A recent Gallup poll found out that over 80% of Americans would like to travel to another country (which is obviously not surprising). Of this 80%, 40% do not think that they have enough money saved up to take an international trip. While some of these people are probably correct to make such an assumption, many of them underestimate how cheap it can be to vacation in certain places. As such, this list will highlight 20 Countries You Can Visit With Less Than $1,000. This list is based on prices coming from the United States and Canada, with special attention to people coming from major cities on the east coast. We tried to base these entries on rather affordable vacations for any duration, but the $1,000 mark is based on a 6-night, 7-day vacation (so about one week). While I tried to factor in things like food and spending money, most of our equation is based on the cost of a flight and hotel. Hopefully, this list will be a useful tool to people who are yearning for an international vacation but are not sure if they can really afford it. If you can think of any country that someone could visit with just about $1,000 that did not make our list, please feel free to mention them in the comments.
Belize has gotten a bad rap in the international community because of the deteriorating conditions of their economy and infrastructure. This does not, however, detract from the magnificent beauty of the country itself. Located along the Caribbean Sea in Central America, Belize has some spectacular views. Combine these with the great food and unique culture and you have yourself a picturesque vacation. The indigenous people of Belize were conquered and colonized by the Spanish in the early colonial period, and this history has taken its toll on the country. Following independence, the economy never developed, and Belize has consistently battled high crime rates and other effects of poverty.
Because of the country's poor reputation, travel and accommodations on the island are incredibly cheap. Planes out of the east coast would only add about an additional $400 per ticket.
Once you arrive in Belize, however, is when the real savings start. Because it is not a traditional tourist destination, there isn't a ton of articles from regular people who visited the country, but there are some wild stories from people who claim to have found hotel rooms for less than $30 a night. This alone would make a stay in Belize an incredibly cheap vacation, but it appears that the food there is also incredibly affordable.
The major impact of Donald Trump's presidency on U.S. international relations has to be the United States' relationship with Mexico. Trump's campaign was rife with anti-Mexican rhetoric, and his push for tighter border regulations has angered the Mexican public and its leaders. Also recently, there have been a string of unfortunate incidences with U.S. citizens in Mexico. All this conflict has severely decreased the tourism going into Mexico. This is important for our purposes because travel into and within Mexico has become extraordinarily cheap. Mexican officials recognize that their country is very reliant on tourism (although not as much as some other countries on this list). Therefore, they have tried to lower prices for travel and accommodations to try to lure tourists in, despite the bad publicity. If you are thinking of traveling to Mexico within the next year, you should easily be able to plan a vacation that costs less than $1,000. Depending on where you are traveling to in Mexico, you should be able to find plane tickets for less than $300. Once you arrive, a nice hotel should not cost you any more than $75 a night. If you are looking for more of a resort experience, expect to pay about $125-150 per night.
Unlike most other countries in Europe, Ireland is most expensive after you arrive on the island.
Thanks to discount airline Aer Lingus, getting a flight to Ireland from most cities on the east coast is actually very affordable.
This is especially true in Boston, where I live. Aer Lingus has its U.S. Base here so plane tickets can cost as little as $300 for a round trip ticket. Once you arrive in Dublin, things get a bit more expensive, but not so much that you should exceed $700 in a week-long visit. The Dublin hotels are comparable to big cities in the U.S., but if you travel to the western coast, cities like Galway have very affordable housing. Eating out can be a little expensive, but if you limit the number of pints that you drink with dinner (which is not necessarily an easy task), then you should be fine. Transportation within Ireland is pretty cheap. Uber and Lift have caught on in most of the major cities, and you can get a bus to just about anywhere on the island. The fact that Ireland, coast-to-coast, is less than a four-hour drive does not hurt either.
I don't know if any region of the world is as constantly disregarded by the international community as Central America is. Because there are no major economic players in the area, these countries are consistently taken advantage of and ignored by travelers. One of the most impoverished of these nations, Guatemala, is one of the most cost-efficient destinations in the entire world. Cities like the capital of Guatemala are riddled with crime but have some attractions that are worth taking the risk. Tikal, an ancient Mayan city that still has the remains of several ancient cities, should be the focal point of any trip. Also, the beaches and rainforests there give you a chance to experience the wonders of South America without the added cost of places like Argentina. Flights from either coast are about $375 dollars, but if you live in places like Texas or Florida, they become even cheaper. Once you arrive in Guatemala, you should be able to find a hotel for around $50 a night. For a week-long trip, this would leave you with slightly over $200 for spending money. While this isn't great, low prices overall in the area should guarantee that you remain comfortable for the duration of your trip.
