As a ~somewhat~ experienced solo traveler, I'm constantly adding new places to my bucket visit. However, with the prices of everything going up, it feels like the only budget-friendly place to travel these days is my own backyard.
A few months ago, redditor u/Western-PayDay asked r/solotravel, "What are some of the best (and worst) 'bang-for-your-buck' places you've visited?"
Here are the 16 destinations they say are the best value for your money:
1."Poland! Super cheap, lots of history, and castles and museums like you have in Western Europe, and fewer tourists!"
"We've been twice now and love it."
2."Japan is surprisingly cheap for what you get."
"In Japan, I expected to pay NYC prices in Tokyo, and that was not the case at all. Currently, I'm in a fancy hotel in Kyoto that would cost minimum $200 in the States, but instead, it's $80."
"I always tell people how cheap Japan is outside of Tokyo."
3."Portugal was very pretty and affordable compared to other parts of Europe."
"I just got back from Portugal a few weeks ago, and by the end of the trip, we were trying to get rid of the rest of our euros by splurging on fancy food and other luxuries. We still came home with euros in our wallets. To give more context, we only took €300 apiece for spending.
I tried buying nice scarves and souvenirs, and the cashier was like, 'Oh! Those are buy one get one free!' We went out to fancy dinners and got appetizers, dessert, and drinks…then the bill would come for €30. We paid for lodging ahead of time and got a condo with an ocean view that was walking distance to the beach and boardwalk in Portimão — five nights was €330. Groceries with food for breakfast, fruit, snacks, and drinks? €18. Train across Portugal? €20 per person.
I highly recommend Portugal. Safe, affordable, friendly, and beautiful. We spent time in Lisboa, the mountains, and the Algarve easily and comfortably in one week."
4."Right now, Argentina is one of the best deals in the world IMO."
"Only thing is, flights are expensive to get there. But once you're there, most things are much cheaper."
5."Tanzania as a whole is great — all the Kenya experience at 1/3 the cost!"
6."My big surprise was South Africa. Such good food, such good value. Obviously, depending on the currency situation, as that fluctuates a bit, but I'd assume you're always going to get a lot for your dollar."
"Beautiful environments with cheap travel around if you don't mind doing the backpacker thing. Hostels were generally great and very cheap — a lot guaranteed, no bunk beds.
There were a few expensive attractions, like shark diving and bungie jumping. Food generally was generous, especially meat and BBQ food, and it was really tasty. Loved the whole experience!"
7."Best: Southeast Asia, particularly Laos, but the whole region is still great value once you're there."
"The flights (from North America anyway) are pricey, but once you're there, the cost of living compared to what you get for your money is quite inexpensive."
8."Vietnam is extremely cheap, and things are generally pretty good, especially food options and lodging."
9."Taiwan is an excellent value. The prices for everything are well below what you'd expect."
10."Bosnia and Herzegovina! Got a private room at a hostel for $24 a night. I could find decent and cheap food, or I would cook if I was tired of the cuisine. A ton of fascinating history and culture. And different from the rest of Europe since it has a strong Muslim influence."
"I loved it there."
"Totally beautiful and very affordable country, and Sarajevo is an amazing city with a very [unique] vibe, I would say."
11."Everywhere in the Balkans."
"Totally agree! Amazing culture, landscape, people, and so affordable."
12."Albania. You get the same coastline as Montenegro without Montenegro prices."
13."I stayed in a five-star hotel in Ankara, Turkey, for $50/night. And I can't remember what I paid for the castle hotel I stayed in Gaziantep, but both those cities were incredibly interesting, and my dollar went a long way."
14."The South Caucasus is a great value for what you get for the price. I got a full board private hotel for $10/night in Tusheti, all-day horse riding for $30… You get the idea."
"Azerbaijan is still budget-friendly, albeit more expensive than Georgia and Armenia."
15."For people interested in skiing — Georgia. $20 lift tickets and ski-in/ski-out three-star accommodations for about $45 with breakfast."
"Definitely an amazing value ski destination and a cool destination in general (regardless of season)."
16."Slovakia and Budapest! Both are pretty cheap to travel in (Bratislava is cheaper than Budapest), and they both have enough interesting stuff to keep you busy for a couple of days."
"Budapest is one of the best cities in Europe (only food is mediocre), and it offers so much at such a lower price than most of the coolest capitals in Europe."
And now, here are the seven destinations they say are the worst value for your money:
17."Worst for me was Copenhagen, Denmark. I paid £12 for an open-faced sandwich (one slice as well)."
"However, I probably will go back because the coffee was amazing (despite costing about £4–5!)."
18."Bad value — Hong Kong for sure. Transport is good and cheap enough. Shopping can be cheap for expensive items, as there is zero duty and taxes, but lodging, etc. is just a plain terrible value."
19."Worst is absolutely Switzerland in my book. I remember feeling like even the most minor purchases were stinging my wallet."
"The prices there were absurd."
20."India is overpriced if you want western-style standards, with the quality of what you get often being disappointing."
21."LA is terrible value for the money. I can say because I grew up there."
"When I go back to visit and need to stay in a hotel, it's brutally expensive unless you want to be an hour out from anything worth doing."
22."Worst: Greenland. It was magical, don't get me wrong. But four days there nearly broke the bank."
"In a way, I'd say that's a good thing, as it will prevent over-tourism. But yeah, if you are heading up to the remote north, you have to realize that everything needs to be flown in and will be pricey."
23.And finally: "Recently, worst: Santorini, Greece is way too expensive for what it is. You can get the same white buildings with blue roofs in the other cyclades for a lot less (and with way fewer cruise ship tourists)."
"The rest of Greece, aside from Mykonos, is a good bang for your buck."
Which underrated destinations would you recommend to budget-conscious travelers? Why? Share your answers in the comments!
Some entries have been edited for length/clarity.