Wouldn’t it be nice to have an endless travel fund? Dream with me: Hop your private jet to the Western Med, where you snuggle up for eight blissful days of wine, gourmet cuisine, massages, and 800-thread-count sheets on the Amalfi Coast. Yes, that would be nice. But sadly, the majority of us dreaming of these champagne-taste trips are working with a Bud Light budgets. The good news, however, is that finding cheap places to travel does not mean you need to sacrifice comfort, style, or your wellness goals. Traveling on the cheap does not have to involve sharing a dingy hostel room while surviving on greasy street meat and shots of Jose Cuervo. It turns out, we actually can have the best of both worlds. There are dozens of cheap places to travel that put an emphasis on wellbeing and comfort, in a variety of settings from beaches and jungles to cities. Whether you’re looking for an adrenaline-pumping trek through the mountains of South America, a meditative, transformative experience on the beaches of India, a foodie tour through Europe, or a surf retreat off the coast of North Africa, we found 15 cheap places to travel in ultimate style.
Active Cheap Places to Travel
For many of us, testing our limits is a big part of what makes travel so life changing and special. Staying active is such an important part of our lives, and combining the two endeavors is a great way to learn both about a destination, and about your personal goals. These destinations are perfect cheap places to travel for those with an active mindset.
1. Yosemite, California
Yosemite National Park, located in eastern California’s epic Sierra Nevada mountain range, is 1,200 square miles of potential for pure active adventure (and endless Instagrammable moments), from hiking more than 750 miles of trails to rafting the Merced River or skiing the impressive Sierra Nevadas. The best part? Enjoying the great outdoors doesn’t have to cost you a dime (well, except for the entrance fee, which is a mere $35 for a seven-day pass). How to travel cheap? Book a room or customized campsite at the Evergreen Lodge. The classically styled lodge gives off that vintage, log cabin vibe, but with comfy touches. Rooms begin at $200 per night. Campsites are decidedly cheaper (and slightly more rugged) at $90 per night. For dining, you can go as basic as a packed lunch you prepare yourself with fixings from the in-park sundries shops, peruse the casual variety at the food-court style Half Dome Village, or go truly elegant at the Victorian-era Big Trees Lodge.
2. Playa Venao, Panama
A once wild beach has now emerged as a go-to destination for Panamanian adventure, and it’s a great cheap place to travel. Playa Venao, located on Panama’s west coast, is an outdoor lover’s paradise. From surfing and horseback riding to kayaking, snorkeling, and trekking, Playa Venao is the perfect home base for a Panamanian adventure. How to travel cheap? Book a room at Selina Playa Venao, a fast-growing brand of high-end hostels designed for digital nomads. From offering zip-lining through the jungles to its own private surf club to opportunities to explore the hidden islands of Pedasi, Selina is perfect for adventure-seekers. Rates start at just $18 a night. Dine at El Sitio for its healthy menu, which focuses on fusion cuisine using seasonal ingredients. Breakfast starts at $8; lunch and dinner are around $10 for an entree.
3. Portland, Oregon
There’s so much more to Portland than food trucks and flannel. Active travelers will love the city’s iconic bike culture as well as its proximity to Mount Hood, a favorite among skiers and snowboarders in the winter and kayakers and hikers in the summer. Don’t miss the Columbia River Gorge, a 4,000-foot gorge that cuts through the Cascade Mountain Range and offers ample opportunity for outdoor exploration. How to travel cheap? Stay uniquely at the Kennedy School, a converted former elementary school downtown. Rooms start at $145 and it ensures you get a dose of true Portland culture with its onsite brewery, locally sourced food, and movie theater.
4. Sucre, Bolivia
Stunning, white-washed buildings set the tone in the capital city of Bolivia. While it’s garnered international interest, the city has retained its Bolivian history and charm and was actually declared a UNESCO World Heritage site in the ’90s. And though the city itself swings cultural, it’s the perfect jumping off point for active travelers to explore the Uyuni Salt Flats or Lake Titicaca. How to travel cheap? Book a stay in the historic Parador Santa Maria La Real, housed in an 18th-century mansion with a spa, gym, and restaurant. Rates start at $83 a night. There is a cosmopolitan, international flare to this historic city, which trickles to its eclectic dining scene. Consider Condor Cafe, which has hand-drawn menus and a menu of locally sourced ingredients. Menu items start at just 75 cents.
Cheap Places to Travel for Wellness
Health travel doesn’t necessarily have to be hardcore. Travelers looking to maintain that mind-body medley can make the most of these cheap places to travel that focus more on overall wellness, from yoga and meditation to reiki.
5. Ometepe, Nicaragua
Unsure of where to start your wellness vacation? This volcanic island in the middle of Lake Nicaragua seems like a good place to begin. The two towering peaks that rise out of the lake have teased the minds of travelers since the time of the precolonial Aztecs. How to travel cheap? Book a stay an InanItah, a spiritual yoga community that focuses on meditation, yoga, and tantra. The island itself also offers ways to get in touch with your spiritual side, from exploring the waterfalls to community cleanups and group family dinners. Rates at InanItah start at $28 per night.
