5 destinations to visit when you’re young and broke – Kiwi.com

Where are some of the best places to travel to if you’re young and on a budget? We’ve looked at some Gen Z travel habits and picked five of the cheapest and most inspiring destinations in Europe and Asia

Are you young, strapped for cash, but perpetually consumed by wanderlust? You’re not alone, and we at Kiwi.com are experts in money-saving travel hacks and cheap destinations for people just like you! In this article, we look at five top places to travel to when you’re young and broke, with cheat sheet-style notes on the best time to go to, a manageable budget for, and one of the best things to do at each destination. Visiting any of these cheap countries requires minimal saving up, so all you have to do now is pick one, browse our flight deals, and book that vacation you’ve been wistfully dreaming of.

Need more general tips on how to make traveling cost next to nothing? Look no further than here…

Bulgaria

Several countries in Eastern Europe are cheap to visit and wrongly overlooked by tourists, and this is one of them. Our own Andrew Fraser refers to Sofia as “the queen of low-cost city breaks”, and you can get a bed in a hostel here for as little as €10 per night. Many of the best things to do in Sofia and Plovdiv, the ancient and charming second city, are free or cost very little. Think historical and contemporary walking tours, museums, galleries, and hiking on Vitosha, the picturesque mountain that looms over the capital. 

Young couple jumping off boardwalk into sea together — Getty ImagesAmong other things, Bulgaria is a great budget beach destination — Getty Images

If it’s a cheap beach holiday you want, Bulgaria’s got you covered here, too. Its Black Sea coast spots such as Varna and Burgas offer beautiful sunny weather, soft, golden sand, and vibrant nightlife, meaning you can really let your hair down without breaking the bank. And for the more outdoorsy type for whom Vitosha just doesn’t quite cut it, the Rila mountains are a very worthy shout. Perhaps you didn’t know just how hilly Bulgaria was, but this is the highest mountain range between the Alps and the Caucasus. Head here for the best trekking trails that’ll take you around vast, billowing peaks, glacial lakes, and some of the most colorful, unspoiled flora you might ever see. It’s a perfect place for skiing in the winter, too, though we realize that might not be at the top of your list of pursuits as someone who’s broke.

Best time to go: between June and August

Manageable daily budget, excluding accommodation: €40

Best thing to do: visit the Rila Monastery

Georgia

View over Tbilisi Old Town in the evening — Getty ImagesTbilisi Old Town in the evening — Getty Images

On the other side of the Black Sea, you’ll find Georgia — a little gem of a country that’s not quite European and not quite Asian. Largely undiscovered by tourists until fairly recently, many come for its diverse and spectacular landscapes, from vast, snow-dusted mountains to lush inland forests, artsy-vibe cities with a mysterious air, and coastal resorts.

And yes, it’s cheap, or at least better value for money than lots of destinations in Europe. The traditional food here is of superb quality, and the relatively low cost means it’s khachapuri, khinkali, and local wine to your heart’s content. A bed in a nice hostel will be around €15 a night, and public transport, places of interest and activities are similarly affordable, even for the most cash-conscious traveler.

Person standing on lookout point nearby Martvili Canyon — Getty ImagesMartvili Canyon, close to Kutaisi, is simply stunning — Getty Images

Tbilisi, the capital, is absolutely worth a stop on your itinerary for its eclectic architecture, friendly, hospitable locals, and seriously amazing underground rave scene. It’s also a good base for day-tripping to nearby mountain, desert and vineyard regions — you could even stay here for the duration and go on a different rural adventure every day. Other urban highlights include Batumi, unofficially called the Las Vegas of Georgia, and Kutaisi. You can get cheap flights to Kutaisi in particular from across Europe all year round, and at the other end, you’ll be met with a quaint Old Town with a wealth of historical treasures, cheap but incredible food, not to mention easy access to the wondrous Martvili Canyon and Prometheus Cave.

