Our ranking of cheap travel destinations is very popular, and many are surprised to learn that you can travel for as low as $30 per day in many countries. But you know what? It is even cheaper than that (and the tip works for all destinations too)! Here’s why.
In addition to finding cheap flight deals, we want to help you travel more. Most notably by debunking the tenacious myth that traveling is expensive. It’s not true: traveling is only costly when you want it to be convenient and effortless.
If you plan your trip with a budget in mind and make traveling for less a priority, you’ll be able to travel more often.
I won’t go into all the details about budget traveling—you can read the details in our ranking of affordable travel destinations (the ranking will be updated soon, and we’ll also have a lot more budget-travel tips).
This list includes 40 countries that you can visit for less than $30 a day. We establish trip budgets with a price per day for each destination. The cheapest ones are $25 or $30 a day.
But you can budget even less than that set budget for your trip —for any trip and to any destination.
I hope this will revolutionize the way you plan a budget for your trip, and especially convince you to travel more often or for longer.
Why You Overestimate Your Trip Budget
Let’s look at an example.
Let’s start with traveling in budget-travel mode since it’s the easiest way to travel more often (or for less, if you don’t want to travel more often). But I repeat: the principle works for any trip, any destination.
Remember: the trip budget per day does not include flight costs because those prices vary significantly. But since you are following Flytrippers, you know you can save on that. Don’t miss our ultimate guide on the subject soon.
Among the 40 countries that you can travel to on a budget of less than $30 a day, there are countries in Europe, Central America, South America, Africa, and even the Middle East!
Take Thailand as an example. For a trip to Thailand, you only need to budget $900 for one month—30 days at $30 per day—if you want to travel cheaply. That includes all your local costs.
But the actual cost is quite a bit less than that—perhaps only $400.
You must always deduct from your budget all the expenses you would have incurred if you had not traveled—money you won’t spend while you’re gone. It lowers the real cost of your trip by quite a lot just by taking into account those expenses you avoided!
In my case (and surely in yours, too), this includes food, transport, and activities.
By leaving for a month, you save four weeks’ worth of groceries in Canada. You can deduct this from your travel budget. You would have spent that anyway if you had stayed. So you have a lot less than $900 to save or set aside for your travel budget. If you spend $50 a week on food at home, you can deduct $200 from your one-month travel budget.
It’s not a shady way to calculate or make people believe that prices are different, as many often like to share.
No, it’s factual and undeniable: if you stay home, you will have to spend a certain amount of money on food, so of course, you can deduct this from your travel budget. It’s basic mathematics. Many people don’t think of this when planning a trip, which is normal, but it’s an absolutely valid calculation!
Then there are transportation costs. For example, if you usually spend $50 a week on gas at home, you can deduct another $200 from your travel budget. You would have paid it anyway, but you won’t have to while you’re away.
Finally, there are activities and outings. If you’re the type of person who spends at least $25 a week on these when you’re at home, that’s another $100 you can deduct from a one-month travel budget.
See how inexpensive your trip is actually getting—$900 of real cost on location, minus what you would have spend at home anyway: $200 for food, $200 for gas, $100 for activities: the net cost is only $400 for ONE MONTH to explore a new country (plus the plane ticket, which you can find in our deals for much less than what you’re used to obviously)!
That’s $400 instead of $900 because the remaining $500 you would have spent at home anyway!
Your travel budget is now $100 a week. That’s it! I’m sure that if I asked anyone, “for only $100 per week out of pocket, you could live in Thailand (or any of the 40 other countries in our list)—are you up for it?” everyone will say yes.
Yet, few people do this even though it’s feasible for almost everyone. By merely traveling in budget-travel mode, you can explore more often or for longer!
And if you want to visit a destination that is more expensive or you don’t want to travel in budget-travel mode, you can still use the same principle. Deduct the expenses from your travel budget that you won’t have to spend while you’re away. It will lower your budget for your trip by at least a few hundred dollars.
By the way, the $100 or so per week you still have to cover, depending on your household expenses (see next section), could be generated easily by listing your home on Airbnb. You would only need to rent it for 3–4 nights out of the 30 that you’ll be away.
