Traveling for vacation can really put a dent in our savings, especially when we are ticking off boxes on our bucket lists. Those international destinations can be really steep, the transportation expenses and the lodgings are just some of the expenses we cannot avoid. Crossing the vast oceans to reach that perfect beach, or that historically-rich and the culturally-charged city requires some hard-earned dough. It's only understandable that for an extremely awesome vacation filled with unforgettable moments, amazing sceneries and views, one has to spend money. We'd want the fastest possible and safest mode of transportation, that's almost certainly a plane ticket. Once there, we'd want to be comfortable, and sometimes pampered, so a nice 4-star hotel would do. Then comes our itineraries, what activities can we do there, what sights to see, places to visit. Museums, historical places, places rich in culture and heritage if we're lucky they'd have free admission.
But let's face it, it's rare to find these things on vacation, but there are some tourist destinations or tourist attractions that are really affordable and will not cost over $10, if not for free. According to Mastercard's Global Destination Cities Index, the top cities visited by tourists in 2018 are Thailand's Bangkok, the UK's London, and France's Paris. There may or may not be tourist spots in these three cities that would only ask less than $10 from us, but there are still plenty to go around all over the world that is worth the money and the travel. Here are 25 of them.
25 The Great Wall, China
Once known as the only man-made structure visible from space (NASA clears this up in an article), the Great Wall of China is a formidable wall constructed and built at least 370 years ago. Stretching 13,000 miles at least, it is the most popular tourist attraction in all of China. Tourists can get inside the New 7 Wonders of the World member with just 40 Chinese Yuan or $6 via the Simatai Great Wall, other entrances and fees are listed here by IntoChinaTravel.com.
24 Grand Cenote, Mexico
A cenote is a water hole, like a sinkhole, that’s usually formed in caves and in mountains. They are like a secret, secluded swimming hole. Mexico is famous for cenotes in its Quintana Roo area. Near Tulum is one of the most beautiful of them, the Gran Cenote. Visitors can go swimming, diving, and snorkeling here. They say the water is so clear that one can see the fish below without getting wet from the surface. The cheapest admission you can get is available at Viator.com’s website and is priced at $9.91.
23 Pamukkale, Turkey
The Cotton Castle is really an amazing thing to see, it’s a delight to the eyes, and apparently, to the whole body. It’s a mineral bath spa or thermal pool visited by tourists from all over, believed to have healing and therapeutic effects due to its calcium content. Pamukkale translates in Turkish to Cotton Castle and it is located in Denizli, Turkey and it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. According to DenizliHotel.com, admission is only $6. In the surrounding area, tourists can also visit the ruins of Hierapolis.
22 San Francisco, USA
The Bay Area has had its tourism boosted with the help of the NBA champions Golden State Warriors. But even without that, San Francisco is a great city to visit as a tourist. There are plenty of things one can do here absolutely free of charge. The largest attraction is the Golden Gate Bridge, a steel behemoth 1.7 miles long where one can take amazing pictures for souvenirs. Pier 39 is like an open amusement park and is a treat for all ages. Be sure to visit Lombard Street as well, that’s the zigzaggy small street most recently featured in the car chase scene of Ant-Man and the Wasp movie.
21 Leonardo Da Vinci Museum, Italy
The usual famous tourist attractions in Italy are a tad expensive, taking a tour at The Colosseum is priced around $13. The Sistine Chapel and The Vatican admission prices are over $10. Even a tour at the Leaning Tower of Pisa costs at least $20. So where does one go for a cheaper experience of Italy? The answer is the Leonardo Da Vinci Museum. What better way to experience the country than through the life of the most notable Italian in history? Admission cost is only 5 euros or almost $6 according to Italy-Museum.com.
20 Temple of the Sacred Tooth, Sri Lanka
In the central province of the island country of Sri Lanka, south of India is a city called Kandy. It is considered by some to be the home of four of the most influential religions in history, namely Buddhism, Christianity, Islam, and Hinduism. Kandy is a UNESCO World Heritage City and is one of the most visited cities in Sri Lanka, and it’s partly because of the Temple of the Sacred Tooth. This famous Buddhist temple is believed to be housing a tooth of the Buddha. Yes, quite amazing and controversial! Entrance to the temple is exactly $10 dollars according to SecretLanka.com.
19 Domboshava Hill and Cave, Zimbabwe
The Domboshava Hill is a National Monument of Zimbabwe located in its capital city Harare, somewhat northeast in the landlocked African country. It’s an isolated granite hill in the middle of a wide-open field, perfect for picnics and has walking trails for people and pets. Nearby, there is also the Domboshava Cave with its famous rock art or paintings. This tourist site is about 17 miles away from the city and the entrance fee to the site is priced at exactly $10 according to ZimbabweOdyssey.weebly.com.