Best time to go: May, June, or September

Manageable daily budget, excluding accommodation: €40

Best thing to do: rejuvenate at the sulfur baths in Abanotubani

Thailand

Thailand is currently the most popular destination outside of Europe with Gen Z, according to our recent data. When we looked into the travel habits of people in their 20s, we found that both learning about a completely new culture and trying new food were significant motivators in deciding where to go on vacation, and this is a country that knocks it out of the park on both counts. Striking, ornate Buddhist temples take pride of place in practically every neighborhood. Opportunities for complete cultural immersion aren’t difficult to come by, be it traditional festivals, Khon dance-drama performances, or even homestay experiences out in the sticks (the latter of which could also be a great money-saving strategy!). And food is simply a way of life here; Bangkok’s street food and floating markets, for instance, are major attractions in and of themselves. What’s more, we’ve got the Thai capital down as a top LGBTQ+-friendly destination — something else that our research found was important for Gen Z travelers.

For most of us, Thailand is far away, right enough, and it usually costs a lot more to fly to destinations on the other side of the world. But if you book using either the Nomad or Self-transfer travel hack from Kiwi.com, you’ll find that you can get some astonishing discounts compared to opting for a direct flight. Just ask these guys, who traveled for cheap to Southeast Asia last year!

Best time to go: between November and March

Manageable daily budget, excluding accommodation: €30

Best thing to do: party in Silom, the epicenter of Bangkok nightlife

Portugal

Perhaps the sunniest, most laid-back, and most affordable country in Western Europe, Portugal has long been a favorite of the budget traveler. “Traveling for relaxation” also came up in our research as a marked Gen Z ambition, and the Portuguese way of life is one of those that certainly recognizes the importance of the unmistakable chilled vibe. Moreover, on their budget backpacking trip last year, our own Orshi and PG found Portugal to be significantly cheaper than both France and Spain, even in the major cities. (Psst — read here about the best cheap things to do in Lisbon, as well as places to go that only locals know about…)

Porto is the country’s second city, and it’s teeming with happy, interesting twenty-somethings from all over the world. A couple of years ago, it was rated the most affordable city in Europe for students, the result of an investigation by StudentGoGlobal. If you choose to come and hang out here, you won’t have any problems meeting like-minded people living on similar means. Branching out further, the Algarve is known for its picturesque beaches, fresh seafood and reasonable prices on accommodation; meanwhile, for a peaceful holiday among greenery and volcanoes, consider a break in the Azores

Best time to go: between April and June

Manageable daily budget, excluding accommodation: €50 

Best thing to do: take a street art tour of Lisbon

Hungary

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Hungary’s location in the center of the continent means it’s a cheap and easy place to get to from just about anywhere in Europe — cheap flights and land journeys to Budapest are available no matter which time of year you travel.

The popularity of Budapest as a cheaper European city-break destination has skyrocketed in the last decade or so, and it’s easy to see why. In the present day, it’s known for its vibrant cultural scene, offering numerous free or low-cost events, festivals, and street performances. The city also has a history of many chapters, and with stunning architecture to match, it’s somewhere that’ll captivate you immediately, before you’ve even spent any money. Be sure to spend some time in the Jewish Quarter, home to the second-biggest synagogue in the world, the Hungarian Jewish Museum, and now, hipster boutiques, bars and eateries.

And if you’re “traveling for relaxation”, it’s worth noting that, with its wealth of geothermal waters, one thing Hungary does extremely well is spas. Whether you choose just to have a couple of hours in the water in Budapest amid the city-stomping, or you want a longer break dedicated specifically to ridding yourself of stress, the bathhouse and spa resort options in the country are plentiful. You’ll be surprised at how affordable they are, too. For more inspiration, check out our favorite spots.

Best time to go: between April and June

Manageable daily budget, excluding accommodation: €50 

Best thing to do: climb Gellért Hill

Do you want more travel inspiration? Visit Kiwi.com Stories.


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