Top 10 Cheap and Safe Countries to Visit – Travelling on a Dime

All is well and good when traveling around the globe — until you get back home and are slapped hard across the face with bills from every nook and cranny, threatening to inject back in all the stress that your much-needed vacation squeezed out. 

That’s why, despite all the fun there is to be had in every inch of the globe, you have to settle for the cheap and safe countries to visit. 

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Because, as much as there are 195 countries, and having 195 pages stamped on your passport would be quite the brag, you still have to consider how many countries are safe to visit and, of those, how many won’t break the bank.  

And because we at Tourist Lookup think that travel should be all fun and no work, we’ve gone ahead to do all the work for you in compiling the 10 safest and cheapest countries to visit in 2023. 

So sit back, throw your legs in the air, and watch as we save you money. 

Balancing Affordability and Safety in Travel

A yellow bus driving on the road surrounded by mountains
Source: Unsplash

As I said earlier, it is important to consider both budget and safety when planning a trip. And while it may seem contradictory because people think that safe places must be expensive, there are quite a number of cheap but safe places to visit. 

You don’t have to compromise on either. Since the goal of a vacation is an enriching experience and not a lavish squandering of money, it is important to find destinations that allow you to enjoy the best activities at the best prices while keeping your safety intact. 

Of course, when it comes to money and travel, there is one important rule of thumb. Budget everything!

Budgeting for an Affordable and Safe Trip

Budgeting beforehand is the best way to make sure your trip doesn’t cross the green and land into the red. And while it is quite similar to how you budget your finances regularly, here are some tips to keep in mind. 

1. Setting a Realistic Budget. 

People usually have problems when looking for cheap and safe countries to visit because they set unrealistic budgets. Of course, you can have loads of fun with a hundred dollars, but that is as long as you keep it within your area. 

When planning your budget, you must be realistic about the price of flights, accommodation, food, transportation, and activities.

And while you can afford to be frugal in the activities you choose to enjoy your accommodation, flight, and transportation must stay within a certain amount.  (Unless, of course, you’re willing to hike the whole journey and sleep in the bushes.) 

2. Allocating for Safety Measures. 

While it may seem counterintuitive, setting aside funds for travel insurance and other safety-related expenses goes a long way in making it not just safer but budget-friendly, too. 

You never know when you’ll miss your flight for a reason, and that flight insurance would come in handy, saving you loads in what would have had to be an expensive plane ticket. 

While you may not be able to see the effects immediately, you have to think of it as those things that would pay in the long run. And they sure will. 

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3. Researching Costs. 

Nothing stings more than getting to a hotel and finding out that the price of a room is two or three times more than you expected. 

And sometimes, it can be the other way around. You get to an accommodation, and you see that it’s so cheap that had you known, you would have increased your budget for other activities or things prior. 

All these can be avoided by researching costs. From the price of riding a horse to how much a can of soda is in a place to how much it takes to board a train between cities. You can never be too prepared. 

Criteria for Selection. 

What does it mean to be one of the safest and cheapest countries to visit in 2023? It certainly is more than just having cheap things or low crime numbers. 

It revolves around three major criteria. 

1. Low cost of living. 

A key factor in determining a country’s affordability for travelers is its cost of living. From affordable accommodations and dining options to reasonably priced transportation and attractions, they all come together to make a tip cheap or expensive. 

Some of the countries with the lowest cost of living are Vietnam, Bulgaria, Mexico, Poland, Malaysia, and Colombia. 

2. Stable Political Environment. 

Safety goes hand in hand with stability. 

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A stable political environment is crucial for a country to be considered safe for tourists to explore, knowing that their well-being is not likely to be compromised by political unrest.

3. Tourist Infrastructure. 

Countries with efficient transportation networks, accessible accommodations, and well-organized tourism services offer visitors a seamless and enjoyable experience, guaranteeing that it would be inexpensive (since it is being toured by many) and safe (for the same reason). 

Top 10 Cheap and Safe Countries to Visit – Travelling on a Dime

1. Portugal 

colourful houses on hills surrounded by a river and a beautiful skyline.
Lisbon City, Portugal
Source: hotels.com

Portugal is one of the safest and cheapest countries to visit in 2023. Known for its exquisite food and wine and being the birthplace of Christiano Ronaldo, it does not let down on the fun!

Affordability Highlights: Portugal is considered one of the cheapest countries in Western Europe, with a cost of living of around €1,500 per month. 

Portugal offers affordable accommodations, reasonably priced dining, and budget-friendly transportation options. A good place to start is Coimbra, a city in central Portugal that provides numerous affordable activities for visitors. 

Safety Considerations: Portugal is known for its low crime rate and friendly locals. The country maintains a stable political environment and is considered safe for tourists.

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Must-See Attractions: Explore the historic neighborhoods of Lisbon, visit the beautiful beaches of the Algarve, and discover the charming city of Porto.

