Looking for cheap places to travel without sacrificing fun? Check out the top 10 places to go in the US and worldwide for a bucket list-worthy trip on a surprisingly low budget.
What Are Some Cheap Places to Travel to?
- Consider US cities for the cheapest overall price, including flight + hotel
- Go international for crazy-cheap hotels and food, but higher airfare
- Look for free and cheap attractions, discount deals, and budget eats
Traveling on a budget often means getting a little creative with your destination and entertainment options on the trip.
Instead of hitting the same old tourist towns scraping for so-so deals, why not expand your horizons a bit and head to the some of best cheap places to travel to?
There are tons of cheap places to travel in and outside of the US, but sometimes, the lower cost comes at a price in the form of fewer attractions, subpar dining options, or less-than-ideal locations.
Fortunately, there are still plenty of cheap places to visit in the US and internationally that don’t have these issues. You don’t have to spend a lot to travel somewhere great!
We’ve compiled a list of the top places to travel on a budget that boast incredible scenery, things to do, and top-rated dining and drinks.
If you’re savvy and do some research, you’ll come up with special deals to visit museums, attractions, and galleries for free or cheap on certain days or with a low-cost pass.
Strolling through downtown areas, checking out monuments and historic buildings, and exploring parks is low cost or free. Budget dining anywhere is easy when you check menu prices online ahead of time!
Keep reading to discover the 10 best cheap places to travel in the US and internationally.
Top 5 Cheap Places to Travel in the US in 2023
There are pros and cons to sticking the US for cheap travel. The pros include shorter and cheaper flights, familiar culture and language, and amazingly diverse scenery, food, and history.
The cons? You won’t be traveling very far or experiencing travel in a new country and the cost of hotels, dining, and entertainment isn’t as low as you’ll find in some international destinations.
Take a look at the top 5 cheap places to travel in the US to get inspired for a budget-friendly domestic trip: Dallas, Nashville, Baltimore, Sacramento, and Albuquerque.
1. Dallas, TX
Dallas, located in the northeastern corner of Texas, makes an awesome place to visit on a budget. It’s energetic, southern, and packed with fun attractions you can enjoy affordably.
You’ll enjoy so many things to do in Dallas, like the August Dollar Days at Dallas Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, the Margarita Mile with free passes, prizes, and drink specials in summer, and getting a CityPASS to take historic tours and visit museums for almost 50% off.
Eating in Dallas doesn’t have to be pricey, with great, affordable stops like Jimmy’s Food Store (Italian), Velvet Taco, Truck Yard (American classics), and Cindi’s NY Deli and Restaurant to try.
Dallas hotels are cheapest in winter from $54/night, but even in the peak summer season, prices are around $64-$169/night on average. Consider Airbnbs in Dallas to save more and rent clean, comfortable rooms or apartments in the city close to all the action.
Skyscanner found flights to Dallas as cheap as $49 round trip, so you’ll be able to fly here for less than the cost of driving or renting a car and paying for gas!
2. Nashville, TN
Nashville is Music City, home to the Country Music Hall of Fame, the historic Grand Ole Opry, and countless music venues large and small. It’s packed with trendy restaurants and hotels, but there are plenty of cheap and free ways to entertain yourself here!
Stop in for karaoke, line dancing, or listen to local country music hopefuls sing and play along Lower Broadway at the famous Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge, Bourbon Street Blues and Boogie Bar, and the Wildhorse Saloon with cover charges from free to $10!
Dining doesn’t have to be pricey in Nashville as long as you know where to look. Hattie B’s Hot Chicken is a must-try for the famous Nashville hot chicken tenders for around $9, but Cheap Charlie’s Taco Shop and I Dream of Weenie are other great, affordable eats.
Travel in the winter from December to February for the cheapest prices on hotels in Nashville ($87-$228/night). Stay just outside the city for $59-$156/night in nearby destinations like Lebanon, TN to save even more!
Skyscanner found round trip flights to Nashville as low as $51 (from Orlando) and $52 (from Philadelphia), so it’s easy to head to Nashville on a budget.
3. Baltimore, MD
If you love being on the water in an eclectic, historic city without paying a lot, consider visiting Baltimore, Maryland. It’s a cheap place to travel in the US and there’s so much to do on a budget while you’re here.
