Making Your Money Go Further: The Most Value-for-Money Destinations on Earth

Planning a vacation? Try these budget-friendly cities.

If you are saving up and counting those precious coins in your piggy bank in order to go on holiday this year, maybe it’s time to think about destinations where your hard-earned cash goes a little further.

Many nations offer a far cheaper cost of living compared to the US, with everything from a pint of beer to hotel rooms coming in at far less than one would expect. Whether you are staying in the country, or living like a king for a pittance in South-East Asia, here is a guide to some of the most value for money destinations on earth.


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Perhaps the reason so many Brits volunteer abroad in Vietnam is because of the cheap cost of living in this friendly Asian nation. Whereas accounting for a month or two in most places is likely to inflict hefty damage to your bank account, a comparable amount of time in Vietnam shouldn’t prove too much trouble. Delicious delicacies such as banh mi, pho and spring rolls never amount to much more than a couple of dollars, transport across the country is inexpensive, while clean and pleasant hotels can be had for pennies. Even splashing out to stay at a beach resort or taking a cruise up the Mekong River will set you back a fraction of the price you would pay to stay in Cancun or take a trip down the Nile. With a quickly growing economy, Vietnam may not stay cheap for long, so visit while you can still afford it.

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Dirt cheap prices at modern European standards in a city that mixes Latin flair with Parisian elegance - that’s Buenos Aires in a nutshell. This is one of the cheapest cities in the developed world and a place where young creative types and artists are heading to take advantage of low-rents and fabulous lifestyles. Even gap year kids can sample the buzz and glamour of metropolitan living in this sultry city, famous for tango dancing nights in San Telmo. Eat out at the finest steak restaurants for the price of fish and chips back home, enjoy taxi rides everywhere and rent spacious apartments in the hippest locations at discount prices. With Argentina’s economy still in the doldrums, there seems to be no immediate end to the low cost of living in South America’s most stylish city.

Sana’a, Yemen

By some measures the historic city of Sana’a, in the blistering deserts of Yemen, is the cheapest city in the world. Yet there is far more to attract visitors to the Yemeni capital than cheap food and inexpensive accommodation, with the traditional heart of the city listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Known for its attractive, geometric architecture, the city is a warren of ancient lanes and curving alleys, while elaborate minarets pierce the skyline every block or so. The oldest buildings here date from around the 7th century, and at times walking about this seductive city feels like you have been transported back a thousand years.


While not as cheap as other holiday destinations on this list there are still bargains to be had in the United States. Head to the tourist heaven of Florida, where you can enjoy Art Deco Miami Beach, explore Universal Studios and Disney World, and get a nice, even tan on one of the Gulf Coast’s chalk white beaches. What’s more, big outlet malls deliver discounted clothes and goods, and you are limited only by the amount of stuff you can fit into your suitcase.

Biog: John is a travel writer who has covered gap year destinations around the world and volunteering positions with a twist.