Our 6 Exotic Low Cost Destinations

6 Exotic Low Cost Destinations

As we travel longer term we are always on the lookout for cheaper and cost-effective places to travel to.  We want the best holiday destinations that are low cost, interesting and safe for us to travel around. For some when we travel our home currency works against us and for other destinations, it works for us. Either way, we are looking for more bangs for your buck. Right?

After being on the road now since 2013 we have found the best ways to save money as we travel.  For our tips and tricks, you can read our latest post here.

We can recommend signing up for newsletters of Holiday Packages companies who run special deals all year round.

(Editor Update 2019)

How To Choose The Cheapest Countries To Visit

Have you heard of Numbeo?  Numbeo is a database that provides timely information on the cost of living in cities and countries.  It is a resource that we use when we are researching low-cost travel destinations.

For the cheapest international flights we always check with Skyscanner first.  You can actually source the cheapest fares from your destination by selecting ‘everywhere’ in the destination box.  If you are flexible in your travel plans this is an ideal way to travel cost effectively.

We have learnt to slow down our travel, maximising our visa stay, living more like a local everywhere we go and house sitting when we choose.  We shop at local green markets and where possible stay away from the big grocery chains, giving our $$$ to the locals.  When we do not house sit we stay in hostels (private rooms with en-suite), small hotels, Airbnb, apartments and even once in a Bedouin Tent in Petra, Jordan

Whilst this list does not represent all of our lowest cost destinations and cities, we have chosen these to share global and local experiences that can be gained when travelling far away from our home base and travelling more slowly. As we continue travelling the world we are adding more low-cost destinations all the time.

Our 6 Exotic Low-Cost Destinations are:

1. Laos – Vientiane

 

6 Exotic Low Cost Destinations

Patuxai or Victory Monument

Why should you go?

When you visit Laos you are visiting the old Asia first hand.  Vientiane, the colonial capital offers so much to the visitor. Temples, monuments, markets and a bustling riverfront promenade which comes alive at sunset.  Head down to the river at sunset and wander through the night market, watch the locals dance and hula hoop, treat yourself to a manicure or pedicure from the mobile manicurists or enjoy locally cooked food from the stalls.

What did we pay?

  • Double room with ensuite bathroom including breakfast in the centre of town USD31 per night – Vientiane Star Hotel
  • Coffee for two USD4
  • 4 Beers USD4
  • Dinner at local Indian Restaurant (4 beers, starter and main for two) USD12

For more hotel options in Vientiane click our link below:

Our 6 exotic low cost destinations

Where to Eat in Vientiane

For the top restaurants reviewed by travellers on Tripadvisor:

Our 6 exotic low cost destinations

 

Why not take a Lao Cuisine Cooking Class whilst you are visiting Vientiane?

For further research we can recommend the Lonely Planet Guide.

2. THAILAND – Chiang Mai

6 Exotic Low Cost Destinations

Chiang Mai is full of temples to visit and wander around

 

Why should you go?

Thailand’s second city Chiang Mai is a colourful, happy friendly city situated on the banks of the Mai Ping River.  If you like markets this is the place to visit.  The bustling Night Bazaar and the Sunday  Market will send you into a shopping frenzy, that is, if you have left a lot of space in your luggage (which we advise you to!).

Food is amazingly cheap and one of our highlights, when we visit, is the local famous dish of Khao Soi. Have you tried it?.  If food and cooking is your passion why not try a local cooking class in Chiang Mai with a visit to a local market? Or a visit to Doi Suthep Temple and the Hill Tribes.

What did we pay?

  • Boutique accommodation over Christmas USD101 for 2 nights – Tri Yaan Na Ros
  • Double room accommodation with ensuite and breakfast included USD52 after Christmas  – Joy’s Guest House
  • Dinner for two, starter and main course with 2 beers each USD20
  • Coffee for two USD3

 

For more hotel options in Chiang Mai click our link below:

Our 6 exotic low cost destinations

Where to Eat in Chiang Mai

For the top restaurants in Chiang Mai:

Our 6 exotic low cost destinations

For further research, we can recommend the Lonely Planet Guide on Thailand.

3.TURKEY – Fethiye

6 Exotic Low Cost Destinations

Lycian Tombs

 

Why should you go? 

We travelled throughout Turkey for a month and one of the lowest costs cities we visited was Fethiye. Boasting one of the best marinas in Turkey Fethiye has a lot to offer the traveller from island day cruises and beaches to the daily fish market where you can choose your own fish and have it cooked at one of the local restaurants.

The Lycian Tombs situated in the mountain behind Fethiye is worth a visit not just for the views but also for its archaeological significance.

Do not miss the old town with its market and the many carpet and souvenir shops. Stop and enjoy a mint tea whilst you chat with the carpet shop owners, no obligation to buy. We recommend also tasting the local gozelme, flat bread either filled with spinach and ricotta or meat.

Would you like to enjoy a traditional Turkish bath and massage experience?

