Did you know that in 2019, a whopping 60% of backpackers traveled solo? Crazy, right?
Backpacking is one of the most exciting ways to explore the world, and as a solo traveler, I’ve had some amazing experiences while traveling light and cheap.
In my humble opinion, there’s no better way to experience the world.
You’ve got the freedom to do what you want, when you want, without having to worry about a group of friends who can’t decide whether they want pizza or falafel for dinner ( the answer is always falafel).
Plus, it’s a fantastic opportunity to meet new people and immerse yourself in different cultures.
But here’s the kicker you can do it all without breaking the bank! You know what I mean?
I’ve compiled a list of the cheapest backpacking destinations that every solo traveler should consider for their next adventure!
Why Cheap Backpacking Destinations?
As much as I love exploring new countries and immersing myself in different cultures, I’ve realized it’s possible to enjoy the world without breaking the bank.
And seriously, there are so many beautiful and unique places to visit without spending a fortune!
The cheapest backpacking destinations offer a wide range of budget-friendly accommodations, food, and experiences.
Plus, you’ll meet fellow travel enthusiasts while making lifelong memories.
How Much Does a Backpacking Trip Cost?
A backpacking trip’s cost depends on the location, length, activities, and your personal spending habits.
Generally, backpacking trips in countries like Southeast Asia and Eastern Europe can be as cheap as $15-30 per day (including food, accommodations, and basic activities).
Now that you’ve got an idea of the cost, let’s dive into the best and cheapest places to backpack in the world.
The Best Cheapest Backpacking Destinations Around the World
I’ve discovered that some regions across the globe consistently offer budget-friendly travel experiences without sacrificing a single iota of adventure or excitement.
Here are my top picks for the cheapest backpacking destinations:
Southeast Asia: Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos
Southeast Asia is an incredibly popular region for budget travelers, and with good reason!
It’s packed with stunning landscapes, delicious street food, and rich culture.
Vietnam is my absolute favorite destination in Southeast Asia for its affordability and diverse landscape.
The country offers bustling cities like Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, along with natural attractions like Ha Long Bay and Sa Pa.
You can easily spend weeks exploring Vietnam without putting a dent in your travel budget!
Cambodia is another gem that’s easy on your wallet.
Home to the majestic Angkor Wat, an ancient temple complex, and bustling local markets, you can immerse yourself in Khmer history and culture for just a few dollars a day.
Laos may be less popular than its neighbors, but it’s a backpacker’s dream!
With its laid-back vibe, picturesque landscapes, and ancient temples, you’ll fall in love with this underrated country.
As a solo traveler, I fell absolutely in love with Southeast Asia for its affordability, breathtaking landscapes, and rich culture.
Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos are particularly budget-friendly, with comfortable accommodations often ranging from $5 to $15 per night.
Street food is delicious and dirt-cheap, and I explored these countries’ stunning natural beauty without breaking the bank.
- The Hang Son Doong cave in Vietnam, which is the largest cave in the world, blew me away with its otherworldly charm.
- Angkor Wat in Cambodia is hands-down one of the most magical sights I’ve ever witnessed—an epic sunrise experience worth waking up early for.
- And let’s not forget about Luang Prabang in Laos, a UNESCO World Heritage city with beautiful temples and vibrant night markets.
You might think traveling alone could be a bit lonely, right?
But the cool thing about backpacking solo in Southeast Asia, especially in countries like Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, is the locals.
Man, they are some of the friendliest folks you’ll ever meet!
They’ll invite you over for some homemade pho, guide you through the local markets, and even teach you a few words in their language.
You’ll feel right at home!
And let’s talk about affordability. Y’know, I used to think that traveling meant burning a huge hole in my pocket. But boy, was I wrong!
In these countries, you can get by with as little as $20 to $30 a day, and that includes a comfy bed, meals, and sightseeing.
Heck, I even had cash left over for a few souvenirs.
Now, rich culture is a phrase thrown around a lot these days, but in the case of Southeast Asia, it’s not just lip service.
You’ll see centuries-old temples right next to bustling modern cities, ancient art techniques still being practiced, and traditional music filling the air around street corners.
It’s something that you’ve gotta experience firsthand to truly appreciate.
So, if you’re on the fence about where to head for your backpacking trip, let me tell ya, Southeast Asia is where it’s at.
Affordable, culturally rich, and full of friendly faces, it’s the perfect spot for a solo traveler, especially if it’s your first time.
Georgia (The Country, Not the State!)
When I first visited Georgia, I couldn’t believe how gorgeous this country was, as well as its affordability.
Nestled right between Europe and Asia, it offers a unique blend of cultures, history, and breathtaking landscapes. Tbilisi, the capital, boasts a lively atmosphere and picturesque old town while the breathtaking Svaneti region offers some of the best mountainous scenery in Europe.
Plus, with Georgia’s Lari being quite weak, it’s a fantastic time to visit.
Pro tip: If you’re into wine, Georgia is one of the oldest wine regions in the world, so savor some local varieties.
Trust me when I say that Porto is one of Europe’s hidden gems.
Cheaper than Lisbon and just as charming, this vibrant city offers stunning architecture, delicious cuisine, and loads of history packed into its narrow streets.
One of the highlights was strolling along the Douro River and sipping their famous Port wine. How can you beat that?
I could write an entire guide just about my love for Vietnam (maybe I will someday).
But for now, let me say that it’s one of the cheapest backpacking destinations in Southeast Asia.
From the bustling streets of Ho Chi Minh City to the serene majesty of Halong Bay, Vietnam offers a vibrant and diverse experience for backpackers on a budget.
And let’s not even get started on the mouthwatering cuisine.
