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There are many factors to consider when planning a vacation, from finding cheap places to travel and the safety of your intended destination to hotel options. But like it or not, there’s one thing that influences our travel decisions more than anything else: money. All those resort fees, plane tickets, and life-changing meals add up pretty quickly—so at the end of the day, we really want to prioritize places where our greenbacks have the most spending power.
We did a little digging to find the countries where the U.S. dollar goes the furthest, based on current exchange rates. And while our fickle global economy means those rates can change at any time, certain places have consistently offered more bang for our buck over the years—and, fingers crossed, they should stay that way well into 2024.
Without further ado, here are 21 of the best cheap places to travel around the world.
1 USD = 351.21 HUF
Hungary’s favorable economy is great news for anyone planning a trip to Budapest, where a growing scene of Michelin-starred restaurants and high-tech spas are calling to us from across the globe. The city just celebrated its 150th anniversary in November 2023, which means there are even more reasons to visit during the next calendar year, including the newly reopened Chain Bridge and the brand-new House of Music Hungary. Be sure to book a room at the art deco W Budapest—formerly a palace and on a UNESCO World Heritage-listed street—which opened in July 2023 opposite the Hungarian State Opera.
1 USD = 1,301.45 KRW
While other travelers head to the popular tourist destinations of Seoul, Busan, and Jeju Island, we have our eyes set on another South Korean city: Mokpo, located in the Jeolla region at the southern tip of the peninsula. The port city offers some of the most interesting dining in the country, and specialty dishes like hongeo (a naturally fermented, extremely pungent skate-fish dish) attract food lovers from around the world.
1 USD = 17.22 MXN
Mexico is consistently one of our favorite places to travel on a budget. In Mexico City, with a street food culture rivaled only by its forward-looking restaurant scene, you’ll be spending most of your money on eats. But make sure to leave some bucks to visit all the cultural wonders the city has to offer, starting with the iconic Museo Jumex. If you’re looking to go a little farther afield, head to Jalisco to see tequila being made at the source, or Isla Holbox for a sleepy beach scene.
1 USD = 3,449.69 MNT
We’ve long been fans of Mongolia for its seemingly limitless expanses and adventure camps—and the fact that travel here costs as little as $75 per day (including accommodations). The country is on a mission to lure even more travelers into its borders in 2024, with upcoming initiatives like its first-ever direct US flight and visa-free travel for dozens of nationalities. You can also expect even more offbeat cultural experiences next year: Local operator Breanna Wilson is expanding her 2024 tours to include a digital nomad week, a women-only retreat in Orkhon Valley, and a three-day archery training session.
1 USD = 24,275.00 VND
Plenty of countries in Southeast Asia are great deals for dollar carriers right now, but we recommend a trip to Vietnam—in part because of the steadily increasing exchange rate, but mostly for the country’s mind-blowing beauty. Hanoi is arguably the most romantic city in the region, but don’t be afraid to venture off the beaten track during your next visit: Places like Ninh Van Bay and Phú Quốc island have pristine beaches and intimate resorts you won’t find in the more touristed areas.
1 USD = 4.94 BRL
Like much of South America, Brazil is a good place to visit if you don’t want to break the bank. But the fact that a dollar gets you nearly five Brazilian reals means you can get even better value than usual. Rio de Janeiro is the most obvious place to spend time and money, with incredible restaurants—like Lasai, a 2023 Hot List winner—just steps away from some of the world’s best beaches. But don't forget to visit São Paulo, too, where a younger generation has introduced hip galleries, museums, and bars to several long-neglected neighborhoods.
1 USD = 18.30 ZAR
The value of the South African rand has fluctuated a lot over the past few years, but we’re pretty happy with where it is today. (To compare, one U.S. dollar only got you 8.57 ZAR 10 years ago.) Stretch those bucks on the Test Kitchen’s 21-course tasting menu in Cape Town, then head into the wilderness at Singita Castleton Lodge in the Sabi Sand game reserve.
1 USD = 327.31 SLR
The Sri Lankan rupee has slowly gotten more and more favorable over the past couple of decades, but it completely skyrocketed starting a couple of years ago (a dollar converted to 200 SLR in February 2022, and now look where we are). We’re more excited than ever to explore this incredible island nation, where you can see leafy tea plantations, Buddhist temples, golden beaches, and 200-mile hiking trails in one memorable trip.
1 USD = 525.96 CRC
The Costa Rican colón has depreciated a bit in recent months, but it remains favorable for US travelers. Then there’s the fact that the country’s best asset (i.e. its natural beauty) is mostly free to enjoy. From trekking through the tropical cloud forests in the mountains of Alajuela to surfing off the coast of Peninsula Papagayo, Costa Rica is one of the world’s best countries for outdoor adventure. (And the hotels are pretty great, too.)
1 USD = 55.89 PHP
We’re never not dreaming about island hopping in the Phillippines. It’s hard to believe that places like Palawan and Siargao are so economically accessible, given that they are some of the most beautiful places on the planet. Even five-star resorts like Shangri-La Boracay can be reserved for under $350 per night, which is all the incentive we need to book a trip right now.