It’s free to walk the city, checking out historic monuments and building facades. Live music for free or a low cover charge is a regular feature in downtown bars and clubs, especially on the weekends.
Spend time in the historic Market Center to check out the famous Lexington Market (parking $5), the American Visionary Art Museum ($9-$16), or check out the Love Project murals all over the city for free.
Baltimore is home to a lot of trendy restaurants, but you’ll find local favorites where the prices are low and the food is delicious. Chaps Pit Beef, Isabella’s Brick Oven Pizza, and the Shake Shack Inner Harbor are highly-rated with low prices.
Baltimore hotels cost $68-$178/night on average in winter, the cheapest time to visit the city. You can stay just outside the city to save more, so check out nearby suburbs like Catonsville or Havre De Grace to pay closer to $57/night.
4. Sacramento, CA
Sacramento, the capital city of California, sits at the convergence of 2 rivers in the beautiful Sacramento Valley. It’s the city that sparked the California Gold Rush in the mid-1800s when gold nuggets were discovered here.
The Gold Rush is still alive and well in Sacramento, with Old Sacramento housing museums, old-timey wagon rides and buildings, and cobblestone streets that take you back in time.
The waterfront Old Sacramento district is perfect for budget-friendly attractions. Riverboat rides, museum tours, railroad trips, and rides in a horse-drawn carriage are fun to look forward to!
Try budget-friendly restaurants like Chando’s Tacos, Steamers Bakery & Cafe, Petra Greek, and the California-native fast food joint In-N-Out Burger while you’re here.
You’ll find Sacramento hotels as low as $69/night during the off season in November, December, and January. Airbnbs in the city and hotels in nearby suburbs like Folsom, Roseville, and Elk Grove are even cheaper.
Skyscanner found cheap round trip flights to Sacramento for as low as $72. While winter tends to be cheapest for hotels, July is actually the cheapest month to fly to Sacramento.
5. Albuquerque, NM
Head west to Albuquerque, New Mexico to experience the rich, cultural blending of the US and Mexico with abundant history, great food and drinks, and – of course – cheap prices on hotels, attractions, and entertainment.
Albuquerque is home to beautiful Chihuahuan Desert landscapes, historic adobe buildings and museums in Old Town Albuquerque, excellent southwestern food, and the famous Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta every October.
Explore the many mountain bike and hiking trails around, take a cheap ghost tour, ride the Sandia Peak Tramway, and visit the neat Petroglyph National Monument. Museums abound with Native American, science, and art history.
Consider a day trip to nearby Santa Fe (about an hour’s drive) to sample even more food options, attractions, and great hiking trails with campsites if you’re feeling adventurous!
December to February is generally the cheapest time to visit Albuquerque, when you’ll find hotels as low as $59/night. Hotels in summer cost around $76/night on the low end.
Flights to Albuquerque can be as low as $78 round trip, depending on where you’re flying in from. Talk about an affordable trip!
Top 5 Cheap Places to Travel Internationally
Broadening your horizons with a trip to another country doesn’t have to be expensive when you know the top 5 cheap places to travel internationally.
While you’ll find that airfare is more expensive to get to these incredible destinations, you’ll be amazed at how cheap accommodations, food, entertainment, and transportation can be in these countries.
Take a look at the top 5 cheap places to travel internationally: Vietnam, Thailand, Romania, Albania, and Canada.
Vietnam is one of the most affordable travel destinations known for its dense jungles, ancient temples in beautiful locations, French colonial and Vietnamese architecture, and mouth-watering street food.
You can travel to Vietnam on the cheap with hotels and hostels in the country ranging from $7 to $20 per night on average. There are some luxurious resorts that are much more expensive (like the Four Seasons in Hanoi), but it’s easy to do Vietnam on a budget.
Spend $25-$50 per day to enjoy the beauty, food, and history of Vietnam without breaking the bank. The flight will be your biggest expense, but Skyscanner found round trip flights to Vietnam as low as $694 from the US.
In Hanoi, the capital city, you’ll find the most affordable hotel and hostel options with clean conditions and gorgeous views. Street food vendors and local restaurants make it easy to fill up cheaply!