For decades, the countries in Southeast Asia have been notoriously cheap and easy to travel to. The cheapest of these countries might be Taiwan, a small island nation that used to be (and is still considered by the Chinese government) a part of the Democratic Republic of China. Because of its tumultuous relationship with China, Taiwan has had a hard time getting other countries to trade with it or to even acknowledge its sovereignty. As such, the country is desperate for outside capital no matter what form that takes. While trade between countries is highly regulated, tourism often is not. This means that the Taiwanese government can entice U.S. and Canadian travelers to come to its country, even if the countries themselves don't approve of it. One way that Taiwan has tried to entice tourists to come to it is by making its prices dirt cheap. The price of the plan ticket may be substantial depending on where you fly out of (Taiwan has no control over the price of airlines arriving on the island),
but once you arrive in Taiwan, you should not be spending more than $40 a day. Prices are so cheap that people have begun traveling to Taiwan to stay permanently.
Unfortunately, tight immigration practices prevent people from staying on the island for more than a month without a visa.
When people think of countries that they can travel to rather cheaply, they probably think of poorer, less developed nations. But that is not always the case. For example, depending on where you live,
it may be possible for you to travel to Aruba for much less than $1,000. Aruba is one of the nicest islands in the Caribbeans and is one of the most sought-after vacation destinations on the entire planet.
Aruba is still technically a "constituent country" (a constituent state holds administrative jurisdiction over a defined geographic territory and is a form of regional government) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and their close relationship with Europe has benefited them economically. While it may not be as cheap as Belize or other less affluent island nations, Aruba is still relatively affordable. More importantly, its close proximity to the U.S. makes flights laughably cheap, especially for those people who live in the southern half of the country. Flights from New York to Aruba are about $430, but flights from Miami can be as low as $200. Hotels on the island can be a little pricey, but if you are spending most of your time on the beach, how much spending money do you even need?
I find it interesting how the relationships between government entities can impact the lives of regular citizens. For instance, the embargo placed on Cuba by the United States not only prevented any (legal) trade from occurring between the two nations, but it also limited how much contact could be had between the people that lived in Cuba and those in the continental U.S. All of this changed when Barack Obama lifted some of the restrictions on Cuba (following the death of Fidel Castro), and tourists from the U.S. were once again able to travel to the small island nation. This is good for a number of reasons, but the most important factor for our purposes is that travel to Cuba is incredibly cheap. Cuba is only a few hundred miles off of the coast of Florida, so travel from the south and east coasts of the U.S. is quick and easy. Since Cuba has not had an influx of tourists in decades, none of the prices there are inflated. This is great for travelers who can find an affordable hotel in Havana for less than $60 a night.
The problem with traveling to Europe is that the transportation to most of the continent from Canada or the United States is very expensive. Flights to certain countries can cost as much as $800 for a round trip ticket. This leaves travelers with little money remaining once they arrive to their destination. There isn't a lot to do for free in Europe, so it is important that travelers leave themselves a significant amount of spending money for their trip. An exception to this is the Nordic countries in Northern Europe.
Travel to Sweden specifically is very affordable as tickets from the east coast of North America can cost as little as $300. Once you arrive in Sweden, things can get a little pricier, but if you are savvy about where you stay, you can easily find a nice hotel for less than $65 a night.
This leaves you more cash to spend on Sweden's greatest exports like its meatballs and pickled herring. Gamla Stan is a popular tourist attraction in Sweden. It is a giant market and chateau where tourists and locals can eat, shop, and just hang out.
Guyana, a small country in the northern region of South America, is not your typical tourist destination. But that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Not only does Guyana not suffer from the appropriation and overcrowding (or at least not to the extent) that other countries do (because it is less reliant on tourism), but it is also a fairly cheap place to visit. In its larger cities like Georgetown, you can find a hotel for about $75, and in the more rural areas, it is even cheaper. Food is even more affordable, and Guyana supposedly has some of the best cuisines south of the equator. Getting to Guyana should be the most expensive part of your trip, but flights from NYC to Georgetown are only about $350 per ticket. While in Guyana, you can check out Mount Roraima, Kaieteur Falls, or the Iwokrama Forest. If trekking through the rainforest is not really your thing, there are plenty of attractions in Georgetown to occupy your time. Guyana also has a pretty expansive coastline, although only a small portion of this is beaches. The best thing about most of Guyana's attractions is that they come free of charge, thus making your trip even cheaper.
This next entry comes with the disclaimer that traveling to Iceland is cheapest when you already live on the east coast of the U.S. or Canada. Olafur Eliasson, a famous painter/sculptor from Iceland, had this to say about his home country, "I've walked a lot in the mountains in Iceland. And as you come to a new valley, as you come to a new landscape, you have a certain view. If you stand still, the landscape doesn't necessarily tell you how big it is. It doesn't really tell you what you're looking at. The moment you start to move the mountain starts to move."