1 USD = 4,580 MGA
For your next tropical island vacation, skip pricey, popular locations like the Maldives and Bora Bora for inexpensive Madagascar—an Indian Ocean treasure filled with breathtaking rainforests and lemur-filled national parks. Plan your visit around the opening of Namoroka Tsingy Exploration Camp (scheduled for mid-2024), which will feature seven luxury safari tents inside the essentially unvisited Namoroka National Park. Alternately, swing by the island nation as part of a cruise itinerary: Luxe cruise lines like Silversea, Lindblad, Swan Hellenic, and Seabourne have all added the country as a port of call on new voyages.
1 USD = 30.93 EGP
Following in the footsteps of pharaohs in Egypt feels like it should be expensive, but the Egyptian pound has skyrocketed this year—that means touring the Pyramids, cruising the Nile, and exploring Cairo has never been more affordable. We’re excited to check out relatively new openings, like St. Regis Cairo and the beach villas at Four Seasons Hotel Alexandria. And we’ve been anxiously awaiting the official opening of the Grand Egyptian Museum for years now, but it looks like it might actually happen in 2024.
1 USD = 4.67 MYR
Your cash will stretch far in Malaysia, especially if you fill up on street food and explore cities like Kuala Lumpur on foot. It’s also inexpensive (or in some cases, free) to visit the country’s pristine beaches, limestone caves, and some of the most beautiful tea plantations. If you’re ready and willing to shell out the big bucks, however, we highly recommend shacking up at The Datai Langkawi—it’s definitely expensive but wholly worth it.
1 USD = 83.04 INR
India has always been a cheap travel destination; now that you can get 83 rupees to the dollar, however, the country is more affordable than ever. Hotels run the gamut from $60-per-night bungalows to pricy Oberoi and Six Senses outposts, plus hundreds of options in between. But as long as you don’t hole up in your resort the entire time, you can visit plenty of attractions and dine at local restaurants on an extremely tight budget.
1 USD = 107.45 RSD
Belgrade continues to emerge as one of Europe’s most exciting cultural epicenters, but it’s massively less expensive than, say, Paris or Berlin (at least for now). It’s relatively easy to find hotels under $100, though accommodations aren’t all that important when you spend all night dancing in clubs around the city. But you will want to get some rest to explore Belgrade’s wealth of museums and contemporary art installations, many of which just opened in the past few years.
1 USD = 56.44 MKD
Perhaps it’s because the coastal countries get all the attention, but North Macedonia remains one of the most criminally underrated (and therefore affordable) countries in Europe. The landlocked nation is a sleeper hit for those in the know, especially if you head to the charming city of Ohrid. It has all the cobbled streets and quaint churches one would expect from a European town, with the added advantage of being right on the shores of the incredibly gorgeous and biodiverse Lake Ohrid.
1 USD = 132.92 NPR
Nepal is one of the cheapest countries to visit for all travelers, but the U.S. dollar is particularly strong there right now. Most people immediately associate Nepal with Mt. Everest, but the tiny nation has much more to offer than bucket-list climbs. Kathmandu is overwhelming at first, but it hides some great hotels and museums once you start digging. Bhaktapur and Patan—both close by in the Kathmandu Valley—are a bit more low-key but still packed with culture.
1 USD = 66.99 GMD
It may be continental Africa’s smallest country but don’t you dare overlook the Gambia. The ultra-affordable nation has long been a coveted spot for wildlife enthusiasts, but it’s starting to rise in the ranks as both a food destination and luxury cruise port of call.
1 USD = 15,556.65 IDR
Despite the post-Eat, Pray, Love influx of tourists, Indonesia remains an affordable vacation spot overall. While millions of people flock to Bali (where resort prices are steep in response), you can enjoy a much cheaper and more peaceful trip on the islands of Sumba and Lombok. And don’t forget about Jakarta, where a solid day includes filling up on greasy noodles and nasi goreng gila from makeshift street stalls—all for just a couple of US bucks.
1 USD = 93.95 ALL
Albania is much less expensive than other European countries—and it’s a bit under the radar as a tourist destination, which means there’s still a chance to visit before the word gets out and the crowds descend. One of the most enticing reasons to plan a trip is the food: Picture tables filled with rosemary-scented lamb, tart mountain cheeses, blackened sea bass, and bottles of fruit juices. In Tirana, book a stay at Agroturizëm Gjepali, a restaurant turned hotel with river views and doubles starting at just $70.
1 USD = 12,375.00 UZS
Uzbekistan is still on the up-and-up when it comes to foreign travel, which makes it one of the most exciting and affordable destinations in Central Asia. The major cities are filled with both intricate mosques and brutalist monuments—all free to explore—and you’ll be hard-pressed to spend more than $5 per meal at restaurants. There aren’t too many name-brand hotels set up yet, but even places like the Hyatt Regency Tashkent have nightly rates below $170.