I’ve received several emails asking me how I can travel for so long on a budget. People also want to know where the cheapest destinations in the world are.
Here are 5 countries where I was able to live for less than 20USD per day, including accommodation, food and even a beer or two.
NB. Iran, Pakistan and Bangladesh are also countries where you can comfortably live for less than 20USD but due to rather expensive visas, I decided not to include them in my list.
Mother Motherland statue in Kiev.
Ukraine was already cheap before the conflict with Russia broke out. Since the conflict started it has become VERY cheap. Ukraine is a massive country and only the eastern part is considered dangerous. Kiev, Odessa and Lviv are located far from the conflict and are as safe as any other European cities. Hostel prices start from less than 4USD in the centre of Kiev. Mains start from less than 2USD in local restaurants, coffee for about 1USD and beer starts around the same price. These days Ukraine is even cheaper than most of south-east Asia. You can easily live for less than 15USD in Ukraine
As long as you stay away from Bali and Jakarta, then you can see Indonesia cheaply, very cheaply. I have been to Indonesia several times and I rarely see tourists outside of Bali and the surrounding areas. Bali is still considered cheap for backpackers, but if you manage to venture further you will discover that Indonesia has so much more to offer and that Bali is actually expensive compared to the rest of the country. Local meals start from 1- 2USD, western food from 3-5USD. Coffee for about 1USD. A guest house with your own bathroom and fan starts from 3-4USD. Beer prices start from 1.8USD in the supermarket. Most days I can live for between 15-20USD without trouble in Indonesia,
Buddha in Kathmandu before the earthquake.
Nepal is amazing. It is one of my favourite countries in the world. It has a lot to offer, from world-class hiking, jungles, world-class culture and Buddha’s birthplace. Nepal has something to offer everyone, perhaps with the exception of those just looking to relax on a beach. While Kathmandu is pretty expensive compared to the rest of the country – at least if you stay in the tourist ghetto of Thamel, where admittedly I always stay when in Kathmandu! The further away from Kathmandu you travel the cheaper it becomes. Guest houses, often with shared bathroom, start from 2USD. Local meals, for example, dhal bhat, often cost 1USD and best of all they always offer all you can eat. Coffee starts from less than 1USD. The beer starts from 1.7USD in the supermarket. In Nepal, you can easily live for around 10USD per day
Ethiopia is a fascinating country with world-class culture, world class coffee and a huge amount of history. In addition to this it’s cheap. The capital, Addis Abeba, is more expensive but luckily there’s no reason to spend much time there. You should leave the capital as soon as you can and head out to experience this great country. Accommodation ranges from 2 – 7USD. Local food costs around 1USD and one of the world’s best coffees starts from 0.20 USD. Local transport costs about 1USD each hour but for some reason there are no night buses in the country and the distances are huge. While the living costs are very cheap, the entrance tickets to see the amazing rock churches are ridiculous at around 50USD. Visiting the Omo valley is also ridiculously expensive. DAMN you tour groups inflating the prices for us young travellers.
It’s easy to live for around 15USD a day in Ethiopia (not including the crazy inflated entrance tickets of course)
A leopard in Yalle National Park
Sir Lanka is one of the big upcoming backpacker destinations in Asia. While the surf spots on the west coast have been popular for years people are finally starting to explore the rest of this country. There are many great beaches still not discovered by tourists, it’s best just to bring a hammock and find two trees then you have the beach for yourself. There’s no reason at all to visit Colombo, and it’s easy to travel around the whole country without staying there.
The price for your own room with bathroom often starts from 8USD. Local meals start from around 1USD. A coffee costs around 1USD and the beer from around 1.5USD. It’s still pretty easy to live for less then 20USD a day in Sri Lanka but the prices are increasing quickly due to a number of tourists that are discovering the country.