The 30 Cheapest Cities to Visit (Go Now!)
You want to travel, but your bank account says a staycation is a better option. But what if you had the chance to book a trip to an exotic locale for less than 150 bucks a day?
According to the booking site Hoppa, the following cities — the cheapest in the world, including popular locales throughout Latin America, Asia, Africa and Europe — offer just that. Instead of booking a trip to a destination that will leave you nearly broke, consider one of these affordable gems instead.
30. Lagos, Nigeria
Average cost per person per day: $145.69*
U.S. dollar exchange = 360 Nigerian Naira
Nigeria's largest city rests on the Lagos Lagoon and is renowned for its beaches and nightlife, with live music and dancing lasting until the wee hours.
The city explores Nigeria's colonial-era history — beginning in the late 15th century, Nigerians were kidnapped and sold into slavery — with museums and events that educate on the past while celebrating the nation's eventual freedom.
Tourism campaigns beckon African-Americans to return to the Motherland to connect with their ancestry. With hotel, dining and attractions averaging under $150 per day, this can be done relatively inexpensively.
*Average cost accounts for hotel rates, taxi fares, meals for two and unexpected medical costs. Airfare is not included. All figures converted from British pounds.
29. Beijing, China
Average cost per person per day: $143.94
U.S. dollar exchange = 6.89 Yuan
Beijing's Forbidden City, the world's largest palace complex, dates back 3,000 years and was once only privy to the emperors of China. Today, peasants and paupers can explore the complex's remarkable grounds and Palace Museum, even if they don't have gold in their pockets. (The cost to visit is just 40-60 yuan, or about $5-8.)
One of the world's most desirable tourist destinations, Beijing is also, of course, home to the Great Wall of China, which is surprisingly affordable as well — it costs the equivalent of about $5-7 to enter the popular Badaling section of the wall.
Also working in Beijing's favor for the budget-minded traveler? Exemplary food that won't cost a pretty penny; hearty noodle and rice dishes often won't set you back more than $10, and can be as cheap as $3.
28. Chania, Crete
Average cost per person per day: $143.50
U.S. dollar exchange = .89 Euro
Forget the expensive Greek islands of Santorini and Mykonos: On the island of Crete, in the coastal city of Chania, seaside bliss comes cheap. For much less than the price of staying on the smaller islands, you can enjoy the city's 14th-century Venetian port with its waterfront shopping and dining, plus an ancient fortress and architecture showcasing Ottoman influences.
This is a lively party town with lots of nightclubs, as well — all for a fraction of the price of, say, Ibiza.
27. Mexico City, Mexico
Average cost per person per day: $142.46
U.S. dollar exchange = 18.96 Mexican Peso
While the beaches of Mexico's Riviera Maya and Nayarit have long been a draw for travelers, Mexico's capital city is also well worth the airfare, thanks to its combination of world-class attractions, wallet-friendly prices and favorable exchange rate.
This giant city spanning 573 square miles and filled with nearly 9 million people is appropriately packed with things to do. Stroll through the Zocalo main square, and visit museums that tell Mexico's history from the Aztecs to the Spaniards to its modern-day big-city charm.
Then enjoy fantastic food on a shoestring; tacos will often set you back less than a dollar.
26. Marrakech, Morocco
Average cost per person per day: $142.43
U.S. dollar exchange = 1.98 Moroccan Dirham
Since its founding as an imperial city of Morocco nearly 1,000 years ago, scores of tourists have been mesmerized by Marrakech's exotic palaces, gardens, souks and mosques.
Inside the city, explore medieval walls and ancient streets with maze-like walkways; outside the city limits, go ATVing and ride camels in the desert.
For accommodations, try a riad, a family-run townhouse built around a central courtyard ("riad" means garden) that offers authenticity on a budget.
25. Joannesburg, South Africa
Average cost per person per day: $139.23
U.S. dollar exchange = 14.18 South African Rand
One of the world's largest cities — and the largest in South Africa — is also quickly becoming one of the hottest travel destinations. With long flights from North America, travelers seeking safaris in southern Africa often make a stop in Johannesburg. Here, you can learn about the dark history of apartheid and find inspiration in prisoner-turned-leader Nelson Mandela, whose former house is now a museum.