Take a full-day tour to nearby Ninh Binh to see ancient temples, taste authentic local cuisine, and see Vietnam’s stunning jungle scenery from the boat in Tam Coc with mountains rising in the misty air around you.
Thailand, home to opulent palaces and temples, bustling cities and markets, steamy jungles, and stunning tropical beaches in the south, is one of the most incredible cheap places to travel.
While you’re here during the cheapest time to visit in May and June, you can visit surprisingly intact and crumbling ancient ruins like Wat Chaiwatthanaram and Wat Aranyik that date back as far as the 13th century.
Grab the world’s most delicious street food for cheap ($1-$3) in any of Thailand’s lively cities, with a mouth-watering range of options like jok (Thai rice pudding), century eggs, and Gai yang grilled chicken.
You’ll have the chance to visit stunning palaces and temples with gardens and Buddha figures, head to Bangkok to enjoy Thailand’s metropolitan side, or hang by the beaches in the south in Pattaya City.
You’ll pay somewhere between $8-$27/night for a hotel or hostel in Thailand, so it’s fair to say that accommodations are incredibly cheap here. Even luxury hotels and resorts charge $40-$150/night if you’re looking for a top-tier stay!
Airfare will be the biggest expense for a trip to Thailand at around $670 (Skyscanner) for a round trip flight, but you’ll save so much on accommodations, food, and entertainment that it’s still one of the cheapest places to visit.
Romania in southeast Europe is surrounded by the picturesque Carpathian Mountains, home to still-standing medieval villages, historic castles (including Dracula’s Bran Castle), and fascinating architecture.
It’s one of the cheapest places to visit in Europe and with so much gorgeous scenery and architecture around you, you can’t beat it. Check out Sighişoara, a preserved village with cobblestone streets dating back to medieval times, for a taste of Romania’s distinct history.
You’ll find ski resorts at higher altitudes, Bucharest’s popular Old Town, incredible fortified towers and churches, and lots of shopping, dining, and nightlife options in Romania.
Mid-January, September, and October mark the cheapest time to visit Romania, but the costs here are affordable year-round. Accommodations in Romania cost around $17-$48/night on average throughout the year.
Skyscanner found round trip flights from the US to Romania for as low as $450, making it a great and affordable place to visit. It’s possible to find even cheaper flights if you travel in October!
If you’re looking for cheap places to travel in Europe, Albania is one of the best options you’ll find. With some of the cheapest hotels and surprisingly low airfare, you can plan a budget trip to Albania easily.
Home to pristine beaches along the Albanian Riviera, ancient castles and ruins, and stunning landscapes covered in hills and mountains, Albania is a taste of paradise in the Albanian Alps.
Rent a private room here for $15-$54/night, depending on the season, location, and how luxurious the accommodations are. Hostels are even cheaper if you’re up for an adventurous stay!
Meals, attractions, and entertainment is affordable in Albania, too. You might pay $6-$8 for dinner and under $50 for full-day tours of Albania’s castles, ruins, and museums.
November to February is the cheapest time to visit Albania, but the cost difference is minimal from the much more popular summer months. You can find round trip flights around $450 if you keep an eye out on flight price trackers!
Canada is one of the best cheap places to travel where you’ll find familiar culture with notable and unique differences that make it worth checking out.
There’s tons to do free or cheaply in Canada, especially in Toronto and Montreal.
In Montreal, one of the cheapest cities to visit here, you can walk through Old Montreal to take in the historic buildings and grab a bite, tour the Gothic Revival-style Notre Dame Basilica for around $11, and shop the huge covered Jean-Talon Market to find awesome deals.
The Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto is free to visit on Wednesday nights, take a short trip to Niagara Falls to wander the park for free, and walk the Distillery Historic District to walk brick-paved streets with cool shops, cafes, and free entertainment.
Head to Toronto, where you’ll find round trip flights as low as $90, or go to Montreal with round trip flights around $94.
You can find really affordable hotels in parts of Canada, especially just outside of the major cities. In Toronto, you’ll pay as little as $72/night in the low winter season, but those prices drop to around $64/night on average in nearby Markham.
