3 Easy and Affordable Destinations for Beginner Travelers

(Last Updated On: January 21, 2021)

BMT Reader Melissa asks: “I was hoping you could suggest a good “beginners” travel destination for the summer or early Fall. I’ve been researching and feel overwhelmed because I want to go EVERYWHERE! I am a college student, so my funds are pretty limited. Saving tips would be welcomed too.”

Here are our suggestions!

1. Thailand

Tuk Tuk Bangkok

Thailand is the easiest country I have ever had to navigate. The logistics of finding places and getting around come together without much effort, which is a huge weight off of the new traveler’s shoulders.

For example, when your plane arrives to Bangkok in the middle of the night and you think it’s going to be difficult to get anywhere (or perhaps not safe), you may be surprised to find that the BKK airport is buzzing. Even in the middle of the night, there is a regulated taxi line that will help you get to where you are going, and it’s cheap.

Thailand is very well traveled; it’s set up for tourists. There are buses connecting when ferries dock or planes land, and it’s very simple to get around. The one thing you might struggle with in Thailand is the language barrier, as there is a lot of broken English over there and Thai is pretty difficult.

It’s also a great first destination because it’s super cheap. You can stay in nice hotels for $20 a night or hostels for a lot cheaper. You can eat an incredible meal for $2. It’s a great place to make your money last and to test the waters of traveling for the first time. The flight there will be the most expensive part, so use these 8 Tips For Finding the Best Deals on Flights to make sure you’re getting the best price.

2. Central America

Logistically, it’s easy to travel here because the countries are so small and close together. A lot of norteamericanos can get by with some Spanish, so the language barrier tends to be less of a challenge, and a lot of places in Central America are very affordable as well.

The cheapest place I’ve ever stayed was a room in a hostel, on a lake in Guatemala for $2.50 a night. Panama and Costa Rica are bit more expensive, but new travelers are also comfortable in those countries because they are very tourism friendly, similar to Thailand. Central America’s proximity to the US usually means more affordable flights as well.

3. Spain & Portugal

Funicular in Lisbon, Portugal

Prices in Europe can be similar or more expensive than prices in the US, and some countries (like those in Scandinavia) are downright expensive. However, there are places that are more affordable than others. Spain and Portugal are two of the cheapest countries in Western Europe that would be great places for beginner travelers to ease into traveling. 

They each have well-connected public transportation and are set up for tourism. The people tend to be very warm and welcoming, which is also helpful for the wayward traveler.

How to Find Easy Destinations

As a general rule, any country that sees a lot of tourists is going to be easier to travel in than those that are the off-the-beaten-path. If you aren’t quite ready for the logistics of the off-the-beaten-path, stay on the main traveler circuits — the countries you hear about the most.

As far as seasons go, every time you travel, it’s a good idea to check the season in your destination, as it may be different from your own. High season will be more expensive, but low season may present other problems (i.e. weather, closures, etc.).

Related: How to Properly Choose a Destination

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