Are you tired of being stuck at home and ready for an adventure? Travel during the pandemic has been curtailed in many countries, but as the world begins to open up again, there are plenty of locations you can visit that are relatively inexpensive to access from the United States.
Maybe you are unsure whether you can afford international travel right now, but here is the truth. There are ways to visit exotic locations on the cheap. The US dollar is quite strong right now, making destination travel from the US more affordable than it has been in years.
Keep reading for a list of the seven cheapest countries to visit from the United States. You may be pleasantly surprised at how low the travel costs are for some of these countries.
Why Are Some Countries so Cheap to Visit?
A drop in local currencies accounts for the cheaper costs of international travel. Some countries have been closed to tourism for some time due to covid regulations. As they begin to open back up to foreign travelers, the US dollar is strong and can help to infuse some energy into the local economy.
Before you make plans, be sure you check the most current travel restrictions for your chosen destination. Situations may change quickly. The U.S. State Department website is a reliable source for this information.
What’s Our Criteria for Cheap Travel?
Reliable but inexpensive transportation once you arrive at your destination is a significant factor in any vacation, but especially a cheap one. You can spend a bundle on taxi fares if any other means of transportation is unpleasant or unreliable.
The cost of lodging in the chosen countries must be affordable for a clean double room. While you can always find accommodations in hostels or dorms that would be even cheaper, a reasonable guest house, Airbnb, or hotel should always be available for a decent price.
Of course, if you eat meals from the street vendors or buy groceries and cook your own food, you will save money. But moderate restaurant rates should also be available. Be aware that alcohol prices can drive your eating costs up significantly.
Airfare costs will probably be the highest item on your travel ticket. With tourism picking up again in many countries, demand for flights has increased, causing an increase in cost. You should be able to find flights to these seven countries from $400-$1000, even less for some. Plan at least 5-6 months out and check Skyscanner for the best deals.
The 7 Cheapest Countries to Visit from the US
These seven countries should give you a starting point for finding cheap travel from the United States:
Be sure to check what month is the cheapest to fly to each country. Skyscanner has this as an option on its website.
Mexico is one of the most inexpensive countries you can visit right now because it is close. You will not be disappointed by the wonders you will experience with the Mexican culture and beautiful scenery.
Visit Oaxaca if you love history and want to learn about the indigenous peoples. Wander the outdoor food market in the fishing village of Puerto Escondido. You will also find a remarkable hidden beach there that is great for surfing. Try Mazatlan if you are looking for architecture and museums. Or climb the Tepanapa pyramid in Cholula.
Currently, you can find flights from most major airports in the US to Mexico for $400-500. If you check multiple airports for departure and for arrival, you may find even better deals. The current exchange rate gives you about 20 pesos for a dollar. Plan your stay outside the major resort destinations, and those 20 pesos will stretch a long way.
The landscapes of Vietnam are stunning in their beauty. The Vietnamese people will welcome you wholeheartedly. The country’s history goes back over a thousand years. You will be invited into the culture, the festivals, and the cuisine of this ancient land.
Visit the amazing network of caves at Phong Nha Caves. They are some of the largest in the world. Many travelers miss Cat Ba Island and the beautiful national park at the heart of the island. You will also find the cheapest sailing trips from here to Halong Bay. Spend a few days in Ho Chi Minh City, and do not miss having the famous Vietnamese coffee.
Expect to spend about $50 a night for a double room at a hotel. A typical restaurant meal will cost about $5 per person, less if you choose fast food or street food. A bowl of pho costs less than a dollar. Even the cost of a taxi ride from the airport to your hotel should be under $20, but a ticket on a local bus is usually less than $.15.
If Morocco has been on your wish list, you may consider the prices of tours or at least have a traveling buddy. This beautiful country is literally in your face with sights, smells, sounds, and fake tour guides who probably will not harm you, but can certainly make your visit uncomfortable.
If you are up for a challenging hike, a trek through the Torda Gorge is not to be missed. Explore Marrakech, wander its medina (or market), and while you are there, take a cooking class at a local guest house. Enjoy the sand and the sun or even windsurf at Sidi Kaouki beach, ride a camel, or sleep in the Sahara.
