3 Easy and Affordable Destinations for Beginner Travelers

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!

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Tuk Tuk Bangkok

1. Thailand

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 the new traveler’s shoulders.

For example, when your plane arrives in 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, a regulated taxi line will help you get to where you are going, and it’s cheap.

Thailand is very well traveled; it’s set up for tourists. Buses connect when ferries dock or planes land, and getting around is very simple. You might struggle with the language barrier in Thailand, as there is a lot of broken English, 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 ensure you’re getting the best price.

Resources for Thailand

2. Central America

Logistically, traveling here is easy 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 challenging, and many places in Central America are very affordable as well.

Central America’s proximity to the US usually means more affordable flights. 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 a bit more expensive, but new travelers are also comfortable in those countries because they are very tourism friendly, similar to Thailand.

Resources for Central America

Funicular in Lisbon, Portugal

3. Spain & Portugal

Prices in Europe can be similar to or more expensive than prices in the US, and some countries (like those in Scandinavia) are downright expensive. However, some places 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.

Resources for Spain

Resources for Portugal

How to Find Easy Destinations

As a general rule, any country that sees a lot of tourists will be easier to travel in than those that are 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 at your destination, as it may differ from yours. The high season will be more expensive, but the low season may present other problems (i.e., weather, closures, etc.).

Related: How to Properly Choose a Destination

Resources for Saving Money

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Use these BMT-approved travel resources to plan your best budget-friendly trip yet!

Flights – Learn our tried and true strategies for finding the cheapest flights.

Accommodations – Using Booking.com to search for hostels and budget hotels has many benefits, including free cancelation and member upgrades.

Travel Insurance – Now more than ever, we encourage the purchase of travel insurance for every trip. Insurance protects you against cancellations, lost luggage, theft, injury, and illness. Compare plans at:

Activities – Find amazing things to do that won’t break the bank in destinations worldwide on Viator.

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