5 Places To Travel On a Budget

illustration by  Amy Lesko

illustration by Amy Lesko

by Madeleine Cotton

Not all vacations have to be expensive and extravagant in order to to really absorb a culture. Traveling to new spots, in my opinion, is all about being open minded. There are many places that can be explored at affordable cost. Here are five quality destinations worth traveling to when on a budget, even if you’re not.


Tulum is a town on the caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. It has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world and, on top of that, it is fairly inexpensive to visit. The ruins of El Castillo and nearby cenotes are worth your time, in addition to Paradise Beach.

Best months to visit: October-December.

Average hotel: $150 (Recommendation: Piedra Escondida Hotel)



Havana is one of the largest cities in the Caribbean region and is rich in historic 16th century Spanish architecture. Havana deteriorated after 1959 once Fidel Castro came into power, although projects to rehabilitate the city came into play in the 1980s. A must see is Old Havana, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982. Old Havana is a charming neighborhood at the city center, where you will see classic cars, Hemingway’s famous stops, art galleries, and vivid narrow streets filled with little shops and cafés. Authentic cuban sandwiches and pizza places line the streets and can cost as little as $1 each meal.

Best months to visit: December-May

Where to stay: Casas particulares ($20-$30 per night), Hotel ($80-$150 per night)


Cappadocia is number one on my list to travel next. I have always thought it is so unique, almost like going to another planet. Inhabited as early as 1800 to 1200 B.C., the geological wonder is known for its “fairy chimneys”, soft rock formations that were made into churches and homes. Tunnel complexes were formed into entire towns, Göreme being the most well known. Visiting Cappadocia is very inexpensive. You can rent bikes, scooters and even hot air balloons to explore the region.

Best months to visit: Mid April-early June and September-October

Where to stay: Cave hotels! Average price: $100 (Recommendation: Kale Konak Hotel)



Located on the Eastern coast of Spain, Lisbon is one of Europe’s most picturesque and soulful capitals. It is also one of Western Europe’s least expensive cities to visit! The food is known to be to die for so try all the fresh seafood and local wine you can. It is also worth exploring the neighborhoods of Alfama, Chiado and Bairro Alto. I recommend staying in an Airbnb because of the price and space you get.

Best months to visit: March-May and September-October

Where to stay: Airbnbs are around $40-$80 a night.




Phuket is a mountainous island that has some of Thailand’s best beaches. You can do and see so much while on a budget. This includes activities like snorkeling, visiting temples, eating street food and taking a day trip to nearby islands. Visiting Ko Khao Phing Kan, otherwise known as James Bond Island, is a must-see. 

Best months to visit: November-April

Where to stay: Average hotel/Airbnb: $40 (Recommendation: U Sabai Living Hotel)