Indonesia is the perfect place to backpack through, if you don’t have a rigid itinerary. With so much to do and so much to see, take advantage of the cheap food and accommodation to explore the depths of beauty here. The good thing about Indonesia being such a tourist destination is that they cater to each end of the spectrum – luxury living or bare necessities; and even if all you get is a room with a bathroom (which is generally under USD15), it is well worth the money you pay.
Street food is a great way to go in Indonesia, to maintain flavor and price. If you’re looking to cut costs, stick with a veggie plate because meats add more to the bill. Even with the variety of dishes and prices, you would be spending under USD3 for a meal.
There are plenty of places to go and things to do without breaking the bank. Going the usual tourist-route means pricier fares, so veer off the path and climb a volcano in Bandung, explore the scenic botanical gardens in Bogor, and discover village life in Kalibaru.
Rich in history, culture, and wonders, Peru is a backpacking adventure. Ranging between USD25-40 per day spent on accommodation, food, traveling, as well as activities, the difference in costs only exist depending on the level of luxury you require and the kind of activities you choose. Opt for guesthouses instead of hostels in popular destinations like Cusco, Arequipa and Lima, as they use tourism to their advantage by pricing higher.
Lunch is the main meal in Peru and can be found for just over USD1. This extremely cheap meal is a set menu that is fulfilling in taste and quantity.
The best places to go to are Arequipa and Colca Canyon, and Cusco and Machu Picchu. As amazing as other places are, these are the best. Huacachina is a fun stop oasis in the desert near Ica that allows you to relax or experience some thrills with sandboarding and dune-buggy riding. Other adventures including white water rafting near Arequipa, trekking for a few days in Colca Canyon - appreciating the beauty and spotting giant Condors, observing Alpacas, and exploring the Amazon from Iquitos or Puerto Maldonado.
A must-visit in South East Asia! So much so that some areas like Bangkok are completely run over by tourists. To avoid the crowds and enjoy the splendor of the country, veer off the beaten track to places less travelled. You can find basic accommodation with beds and a fan for under USD10 a day, but keep in mind that the South of Thailand is costlier than the North due to its tourist potential.
Street food is easy to come by and can be found for under USD2 for a small meal, or under USD7 for a big one, which is the same as a restaurant, if you want the comfort of one.
Things to do include checking out the snake farm and show in Bangkok, getting a massage, scuba diving in the Similian Islands, and visiting Isaan – a rural farming village that takes you away from the crazy city life. Be sure to check out Khao Sok National Park, where you can find caves, jungles, lakes, rivers, and some of the largest limestone krysts, which make for a gem of a park to trek around in.
Known mostly because of the animated movie, Madagascar has beauty yet to be explored. Home to 80% of flora and fauna that is not found anywhere else in the world, it is popular for its lemurs, beaches, and wildlife. Backpackers on a budget are advised to sleep in the tents widely available around the national parks which comes to under USD2, or spend less than USD4 on a hostel.
You can find traditional Malagasy traditional food for less than USD2 but it is usually tasteless rice with a few pieces of meat. However, French cuisine is widespread and tasty, and can be found at a little more of a price at around USD7.
Experience the amazing scenic beauty of Madagascar in the Ranomafana National Park, and Isalo National Park - both with their diverse ecosystems - and the tropical island of Ile Ste Marie, which, in addition to relaxing on its beach, also offers watersports for thrill-seekers. Keep in mind that parks need a guide to venture into, which is an additional cost to the entry fee.
Certain people consider Malaysia to be a little more of a costly destination, but it is great value for money for a backpacker, and around the same level as Indonesia and Thailand. Its developed city offers comfort, while its diverse landscape offers adventure. Accommodation is available for about USD10 for a hostel, even while being modern and well-equipped, along with A/C.
Food is pretty cheap - at around USD3 for street food, while a local restaurant will cost you around USD8. There is a wide variety of mouth-watering Malaysian and Indian food available cheap, amongst others.
If you spend a few days in Kuala Lumpur, head over to the Petronas Towers, or relax in the Lake Gardens. If you’re seeking more excitement, hike in Taman Negara, let yourself go in Kuching, visit the Crystal Mosque in Terengganu, and don’t miss out on Kenyir Lake and Cameron Highlands.
