Many people nowadays believe that travelling on a shoestring budget is impossible. We’ve proven them wrong time and again with our “$25 a day” travel articles, and we’re not about to stop any time soon! One of the easiest ways to ensure you won’t break the bank on your journey is to look for the countries with the best exchange rates.
Or, you could just read about them here in one convenient package. These budget travel destinations will surprise you with how much you can actually do for cash that wouldn’t get you very far in more expensive countries. Let’s have a look!
Thailand is most famous for its bustling capital of Bangkok, which is usually a “headquarters” for a traveller looking to see the whole country. Of note are Thailand’s myriad of beautiful temples, lush jungles and spectacular beaches, as well as the way macaques hang around populated areas, co-existing with the populace due to their belief that they bring good luck and fortune.
They tend to cause a bit of mischief, but perhaps there is some truth to that belief. For one, the cheap prices here ensure that there will be plenty of travellers willing to spend their money on delicious food (which is everywhere, mind you), souvenirs and other things. If you stick with street stalls, for example, 170 THB ($5) will get you an entire day’s worth of food.
Similarly, accommodation costs anywhere between 300-400 THB ($9-12) per night. Obviously, it’ll be a bit more expensive if you decide to stay in the capital. The northern regions tend to be less pricey.
It’s not uncommon for Asian countries to have the best exchange rates around, and Vietnam is no exception. The country has only recently risen in popularity among travellers, since it is relatively undeveloped. Still, its luxurious mountainous regions and delicious food (among others) are definitely worth the visit.
It’s also a great idea to muster up your best bargaining skills before heading there, in order to get the best price possible on everything. Vietnamese merchants like to haggle, and while things are cheap, some good advice would be to observe how much locals are paying for stuff beforehand. Unfortunately, Western travellers can still get ripped off if they’re not careful.
Food prices can range from 45,000 VND ($2) to about 95,000 VND ($4.2) in restaurants, though of course street food is much cheaper. Accommodation for nice hostels can be around 200,000 VND (~$8.8), though if you want the most basic thing available it can even be half that price.
Our homeland has some of the best exchange rates in Europe (as do many other Central and East European countries for that matter). Whether it’s Wroclaw, Gdansk, the capital of Warsaw, or the many other beautiful areas around the country, you are bound to have a grand time!
Summer’s almost gone right now, but maybe next year you’ll get a chance to enjoy the relatively empty coastlines of Sopot near Gdansk. You’d be surprised how overlooked the beaches of Poland are, but they are definitely beautiful, and the cities are magnificent.
Back to the exchange rates, you should know that fast food is quite inexpensive here (if you’re into that sort of thing). Though personally, we’d recommend the bar mleczny (“milk bar”) where you can get traditional three-course meals for as little as €2-3 (8-12 zloty). Accommodation starts from around 25 to 45 zloty (€6-10) for cheap hostel dorms, but if you want a private room it can range from €23-35.
Not the land of Dracula, but certainly the land of legends, Romania has quite a rich history due to how many different populations have settled here over the centuries. Historic cities and very picturesque countryside await everyone who set foot around these parts.
Like Poland, Romania and also has some of the best exchange rates in the region (at the moment 1 Polish Zloty is 1.08 Romanian RON), as well as very inexpensive food and accommodation. With 20-30 RON (€4-6) you can eat very filling food at most establishments. Soup costs even less (at most 10 RON or €2, usually with bread included in the price). And, of course, you can also buy groceries yourself and eat like a king for like €10-20 a week.
As for accommodation, expect anywhere between 50 RON (€10) a night for shared hostels, and 150 RON (€30) for a hotel room for two.
The economic situation in Greece is quite unfortunate, to say the least. Still, travellers can take advantage of this and benefit from the best exchange rates in the southern region of Europe. People often lump in Greece with other countries in the Eurozone and thus believe it is expensive.
But unless you want to go clubbing or stay on touristy islands like Santorini or Mykonos, Greece is very inexpensive. Oh, and try not visiting during the high season (usually in the summer), as that’s when prices hike up a lot (like anywhere else). As for food, if you cook your own meals you can eat for a week with about €50 max. Shared rooms in many cities can range from €10-20 a night, but if you want a bit more privacy for your group you can even rent out apartments for up to €40-50 a night.
Not as cheap as Romania or Poland in this Central European category. But, Hungary still has some of the best exchange rates for travellers looking for a beautiful country, with rich architecture, rolling plains, and the humongous Lake Balaton (the largest one in Central Europe).
Even the capital of Budapest isn’t very expensive to visit. The nightlife here is spectacular especially when the bridges over the Danube and the Buda Castle light up. Apartment rooms can be rented for up to $20 a night (though some can go for as low as $8). Meals at inexpensive restaurants can be $5-6 in the capital, though obviously the prices go lower as you get further away from the city and into the countryside.