5 Budget-Friendly Destinations to Travel to in Your 20s

Places to Travel in Your 20s on a Budget

Your 20s are a great time to travel the world, so you may wonder about some of the best places to travel to in your 20s on a budget.

It’s an opportunity to be spontaneous and free and to experience life in a different country. You can take time to work abroad or go on a gap year and push yourself out of your comfort zone for a while. When you immerse yourself in a foreign culture, you will learn more about the world and yourself. It’s often a mind-expanding and life-changing experience.

However, when you are traveling in your 20s you may be working with a pretty small budget. You might not have a lot of money at your disposal, so you will need to be smart about where you travel in order to make the most of your travel savings.

Here are some ideas for places to travel in your 20s on a budget:


If you are looking for a jaw-dropping wildlife adventure, head to Ecuador, but do not travel to the super-expensive Galapagos Islands, which can only be visited on special exclusive tours. Save those for when you are older, and instead explore the other natural wonders Ecuador has to offer.

This relatively small country has spectacular biodiversity, from the cloud forests of Mindo, to the sandy beaches of the Western coastline, to the lush Amazon jungle. There are plenty of great local tour companies who will take you on unforgettable adventures, from rock climbing to canyoning, to white-water rafting.

Plus, Ecuador is wonderfully affordable. You can eat a delicious, local meal for less than $5 and stay in a budget hotel for $20 per night, or even cheaper. Trust me, you will wish you had booked a longer trip.


No, not the state famous for peaches. We’re talking about the country next to Armenia, Turkey, and Azerbaijan. It might not be on your travel radar, but it should be because Georgia is a fantastic destination for 20-something travelers. (Also, it is wonderfully affordable!)

The capital of Tbilisi is an intriguing mix of crumbling, historic buildings, quirky cafes, and steep, cobblestone streets against a backdrop of mountain peaks. Vibrant young locals and a growing expat community of digital nomads and other wanderers gather in bohemian bars to sip wine and share stories.

Speaking of wine, Georgia has the oldest winemaking tradition in the world (8,000 years). Take a tour of a winery to see the wine being made in traditional clay vessels underground, then eat, drink, and be merry in the sunshine.


Thailand seemed too obvious to include on this list. Of course, it is a popular destination with 20-something travelers because it is cheap, tropical, and beautiful. And yes, you should definitely start your Southeast Asia trip in Thailand as it is a great intro to the region.

But what if you want to go beyond the typical Khao San Road backpacker experience and see more of Southeast Asia? Grab a cheap flight from Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur and check out what Malaysia has to offer.

First of all, there is the food. Malaysian cuisine is a flavorful mix of Indian, Chinese, and traditional Malay influences, which makes for a mouth-watering array of fragrant and tasty dishes. Feasting in night markets and food courts is always an adventure, especially if you are not afraid to try new foods.

Then, there is the stunning, diverse nature. From the 130-million-year-old rainforests of Taman Negara, to the orangutans of Kinabatangan, to the cool green tea plantations of the Cameron Highlands where the air is alive with mist and butterflies. There are 878 islands to choose from, so you will find paradise again and again.

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Australia is not a budget destination, that is for sure. However, if you score a Working Holiday Visa you can work while you travel (Australian wages are pretty good) and finance your trip. This visa is only available until you are 30 (or 35 if you are from Canada, France or Ireland), so your 20s are your chance to live down under for a year!

From the cool, hipster bars of Melbourne, to the stylish streets of Sydney, to the wild open Outback, there is so much to see and do in Australia. You can take a road trip along the Great Ocean Road, or hang 10 in Surfers Paradise in Queensland, or snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef.

Aussies are laid back and friendly and you will be sure to make plenty of great friends on your trip. Since costs are high, traveling on a budget in Australia will force you to be more social because you will be staying in hostel dorm rooms and shared rentals, which is a great way to meet people.

South Africa

South Africa is an incredible country, packed with amazing wildlife, fascinating culture, and some of the best urban beaches in the world. It’s also one of the best safari destinations, so you can see the Big Five in the wild and check that off your bucket list!

There are plenty of great budget backpacker hostels in Cape Town where you can stay for an affordable rate while you enjoy everything South Africa has to offer. Plus, there are so many wonderful free things to do in Cape Town, from museums, to music on the V&A Waterfront, to swimming at the beaches.

Even a wine-tasting tour at a nearby vineyard offers great value for the number of tastings you will get. Food and drinks are of great value in South Africa, and you will dine well even on a budget.

Travel While You’re Young

When it comes to traveling in your 20s, you do not have to spend a lot of money to have a good time. Staying in budget hostels, eating street food, and wandering through the city is not only affordable, but it is a fun and exciting way to experience another culture.

Keep your mind and your heart open to new experiences and you will see that you do not have to spend a fortune to create unforgettable travel memories.

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