The most affordable countries to visit in 2017
While for many, the idea of budget travel brings to mind cut-rate motels off a highway or a restless night in the bunks of a hostel, in many places around the world there’s no reason travelers can’t experience a bit of the high life on a budget.
In the World Economic Forum’s Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Report 2017, countries were given scores on 14 sets of criteria, one of which was their price competitiveness. The report looked at several indicators, including the cost of ticket taxes and airport charges, the price of fuel and how much a first-class hotel sets travelers back. It also looked at “purchasing power parity,” or, put more simply, how much a dollar can buy in one place as opposed to another.
There are plenty of destinations where the dollar goes far enough to make for a great experience on a shoestring. Most of them are not traditional holiday destinations, but that’s part of the draw: To visit somewhere off the beaten path while saving money is a recipe for a great holiday.
For travelers looking for one of the world’s most expensive countries, Barbados, the U.K., and Switzerland top the list. For those who aren’t, here are the top 10 most affordable countries to visit in 2017.
India is the 10th most affordable country for tourists, and is also easier than ever to get to, thanks to new policies for visas on arrival and e-visas. India’s value-for-dollar is number one in the world.
Tunisia's tourism industry has suffered since Sousse in 2015; the country is still looking to recover and rebuild its tourism appeal. According to the World Economic Forum's report, Tunisia performs badly in several indicators, including use of natural resources and safety and security. But affordability has given the country a boost, and beach resorts continue to be a draw for tourists.
In eighth place is Kazakhstan, home to parts of both the Silk Road network and Tien-Shen, one of the biggest mountain ranges on the planet. In addition to being an affordable place to visit, the country ranks very well in hygiene and health, and decently in safety and security.
Yemen is one of the world’s most affordable countries, but it’s also in the midst of a brutal war and humanitarian crisis. Though the country is gorgeous, it doesn’t rank in the top 100 in any of the other pillars, and is sadly not a safe place to travel for the foreseeable future.
Bhutan gets high scores in terms of affordability, and is also one of the most improved countries in the overall ranking of countries (based on all 14 pillars). Outside of being a cost-effective destination, they also rank well in safety and security and the prioritization of the tourism industry.
Indonesia is very affordable — and an undisputed great place for a vacation. From the laid-back beaches of Bali to the bustle of Jakarta, Java, there’s no shortage of great spots for visitors. Flights to Indoensia from the U.S. can set you back, but once you're there, there's great value for visitors.
Algeria is the world’s fourth most affordable destination, and is also one of the most improved countries since the last list, jumping five spots in the global ranking. Although security has improved drastically in the last few years, travelers should stay up to date on any State Department guidance.
In third place is Malaysia, which also did well on the global rankings, landing in 26th place. In addition to being affordable, Malaysia is well-connected by air and by ground transport, and has plentiful natural and cultural resources.
The fact that it’s affordable only adds to the North African country’s draw. From the bazaars of Cairo to the Pyramids at Giza, tourists are certainly not losing out by picking an affordable destination. Unfortunately, Egypt is also affected by security concerns, so travelers to the country should heed State Department advice.
The most affordable country to visit in 2017 has a rich history: Tchogha Zanbil, the sprawling archeological ruins of a holy city, the nine gardens across Iran that collectively make up the Persian Garden, and the teal-domed mausoleum of Oljaytu are dotted around the country offering visitors insight into current and past culture, at a very affordable price. Travelers interested in seeing Iran should, again, stay up to date on State Department guidance.