What did we pay?

  • Double room with ensuite at a 3-star hotel USD35 – Vanilla Hotel
  • Dinner for two, starter and main course with 2 beers each USD20
  • Coffee for two USD3

For more hotel options in Fethiye:

Our 6 exotic low cost destinations

Where to Eat in Fethiye

For the top restaurants rated by travellers in Tripadvisor:

Our 6 exotic low cost destinations

4.MEXICO – San Miguel de Allende

6 Exotic Low Cost Destinations

View of San Miguel de Allende

Why should you go?

A colourful colonial city with so much to offer the visitor, the architecture, the buildings, the art scene and the food. We can still smell the local artisan bread baking in the oven of our favourite bread shop.

The free  “Walking and Shopping Guide of San Miguel de Allende” is a must for any visitor.  It can be found in most boutiques and homeware shops.  It offers the visitor 10 free walking tours that you can do on your own that includes local shops, restaurants and galleries to visit along the way.

If you plan to visit San Miguel de Allende on a Sunday be sure not to miss the House and Garden Tour from the Biblioteca.  For USD20 per person, you can visit the many colonial haciendas in and around San Miguel de Allende.  Bookings must be made in advance.

What did we pay?

  • We had no accommodation costs as we were house sitting. As an example, 3-star hotel accommodation starts at USD50 per night.
  • Dinner for two with 4 beers, starter and main course USD30
  • Coffee for two USD4

For accommodation options in San Miguel de Allende:

Our 6 exotic low cost destinations

Where to Eat in San Miguel de Allende Mexico

Sometimes you just have to ‘splurge’ and in San Miguel de Allende our favourite bar for sunset cocktails and tapas is the Luna Rooftop Bar at the Rosewood Hotel.

For more restaurant options:

Our 6 exotic low cost destinations

5. NICARAGUA – Ometepe Island

 

6 Exotic Low Cost Destinations

Sunset Volcano Concepcion

Why should you go?

Ometepe Island is one of the most unique places we have visited in the world. Two volcanoes – one active and one dormant – situated on an island in the 19th largest freshwater lake in the world – Lake Nicaragua. Swim in the warm waters of the lake whilst viewing the two volcanoes to the left and right of you at Santa Cruz Beach. The island boasts over 1700 petroglyphs, natural springs, hikes up the volcanoes enjoying the wildlife on the way. Local restaurants serve local fish from the lake and the story goes if you try the local fish Guapote on the first night you will return to the island.

The locals live a simple life, cows, horses and pigs have right away on the roads. Mattress salesmen walk the one road around the island selling mattresses that they are carrying on their backs.

What did we pay?

  • We had no accommodation costs as we were housesitting. As an example 2 – 3-star accommodation starts from USD30 per night
  • Dinner for two with 4 beers, starter and main course of the Guapote fish USD30
  • Coffee for two USD3

6 exotic low cost destinations

Where to Eat on Ometepe Island

For the top restaurants to eat in on Ometepe Island click our link below:

our 6 exotic low cost destinations

6. PERU – Cusco

6 Exotic Low Cost Destinations 

Why should you go?

Situated at a high altitude level of 3.400 metres Cusco will leave you breathless, literally. The impressive World Heritage Site is a good base for a visit to Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo and the local Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman. Plaza de Armas is the cultural centre of Cusco where you can wander around the Spanish colonial buildings, visit the cathedral and enjoy at different times of the year local tribal celebrations. Wander through the San Pedro Market full of local produce, eat cheaply at the food stalls and shop for souvenirs. Try Pisco Sour, the local spirit that goes down too smoothly, we recommend you limit your intake of this one.

What did we pay? 

  • Double room with ensuite and breakfast in the historical San Blas area of Cusco USD75 per night – Tika Wasi Boutique Hotel
  • Dinner for two with 4 beers starter and main course USD19
  • Coffee for two USD3

For more hotel options click below:

 

Our 6 exotic low cost destinations

 

Where to eat in Cusco:

We have 3 favourite restaurants in Cusco:

Jack’s Cafe

Sumac Restaurant

Pacha Papa Restaurant

For more restaurant options:

 

our 6 exotic low cost destinations

FAQS

How do you source the latest cheap flights?

The best time to source flights is around 3 months before you travel.  Sign up for airline newsletters or the email alerts of Skyscanner which advises when the particular flight you are interested in has a price change.

For the latest cheap tickets deals, we would recommend looking at alternative airports close to your departure point, some of these will be operated by budget carriers.  When you book a flight with a budget carrier ensure that you check out the luggage requirements, carry on weights, and printing of boarding passes etc.

If you are searching for the best flights another tip is to compare one way flights to return flights you may be able to come up with a cheaper option.

If you need assistance we have written an article on how to save money when you travel.

