affordable, have become quite a bit more expensive since becoming more popular with Western tourists and ex-pats.
And of course, most of Africa is very cheap to travel in, although it can be expensive to get there. Countries like Ghana offer amazing deals, while still having enough of a tourist infrastructure that most travelers will feel safe and comfortable navigating. Ethiopia and Egypt also offer cheap lodging and food, and have rich histories and cultures that make them prime destinations.