2. Vietnam

A pool in a resort with tall trees surrounding and white gazebos.
Rivertown Hoi An Resort and Spa, Vietnam.
Source: Trip Advisor

Vietnam, where the aroma of pho mingles with the whispers of ancient pagodas, is one of the most unassuming, cheap, but safe places to visit. 

Affordability Highlights: Vietnam is known for its incredibly low cost of living, with affordable street food, budget accommodations (like RiverTown Hoi An Resort & Spa and Bamboo Village Beach Resort & Spa), and inexpensive transportation options.

Safety Considerations: Vietnam is generally safe for travelers, with very low crime rates and friendly, welcoming locals. 

Must-See Attractions: While in Vietnam, you have to see the bustling streets of Hanoi. It is one of the most cheap and safe places to visit in the country. 

Despite its affordability, it has a lot of attractions. From its vibrant streets to its rice terraces, it offers your thrills and frugal delights as two sides to a coin (or should I say two sides of a Vietnamese dong) 

You should also cruise through the stunning Halong Bay and discover the ancient town of Hoi An

3. Columbia

Clear white beach with white sands and tall, thick trees and blue skies.
Palomino, Columbia
Source: saltinourhair.com

If all you know about Colombia is from the 2011 blockbuster movie, then you’re in for a shock. 

Colombia is a land of colorful streets, salsa rhythms, coffee-scented towns, Caribbean shores, and everything you can possibly need to ensure a thrilling escapade that dances to your budget.

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Affordability Highlights: Colombia offers excellent value for money, with affordable accommodations, budget-friendly transportation, and affordable dining options. If you are up for it, you can stay in hostels as low as $7 a night! 

Safety Considerations: Colombia has made significant strides in improving safety and security in recent years. While many areas are safe for travelers, like Palomino, Minca, and others, staying informed about local conditions is essential.

Must-See Attractions: Explore the vibrant city of Cartagena, visit the coffee plantations in the Coffee Triangle, and take in the sights of Bogotá. You should also make sure to check out the Salt Cathedral and the Parque Nacional Natural Tayrona. 

4. Taiwan

A busy street in Taiwan with colorful lights, many neon signs and people walking around.
Source: travelandleisure.com

With its bustling night markets,  serene temples, and cultural treasures. Taiwan is where safety, budget-friendliness, and beauty meet each other in a seamless hug. 

Affordability Highlights: From delicious street food that won’t break the bank to stellar accommodation attractions that are comfortable and pocket-friendly, Taiwan offers many budget-friendly choices.

The most striking thing, however, is the transportation system that is extremely efficient yet reasonably priced. 

Safety Considerations: Taiwan boasts one of the lowest crime rates in the world, and the Taiwanese are known for their friendliness. It is one of the top cheap and safe countries to visit. 

Must-See Attractions: Explore Taipei, the bustling night markets, the scenic beauty of Taroko, Sun Moon Lake, and Tainan. 

Or better still, check out 10 tips for an unforgettable experience in Taiwan

5. Mexico

A pyramid shamed building under blue skies with clouds and green lawns.
Chichen Itza Ruins, Cancun Mexico
Source: Cancun Adventure

From delicious street food that will cost you almost nothing to very cost-effective transportation options, Mexico is one of the most common, cheap, and safe countries to visit. 

Affordability Highlights: One of the biggest affordability flexes in Mexico is the very affordable accommodations. From luxurious hotels and resorts to local accommodations, nothing here truly breaks the bank. 

Safety Considerations: While some areas have safety concerns, many tourist destinations are considered safe for travelers. Exercise caution and stay informed about local conditions.

Must-See Attractions: Explore the ruins of Chichen Itza, enjoy the beaches of Cancun, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture of Mexico City. In fact, check out the top spots in Mexico.

You are welcome. 

6. Indonesia

Tall modern buildings under the evening sky with lights and trees.
Source: usindo.org

Indonesia is one of the safest and cheapest countries to visit in 2023. 

Affordability Highlights: Indonesia offers affordable accommodations, cheap street food, and budget-friendly transportation options, making it an ideal destination for budget travelers.

Safety Considerations: Indonesia is generally safe with no political instability. However, travelers should be cautious about petty theft and should be mindful to adhere to local customs and regulations.

Must-See Attractions: Visit the stunning beaches of Bali, explore the cultural richness of Yogyakarta, and discover the diverse landscapes of Sumatra. And whatever you do, ensure you don’t miss out on exploring Jarkata. 

Navigating Local Customs and Etiquette. 

1. Cultural Awareness. 

When traveling, especially to places far from home, it is important to respect the local traditions where you find yourself. 

You may have to talk with a local to know what the norm is, but there are some general practices, like not taking pictures of the locals, not drinking in public, being conscious of your loudness, and dressing appropriately. 

2. Language Basics. 

When exploring these places, it is useful to know a phrase or two in the local language. 

While most of the places in this list have many English speakers, learning a little of the local language allows the locals to open up to you more, and you may even get discounts and free recommendations. 

