We all watched the same movies and read the same books growing up (and if you didn't, let us introduce you to our friend, the internet). And those things planted the seeds of wanderlust in our hearts from an early age. Who didn't spend at least a solid year enamored with all things ancient Egypt as a child? Or filled up a backpack with binoculars and a canteen for your inevitable Amazon adventure?
Well, we're here to tell you that now, as an adult, you can visit all the places you were obsessed with as a child—for a lot less than you thought it would cost. You don't even need your parents' permission.
1. The Pyramids, Egypt
If you fell in love with Egypt because Brendan Fraser made it seem so gosh darn exciting in The Mummy, we get you. Trust us, this country lives up to its reputation.
We suggest joining a tour group to go from Cairo to Aswan and back. You can find tours for as low as $600. From descending into King Tut's tomb to sitting on the blocks of the great pyramid, you'll be amazed at how easy—and cheap—it is to see everything from your history textbook.
- Where To Fly Into: Cairo
- When To Visit: October – November, February – April | Best for cooler weather and smaller crowds
- Estimated Budget: $900 – $1,500
- Pirate Tips: Bring lots of single dollar bills, since Egypt has a huge tipping culture
2. The Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The underwater world of Finding Nemo is very much alive off the coast of Australia, although you should bring a red filter for your GoPro, because orange clownfish look greenish under the sea.
Stay in Cairns at $18 hostels between day snorkeling trips or while earning your dive certification. However, you may want to spring for a dive liveaboard, where you'll sleep on a boat floating over the reef—it's the best way to see everything from sharks to turtles, dude.
- Where To Fly Into: Cairns
- When To Visit: April – September | Best for cooler and drier weather
- Estimated Budget: $1,250 – $2,000
- Pirate Tips: Buy your own (high quality) mask and snorkel at home to avoid paying premium prices or rental fees
3. Mount Everest, Nepal
We're just gonna say it—when you visit the Himalayas, you're going to be convinced that the yeti exists. Among hidden valleys and crumbling temples, how could it not?
The most expensive part about Nepal is getting there. The country is incredibly affordable. A 15-day trek to Everest Base Camp can cost as little as $1,200, while you can score a panoramic Mount Everest flight for around $200. Seeing how a permit to climb the mountain itself is $11,000, we'd say that's a steal.
- Where To Fly Into: Kathmandu
- When To Visit: March – May, October | Best for weather and clear skies
- Estimated Budget: $2,000 – $2,500
- Pirate Tips: Brush up on Nepal's customs, like not using your left hand for pretty much anything
4. The Amazon Rainforest, South America
Anyone else remember The Magic School Bus rainforest computer game? No? Just us? Well, planning a trip to the Amazon is a little more complicated than jumping aboard a school bus—but still just as magical.
You can visit the Amazon in many South American countries,but we suggest starting with the more manageable Ecuadorian portion. The wildlife is incredible, flights to Quito are consistently affordable (we've seen as low as $300 round trip), and you can always combine it with a trip to the Galapagos.
- Where To Fly Into: Quito (from there, local flights or tours can bring you to the Amazon)
- When To Visit: December – March | Best for slightly drier weather
- Estimated Budget: $1,200 – $2,000
- Pirate Tips: Consider trying a budget tour that allows you to homestay with local Quichua families
5. Savannah, Kenya
You know all those awesome shots from the opening of The Lion King? Yeah, you can see those all in real life (except Pride Rock. Pride Rock's not real) by embarking on safaris around Kenya's national parks.
Visit Hell's Gate to see the landscapes that directly inspired everyone's favorite Hamlet adaptation, or take a budget safari to Maasai Mara to watch the wildebeest migration. And for stunning views of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's tallest mountain, head south to Amboseli National Park.
- Where To Fly Into: Nairobi
- When To Visit: June – October | Best for wildlife viewing
- Estimated Budget: $1,200 – $2,000
- Pirate Tips: If you want to hike Mount Kenya or Kilimanjaro (next door in Tanzania), many tour operators will allow you to add a safari to the package—but we suggest going after the hike