Traveling is widely cited as one of the best decisions people ever make. From road trips during college to a year in Europe to teaching English abroad, people love going elsewhere. Why not? We live on a stunning planet and people over the centuries have formed incredible cultures. All over the world are different foods to be eaten, dances to watch, natural beauty to take in, and customs to learn.
Traveling is a way to learn about new people, see new places, and try new things. It’s one of life’s most wonderful experiences. It can also be one of life’s most expensive – so much so that some people avoid it. If you’re interested in traveling, we can get you to some pretty stellar places for some pretty low prices.
“Should” is a strong word. If you want to go anywhere, you should go! Maybe you want to see your family’s homeland, or you’re an adventurer who wants to climb Mount Everest.
Follow your bliss and go where your heart wants. I personally like to go places rich with history and steeped in natural beauty. Affordable doesn’t hurt either!
If you’re stateside, you don’t have to go far to see some incredible sites. The United States is truly diverse when it comes to landscape and regional cultures.
The Grand Canyon
This is perhaps the most well known site of the American landscape. And for good reason! It’s one in a million. The Grand Canyon takes your breath away and leaves the mind reeling in the best way. It’s totally affordable, too.
Camping at Mather Campground on the south rim of the canyon costs $18 a night, and you can bring your own food and firewood in. Spending your days hiking (with plenty of water!) is free and kind of the whole point of being there. There are free shuttle buses that will take you to different lookout points on the canyon too, saving you even more cash.
While the Grand Canyon is the creme de la creme of the natural wonders the US has to offer, camping on the edge of a canyon isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer a more metropolitan feel to their vacation.
Of the many cities in the US of A, precious few of them can be done super cheaply. However, there’s a jewel in the crown of the US cities that is historical, beautiful and affordable.
New Orleans is that jewel. Founded in 1718 by the French, partly settled by the Spanish, and owned by the United States, New Orleans is a whirlwind of culture, food, architecture, and history.
It was the largest city in the south at one point and is still the largest in Louisiana today. The music, the food, and the atmosphere of New Orleans are unlike anything else you’ll find in the US. The European influences as well as the southernness of the city make a downright intoxicating blend.
It’s also one that’s easy to do for a fair price. The city is really walkable (as far as US cities go), and a stroll through New Orleans is a perfect way to spend an afternoon. The French colonial architecture in the French Quarter is a sight to see. Audubon Park is a nice place for a picnic lunch: green and shady.
Airbnb options abound in this city and prices span a nice range. The Garden District with NOLA’s famous raised cemeteries is also something you’ve gotta see and totally accessible on foot.
Cheap coffee is everywhere, which is perfect to fuel up for a day of walking. Poboys, the sandwich you simply must try, run about $8 and are huge – easy enough to split between two people or make two meals out of.
Beignets are also a must-try and another affordable snack in the city. Chatting up locals is something else to try – they love to talk about their city, point you in a direction of something beautiful, and may have frugal tips you hadn’t thought of.
As much as the US has to offer, it’s a big wide world out there and there are countless places to go.
Guatemala is my pick for Central America. Airfare is cheap year round, and if you snag a deal, you can get a round trip flight for under $350 from almost anywhere in the US.
Once on the ground, Guatemala has everything from the big city experience in Guatemala City to yoga retreats in Lake Atitlan.
While Costa Rica tends to be the superstar of Central America, Guatemala has some stunning sights, good food, and easy to understand Spanish. Guatemalans speak slower than some other countries, so if all you’ve got is high school Spanish, you should be a-ok here.
Antigua is the town for tourists – there are Spanish schools, cheap hostels, and cheaper food galore. It’s surrounded by 3 volcanoes and only 31 miles from Lake Atitlan, the deepest lake in Central America.
I’ve been there and I can tell you, that lake is one of the most beautiful spots on this here planet. Tikal is the spot for ancient Myan ruins. They’re in the jungle and also in fantastic shape. The feeling of awe just never really leaves you.
Turkey is where east meets west and has the history, the politics, and the food to prove it. Kababs and shawarma are plentiful, delicious, and cheap (about $3 a pop). Buses will take you around cities and around the country for very reasonable prices, maxing out around $40 for a 12 hour ride.
Airfare will definitely be your biggest purchase, but going in October or November will see prices drop off a bit. (Plus, you can get up to 6% cash back if you purchase through Expedia with us!)
The architecture is stunning and the countryside is breathtaking. Turkey is well worth your time.
Everyone wants a trip to Europe, but Paris, London, and Barcelona tend to break the bank. Romania is a secret that no one thinks about, but has many of the same wonders.
There are castles, mountains, and truly epic scenery galore. Trains run all over the country, taking you from Dracula’s castle to the Black Sea, and are rarely more than $25. Beers are cheap (about $2), and a meal in a restaurant in a small town is about $12.
You can go anywhere in the world on the cheap. Use credit card rewards, stay with friends or family, buy at grocery stores and not restaurants, walk whenever possible, or earn cash back. Stay, smart, stay frugal, and go far!
What are your favorite places to travel to on the cheap? Have you been to any of the sites mentioned?