Even though Nicaragua is the biggest country in South America, civil wars and earthquakes have meant that it has hardly been on anyone’s travel list except of late. And so, it is the cheapest country to backpack in, while enjoying a life of adventure.
Accommodation is easily found for about USD6 for a dorm bed, or USD10 for a private room, but keep in mind that Leon is a bit more expensive.
Food can be anywhere between USD1 and USD10, depending on the kind you get. There aren’t many options for street food, and Western food is costlier with less taste and value.
There is plenty to do in Nicaragua – try your hand at fishing, swimming, kayaking or paragliding at the crater lake of Apoyo, enjoy the thrills of Ometepe like hiking up volcanoes or mountain biking, or take it slow and spend your days in a hammock, taking in the view. For those who wish to truly live on the edge, volcano boarding is always an option, in addition to hiking up an active volcano and peering down its crater to the molten lava below!
With its epic breathtaking scenery, New Zealand is just waiting to be explored. Discover landscapes beyond what you have seen on Lord of the Rings, and be in awe of the splendor in this country. Backpacking on a budget in New Zealand is doable if you know where to cut costs. Tourism here is aimed at the outdoors, and that can get a bit pricey, so be sure to take note of the freebies and cheap routes where you can.
In looking for a place to stay, New Zealand is very backpacker-friendly – besides a campsite or a bed (between USD5 and USD10), you could save a few dollars a night by obtaining a Budget Backpacker Hostel (BBH) card for USD50. You could also WWOOF it (Willing Workers On Organic Farms) – where you help out on a farm in exchange for food and boarding. The ultimate backpacking experience!
It is most budget-friendly if you cook meals yourself – spending about USD50 a week, rather than much more eating at restaurants.
There is an abundance of activities to do in New Zealand, so make sure you budget for them and don’t try to fit it all, as you will overspend and not enjoy a hectic holiday. Use the Flexipass to go sightseeing, and watch the dolphins at the Bay of Islands, experience the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, visit Abel Tasman National Park, go skiing in Queenstown, or take advantage of the spectacular nature and national parks and just take a walk.
This fusion of East meets West is relatively new in the backpacking world. Turkey is rich in history and culture, one of the few countries that holds artefacts that are 2000 years old.
Accommodation is fairly cheap, at less than USD10 and an even lower, USD3 at Olympos.
Considered one of the best cuisines in the world, eating out will get you more than your money’s worth, in terms of flavor. You can find a hearty 3-course meal for around USD10, but would be costlier in less touristy areas.
Whether it’s the Blue Mosque and Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, the splendor of Cappadocia, examining the ancient ruins at Ephesus or Artemis - the latter being one of the 7 Wonders of the Ancient World, or trekking, paragliding, mountain biking or sea-kayaking, Turkey has plenty to offer.
This third world country has much to offer in addition to the Himalayas, but they continue to be the biggest attraction. While infrastructure and development may not be high on Nepal’s list, there is nowhere else in the world where you can find independent trekking so easy to organize.
Accommodation can be anywhere between USD5 and USD25, depending on the facilities you require, but it is cheaper if there’s a trek involved.
Local food is cheap and tasty and should only cost you around USD2. Western food is generally only available in Kathmandu.
Besides hiking up the Himalayas, and trekking across lush, fertile valleys, you could also go rafting, or explore deserted areas, national parks, and architectural sights.
Although some consider Costa Rica to be a slightly more expensive destination, it is possible to backpack there on a budget. This gem of a country might be a popular haven, but there is still much to discover.
Accommodation prices differ depending on where you are - they can go from USD5 in Arenal to double that Mal Pais, but a great way to save money is to couch surf if you’re up for bonding with the locals!
Eating at the “sodas” or local restaurants is your cheapest option, at USD5 for a meal, as well as snacking at Musmanni, with pastries at less than USD1.
Costa Rica has plenty to do, and while some activities like white water rafting and zip lining might set you back a bit, there are plenty of things to do that are easy on the wallet. Taking a coffee tour in Alajuela, visiting the animal sanctuary in Puerto Viejo, exploring Manuel Antonio National Park without a guide, and reveling in La Paz Waterfall Gardens, Irazu Volcano amongst others, or Corcovado National Park are just naming a few.
Check out more of HalalTrip’s Best 10 lists of 2016 here!
If one of your resolutions this year was to travel more, but your budget doesn’t quite permit it, check out our guide to places that allow you to see the world and its wonders without breaking the bank!