Many of us dread the thought of vacation planning because we’re afraid of how much it’ll cost, but without a life raft, you could drown in debt. With the right groundwork in place, anyone can travel on a tight budget and enjoy their exotic holiday without their finances ruining their time.
7 Exotic Vacation Destinations You Can Travel to for Cheap
If you want to go on an exotic vacation but you’re worried it’ll be out of your price range, you should check out the following destinations. These places will help you travel debt-free.
1. Thailand (Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Krabi Town)
Thailand is a popular destination for budget travelers, with its beautiful beaches, delicious food, relaxed vibe, and friendly locals. You can find affordable accommodation, such as guesthouses or hostels at $10 a night, and cheap transportation, such as tuk-tuks or local buses at $5 a ride.
2. Panama (Panama City, Bocas del Toro Islands)
While Panama is one of those less-visited places where you can enjoy beautiful weather and warm beaches, you can shack up at a hotel for around $40 a night. You can eat at a cheap restaurant for $7.00 or get a three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant for $45.00.
3. Indonesia (Bandung, Yogyakarta, Jakarta)
Indonesia is a diverse and beautiful country with affordable vacation options. While the airfare isn’t cheap, everything else is. Bali is a popular destination for tourists, with inexpensive food, tours, and drivers. Lombok and Flores are other budget-friendly options you can check out.
4. India (Goa, Rajasthan, Kerala, Agonda)
Goa, India, specifically used to be a beloved travel spot for hippies and other partygoers. Now, its picturesque landscape attracts tourists thanks to its low price tag. While the central regions are usually crowded, you can go further north or south to get some privacy and lots of sun.
5. Nepal (Markhu, Bandipur, Kuri Village)
Nepal is a budget-friendly destination with cheap hotels/hostels, food and drinks, and activities. Multi-day hikes are especially cheap, where two people can spend $50 for a two-week trek that includes yummy food and shelter. But best of all, you can see the Nepal Himalayas for free.
6. Cambodia (Siem Reap, Phnom Penh, Battambang)
Cambodia is one of the cheapest countries to visit in Southeast Asia and has some of the most interesting activities on this list. You can explore Angkor Wat, massive temple ruins, see Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, or hang out in Sihanoukville, a beach filled with backpackers.
7. Laos (Vientiane, Luang Prabang, Don Det)
Laos is a peaceful country with stunning natural beauty and rich culture. It’s also kind to budget travelers. You can find public hostels from $5 a night, private at $15 a night, and meals that cost $1 to $5. Transportation by taxi, public bus, or motorbike is also incredibly cheap for tourists.
5 Ways to Enjoy an Exotic Vacation and Remain Debt-Free
Taking a trip to a far-off land, country, or destination doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. If you want to enjoy an exotic vacation without going into debt, consider doing the following.
1. Start Savings Now and Set a Travel Budget
The moment you know you want to go on vacation is the second you should start saving for it. Create a savings plan well before you start planning your travel itinerary, so you know when you can feasibly go on vacation. If you’re traveling with your family, clue them in on your blueprint.
Budgeting is a key part of any savings plan, especially if you want to remain debt free after your trip. You should take an honest look at your finances and decide if you need to cut back for a while. Even skipping on a daily $3.50 coffee can put an extra $105 a month in your pocket.
If you can reasonably put away $105 a month, you’ll have $1,277.50 by the end of the year. That amount of money could help you easily afford a trip to Thailand, Greece, or Costa Rica.
2. Use A Reward or Cash Back Credit Card
Using a credit card sounds like the last thing you want to do when planning a debt-free exotic vacation, but hear us out. Many credit cards offer 1% to 3% cash back on items you already buy anyway, such as gas, food, and medication. You can use that cashback to help fund your trip.
But if you’re going to take your credit card on your trip, make sure your card expiration date isn’t around your vacation date. Always renew your credit card 30 to 60 days before it’s set to expire. Many cards come with travel insurance, which can give you peace of mind on your holiday.
Getting a new credit card can net you bonuses. For example, the American Express Cobalt card offers up to 30,000 bonus points ($600) if you spend $500 every month for the first year.
3. Check for Membership Discounts and Benefits
Multiple memberships offer travel discounts. AARP offers access to free Tanger Outlets coupon books, breaks on car rental fees, and restaurant and lodging discounts. Credit unions can help travelers score discounts on theme park admissions and save on route planning services.
If you’re a part of an association, such as an educator’s, professional, or sports association, you’ll often be able to rent a car, book a hotel, or purchase auto insurance for a low cost. Active and retired military members can spend the night at multiple entertainment attractions or hotels.
Finally, warehouse clubs, like Sam’s Club, Costco, or BJ’s, can give you access to exclusive travel deals. For example, Costco members can save at least $100 on their travel packages.
4. Hire an Experienced Exotic Travel Agent
Whether you’re traveling solo or in a group, hiring a travel agent is one of the best ways to save money on your trip. While some luxury vacation planners charge money for their services, most of them take a commission if they book a vacation on your behalf and will never charge you.
However, travel agents are more helpful if you have aspects of your trip planned out. For example, if they know your budget, they can suggest fun activities based around it. Or, they can offer exclusive travel packages or special resort promotions if they’re privy to this information.
In times when a travel agent can’t get better pricing on hotels, cruises, or flights, they can still secure perks. These include but aren’t limited to complimentary breakfasts or room upgrades.
5. Shop out of Season and Fly Out Midweek
There are a lot of tiny things you can do to save money on your vacation. For example, it’s usually less expensive to fly on Saturday morning or in the middle of the week. These discounts improve if you’re a frequent flier member or someone who snatches up tickets last minute.
It’s a good idea to travel during the low season. Even if you can only fly out during the summer (high season), you can fly to the Southern hemisphere, where it’s technically low season. Closer to the equator, many southern countries are still warm, like Mexico and the Caribbean Islands.
Despite what you’ve heard, searching for flights in incognito mode doesn’t do anything. Your airfare price is likely changing to keep up with demand or because the cheapest tickets are sold.