You can find a flight from the east coast to Morocco for between $500-$800. The average cost for a double room at a hotel is about $50 a night, although you can find better deals in outlying areas where there are fewer tourists. You can eat cheaply at the markets. Bus service is often unreliable, so negotiate a good price with petits taxis, a small, shared-ride for three.
Ecuador offers some of the best indigenous markets you will find anywhere. It is a diverse country with beautiful beaches, rainforests, the Andes Mountains, and thermal pools. You can even spend a night in a lodge on the Amazon. The people of Ecuador will make you feel welcome.
Explore a volcano or go white water rafting. Climb the towers of the Cathedral de la Immaculada for a breathtaking view of Cuenca. Splurge on a day trip into the Amazon rainforest at $150 per person. Spend a day at Puerto Lopez watching humpback whales. At nearby La Plata Island, you can find many of the same animals you would see at Galapagos for much less money.
Budget hotels in Ecuador are relatively cheap, running only slightly more than hostels, starting at about $25 a night. Most meals are under $5 per person, cheaper if you eat at street vendors. A local bus ticket costs about a quarter. Bus travel between cities is also cheap but entails long rides. It is not out of the question to fly within the country at reasonable prices.
Americans are allowed to visit Cuba. You will need to declare a valid reason for travel from the twelve categories allowed by American authorities. And you need a Cuban Tourist Card, which you get online. Cuba is full of contradictions, beautiful but dilapidated. Cuba is only beginning to come free of a time warp, a great time to visit.
If you have the money to splurge on an attraction, consider one of these:
- Ride horseback to a tobacco farm
- Take a biking tour of Havana
- Rent a classic car for an hour or two
And there are plenty of things to do cheaply. Smoke a Cuban cigar, watch the crabs cross the street, stroll on the beach, swim in a waterfall.
Rent a room in a local home for about $30 a night for a true taste of Cuban culture and daily life. You can eat cheap; aunreliable nice meal is only a couple of dollars. You will spend more if you eat in a government-run restaurant, less in one privately owned. A shared taxi is probably the most inexpensive way to get around, as bus travel is not reliable.
History surrounds you in Romania. The architecture is a unique combination of ancient styling and more recent European history. The food is hearty and heartwarming. The spectacular scenery will welcome you throughout the entire country. You will wonder why you never thought of visiting before now.
Ride a cable car up Mount Tampa and look down at the landscape of Transylvania. Do not go expecting lots of Dracula memorabilia. There is not that much there to see. Check out the wildlife at the delta where the Danube pours into the Black Sea. Visit Corvin Castle, one of the largest in Europe, or enjoy the painted tombstones of the Merry Cemetery.
Expect to spend around $35 a night for accommodation for two. A cheap meal will cost about $6, but the food is hearty and filling. A ticket for the metro, underground mass transit, is just over a dollar. Check this against the cost of a day pass, as it may not be much more in some cities. Local airlines are the best way to travel between cities.
You will find fewer tourists in Portugal than in the neighboring country of Spain, but that may be one of the reasons for choosing Lisbon instead of Madrid. With award-winning wines, beautiful beaches, and outstanding cuisine, Portugal will win you over, and you will want to return.
Boat through Aveiro in the moliceiros, a Portuguese gondola. Enjoy the magnificent art done in blue tiles in Porto. Ride a tram through Lisbon. It is only a two-hour flight from Lisbon to the Azores Islands (and relatively inexpensive).
You can also kayak through Benagil Caves or wander through Portugal’s oldest university campus at Coimbra.
A double room at an inexpensive hotel will run about $40 a night, but you should be able to find an Airbnb stay for much less. Expect to pay about $8 for a light meal or sandwich. A full sit-down dinner will run about $20-25. Public transportation is very affordable, and even the train between cities is reasonable in Portugal.
Your dollars will stretch a long way in any of these countries. With Covid restrictions still in place in many countries, be sure to check current guidelines before you decide to travel. Whether you want culture, history, or adventure, these seven countries will not disappoint and provide unique experiences.