Jo'burg, as it is often called, is also easy on the purse strings. While enjoying a cosmo in the cosmopolitan city of nearly 1 million people, you'll pay less than $5, for example.
24. Moscow, Russia
Average cost per person per day: $136.09
U.S. dollar exchange = 63.66 Russian Ruble
Despite your opinions on the country's politics, Moscow is a gorgeous city with a vast history that is meant to be explored. The exchange rate makes this city one of the cheapest in the world, allowing you to easily take in significant sites like the Red Square, St. Basil's Cathedral and the Kremlin.
Moscow was created by a prince in the late 1100s and over the course of time has been ruled by princes, czars and presidents. You'll find opulence at every turn, even though you don't need a purse full of riches to visit.
23. Tunis, Tunisia
Average cost per person per day: $135.01
U.S. dollar exchange = 2.97 Tunisian Dinar
Fellow North African county Morocco may be higher on must-see lists after "Casablanca" made it a classic more than 50 years ago, but those not visiting Tunisia are missing out. You'll find similarly dazzling temples, markets and architecture along the Mediterranean, for a fraction of the price.
How cheap is Tunis, the nation's capital city? You'll find a cuppa delicious Arabic joe averages $1.45, and a stiff drink at night will only set you back $4.20.
Even if you were to get sick and require a doctor's visit, it will average just $23.20. (Although we don't recommend finding out for yourself.)
22. Quito, Ecuador
Average cost per person per day: $131.69
U.S. dollar exchange = Ecuador uses the U.S. dollar
For outdoor adventure-seekers traversing to the Galapagos Islands, landing in Ecuador's capital city of Quito is a bonus. City plazas are filled with colonial architecture blending indigenous and European style. Hiking is just beyond the city's borders, but you could easily enjoy a vacation to Quito without the extra jaunt — especially when an average day will only run you $131.69.
21. Cairo, Egypt
Average cost per person per day: $131.30
U.S. dollar exchange = 16.61 Egyptian Pound
Who wouldn't want to see one of the seven wonders of the world? With the Great Pyramid of Giza within eyesight of the bustling city of Cairo, you can check off a bucket list to-do on a budget.
Cairo features the world's cheapest city taxis, according to Hoppa, charging a couple bucks for a 3-mile drive, per person. Add in affordable dining, hotels and attractions, plus a favorable exchange rate, and the pyramids don't have to be a dream trip.
20. Phuket, Thailand
Average cost per person per day: $131.53
U.S. dollar exchange = .032 Thai Baht
Beach bliss on a budget? In Phuket, it's possible.
The island is famously home to fabulous sandy shores and clear waters, and they're available without relying on a massive bank account. While you can spend hundreds on luxury resorts, scaling back just a bit will save you loads; modest, highly rated hotels typically cost in the $20 range per night.
Plus, the street food here is as reasonably priced as it is tasty. Don't leave without trying the moo ping pork satay and roti pancake.
19. Riga, Latvia
Average cost per person per day: $131.30
U.S. dollar exchange = 1.13 Euro
Latvia, tucked between Lithuania and Estonia in Northern Europe, is oft-overlooked, to the point where few could probably identify it on a map. This is a shame, as the country is a natural wonderland (beaches, lakes and sand dunes abound) with plenty of history and charm.
Set on the Baltic Sea, the capital city of Riga is the country's cultural hub, home to a thriving central market and top-notch art museum, among other attractions. And as a bonus, it's dirt-cheap to visit — even though you'll have to use the Euro, less favorable to the American dollar.
18. Buenos Aires, Argentina
Average cost per person per day: $128.24
U.S. dollar exchange = .023 Argentine Peso
Want to eat until your stomach cannot fit one more bite? Argentina is the place to go. The country's grass-fed livestock provides some of the best steaks on earth, which you can try when sampling the al asador style of meals, featuring gauchos who bring entire cuts of meat to your table to sample.