Like most European countries, one of the most expensive parts about vacationing in Iceland is the cost of getting there. What is different about Iceland is that depending on where you live in the United States or Canada, even your plane ticket might not cost that much.
Planes should cost you around $200, depending on when your trip is and what airport you depart from, but once you land in Iceland, the rest of your journey should be even cheaper. The food in Iceland is notoriously affordable, and its greatest attractions have not yet become the tourist traps that are so prevalent in other destinations.
There are several countries worth visiting in South America, and several of them could be visited on a fairly affordable budget. If I had my choice of nations to visit in South America, however, I would probably choose Brazil. The entire country is supposedly beautiful, and they have enough infrastructure and experience with tourists to make staying and traveling there fairly easy. Perhaps more importantly, traveling and staying in Brazil is incredibly cheap. You can get a nice hotel room in Rio de Janeiro for about $40, and it would be even cheaper to stay in a hostel. If you need to be convinced to stay in Rio, check out the picture above. The city is supposed to be magnificent, and the country's government in the last twenty years has seriously begun funding tourism as a major enterprise. Crime is still a bit of a problem but only in the areas that border some of its southern, more tumultuous neighbors. Perhaps the best thing about Brazil (besides how cheap it is to visit) is that it is so large. Because of that, its different regions provide totally different travel experiences. Flights from the U.S. range from about $500-700.
For whatever reason, traveling to the rural areas of South America has been romanticized by literature and other mediums for over a century. The funniest thing about these writings is that they were often written by people who have never even been to South America. I will continue this great tradition with our next entry because I believe that Peru is one of the best places that you can travel to for less than $1,000. One advantage that I do hold over my predecessors is that I can easily look up Peru's most popular attractions and tell you about them. The only city in Peru that attracts a lot of tourists is the capital city of Lima.
The city has a vibrant music scene and you can get a nice hotel for less than $60 per night. Outside of Lima, the most important destinations in Peru are all in the countryside. Peru is incredibly rural, which makes travel within the country difficult. Luckily, this also means that the country's greatest attractions are virtually untouched for most of the year. For our readers that have visited popular attractions in Europe (like the constantly-overcrowded Vatican or the Blarney Castle in Ireland), this should be music to your ears. While you are traveling to places like Machu Picchu and the Colca Canyon, you should be able to live fairly cheap. The most expensive part of visiting Peru is the plane ticket, but even that should not cost you more than $475.
During his term as president, Ronald Reagan said that "violence has been Nicaragua's most important export to the world." While this is not necessarily fair, it does illustrate how the international community views the small Central American nation. This perception has drastic impacts for Nicaragua's economy, including its potential as a popular tourist destination. For someone who was partially responsible for Nicaragua getting to the point it is (look up Ronald Reagan and Sandinistas), Reagan did not seem very concerned about how his comments, and comments like his, would discourage tourists from coming to Nicaragua. One potential benefit which derived from this, however, is that now, tourists can go there for incredibly cheap prices.
Flights from the east coast of the United States should only cost about $350 round trip, and even planes from the west coast and Canada are not terribly expensive. Once you arrive in Nicaragua, you would not expect to pay more than $70 a night for a hotel.
The only hotels that cost more than this base price are those that are actually located on the beach. While you stay in your amazingly cheap hotel, you can enjoy some of Nicaragua's amazing sights, including the Apoyo Lagoon, Corn Islands, and Our Lady of Grace Cathedral.
I don't know if there is another country on earth whose history I find as interesting as I do Haiti's. The small island nation was colonized by the French during the early colonial period and then a large number of African slaves were imported to work on sugarcane plantations. Following the American and French Revolutions, the slaves of the island used Republican language to justify their own revolution, what the French called a widespread slave revolt. In a tremendous display of racism, no major country acknowledged the government that was formed by the slaves (including the French and American governments that had inspired them). This led to immense problems for the Haitian economy that trouble them up to the present day. Because of the immense poverty in Haiti, it is often overlooked by potential tourists. This not only means that visitors won't have to struggle to find accommodations while they're in the country, but the accommodations that they do find should be exceedingly cheap. In addition, Haiti is only a few leagues off the coast of Florida, so flights from the east coast of the U.S. or Canada are very affordable.
6 South Korea
As I write this entry, our next destination may be becoming more expensive. As tensions between North and South Korea continue to lessen, South Korea becomes less of a risk for wary travelers. This means that more people will want to travel to the Asian country, thus making it more expensive.
Luckily for us, Korea is currently so cheap that even a significant increase in the price of living won't stop a trip to South Korea from being incredibly affordable. You can currently get a hotel room in the capital city of Seoul for less than $60 a night.