Looking for an affordable Central American adventure?
Nicaragua is an amazing, affordable Central American backpacking location. This country’s volcanic landscapes, pristine beaches, and cultural riches make it an ideal destination for budget-conscious backpackers.
Eastern Europe: Romania, Georgia, and Ukraine
When it comes to value for money, few places can compete with Eastern Europe.
I was surprised to find that countries like Romania, Georgia, and Ukraine provide jaw-dropping sights and experiences at a fraction of the cost of their more well-known counterparts.
- Romania’s Transylvania region offers dramatic castles, such as Bran Castle (commonly known as Dracula’s Castle), and stunning mountain landscapes.
- Georgia, with its spectacular scenery and excellent (and incredibly affordable) wine scene, became one of my all-time favorite travel destinations.
- Ukraine, while not entirely undiscovered, still offers up plenty of cheap thrills, such as exploring the famous Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.
Cheapest Backpacking Destinations 2024: Emerging Trends (How to Plan Ahead)
I’d like to share some emerging trends in budget backpacking with you.
By planning ahead, you can be among the first to experience these fantastic destinations before they become mainstream.
Traveling on a budget can be an incredibly rewarding experience, allowing you to explore new destinations and cultures without breaking the bank.
In 2024, several locations are expected to become some of the cheapest backpacking destinations in the world.
The Philippines boasts over 7,000 islands, each one offering breathtaking landscapes, pristine beaches, and vibrant cultures.
From the picturesque green terraces of Banaue to the crystal-clear waters of El Nido, you’ll never run out of amazing sights to see. And the best part? It’s one of the most budget-friendly countries in Southeast Asia.
Georgia – Europe’s Hidden Gem
In recent years, Georgia has emerged as one of the cheapest backpacking destinations in Europe.
Nestled between the Caucasus Mountains and the Black Sea, Georgia offers a little something for every type of traveler.
Explore ancient monasteries, hike through lush forests, or indulge in the country’s renowned wine culture.
India – A Budget Traveler’s Paradise
India is a kaleidoscope of colors, flavors, and experiences.
From the bustling markets of Delhi to the serenity of the Himalayas, India offers countless opportunities for exploration.
What makes this country even more appealing to backpackers is the low cost of living.
Accommodation, food, and transportation are incredibly affordable, making India a must-visit for budget travelers.
Bolivia is a haven for budget travelers seeking adventure in the heart of South America.
From the dizzying heights of La Paz to the otherworldly landscapes of Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia promises a one-of-a-kind experience.
And with prices significantly lower than neighboring countries, it’s no surprise that Bolivia is becoming a popular destination for budget backpackers.
The Caucasus: Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia
One of the top predictions for the coming years is a surge of travelers flocking to the Caucasus region, comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Georgia.
These countries boast a fascinating blend of Eastern European and Western Asian vibes, with stunning landscapes and rich cultural heritage.
In Armenia, explore the ancient city of Yerevan, known for its vibrant street art and delicious cuisine.
Azerbaijan’s capital, Baku, is a modern metropolis with an old-world charm and breathtaking architecture.
And as mentioned earlier, Georgia offers something for every type of traveler – from hiking in the mountains to indulging in delicious Georgian wine.
Looking for an adventure amongst towering, snow-capped mountains and a rich culture?
Then Nepal is the place to be.
As one of the world’s cheapest backpacking destinations, you can get by on a daily budget of just $25 to $30.
With affordable accommodations, delicious local cuisine, and stunning trekking routes, it’s no wonder that Nepal attracts thousands of solo backpackers each year.
Planning Your Budget Backpacking Trip
Budgeting Basics: Tips on How to Budget for A Solo Backpacking Trip
We all know that budgeting is key when planning any trip, but it’s especially important when you’re backpacking solo.
Here are some tips to get your budget in tip-top shape:
- Track your daily expenses: Before leaving, make a list of the essentials you’ll need to spend money on each day. Food, water, and accommodation should be your top priorities. As an example, I’ve budgeted as little as $30 per day in Southeast Asia, and it’s been enough to cover my basic needs.
- Be flexible with transportation: One of the best ways to save money is to use local transportation options. Trust me; I’ve tried them all – buses, trains, tuk-tuks, you name it! I even hitchhiked in some friendly countries, but I wouldn’t recommend it unless you’re comfortable with the risks involved.
- Choose cheap destinations: Some parts of the world are simply more affordable than others. To maximize your travel experience, pick countries where your money goes further.
Packing light is another crucial aspect when preparing for a backpacking adventure.
As a minimalist traveler myself, I’ve come to appreciate the art of packing only what I need. Here are my recommendations:
- Choose a lightweight backpack: My go-to choice has always been this particular backpack , which is both durable and surprisingly roomy. I’ve used it for years, and I can confidently say it’s my favorite backpack of all time.
- Opt for versatile clothing: When packing, opt for clothing items that can be worn in different combinations or multiple times before needing a wash. I love these travel pants because they’re lightweight, moisture-wicking, and stylish enough to wear in various settings.
- Invest in quality gear: I can’t stress enough how essential it is to have durable, high-quality gear when backpacking. It might cost a bit more upfront, but it saves you money and prevents headaches in the long run.
So, here are some of the most affordable and stunning corners of the world for backpacking
Gotta say exploring most of these places has been one hell of a ride for me .
From eating street food in Delhi, taking in the old-world charm of Baku, to trekking the Annapurna Circuit not forget about our Bolivia landscapes; I still can’t believe I saw a pink lake. A pink lake!
Not something you see every day, right?
And remember, it’s not just about the destination, but the journey that gets you there.