- where to travel in 2016
- up and coming destinations for 2016
- the best budget places to go in 2016…
Yes, such posts are everywhere on the net this week so I’ve had fun cutting the lists and paring them down to destinations for solo travelers on a budget.
This was an exercise for you and for me. Wednesday I wrote about my 2016 solo travel plans and I pointed out that there were still more plans to be made. So this process was to help narrow down the options for more travel.
I’ve based the short list on the following:
- Affordability. Naturally, how affordable a destination is depends on your home currency. I’m in Canada and our currency is very low against just about every other currency in the world right now. I’m hypersensitive to the affordability of a destination. I’m giving the information below in US dollars as most of us know our exchange rates to the US dollar.
- Cost to get there. If the trip is short, the cost to get there is very important. If you’re planning a month or two in a destination, that cost is less significant. But for the purpose of this list, I’m thinking of trips of one to two weeks in length as this is how long you typically travel as revealed in our annual reader survey.
- Will it be interesting and fun. A great destination offers access to a new culture, fun things to do, or both.
- Safety. I’ve checked the US and Canadian government advisories on all these suggestions.
Note: In doing the research I wanted to offer apples-to-apples comparisons. So all the flights I checked leave on February 29th with a return date of March 14th. The room rates I found are for the 29th of February. All were checked during the week of this post’s publication. The hotels and hostels are NOT recommendations but simply examples so that you (and I) can get a feel for what money buys at the destination. Also, I’ve used Toronto as a point of departure to keep the numbers consistent. Use your own home airport to see what rates you’d have to pay.
So here it is, my shortlist for 2016 destinations for solo travelers on a budget.
My Shortlist of Destinations for Solo Travelers on a Budget
Three different readers have recommended Cambodia for solo travelers. You can read their posts here. And here are more reasons Cambodia is on the list.
Affordability – Here’s an example of a hotel you could book in Phnom Penh for the equivalent of US$100. And here’s an example of a hostel you could book for about US$7 per night. You can get a private room with ensuite for about US$25 per night. According to Expatistan Phnom Penh is about 30% less expensive than Toronto.
Cost to get there – Flights to Phnom Penh return are about $800. Getting to Asia is not cheap.
Interesting and fun – From fascinating markets to adventure travel to UNESCO sites, there’s lots to do. For specifics read the posts about Cambodia already on Solo Traveler.
Affordability – $1 buys about 2.40 Georgian Lari. Here’s an example of a hotel you could book in Tbilisi for the equivalent of US$100. And here’s an example of a hostel you could book for less than US$10 per night. According to Expatistan Tbilisi is about half as expensive as Toronto.
Cost to get there – Flights to Tbilisi run at about US$800 return – not cheap but comparable to most European destinations and reasonable given that you will save when you’re there.
Interesting and fun – Mountains for skiing and hiking, beaches for taking it slow, medieval architecture and old villages. According to CNN, visit between February and November. May 26 is Independence Day.
I have an affinity for the north but it’s usually really expensive – even for me to go to the Canadian north. But here’s an option.
Affordability – Estonia uses the Euro so US$1 currently buys €0.92. Here’s an example of a hotel you could book in Tallinn for the equivalent of US$100. And here’s an example of a hostel you could book for less than US$20 per night. According to Expatistan Tallinn is significantly less expensive than Toronto.
Cost to get there – This was a huge surprise. The cost came in under US$500 return. What a deal!
Interesting and fun – In addition to being a northern country, there are events throughout the year, music festivals and Christmas markets – yes, Estonia is on my list.
Quebec City, Canada
For Canadians and Americans, Quebec City is a great destination to give you a taste of Europe within North America.
Affordability – The Canadian dollar is currently quite low (about 70% of the US dollar) making the city quite affordable for Canadians and just about anyone traveling to Canada. Here’s an example of a hotel you could book in Quebec for the equivalent of US$100. And here’s an example of a hostel you could book for less than US$25 per night. According to Expatistan, Quebec City is generally a little less expensive than my home of Toronto.
Cost to get there – A flight from Toronto to Quebec City return is about US$200. You can also travel there from anywhere in North America by bus and train. Obviously, the cost jumps significantly from outside North America.
Interesting and fun – Old Quebec is a UNESCO-listed site and well worth a wander. The city has great restaurants with excellent food. If you go in the winter, take in their famous Winter Carnival, but go to Quebec City at just about any time of year and you’ll likely be able to take in a festival.
Affordability – 1 US dollar buys about 30 Uruguayan pesos. Here’s an example of a hotel you could book in Montevideo for just over US$100. And here’s an example of a hostel you could book for about US$20 per night. According to Expatistan the cost of living in Mondevideo, the capital, is about 25% less than Toronto
Cost to get there – Flights to Montevideo from Toronto run at about US$800 return.
Interesting and fun – I’ve heard great things about Uruguay from other travel bloggers. Lonely Planet describes the country as “progressive, stable, safe and culturally sophisticated … [offering visitors] opportunities to experience everyday ‘not-made-for-tourists’ moments”. A side trip to Iguazú Falls in Argentina would be on my list as well.
Affordability – The US$ buys about 3,100 Colombian pesos which is significantly more than a few years ago. Here’s an example of a hotel you could book in Bogota for just over US$100. And here’s an example of a hostel you could book for less than US$10 per night. According to Expatistan, the cost of living in Bogota is about half that of Toronto
Cost to get there – Flights to Bogota from Toronto can be as low as US$400 return. Amazing!
Interesting and fun – Cartagena on the coast, Bogota the capitol in the interior and stunning national parks and the Amazon mean that Colombia has a lot to offer. It is on a number of lists of recommended destinations but it’s worth noting that the US government has a travel warning for Colombia. The Canadian government has an advisory that is more geographically specific. A friend who lived there for a number of years and has been back in the US for two years and continues to return to Colombia considers the country safe.
So there you go – my shortlist of destinations for solo travelers on a budget. But, of course, this is personal. You may have your own budget destination list. Please share yours in the comments.