While we don’t solely focus on budget travel here at The Vacation Gals (we d0 like our all-inclusive resorts, 5-star dining and private excursions!), we can certainly appreciate that many travelers — including traveling families — want to get as much bang from their buck whether they are on a short-term trip or longer round-the-world adventures. If you’re currently considering traveling to destinations where your “travel money is worth a fortune,” I highly recommend you pick up the fourth edition of Tim Leffel’s well-researched, chock-full-of-details book The World’s Cheapest Destinations.
Now, in full disclosure, author Tim Leffel is a friend; I used to write for his Practical Travel Gear site. I know that in 2012 he traveled firsthand to some of the destinations he mentions in the book, and has otherwise consulted with local residents and current travelers in the book’s 21 countries to get the most up-to-date information to help you plan and budget for what he calls a “sub-luxury” trip.
Tim’s been tracking the world’s cheapest destinations for more than a decade now; his first edition of the book came out in 2003. Since then, some countries just aren’t the deals they used to be, and others have emerged as bargain-basement contenders. As he notes in this blog post, Turkey and Argentina have become pricier, while cheap Cambodia has improved its tourism infrastructure to warrant a whole chapter in 2013.
Tim does make clear within the introductory chapters that this book is an overview — a jumping off point for readers to determine exactly where their journeys might take them, whether it’s a few months in Asia, traversing Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia and Laos (all countries profiled in the book), or in Central and South America, hitting Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Bolivia, Peru and/or Ecuador. Other regions of the world discussed include Africa and the Middle East, and even some cheap-ish countries in Eastern Europe.
For each country, readers get a feel for how much accommodations, meals, transportation and sightseeing will cost. Tim gives specific examples, i.e.: “Expect to pay at least $10 for a shared bath double in Saigon and $12-14 in Hanoi” and “[In Honduras] breakfast is usually a tortillas/eggs/beans concoction, with some fruit here and there, often for less than $1.50″
Purchase The World’s Cheapest Destinations in print ($15.95) or via downloaded pdf ($8.99) direct from the publisher. Or search Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com or iTunes’ iBookstore for other print and digital versions.