Luckily, for American travelers, Argentina is also one of the cheapest places in the world to eat in, with a fine-dining experience for two people averaging just $15. A nice glass of wine will cost you under $5, or try a cocktail instead for closer to $4 per person.
Considering an average night of eating, drinking, taxi-ing and staying in a hotel room costs $350 less than a night in New York City, a visit to the bustling, artistic cultural capital of Buenos Aires is a steal!
17. Mumbai, India
Average cost per person per day: $125.61
U.S. dollar exchange = .014 Indian Rupee
India's largest city, formerly known as Bombay, is actually one of the least expensive to visit. For about $125 per day (including meals, accommodations and sights), you can discover a city filled with both ancient history and modern luxuries. Push your way through the more than 18.5 million people who live and work in Mumbai, and uncover the heart of Bollywood, the second-largest movie-making city outside of Hollywood.
Mumbai, which rests in a tropical forest, is also the capital of India's fashion and financial industries. Visitors come to see the Taj Mahal Palace and to examine the temples of Elephanta Island, which dates back to 750 AD.
16. Lima, Peru
Average cost per person per day: $124.49
U.S. dollar exchange = .30 Peruvian Sol
Machu Picchu may be the driving force behind a visit to the South American nation of Peru, but anyone not visiting its capital city of Lima for more than a layover is missing out. Overlooking the Pacific Coast from its massive cliffside location, Lima can trace its history back to ancient civilizations, and touts Spanish-era colonial roots.
At less than $125 per day, Lima is one of the cheapest cities in the world, yet offers pre-Incan ruins, pre-Columbian museums, Baroque churches, and a modern and lively setting. It's no wonder the city has become an international player in terms of business and cuisine.
15. Bangkok, Thailand
Average cost per person per day: $124.20
U.S. dollar exchange = .032 Thai Baht
Thailand's biggest city (and capital) is renowned for its sinful flavor, and many began their trip to the country here. This is little surprise, considering it's a lot like visiting Las Vegas, at a fraction of the price.
While Vegas is the 15th most expensive city in the world, Bangkok is the 14th least expensive. For less than $125 per night, you can enjoy the dance clubs, dining and nightlife that have made Bangkok a hedonism capital.
Besides its "Hangover"-like qualities, the city is also filled with culture and history. You will see temples to Buddha, walk through the opulent Grand Palace, and shop 'till you drop at expansive markets and malls. It's easy to spend all your money on shopping when the cost of visiting is so low — hotels only average $49 per night in this city of 1.5 million.
14. Istanbul, Turkey
Average cost per person per day: $122.37
U.S. dollar exchange = .17 Turkish lira
This list of cheapest cities prominently features destinations in Asia and Eastern Europe. In Istanbul, you can see both in one shot. Istanbul, divided by the Bosphorus Strait, allows you to visit two continents at once, in a city that harkens back to the 6th century with its iconic domed mosque and Roman-era structures.
For an average of about $122 per day, you can learn the stories of the Hagia Sophia and Blue Mosques, uncover the secrets of the Ottoman Empire in various museums, and explore spice-scented bazaars. Sample those same spices in delicious kebabs, as well as the sweet and savory baklava and Turkish delight, and give a toast to a beautiful city when you raise a glass of raki — all at an affordable price.
13. Krakow, Poland
Average cost per person per day: $122.35
U.S. dollar exchange = .26 Poland zloty
Eastern Europe is becoming a more sought-after travel destination, and rightfully so: You'll find the baroque and medieval architecture, Old Towns with cobblestone streets and fascinating history that make Western Europe so popular, at half the cost.
In southern Poland, Krakow, the country's second-oldest city, is a charming place that dates back to the 7th century. You can uncover its not-so-charming past as home to the Third Reich during WWII. When liberated by the Russians, the city was spared from much of the bombing that ravaged other cities, allowing its buildings to reflect its true history.
Appealingly, Krakow hosts fewer tourists than other Eastern European cities such as Prague (No. 44 on the list of the 100 least expensive cities),
12. Cartagena, Colombia
Average cost per person per day: $116.78
U.S. dollar exchange = .00031 Colombian Peso
South American cities truly can be music to the ears of foodies. Not only is the exchange rate to Colombia a big win for Americans, but its capital city is experiencing a food renaissance. (Don't miss taking a ceviche class and learning how to perfect it, as the Colombians have.) A nice meal for two averages under $14 here, and the libations are equally low-priced, averaging $4.45 for a mixed drink, $1.68 for a pint of beer and $1.49 for a cup of the absolute freshest Colombian coffee.