7. Romania

A big building surrounded by neat grasses under blue skies with clouds
Bucharest, Romania
Source: Trip Advisor

Romania is a southeastern European country known for the forested region of Transylvania. It is the 12th largest country in Europe, and with that comes affordability and safety, which warrants its mention as one of the best cheap and safe countries to visit. 

Affordability Highlights: Romania offers affordable accommodations, low-cost dining, and budget-friendly public transportation. The country’s cost of living is also relatively low compared to other European countries.

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Safety Considerations: Romania is considered safe for travelers, with quite a low crime rate. Just be sure to avoid isolated areas at night.

Must-See Attractions: While in Romania,  explore the charming city of Bucharest, visit the medieval town of Brasov, and discover the beauty of Transylvania.

8. Thailand

many colourful lanterns hung on lines throughout a city, with tall buildings surrounding it.
Source: mappr.co

Thailand, where bustling markets and tranquil temples coexist harmoniously, lures you to its street food havens and idyllic islands. 

Affordability Highlights: Thailand is renowned for its affordability, with inexpensive street food, budget accommodations, and affordable transportation options.

Safety Considerations: Thailand is relatively safe for tourists with a very stable political environment. Just be cautious of scams and get familiar with the local laws and customs.

Must-See Attraction: Visit the bustling markets of Bangkok, explore the ancient temples of Ayutthaya, and relax on the beautiful beaches of Phuket.

Tips For Exploring Safely and Economically

1. Local Transportation 

Navigating a country on a budget can be a joyous challenge once you have it mastered. All the countries mentioned here have great public transport systems, which offer some of the most cost-effective ways to move around. 

And not only are they cost-effective, but they are also the safer option. 

But in places where you cannot ride a train or enter a bus, make sure to stick to approved transports, like properly labeled taxis or ride-hailing services you know are popular in the area. 

2. Dining Economically

Another tip when traveling on a budget is to dine economically. While all these countries allow you to travel without breaking the bank, they also have expensive places. 

To get the best from your trip, explore local eateries and street food for a pleasant pocket-nice experience. 

Make sure you check the menu online before visiting any place. You can also always opt for a picnic. That is one of the most affordable ways to enjoy food on your travels. 

9. Philippines

Clear blue waters surrounded by scattered green trees and tall mountains, under a grey cloudy sky
Palawan, Phillipines
Source: Lovely Planet

The Philippines is a tropical haven of pristine beaches and smiling locals and is one of the safest and cheapest countries to visit in 2023. 

Affordability Highlights: The Philippines offers affordable accommodations, inexpensive street food, and budget-friendly transportation options. The country’s affordability extends to most aspects of travel, allowing you to enjoy a budget-friendly trip. 

Safety Considerations: While generally safe, travelers should be cautious of petty theft and follow local advice. Some areas may have security concerns, so be vigilant when traveling on public transport and avoid displaying cash or jewelry.

Must-See Attractions: Explore the vibrant city of Manila, relax on the stunning beaches of Palawan, and discover the natural beauty of Bohol.

10. Costa Rica

A building with lights under the evening sky in front of a well tiled black and white road and a fountain
San Hose, Costa Rica
Source: Britannica

Costa Rica is a paradise that promises affordable adventures and memorable experiences at every turn but won’t empty your pockets.

Affordability Highlights: Costa Rica’s affordability extends from budget-friendly accommodations to reasonably priced local meals. Also, most of the country’s natural beauty often comes with no admission fee.

Safety Considerations: Costa Rica is one of the safest countries to travel to, with a low crime rate and a focus on environmental conservation. The warm hospitality of the locals adds to the welcoming and secure atmosphere.

Must-See Attractions: Start in the capital, San Jose, before venturing to the stunning Arenal Volcano, where hot springs and hiking trails await. 

Also, try to see the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve, Manuel Antonio National Park, and the Osa Peninsula’s Corcovado National Park

Preserving Memories Responsibly

Traveling is about more than just the places you go. As much as these places leave a mark on you, it’s also about the mark you leave.

Responsible Tourism Practices. 

Remember to be a mindful traveler. Minimize your environmental impact by avoiding single-use plastics, participating in eco-friendly activities, and respecting wildlife and natural habitats.

Supporting Local Economy

One of the most significant ways to contribute positively is by supporting local businesses. By dining in neighborhood eateries, shopping at local markets, and staying in locally owned accommodations, you directly contribute to the community’s livelihoods. 

Conclusion

As you embark on your next adventure, remember that smart travel choices can lead to unforgettable journeys. Prioritizing destinations with a low cost of living, stable political environments, and robust tourist infrastructure sets the stage for a worry-free and budget-friendly trip.

Whether you’re savoring Portugal’s rich history, immersing yourself in Vietnam’s bustling markets, or reveling in Costa Rica’s natural beauty, these countries showcase the world’s beauty while keeping your wallet intact.

Finally, instead of falling into the dilemma of choosing, pick a place that appeals to you and explore it. As much as there is an adventure in researching, the real adventure awaits! 

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