I have had no problem being dirty for days at a time, sleeping on an overnight bus, or bargaining for the cheapest option on every menu. But as a get older I notice that it is getting harder to harder to sleep in hostel dorms. Maybe one day I'll wake up and think, "I deserve a hot shower today." And that's okay, but when I think about the times getting lost abroad, I'm glad I did it dirty, on the smallest budget imaginable, with no cares about the future. What would Cambodia have been without being tased just for the hell of it, or Ecuador without a little bit of hitch-hiking?
Elite Daily's article with the same title same incensed me: London and Tokyo as a "budget-friendly" destination would break anyone's budget, never mind some gritty backpacker looking for spontaneity. As more and more people commented that they would keep that article as a definitive list of goals, I figured I'd put the record straight.
Highlights: Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam
Busses break down on the side of the highway, beers cost less than soda, and hostels on a white sand beach can be as low as $7 a night (breakfast included). What's not to love? Thailand has scooped up the majority of tourists over the past couple years--so while still cheap--you're more likely to get swindled, or get looped into more guided tours. Advice here: travel slow and with purpose.
Highlights: Peru, Colombia, Argentina
While slightly more expensive, the prices here are only going to go up as the countries become more and more productive. I promise you won't regret being able to fly across Colombia for $20, or trek through one of the deepest canyons in the world (and staying overnight at the desert oasis at the bottom) for less than the price of a dinner. Go go go!
Highlights: Panama, Guatemala, Nicaragu
These places aren't dangerous, and they aren't Disneyland either. So with a little common sense, we're talking about paradise here! Costa Rica literally has sloths and sea creatures on it's money!
I haven't been to Africa or India yet, but they are on my list before anywhere in Europe! The places I've been so far have been interesting and have had very welcoming people. I've felt the freedom to be able to fully explore all there is to see because I had the budget and the willingness to do so.
The best part of all these areas is that you can see such a wide variety of wonder and beauty covering history, architecture, nature and more. And they are all close together, so you save the money on the most expensive part of any trip: airfare!
Please leave a comment on what you think I missed!