Add in colonial architecture and affordable, fabulous hotels, and this is a winning choice to visit on a shoestring budget.
11. Jakarta, Indonesia
Average cost per person per day: $114.46
U.S. dollar exchange = 14,353.50 Indonesian Rupiah
New York City is the largest city in the U.S., and you have to pony up to enjoy it. In Indonesia, Jakarta is the largest city, yet it offers deals at every turn. The vibrant city is filled with museums showcasing the country, the city and its people, as well as marvelous temples and monuments.
The average cost of a hotel room in the city is just under $46 per night. You can even enjoy the lap of luxury at beachfront resorts with spa services, golf and theme parks without paying much; properties from posh brands like Shangri-La and Le Meridien generally cost between $100 and $150 a night.
Add a nice meal for two at about $16 and taxis that cost less than a dollar per mile, and you'll discover that the average day and night in Jakarta is a steal.
10. Marmaris, Turkey
Average cost per person per day: $112.79
U.S. dollar exchange = .17 Turkish lira
The Turkish Riviera — also called the Turquoise Coast — won't cost you nearly as much as a visit to the French or Italian Rivieras, but will provide you the same dazzling blue waters and world-class amenities. In Marmaris, Turkey, you'll be spoiled rotten at beachfront resorts, party the night away at open-air clubs on Bar Street and dine on seafood fresh from the Mediterranean before you, for just over $100 per day on average.
A great meal for two can be had for about $16, and even if you elect to go with fast food, you'll pay less than at home: The price of a Big Mac from McDonald's is $3.87.
9. Denpasar, Indonesia
Average cost per person per day: $111.55
U.S. dollar exchange = 14,353.50 Indonesian Rupiah
With its romantic and exotic allure, Bali lands on the bucket list of people around the world. But just because it looks like paradise doesn't mean you'll have to pay premium prices. The province's capital city of Denpasar is far cheaper than you'd imagine, from hotel rooms averaging just $55 per night to a high-end dinner for two costing less than $15. Even a taxi ride to more remote areas of the island is inexpensive; the average 3-mile ride will run you about $3.24 per person.
Hoppa finds each day you spend on the island will only cost you a touch over $110. The flights to get you there from America? Well, that's another story.
8. Bucharest, Romania
Average cost per person per day: $110
U.S. dollar exchange = .24 Romanian Leu
Another Eastern European city that appears to pop from the pages of a fairy tale is Romania's capital city of Bucharest, most often visited by travelers enjoying a river cruise along the Danube. How odd that the city is the 10th largest in Europe and isn't on more radars — it's a wonderful metropolis with cobbled streets, grand buildings and parks, and friendly people.
You'll walk along tree-lined streets past Belle Epoque buildings that earned the city the nickname, "Little Paris." With an average day in Bucharest costing $110, perhaps you should give the tourist-crowded Paris — the 23rd most expensive city in the world — the cold shoulder and head to Romania instead?
7. Kiev, Ukraine
Average cost per person per day: $103.79
U.S. dollar exchange = .038 Ukrainian hryvnia
Hoppa's cheapest city in 2017, the Ukraine's capital remains one of the cheapest places to visit. On Hoppa's list, it still tops many categories, from the cheapest wine, beer and coffee to the cheapest dining. Even a trip to the doctor, should you need one, will only set you back about $24, while a taxi to take you 3 miles to the doc costs under $3.
The largest city in the Ukraine, and one of the largest in all of Europe, Kiev is considered Eastern Europe's cultural capital. You don't have to bring home a hefty paycheck to discover its monuments and monumental churches, or its modern and medieval structures.
6. Siem Reap, Cambodia
Average cost per person per day: $98.90
U.S. dollar exchange = .00025 Cambodian riel
If you've seen one resort town, you've seen them all, right? Definitely wrong.
