Don’t let the decades of tension deter you from our mysterious neighbors to the south. Since Cuba and the United States have opened their borders to one another again, many Americans have traveled to Cuba and have had a fantastic time. People say it is like going back into a time machine, and for travelers looking to experience that once-in-a-lifetime experience, now is the time to go. What the country lacks in modernity, it makes up for in magic. Ideally, one should try to go soon before the tourism industry starts ruining the authenticity of the experience.
9. Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a much more affordable destination than the rest of Europe, making it one of the only European countries on this list. This beautiful country has some fairy-tale cities that you wouldn’t believe exist until you actually see them. From its capital city, Prague, to the smaller towns of Cesky Krumlov and Karlovy Vary, the mix of colorful architecture with more old-fashioned buildings give a glimpse into the past of a Europe before it was devastated by several wars. The Czech Republic has not adopted the Euro yet and its official currency is the Czech crown, which often means that American travelers will get the most for their money. From cheap beer to cheap hostels and hotels, the Czech Republic is not a destination you should overlook.
Canada might not be your idea of a dream destination, but it was ranked the best country to travel to in 2017. Why? There are a number of reasons, but our neighbor to the north is celebrating 100 years of national parks by allowing visitors into their parks free of charge. In case you didn’t know, Canada has some of the world’s most beautiful nature and scenery. Taking into account that it might be the cheapest country to fly to from the United States, that makes it an ideal country for anything from a quick weekend getaway to a several-month long voyage throughout the country.
Roundtrip flights to Peru have been popping up in the $400 range, and if that isn’t reason enough to go, then just Google some of the insane beauty that Peru has to offer. From the world wonder Machu Picchu to the newly-discovered Rainbow Mountain, Peru is a trekker’s paradise. The country is one of the most affordable I’ve ever been to, and the adventures never stop. From sand boarding to surfing to incredible hikes, Peru has something for literally everyone. Oh, and alpacas. Everyone loves alpacas.
Like Peru, Bolivia also has alpacas. And it is actually cheaper than Peru. The flight there might be more expensive than a flight to Peru, but it is also possible to fly to Peru and take a bus down to Bolivia. While Americans have to pay a $160 entrance fee to Bolivia, it is worth it to feel like you’re on an entirely different planet. From the vast expanses of the Salt Flats to the blood-red waters of the Laguna Colorada, Bolivia will make you shake your head in disbelief. With adventures spanning through jungles, mountains, islands, and deserts, Bolivia has a lot to offer in a country relatively unvisited by American tourists.
Thailand is a dream destination for many people, and it isn’t hard to see why. The breathtaking beaches and islands are the main reason people go, but the vibrancy and culture of life in Thailand is why people stay. Oh, and people also stay because they can afford to. With cheap food, housing options, and transportation, Thailand is somewhere that your money can last incredibly long. You can probably get away with spending less than $10 a day if you have to, and with many Asian airlines offering cheap flights to the area, it has never been cheaper to go to Asia.
Like its neighbor, Thailand, Vietnam also offers an insanely affordable vacation. Go for the food, stay for the food. Vietnamese cuisine is some of the best in Asia. Many backpackers make their way through Southeast Asia, and many of those find themselves spending way more time in Vietnam than planned. While Thailand’s nature may be more renowned than Vietnam’s, there is no shortage of sights to see in this incredible Asian country.
The other European country on this list, Poland joins its neighbor to the south as one of the cheapest destinations in Europe. Warsaw and Krakow are popular destinations for travelers and both are very affordable and very beautiful. The architecture makes for an otherworldly experience, and the nightlife makes for a vacation you’ll never forget.
If you only go to Cancun or Cabo, you’re insulting Mexico by ignoring the wonders they have to offer. Mexico is also famous for having one of the world wonders, the Mayan ruins of the Chichen-Itza. However, the ruins of past Mexican civilizations are all over the country, and many are worth seeing. From Teotihuacan to Tulum to Uxmal and others, Mexico is a fantastic destination for anyone remotely interested in history and anthropology. The bustling urban lifestyles of Mexico’s largest metropolises are also can’t-miss experiences. Mexico City is one of my favorite cities in the world. There is no shortage of reasons to visit Mexico, but the fact that flights to Mexico can be as cheap as in the $100 range should convince you.
1. Costa Rica
Costa Rica is consistently ranked as one of the best countries in the world. While becoming more and more popular as a tourist destination, relatively few travelers make their way through Central America as a whole. Copa Airlines, Panama’s major airline, offers insanely cheap flights to Central and South America. You can book a roundtrip to Costa Rica for under $300 and spend the entire time in awe of the finest that Central America has to offer. The jungles, volcanoes, and beaches are among the best in the world. The biodiversity, from turtles to monkeys to colorful birds, also ranks as the highest outside of the Amazon. Oh yeah, and it is very affordable. Food, transportation, and housing options make Costa Rica a dream destination for budget travelers and families alike.