18 New York, USA
New York City may very well be the most popular tourist city in the east USA. It’s been made famous in television shows, films, and every kind of media. There’s a lot of places a tourist can visit without spending a lot of money in the Big Apple. A walk in the iconic Times Square is free, just steer clear of those suits and power ties who seem to walk with a purpose. One can also visit Central Park and see a lot of things there, purely entertaining, and locate movie scenes from your favorite rom-com films.
17 Komodo National Park, Indonesia
The Komodo dragon is believed to be a direct descendant, or perhaps lived at the time, of the great extinct creatures called dinosaurs. These are big lizards that can grow up to 10 feet and more than 300 pounds. Indonesia offers a close encounter of these magnificent creatures in their Komodo National Park. Zoos and reserves like these are usually pricey, but this park’s entrance fee and other basic charges (without the tour guide), according to Komodo Travel, adds up to only $8.49.
16 Nesvizh Palace, Belarus
Belarus is fast becoming a popular place to spend a vacation on the continent of Europe. It is a country located at the western border of Russia and is surrounded by Poland, Ukraine, Lithuania, and Latvia. Tourist site admissions in Europe usually cost more than $10, but there is a popular attraction in Belarus that’s not. The Nesvizh Palace is an architectural beauty, a castle and a monument open to the public. It’s located in the city of Nyasvizh, and according to Niasvizh.by, admission is only about $6.48.
15 Little Big City, Germany
Vacationers who venture to Germany often visit some or all of these popular sites: The Neuschwanstein Castle (the castle that was the inspiration to Walt Disney’s Sleeping Beauty castle), Europa Park and the Cologne Cathedral. Admission fees to these three are definitely over $10. So where does one go for less in Germany? The answer is Little Big City Berlin. It is easy to get there as it is located right in Berlin, and the admission is only $7.98 if you book online at OfficialBigLittleCity.com. Enjoy a great time with the whole family in this interactive amusement park with amazing projector shows, holograms, and “little buildings.”
14 Washington, DC, USA
There is no better way to experience firsthand the rich culture and history of the United States of America than a trip to its capital city, Washington, DC. Taking yourself to just these three iconic and historic places would be well worth the visit. The White House, of course, the official residence of the President, can be toured free of charge, one just has to schedule it in advance. The National Mall is a can’t miss the site, don’t leave the area without having a visit there. Then there’s the Smithsonian Museums and the Library of Congress. That’s already four, and there’s much more you can do in this city, all for free.
13 Ayutthaya Historical Park, Thailand
Thailand is famous for its beautiful beaches in Phuket, Ko Samui, and Patong. The country’s capital city, Bangkok, is also popular for taking care of tourists from all over the world. But it’s not just the beaches and the city that’s attracting tourists to this unique Asian country, it’s also the rich culture and history of its people. Thailand has at least five UNESCO World Heritage sites, one of them is the Ayutthaya Historical Park. It’s a majestic park riddled with preserved old buildings, ruins, and artifacts that symbolize and represent Thailand’s culture and history. Entrance to the park, according to Renown Travel, is free, but some of the temples inside may have entrance fees.
12 Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, Belize
If you like jaguars and also like traveling internationally but not too far, then the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary is the right place for you. Located in South America, this protected area is a paradise for wild animals. Aside from the Jaguar, there are deer, tapirs, and colorful birds and insects. The world’s first jaguar preserve is in the southern part of Belize. As listed by the Belize Audubon Society, the admission fee is 10 Belize dollars for foreigners, that’s just about $5 US dollars.
11 Ajlun, Jordan
Jordan is a country located in the Middle East, it’s the land that separates Saudi Arabia from Israel. Miles away, but pretty near in comparison to other famous tourist sites, its neighboring countries have the Pyramids of Giza and Jerusalem in Egypt and Israel, respectively. But Jordan has its own proud tourism to offer adventurers and travelers. One place is Ajlun, located north in Jordan, with its Ajlun Castle overlooking the whole town. The Jordan Tourism Board lists in their website that the entrance fee to Ajlun as only three Jordanian Dinars, even the entrance for the Ajlun Museum (2 JD) would still fit the $10 budget because 5 JD is just $7.