6. Isla Holbox, Mexico
Tulum might be one of the original spots for wellness travel in Mexico, but it’s become a tad overpriced. For a cheaper place to travel, head north to Isla Holbox, a tiny Caribbean-esque island off the north coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. With sugary shores and electric blue water, it’s difficult to imagine a place more primed for wellness. In fact, the island is surrounded by the Yum Balam nature reserve, making it one of the best places to immerse yourself in beauty and nature. It’s easy to see why this is one of the top destinations in Mexico for yoga retreats. How to travel cheap? Check out Omm Retreats’ next getaway to Isla Holbox. Rates begin at $900.
7. Goa, India
India’s southwestern shores are iconic for the white sand and turquoise waters of the Arabian Sea. Plus, if you’re looking for a wellness vacation with an emphasis on yoga and Ayurveda, India is the perfect place to pick. How to travel cheap? Goa’s Purple Valley Ashtanga Yoga Retreat is an oasis and home to some of the world’s best Ashtanga yoga courses and teachers. Rates begin at $750.
8. Paradise Island, Bahamas
Hitting the reset button on your body and spirit is pretty simple with the Bahamas as a backdrop. White sand, stunning water, and that laid-back Caribbean vibe are difficult to ignore. But instead of lazily lounging, make the most of the day at Sivananda Ashram Yoga Retreat. How to travel cheap? This ashram has its own white sand beach and a full itinerary of morning meditations and yoga classes as well as yoga teacher training courses. Rates begin at $80 per night. The Yoga Vacation Program, which includes more classes and meals, is an additional $32 per day in winter and spring.
Cheap Places to Travel for Pure Relaxation
Indulgence is just as much a part of travel as overall wellness. For travelers who want to treat themselves to an iconic foodie experience or luxurious spa treatment, here are cheap places to travel for ultimate relaxation.
9. Bali, Indonesia
Nothing conjures up dreamy visuals quite like the coast of Bali. The Indonesian island getaway has been a long-time favorite escape for travelers in search of ultimate calm in a naturally luxurious setting—coveted for its volcanic mountains, beaches, and coral reefs as well as its deep-rooted Hindu and Buddhist traditions. How to travel cheap? Stay at Bali Baliku Private Pool Villas. Each villa has its own private pool as well as indoor and outdoor showers. The resort has a private beach club, restaurant, and spa that offers treatments like aromatic foot baths, aromatherapy massage, facials, and more. Rates begin at $129 a night.
10. Bangkok, Thailand
Budget travelers have long flocked to Bangkok for its favorable exchange rate (1 Thai baht is less than a U.S. penny), tropical weather, nearby beaches, and delicious food. It’s a cost-effective happy medium between tranquil, Eastern vibes and 24/7 energy. How to travel cheap? Stay at Ariyasom Villa, a small boutique hotel and spa in the heart of Bangkok near the iconic Sukhumvit Road. Rates begin at $143. Treat yourself to a shopping spree at Thonglor Art Village, a quaint and affordable treasure trove of vintage finds where you can score amazing pieces for under five bucks.
11. Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal has been the budget-chic hotspot of western Europe for some time now. Travelers are drawn to the vintage glam of Lisbon, with its stunning architecture, cobblestone streets, dining scene, and shopping—all at a fraction of the cost of destinations like London, Paris, and Rome. How to travel cheap? Stay at Casa do Principe, a beautifully restored 19th-century Neo-Moorish palace with just nine rooms. Rates begin at $129. Take in Lisbon’s delectable (and discount) dining scene at the Time Out Market Lisboa. This indoor eating frenzy is a gourmet hub of the best dining in Lisbon, all under one roof.
12. Savannah, Georgia
History and southern charm come together on the banks of the Savannah River. Old world elegance meets urban flair, and Savannah exudes an affinity for the truly indulgent, from its foodie scene to its beaches and an island just out of town. Stroll rows of elegant antebellum mansions or marvel at the massive live oak trees draped in Spanish moss. How to travel cheap? Sleep historically chic at the River Street Inn, where rates begin at $143. Stroll the Starland Arts District on the first Friday of every month as galleries, shops, and eateries open up, providing entertainment, food, and the chance to chat with local artists and creators.
Cheap Places to Travel as a Group
There’s a lot to be said for a DIY trip, but often the convenience that comes with organized retreats and tours is well worth the investment of time and money. For group travel with a wellness slant, turn to these cheap places to travel.
13. Surf Maroc Yoga Surf Retreats
Hop a plane to Taghazout, Morocco for a week of surfing and yoga with oceanfront accommodations. Surf Maroc Yoga Surf Retreats are week-long programs on the coast of Morocco that combine wellness with immersive exploration of the destination, from beach trips to souk shopping to mini road trips. Costs begin at $915.
14. El Camino Travel
Dive into Central and South America with El Camino Travel, a small group-tour company that emphasizes the pure local experience. El Camino visits destinations like Colombia, Nicaragua, and Cuba. Each itinerary highlights the destination’s cuisine, natural beauty, nightlife, and great hotels while folding in aspects of wellness like yoga, surfing, and more. Rates for these (typically) eight-day trips begin at $2,100 and include accommodation, excursions, and meals.
15. Zen Den Yoga & Wellness Retreat, Boca Raton, Florida
Just a bike ride from the beaches, this ongoing yoga retreat comes in packages of three, five, or seven nights during which travelers can enjoy daily yoga, meditation, acupuncture, massage, and delicious natural smoothies. Add on extras like additional classes, more massages, or rounds of golf. Plus, a free bike rental program allows guests to explore the nearby beaches, which are all beautiful. Package rates begin at $600.