Travel Tips

Places to Visit on a $500 Budget

If you’re looking to reward yourself for following your personal saving tips—and hitting your savings target last year, then traveling to another country is one of the best rewards you could give yourself. Now, you don’t have to spend your entire savings or overuse your credit cards for your trip. You don’t have to be super rich to enjoy international vacations. Make those trips happen with just $500!

Now, for the good stuff! Below are the countries that will definitely give your money’s worth.

1. Hanoi, Vietnam

It’s a popular fact: you can get pho for as low as a dollar. It’s everywhere too. It’s safe to say that with a price like that, you’re not going to starve in this country. Take advantage of the cheap street food. 1-3 star hotel bedrooms can range for as low as $6-60/ night. You can definitely use your remaining money to buy beer, souvenirs, and visit the inexpensive Water Puppet Theater, for which normal seats cost only $2.85. Visit the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum for free.

2. Bangkok, Thailand

Yaowarat and Silom Road are the best places to buy cheap and delicious Thai street food that would only cost each person $2-3 per meal. Here, you’ll see plenty of locals that won’t only give you a taste of Bangkok’s local cuisine, but also its culture. Visit famous landmarks such as Wat Pho, the National Museum, and Wat Arun for less than $4 fees. Go for local food tours too, for as low as $3-$4. For transportation, it’s best to ride the Skytrain for as low as a $0.46 trip. Day trips to Ayutthaya or Kanchanaburi are possible too.

3.  Cambodia

Phnom Penh

It’s said that food in Cambodia isn’t as cheap as its predecessors in this list, but they’re definitely worth the price. Food tripping could just be your main venture in this country. You can a allot a $5 (or less) budget per meal and have the best eating experience of your life. Check out places like Warung Bali, Meta House, Dragon House, and Lucky Pho. If you’re craving for some pizza, check out Pizza Five. Mali’s too is a popular restaurant. It’s a bit pricey but it’s still in the ballpark. Visit these following attractions too for some local sightseeing: Wat Phnom and the National Museum of Cambodia.

Siem Reap

The famous location of the Angkor Wat temple, you can book online or visit there by 5pm only for the low cost of $20. Here’s an inexpensive sunrise tour of Angkor Wat. It might seem costly to you compared to other prices mentioned here, but remember that this temple is the 7th wonder of the world. If you’re looking for a super cheap place to stay, visit Garden Villa’s dormitory for just $1 per person or Bou Savvy’s Guesthouse for a little over that. Take advantage of the cheap street food (spring rolls, pork or sweet potato buns, noodles, skewered mats) for less than a dollar.

4. Mumbai, India

You can dine in these restaurants that cost less than Rs200, which is roughly $4, with food good enough for two: Crystal, Dark Temptations, Bademiya, and Bachelorr’s. You can always try their interesting McDonalds menu. For less than $10, you can go on a slum tour in Mumbai, and you’ll see how real Slum Dog Millionaire was. For fun things to do, it’s a must to visit Elephanta (take a ferry ride), interact with the Khotachi Wadi residents, or take long leisurely walks at the Marine Drive. Don’t forget to visit heritage buildings, too, as Mumbai has incredible architecture.

5. Kuta, Bali, Indonesia

Accommodations are pretty cheap in Kuta, considering that it’s a tourist spot. You won’t run out of options in this city. While it’s true that the nasi goreng is left and right, with a budget of less than $5 per person, you’ll definitely have your fill of food in Warung Murah or Gong Corner. Don’t forget to visit the Monkey Temple, and the turtle conservation area. And of course, if you’re a surfer, you know this place is for you.  Spend the rest of your money buying souvenirs in Kuta stalls, because that’s an experience in itself. If you’re going to travel with a group, it’ll cost you cheaper, with prices ranging from $4-6.

How to Save Money While Traveling

Visiting these countries and spending within your budget is possible if you consider the following tips first:

  • If you’re backpacking, don’t pre-book in hotels or motels and consider hostels or dorm rooms that allow transient rentals. Think about it, you wouldn’t spend all your time in hotels, so you might as well just pay for the time you actually spend sleeping. Research the hostels or dorms in advance, and contact them if they’ll have a room available for the dates that you’re in the country.
  • Rent a phone at the airport. If you want to save on your telephone bill, might as well avail of the cheap phone rental service at the airport. It’s cheap, and you wouldn’t really risk overspending on your phone limit.
  • Bring your own essentials. Toothbrush, shampoo, soap, and a small-sized towel. If you’re backpacking, you can avoid this unnecessary spending. It’s always best to come prepared.
  • Backpack. Don’t get charged for baggage fees. A backpack is hand-carry and cost-free. You don’t have to worry about your other stuff. This will force you to pack light, and carry only what’s necessary.
  • Get a travel insurance. Months before you leave, inquire about availing of travel insurance.
  • Finally, keep a good eye on cheap or promo deals online.

What are you waiting for? Book a flight in any of these countries for a brand new experience. You can definitely have fun with just a small budget on hand. Remember though, that going on group tours are cheaper so if you can go with friends or fellow travel junkies, so much the better. Happy vacay!

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