At the TravelCon conference we attended last year, we met a traveler from New York. He told us that by renting out his apartment, it was more profitable for him to live in Southeast Asia than to live in New York City, despite the (much) lower salary.
That’s a whole other subject, and I’ll get back to that at the end of the article. But the point is that you can travel for a long time very cheaply if that’s what you want. Traveling is not expensive; living here is!
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How Much Can You Deduct?
I’ll give you our best tip for travel budgets in three paragraphs, but keep in mind that the amount you can deduct will depend on how much you usually spend here in Canada.
For most people, groceries represent at least $100 a week. The important thing is to calculate it and deduct it from your travel budget. Besides, if you usually eat in restaurants, you will realize how quickly that adds up. Do it a bit less often to get more money for travel, or at least deduct it from your travel budget!
The same goes for your activities, gas, public transit passes, etc. It depends on your habits at home, but you could find between $50 and $150 or more per week to deduct from your travel budget—it’s still something! Deduct anything you spend at home that you wouldn’t while you’re away on a trip.
So here’s the key trick if you want to travel: keep track of your expenses at home. See how much you spend here in Canada because it will help you plan your trips.
It’s a trick that’s a little dull. It’s not sexy compared to activity planning and everything, but paying attention to what you spend will allow you to save more for travel. Not planning ahead and not taking the time to prepare is why most people only travel once or twice a year.
What gets measured gets done: when you don’t know how much you spend at home, how can you calculate how many trips you can take?
So yes, it’s the most crucial trick because the most common reason people give for not traveling more is not having enough money.
And of course, there are people in extreme poverty, which I don’t want to minimize. But for most people, it should be quite feasible to reduce expenses for one more budget-travel trip per year, and even more. It’s affordable when you want it to be. (We will have an article soon with examples of total prices to help you budget for your trips.)
Many want to spoil themselves and spend a lot of money on restaurants or outings, and that’s fine. It’s up to each of us to choose our priorities! But know that if you want to prioritize more travel, you can?!
If you want to travel more, take a look at all your expenses. Remember that $100 saved at home affords you three days of travel with all costs included in an affordable country. (Actually, closer to four days, because by deducting your at-home expenses, the actual cost at the destination is lower as I just explained.)
I’m just going to touch on long-term travel because it’s worth mentioning. (We’re preparing a much more in-depth article on the subject. Stay tuned!)
Many people say they want to travel more, but use the excuse that they don’t have enough money (among other reasons).
But when you think about it, it costs quite a bit less to live in affordable countries. Although it’s not for everyone, there are ways to travel long-term by choosing countries with a low cost of living. You could have just as much money or more.
In budget-travel mode, you can live in at least 40 different countries for $1,000 a month all included. Even if you generate less income, you save a lot and still end up with more in your pockets.
You can end up as rich (in money) as before, and quite richer (in life experiences).
You don’t need a remote job or a full year off from work (because not everyone is ready for that, we get it). But everyone who is fed up with the rat race could enjoy a few months abroad each year.
Renting your place while you’re away can put more money in your pocket—more than if you work at home all year round without traveling.
We are very (very) far from being peace-and-love hippies at Flytrippers, but these two realities are still valid:
- If traveling makes you happy, it’s worth planning to travel more, isn’t it?
- Have you ever heard of anyone who regretted traveling more?
Almost everyone can make a plan to travel longer or more often. Whenever you want, you can. It’s a cliché for a reason—because it’s true.
And this is not only for young people, retirees or those with remote jobs (many even do it with children!). We will have more info soon to share tips on how to travel more often and plan your trips wisely!
Now that you know this tip, hopefully you’ll start budgeting your trips better: and realize that you need a lot less than what you initially thought to be able to go out and explore the world. And a lot less than what most people want to lead you to believe. Especially if you make traveling more a priority by choosing an affordable destination and learning more about budget-travel.
What do you think about this budgeting tip? Tell us in the comments below.
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Travel Hacking: Free Travel (really)
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Featured image: traveler enjoying life (photo credit: Marvin Meyer)
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