Anyone with an Instagram account knows the feeling of #fomo. What do you see when you open your feed? Hashtag after hashtag filled with drool-worthy vacations taken by influencers who get paid to travel the world.
You might be asking yourself: How can I do what they’re doing? How can I see the world without going into massive amounts of debt? While we won’t send you on a trip to a faraway place, we know exactly where you should spend your hard-earned travel dollars to head out on an incredible trip in 2019.
Close your eyes and picture Egypt: We guarantee you saw pyramids and hieroglyphics. While you may have dreamed of exploring Egypt as a child, when was the last time you paid the North African nation a second thought? The U.S. dollar’s strength against the Egyptian pound makes the country an excellent value for travelers. A full dinner (think: appetizers, a main dish and dessert) can cost as little as $5, which makes mealtime a breeze.
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The natural beauty of Turkey is breathtaking: Bask in the turquoise waters and dip your toes in the warm sand at Kabak Bay. Hop in a hot air balloon, and marvel at some of the world’s greatest natural wonders in Cappadocia. If you’re looking to impress your friends with a tasty meal at your next dinner party, head to the Spice Bazaar — one of the largest bazaars in all of Istanbul. The US dollar is 235 percent stronger against the Turkish lira than it was in 2014 — which means your dollar will go much further in Turkey.
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Fiji is often looked at as a luxury destination, but the beautiful island can be visited on a budget if planned correctly. There’s plenty to do and see on the island. Visit the Fiji Museum for a culture lesson. Head to the Yasawas Islands and go diving in Beqa Lagoon and Rainbow Reef. You can join a paid tour to Beqa Lagoon for a little less than $50, and a self-tour using a local bus will run you a little over $5 — an excellent way to the island’s beautiful scenery.
Image Source: Prem Kurumpanai
4. The Kingdom of Jordan
As tourism to Jordan increases, the cost of flights has been decreasing, making the country a much better value due to its low cost for transportation, tours, food and souvenirs. For the more adventurous, stays at camps near the Wadi Rum desert can run about $20 per night. While in town, visit one of the new wonders of the world, Petra, stop by the Dead Sea or go off the beaten path and take a self-guided tour of Jerash, which has been inhabited since the Bronze Age.
If you’re a hands-on type of traveler, then Cambodia’s historic temples and can’t-miss sights will surely deliver. Nature lovers will love a deep dive into the Cardamom Mountains, a mountain range characterized by dense rainforest. While you may have to shell out a bit to travel to Cambodia, it’s not as much as you might expect. Once you’re there, you’ll find that food, drinks, accommodation, transport and sightseeing are all incredibly inexpensive for what you get.
Image Source: Daniel Lienert
6. Cape Verde
A lesser-known destination to Americans, this is the perfect island escape from snow and freezing temps. The main focus of tourism in Cape Verde are the islands of Sal and Boa Vista, which have long been popular winter sun destinations for Europeans. Here you'll find big resorts and beautiful beaches aplenty. As the currency is pegged to the Euro, it's relatively stable. However, the U.S. dollar has strengthened against the Euro for much of 2018 — so you'll be getting much more for your money than if you traveled in 2018.
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The dollar has been fairly strong in Peru for the past 10 years (at least), making it one of the most affordable destinations in the Americas. Machu Picchu will continue to be the biggest tourist attraction, but short visits will likely become less popular, while multi-day walking tours on trails such as the Inca trail will become more popular. With increasingly affordable ways to get to Peru from North America, it’s likely that lesser-known destinations such as Puno, Arequipa and the Nazca Lines will be on the rise.
8. BoliviaFrom high-altitude La Paz to the famous Uyuni salt flats, Bolivia has much to offer to the adventurous traveler. Take a tour between the two locations for as little as $300 for three days with transportation, lodging and most meals included. A day tour to one of South America’s largest lakes, Lake Titicaca, will run you $29, with transportation included. Plus, the country is home to the cheapest entry point to the Amazon River. If you eat like a local, you should be able to get all of your meals in for $15. Toss in a beer and your total spending for the day is $16 — not bad for a trip to South America.
Image Source: Eduardo Gutiérrez
Eco-tourism will become more and more popular as many parts of the Colombian countryside become more accessible to tourists. Medellín will continue to increase in popularity, although Cartagena and Bogotá will remain places of interest for tourists. Transportation to and around the country isn’t too expensive. Flights can be very cheap and tour companies have numerous good offers. Head to the country for less than $200 round trip. From transportation to food, Colombia is a great all-around option for traveling on a budget.
Cheap flights and food make Macedonia an excellent destination for budget travelers. Macedonia is a great addition to any European itinerary because you can splurge on restaurants for the same price as prepping your own meals in Western European countries. Many of Ohrid’s tourist attractions are within walking distance, enabling travelers to save on daily transportation costs. This is an excellent beach destination that is just as beautiful as Croatia with fewer crowds and a cheaper cost of living.
India is a vast country, so it may be difficult to decide which region in India to visit. Many tourists begin their journeys in New Delhi. A day trip from New Delhi to Agra to see the Taj Mahal can cost as little as $20, including a round-trip train ticket and admission to the grounds (a private tour will cost around $80 to $100). Food in India is as cheap and bountiful as it is delicious. As long as you avoid tourist spots, you can expect to pay $2 to $5 for most meals.
Budapest has established itself as one of the hottest European destinations of 2019, and for good reason. The city has no shortage of attractions: Travelers will especially love the trendy cobblestone-street-lined Jewish Quarter, home to Budapest’s famous ruin bars and an emerging street food scene. For unbeatable views, cross over to the Pest side of the city and hike (or take a bus) up to the Citadel Fortress. And, of course, no visit to Budapest is complete without a day spent relaxing at the famous Szechenyi Thermal Baths. Plus, the price of food in Hungary is much lower than nearby European countries like Austria so travelers can really get a bang for their buck.
Image Source: Dan Novac