As many of us enter week three of self-isolation and stay home orders due to COVID-19, we can’t help but wonder: what will our first trip be once we’re all allowed to go outside and fully enjoy our lives?
Though travel may look a lot different for many of us once the State Department lifts its Level 4 travel advisory warning Americans to avoid all international travel because of the pandemic, another important factor to consider is money. About 6% of the U.S. labor force has filed for jobless benefits in the last two weeks, and the percentage will only grow larger with more time spent in our homes, and practicing social distancing.
But for many, that won’t stop them from filling the void that the lack of travel has placed in their spirits. You can still be money conscious, while also experiencing the call that wanderlust brings.
Which countries in the world offer the most value? Where can you travel post-quarantine that will allow you to go for longer, enjoy a higher standard, and save more money? Here are a few budget-friendly travel destinations that are still swoon-worthy and won’t break the bank.
Costa Rica may be a cheap destination to travel to, but it’s rich in culture, history, food and its people. Guests who travel here are able to experience the “pure life,” which explains its tagline “pura vida.” Opt for staying in a hostel, or affordable hotel, and explorable all of the beauty of the country (most of which is free), such as the Nicoya Peninsula where beautiful beaches offer travelers great surf and chilled-out accommodation or its less-traveled rural towns and beaches, like Playa Nosara. Even the National Parks that offer plenty of activities that you can take part in, such as zip lining and more (for a small fee).
Just because Honduras isn’t as heavily frequently visited by tourists as some of its neighboring countries such as Belize, Guatemala and Panama, doesn’t mean that it isn’t as sexy. The country, which has the appeal of both a Caribbean and Pacific Coast, is home to amazing Mayan ruins, traditional colonial hill towns and great street food, making it the perfect opportunity to “live like a local.” The Lempira is the local currency and it has a great exchange rate for US travelers, also making it perfect to “ball out on a budget.” Baleada, for example, is a traditional Honduran lunch pastry and only costs around 50 cents.
If you haven’t been to Thailand yet, you need to do so — immediately. A popular travel destination for both budget and luxury travelers, there’s much to do and see that makes it desirable for all. because it is relatively safe and inexpensive to visit. From island hopping around the Phi Phi Islands or exploring the capital city of Bangkok, you can do it “for the ‘gram’ without doing it to your pockets. You can also enjoy a taste of luxury with $10 massages, that will keep you coming back everyday for more!
Mexico, which is known for both its beauty and diversity, has a lot to offer for budget travelers. From amazing coastal areas, to superb Mayan sites, destinations like Cancun and Cabo San Lucas draw a lot of visitors each year, and for good reach. Not to mention, you can fly direct in under 3 hours from most major U.S. hubs, for less than $300 RT, making it a perfect weekend getaway destination.
US Virgin Islands
There’s something for every traveler in the U.S. Virgin Islands. St. Thomas is vibrant and bustling with tourism, and the heart of the major 3 islands. Nearby St. John is largely a national park with miles of forest and unspoiled beach. While St. Croix is perfect for romance travelers, with its beautiful beaches and delicious restaurants. And while each is very different, they all can appeal to the budget conscious traveler. While the dollar is weighted similar to the mainland U.S., it will stretch further here, making it the best option for those who want a quick getaway without the hassle of traveling across the pond.
There’s much to be explored in the underrated country of Guyana — and most of it you can do without breaking the bank. Namely, Guyana's newly official Rum Route, which is part of CTO's regional Heritage Routes program. Centered on creating thematic routes and trails that tell the story of a destination through indigenous and local goods including foodstuff like sugarcane, cocoa, spices and other tangible and intangible aspects of cultural heritage, the Rum Route must be experienced by all.