This rate gets even cheaper when you travel into the countryside. For most people, the most expensive part of a trip to South Korea would be the plane ticket. Tickets from NYC are going for anywhere from $700 to $800 for round-trip fare. If you live on the west coast, however, tickets become much more affordable. I felt that this list had become too focused on the east coast, so I decided to include South Korea as a destination that would be especially affordable for our readers on the west coast of the U.S. or Canada. Hopefully, by the time this article is published, this entry won't have become outdated.
You can understand why most people have never thought about vacationing to Curacao because...well...they probably have never heard of Curacao. Curacao is a tiny island nation in the Caribbean Sea that was once an important cog in the machine of the Dutch slave empire. In recent times, however, it is an island paradise and one that is definitely worth the amount that you would pay for a stay there. Like most Caribbean Islands, flights from the U.S. and Canada are fairly cheap. A standard ticket should cost somewhere in the $360 range, although this could be slightly more or less depending on where you live. Once you arrive on the island, you can find beautiful resorts where you can stay for less than $70 a night. These resorts are on the beach, so you should not have to spend much money on activities while you are in Curacao. If you do get tired of soaking up the sun in the Caribbean (though I can't imagine why you would), Curacao does have some tourist sites that are worth visiting. The Klein Lighthouse and Curacao Maritime Museum are consistently listed as some of the best places to visit in Curacao.
For decades, Thailand has been notorious for being an incredibly fun and incredibly cheap vacation destination. When hostilities between China and the United States were at their peak, Thailand was pitched as a cheap alternative to Japan for people that wanted to experience eastern culture. I know several people who spent a lot of time in Thailand, and all of them gush about how great it was to stay in this southeast Asian country. Thailand is an incredibly poor nation but the richness of the local culture and the friendliness of the local community more than make up for some of the comforts that you will give up to visit there. More importantly, for our purposes,
staying in Thailand is incredibly cheap. Nice hotels cost along the same lines as some of our other entries. But if you are planning to stay long term, you can rent a room in a house or a small apartment for less than $100 a month.
Food is similarly cheap, my friend said that she could buy groceries for herself for a month for less than $25. Plane tickets to Thailand can be pricey, but that should be the majority of your costs should you choose to visit this unique country.
For the citizens of most countries, traveling to the U.S. Or Canada probably would not be their cheapest vacation option. If you already live in one of those countries, however, traveling to the other should be an easy and affordable trip. For instance, I grew up near Buffalo, New York, and it was less than a three-hour drive to go to Toronto, a major city in Canada. Even my high school routinely took trips to Canada to see Niagara Falls and other tourist destinations. If you live on the west coast of the U.S., Vancouver is a Canadian city nearby that is definitely worth visiting. If you live in Vancouver or another part of British Columbia, California, Washington, and even Alaska are states nearby that would make for fun, cheap vacations. If you live on the east coast, New York, Boston, Toronto, Halifax, and Washington D.C. should only be a short plane ride (or in some cases, even drive) away. The close proximity of these countries, combined with the close relationship between their governments, makes travel between them incredibly affordable.
2 Dominican Republic
I was worried that too many of the entries on this list were about small island nations in the Caribbean, but travel to the Dominican Republic is so easy and affordable that I could not help but reserve a spot for it in this article. Much like its Caribbean neighbors, the Dominican Republic is such an affordable vacation destination because 1) it is in close proximity to the U.S. and Canada where most of our readers are from and 2) the country's poverty level ensures that prices for housing and food will not be very high. If you are leaving from the northeast coast of the United States,
you can expect a two-way ticket to the Dominican to cost somewhere between $370 and $400. Tickets become cheaper the further south that you live. Once you arrive on the island, your hotel should not cost you any more than $70 per night.
If that does not sound cheap enough for you, keep in mind that most of the major attractions in the Dominican, including Bavaro Beach, Catalina Island, and Los Haitises National Park can all be enjoyed for little to no money.
Of all the entries on this list, Japan is probably the country that is already most popular with tourists. You would think that the popularity would raise prices in the land of the rising sun, but the Japanese government has wisely reinvested their revenue into their infrastructure and other tourist industries. If you're coming from the east coast of the United States or Canada, it would be hard for you to take a week-long trip for less than $1,000. If you come from the west coast, however, it should be much cheaper. This is because plane tickets from the west coast to Japan should only cost about $575 per round trip ticket. Just make sure that you have a lot of spending money left over because there are several (paid) attractions in Japan that are worth visiting. Tokyo and other major cities are known for their unique cultures. The capital is consistently rated as one of the best tourist cities in the world and a recent construction project has tried to increase the number of hotels in the city, thus making them more affordable.