10 Hollywood, the USA
It’s a no-brainer that vacationing in Hollywood is an entertaining holiday, it is Hollywood after all, the nation’s entertainment capital. But don’t feel let down if you couldn’t spot even a single celebrity during your visit, they don’t really stay and chill in Hollywood, it’s their place of work. Be that as it may, there are plenty of things to do here that are free of charge. Firstly, that iconic Hollywood sign never leaves without having your pics taken there. Next, the Hollywood Walk of Fame, walk the streets and find the stars of your favorite celebrities.
9 Ripley's Believe It Or Not Museum, Canada
Admission to the cheapest kind of tour at the Niagara Falls is a little cheaper if done on the Canadian side, but it is still not below $10. But one can still enjoy the massive view of the magnificent waterfalls, plus a free exploration of the botanical gardens. But there is one attraction in Niagara that fits our budget, it’s the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum. One can get a good ticket deal in Viator.com for as low as $8.44.
8 Royal Palace, Cambodia
On the southeast border of Thailand is another Asian country that’s getting a fast reputation as a tourist hotspot. This country is Cambodia, the home of the perplexingly beautiful Angkor Wat. But the “Angkor Pass” as they coined it, is worth at least $20. There are other attractions in Cambodia that would fit our budget, like the Royal Palace in Phnom Phen. Even though admission prices increased in 2016 as reported by Cambodia Daily, this tourist site still falls into our budget at exactly $10 a ticket.
7 Acropolis Museum, Greece
The conversation about archaeological sites, ancient buildings, ruins, and artifacts will not be whole without mentioning the Greeks. The ancient country is a paradise for ancient history and mythology geeks. The Acropolis and the Parthenon are just two of the most visited and most popular sites here in Greece. But admission fees to these sought after places can be steep, but not all of them are here in this European country, just go to the Acropolis Museum and see for yourself. Entrance charges to this museum as listed in the Athens Tours Greece website is only $6.
6 Nevada, the USA
Strolling along the Las Vegas strip is already an entertaining activity for foreign tourists, this street has no shortage of things to look at. From Elvis to Spider-Man, there’s a wide range of personalities and celebrities that one can come across on the strip. But of course, they’d all start, or stop for pictures, at the Fabulous Las Vegas sign. Then, not 40 miles away is the Hoover Dam that separates Nevada from Arizona. Film fiction according to Transformers wiki, states that this dam was built to hide the Allspark cube from Megatron.
5 Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, Vietnam
The neighbor of Thailand and Cambodia is another Asian country that’s getting its reputation as the tourist destination of the year. Vietnam is a country that backpackers love. It’s a beautiful, scenic, and tranquil place, and notably, it is not that expensive to stay in the place. As a matter of proof, as listed by Vietnam-Guide.com, the entrance fee to one historic site is around 30,000 Vietnamese Dong. That is a very affordable $1.30. This is the Imperial Citadel of Thang Long, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
4 Ottawa, Canada
There are museums in Ottawa than anyone can get into for free, but only in the afternoon hours. These freebies are offered by the National Gallery of Canada and the Canadian Museum of Nature. But what are we supposed to do in the morning? How about a free swim at the Gatineau Park beach? Or a tour of the Parliament Hill grounds? During winter, the Rideau Canal transforms into the longest ice rink in the world. All of these great activities are free of charge.
3 Torre de Belém, Portugal
If you look at the world map, Portugal is like Spain’s little brother. It’s a country west of Spain and faces the vastness of the North Atlantic Ocean to its west. Portugal’s capital city, Lisbon, is a city that’s a good destination for sites and tourist spots all on its own. But what we want to share is a European tourist spot that would not cost you more than ten dollars. The Torre de Belém is Portugal’s pride, a UNESCO World Heritage site situated in Lisbon. The fort’s admission fee per guest is only $7 according to LisbonLisboaPortugal.com.
2 Penang and Melaka, Malaysia
Malaysia’s tourism can be compared to that of Vietnam and Cambodia, rich in culture and easy on the pockets. The people of Malaysia are warm people, they welcome tourists and foreigners no matter where you come from. The two best places to visit in Malaysia are Penang and Melaka. These two share the distinct honor of being a UNESCO World Heritage cultural city. The streets of Melaka and George Town in Penang will take you on a deep dive into the Malaysian culture and history, plus you can go crazy with the delicious street food.
1 Taj Mahal, India
This tourist attraction needs no introduction, it is simply one of the most majestic buildings standing on Earth today. If looking at a picture of it amazes you, the actual structure will take your breath away. India’s pride and center of tourism, the Taj Mahal is an icon known by everyone in the world. The Taj Mahal is too beautiful to get left out of this list, as the recent increase in tickets reported by India Today takes the price from about $7 to at least $11 now.
References: MasterCard, NASA, New7wonders, IntoChinaTravel, Viator