Siem Reap is a Cambodian resort town dating back to the 9th century that's considered the gateway to the Angkor ruins (shown here). These ancient temple ruins are unlike anything you will see in other parts of the world. And, what's better? Your budget can handle a visit.
Cambodia has become one of the next big things in travel destinations, with many exploring it via a river cruise. Rooms average less than $55 per night, and you'll enjoy cheap food and spirits to boot — a pint of beer will run you $1.24, while a mixed drink will be just four smackaroos.
5. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Average cost per person per day: $96.65
U.S. dollar exchange = .000043 Vietnamese dong
Asia continues to dominate the list of the cheapest places to travel, although it's one of the richest cultural destinations in the world. Ho Chi Minh, once ignored due to America's past in the Vietnam War, has become a coveted destination for the well-traveled looking for immersive and authentic experiences. You can examine the city's war history by visiting Cu Chi Tunnels and war museums before enjoying its French colonial past. The city even houses its own Notre Dame Cathedral, constructed by French colonists between 1863 and 1880.
You'll enjoy the world's cheapest pint of beer here at just $1.10 — be careful not to have too many! — as well as the second-cheapest city-hotel rates, averaging less than $43. All in all, you can see the city formerly known as Saigon for a hair above $95 per day.
4. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Average cost per person per day: $96.36
U.S. dollar exchange = .24 Malaysian Ringgit
The largest city in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur is a backdrop to Hollywood movies, especially its connected Petronas Twin Towers, which stand 88 floors above the street. (Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta-Jones filmed a heist scene there for the movie "Entrapment.") Stand between the towers on the observation deck for less than 20 bucks. Or catch panoramic views from the Sky Deck of the city's landmark Menara Kuala Lumpur tower for roughly the same bargain price.
Kuala Lumpur has the cheapest of the city hotels in the world, averaging $40 per night, and boasts some of the cheapest fast food, at $3.28 for a Big Mac. For something more high-quality, opt for a nasi lemak or rendang rice dish, costing you and a friend about $16 to enjoy in a nice setting with drinks and desert.
3. Antalya, Turkey
Average cost per person per day: $95.65
U.S. dollar exchange = .17 Turkish lira
The second waterfront city in Turkey to land on the cheapest places list is just as surprising as the first. How can a city on a marina nestled into the Mediterranean cost about $95 per day to visit? Bordered by the Taurus Mountains, you can see the massive Dunden Waterfalls, then explore ancient Roman ruins before relaxing on Konyaalti Beach.
Your cocktail, brought to your lounge chair, will cost less than $5. Your meal of spicy Turkish foods will be less than $6.50. And after a day in the sun and the evening's food and drinks, you can rest your head in a comfortable hotel for less than $58. Try doing that in Santorini!
2. Sofia, Bulgaria
Average cost per person per day: $94.69
U.S. dollar exchange = .57 Bulgarian Lev
With so many Eastern European cities making the least-expensive list, it should come as no surprise that the No. 2 spot goes to another wonderful, yet rather unexplored city. Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, will average just about $95 per day, giving you a chance to delve deeper into the Balkan peninsula.
Shop along Vitosha Boulevard and stop in a bar for a pint ($1.66) or a glass of wine ($6.08). Visit the city's large museums and churches, specifically the Alexander Nevsky Cathedral (which is both a museum and a church; shown here).
If you get tired, a taxi will run you less than $3 for a 3-mile trip, and your hotel will cost less than $50.
1. Manila, Philippines
Average cost per person per day: $94.38
U.S. dollar exchange = .019 Philipppine Piso
More than 1.78 million people live in the capital of the Philippines, which was first established in the late 1500s. It's a fast-paced chaotic city that is an assault on the senses, and combines its history — the oldest Chinatown in the world — with the most modern-day amenities one can find at the Mall of Asia, the largest mall in the Philippines.
A hotel room will run you $45, while a Big Mac will only cost you $3.15. Want to skip McDonald's and enjoy some authentic Asian cuisine? A meal for two will set you back just over $16. The average price of spending a day in Manila is less than a day in all of the world's largest cities.