5 Cheap Countries to Backpack for the Best Vacation

Whether you are a college student or just your average penny pincher, there are certain countries that totally agree with your spending (or lack thereof) habits. Backpacking can be a humbling way of travel, bringing you closer to the culture and the scenery of every place you visit, and could be your best vacation ever! Your dollar can go a lot farther, and your vacation can last a lot longer, by visiting these countries.


Ah yes, the heaven for all backpackers and mountain trekkers alike. I’m not at all biased in listing this country first. Nepal is a country filled with gorgeous mountainous peaks and valleys, home to eight of the world’s ten highest peaks. The whole country is practically every hiker’s dream playground, offering the perfect mix of trails, culture, and city. Don’t forget to visit the unforgettable Hindu and Buddhist temples like Pashupatinath, Budhanilkanatha, and Manakamana.


Indonesia has no shortage of seashores, jungles, and sunshine. With islands by the thousands, you are sure to get your fill of everything sea related. Sleep in cozy lodges, hitchhike on an elephant, and listen to the monkey choir. Since Bali and the most popular beach towns are main tourist destinations, deals can be harder to find in these spots. As an alternative, consider stopping by Sumatra, the largest, entirely Indonesian island for deals.


Along with being one of the most affordable Asian countries, it is also on of the poorest. This isn’t to say that you should discount (pun not intended) Cambodia as a travel destination, just that extra planning and patience is required when you do add it to your travel list. The temples of Angkor Wat is a large draw for those visiting, and the neighboring city of Seam Riep offers budget friendly room and board.


Despite Nicaragua’s political history, this country has since its reputation and is gaining popularity among the top budget vacation spots. As one of the cheapest destinations in Central America, if not the cheapest, a bed can be had for less than $12 a night in Grenada or the popular San Juan Del Sur. Personally, I am a huge fan of the food scene in Central America, but the standard “beans and rice” undertone of every dish may be tough to stomach after a few days. On the plus side, you can indulge in modestly priced seafood along with those rice and beans. Budget traveling is all about the plus side.


Even if your only travel experience is having looked at a map, you know that India is huge. Cost and value vary greatly depending on which area of the country you are visiting, and unless you are staying in Western-owned lodgings, you should expect a very different level of comfort, coziness, and cleanliness. If you have never been to India, let me tell you that unless you are at least moderately capable of coping with intensely colored and noisy crowds, aimlessly wandering cattle, and offensive smells, you may want to rethink a trip to India until you can. When you eventually change your mind like I know you eventually will, bring me back some gulab jamun.

Of course these aren’t the only cheap countries to visit, but it’s a darn good start. What top destinations do you think belong on this list? Let us know below!

Additional Images: Flickr



Eli Stewart
Eli Stewart
When she's not writing, she's baking...or traveling the world with a pack on her back and a camera 'round her neck. She's got a wild imagination and an insatiable fernweh. Try to keep up. Follow her on the Tweeter at @TheWritingBaker.