If diverse and bustling Montreal, Quebec strikes your fancy, you’ll pay as little as $65/night for a hotel. Venture just east of Montreal and stay in Repentigny for a few dollars less per night!
Things to Consider
Learning about the top 10 cheap places to travel on this list is just the beginning. Here are some things you’ll want to consider as you move toward actually planning your trip!
- Come up with a travel budget first. When you know how much money you’re able or willing to spend on a trip, it’s a lot easier to start narrowing down your options. Factor in the necessary costs – airfare or rental car/gas, hotel, food, and entertainment – to see which destinations are the best fit for your budget.
- Start thinking about trip dates. Every destination has a different off season when hotels, entertainment, and dining will be cheaper with smaller crowds. We’ve linked the cheapest time to visit for several of the destinations above, but you can always check Google Hotels for your potential destination and click When to Visit to discover the time of year with the lowest hotel rates. Use those dates to start checking out flight prices so you can start nailing down trip dates!
- Get creative with things to do. If you want to save money on a trip without sacrificing fun, you’ll just need to get creative. Look for the cheapest days/seasons to visit nearby museums, national parks, and art galleries to save on entertainment. Get out and enjoy nature, walking through the city, and browsing public markets to fill your time. Plan a picnic somewhere pretty, get a room with a kitchenette or kitchen so you don’t have to eat out for every meal, and stick to your entertainment budget.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still wondering how you can make the most of a trip to one of the cheapest places to travel to? Take a look at the most frequently asked questions to learn more.
What places are cheapest to travel?
It’s cheapest to travel to places where the cost of living is lower than average, destinations closer to your departing airport, or areas where the US dollar goes further due to exchange rates.
Cheap places to travel in the US include cities like Nashville, TN, Baltimore, MD, Dallas, TX, Sacramento, CA, and Albuquerque, NM.
Outside of the US, countries with a lower cost of living and cheap food, accommodations, and entertainment include countries in Southeast Asia, Southeast Europe, and North America.
Which country trip is cheapest?
Countries like Vietnam, Thailand, Romania, Albania, and Canada are generally cheaper to travel to than places where the dollar is valued lower than the local currency, like Great Britain or Switzerland.
Since your money goes further in these countries, you can spend less on your trip and enjoy entertainment, food, and attractions that would cost a lot more back home.
What is the cheapest way to travel now?
Trains, public transportation, and motorbikes are some of the cheapest ways to travel now. You can also find cheap flights by signing up for price alerts when flights to your chosen areas drop to incredible lows.
Driving a car with good gas mileage or an EV can make your travel lower-cost if you’ll be traveling somewhere via land. Ferries can make travel cheaper than flights in many cases if you’ll be traveling over water.
Where is the cheapest place to vacation in the US?
Nashville, Tennessee, Baltimore, Maryland, and Dallas, Texas are 3 of the cheapest places to vacation in the US. You’ll also find it’s very affordable to vacation in Sacramento, California and Albuquerque, New Mexico.
On average, hotels are in the $60-$70/night range in these cities or in nearby suburbs. By choosing free or cheap entertainment and attractions and dining at budget spots with great reviews, you can enjoy an awesome, affordable vacation in the States.
What month is the cheapest to travel in the US?
Skyscanner airfare data shows that November, January, and February are the 3 cheapest months to travel in the US with round trip flights showing up under $40.
The winter season is generally when you’ll find the lowest prices on flights in the US, though there are exceptions in winter tourist destinations like ski resorts and mountainous areas.
It’s possible to find incredibly cheap US flights during the spring, summer, and fall - you just have to sign up for price alerts to catch them when they pop up!
So, Where Are the Best Cheap Places to Travel?
The top 10 cheap places to travel in the US include bustling cities like Nashville, Baltimore, Dallas, Sacramento, and Albuquerque. If you’re heading beyond the US, look at Vietnam, Thailand, Romania, Albania, and Canada to find great travel deals.
When you travel to places with a lower cost of living, cheap hotels, or areas where the US dollar goes further, you’ll be able to pack more fun and entertainment into your trip without overspending your budget.
Whether you’re up for a weekend trip to Music City USA or want an exotic trip to Thailand, this list of the top 10 cheap places to travel won’t steer you wrong!