Can I Save Money on Travel Insurance

Always shop around for the latest quotes on travel insurance.  You should take out your travel insurance policy as soon as you start paying for airline tickets, deposits on tours and cruises and accommodation instead of the day before you travel.  Read the fine print carefully especially if you had a medical condition, if in doubt call and speak to a representative.

If you are in Australia click here for the latest quote

If you are based outside Australia click here for the latest quote

How Can I Ensure That I Have the Best Accommodation Deal

We use Hotels Combined who source over 200 accommodation booking engines to bring you the latest deals and prices.

Our 6 exotic low cost destinations

 

How Can I Stick To My Travel Budget

This can be the hardest or the easiest part of travel.  We have been on the road since 2013 and use a travel budget app Trail Wallet that was created by fellow travel bloggers.  Check it out here.

What Luggage Do You Travel With

In conjunction with Amazon, we have created our own To Travel Too Travel Shop where we have over 250 travel products available.  Check it out below.  We now travel with Osprey Carry On Luggage.  The luggage is sturdy, lightweight and depending on the airline luggage regulations saves us time and money when we can take them on board.  Some budget carriers have strict weight restrictions for carry on luggage.

Our 6 exotic low cost destinations

 

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Do you have some low-cost destination ideas to share with us?


 

 

 

21 Comments

  • Dorene says:

    Agree with you on Ometepe and Vientiane. Now we have to put a few more destinations on our list thanks to your list. Cheers!

  • Sally says:

    Ometepe island! Will always want to visit there,,

  • Bianca says:

    I have been to a couple of these but a few more that I haven’t been to. This post is seriously sending my wanderlust into overdrive as I am dying to visit Peru and Mexico soon.

  • Paula says:

    Great tips! I would actually love to experience the beduin tent at the Petra. Now that we are travelling with kids, we have to try to save money in some things. So we try to choose destinations which are not very expensive. From these ones I would love to experience at least Thailand and Laos soon.

    • Hi Paula
      Thanks for your comments. The Bedouin tent was a fun experience and one that the kids would love. We are off to Thailand again in a few days, just love that country.
      Cheers Jane and Duncan

  • Leah says:

    Awesome post! I love reading posts like this for inspiration. I need to look more into Ometepe Island. That sounds like the perfect tropical destination- and wonderful that its so low cost! Cusco is another destinations that has been on my list for awhile!

    • Hi Leah
      Thanks for your comments. Ometepe Island was an amazing visit, the lake and the two volcanos create a stunning landscape.
      Cheers Jane and Duncan

  • Raghav says:

    It’s always great to save money when traveling and visiting a low-cost place does help. I had not even heard of Fathiye, so that’s something brand new for me. With Laos being closer, I would like to visit Vientiane, especially since I love ancient buildings.

    • Hi Raghav
      Thanks for your comments. We loved travelling through Turkey and we still have more places to visit in Laos as well. Hope you can get to visit them.
      Cheers Jane and Duncan

  • Amrita says:

    Wow, these are some great destinations to visit! I would love to visit Peru & Ometepe Island. Turkey is in my list too. Thanks for the tips on the flights and insurance. I will also suggest Myanmar on this list. Last year we visited Myanmar and absolutely fell in love with the country. And its really cheap!

  • Abhinav Singh says:

    I am a backpacker at heart. So I find this guide very useful. Being an Indian, Laos is high on my wishlist as it is near my country. I had no idea that Chiang Mai is so cheap. I used to think it is expensive. I definitely want to go to Turkey and Peru one day. Fethiye sounds like such an offbeat destination.
    You should also come to India. Most of the places in India are very cheap and easy to travel to. Even the neighbouring Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Nepal are quite pocket friendly. Myanmar has caught my fancy ever since I crossed the border via Manipur in India. I am surely tempted to explore for of the beautiful country.

    • Hi Abhinav
      Thanks for your comments. I love India but have only visited Kerala and Goa so far, we have plans to return and travel more through your beautiful country.
      Cheers Jane and Duncan

  • Anda says:

    Never heard of Numbeo to be honest with you, but for some reason I’m not really curious about it. There are however some countries from your list however that I would love to visit. Like Thailand, or Laos, for instance. Nicaragua is not safe for the US citizens from all I know. Our government issues warnings about it quite frequently.

    • Hi Anda
      Thanks for your comments. Over the last year Nicaragua has had some bad press but it is getting back on its feet again. We have just arrived back in Thailand and looking forward to spending the next 6 months travelling through Asia.
      Cheers Jane and Duncan

  • Clarice says:

    These are brilliant ideas. I would have to agree that Laos and Cusco are great destinations. Will definitely add Nicaragua to our bucket list.

    • Hi Clarice
      Thanks for your comments. I hope you can add Nicaragua to your bucket list especially Ometepe Island – it is very special.
      Cheers Jane and Duncan

  • These are such beautiful and economical destinations. While I have visited all the places from your website except for Latin American destinations. I would so wanna visit those places, especially Nicaragua. Thanks for sharing this amazing list. I just got new place ideas to visit this year.

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