Bolivia – $22/day
La Paz, Bolivia made the list as the cheapest city in all of Latin America for 2014 and venturing outside the city you’ll find prices drop even lower. Bolivia offers colorful markets, gorgeous Spanish colonial architecture, welcoming locals, and of course the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni – Bolivia’s most photographed site. Travelers can find meals for $2-3, hostels or alojamientos (family run hotels)for under $10 and traveling throughout the country ($1 for 5-minute taxi, $2/hr first class public bus) is just as cheap.
Nepal – $20/day
Many come to Nepal to climb Mount Everest but this country offers so much more than just that. Budget accommodations, food, and drinks can all be found for under $5 each. The Buddhist culture, stunning mountain scenery, and diversity in adventure activities are just a few things to find here.
Nicaragua, El Salvador, Honduras, Guatemala – $30/day
I love Costa Rica but almost all of the other countries that make up Central America are a much better bargain. Meals are a couple bucks, hostels can be found for about $5 a night, and local transportation is ridiculously cheap. These countries offer what some travelers say is a more genuine display of the local culture compared to the more touristy countries in the area and you might find it useful to practice your Spanish before you arrive. You’ll find gorgeous beaches, ancient ruins, great jungles for trekking, and tons of other activities all at a low cost.
India – $20/day
India is one of the greatest values for backpackers looking to stretch their money. Hostels or guesthouses are between $3-$5 a night (sometimes more depending on the high season and location), meals $3 or less, beers $1-2. Visiting places like Mumbai, Goa, and South India will be more expensive but still a steal compared to other destinations. Make sure to book your train tickets in advance as this is the main form of transportation throughout the country and seats fill up very quickly.
Ecuador – $25/day
Ecuador is a country that offers an incredible value to travelers and one I believe is completely underrated. Hostels are $7, taxis $2-$4, buses $1 an hour, beer $1-$2, meals $3 or less. Depending on how much you like to party you can easily backpack Ecuador between $20-$25/d. While Colombia and Argentina can be done for around the same price per day, the only cheaper country to visit in South America is Bolivia.
Bali – $27/day
Everything from incredible surfing to a great nightlife scene provides travelers with an escape from life that makes them want to stay here forever. Simple Asian meals are little more than $1, surfing lessons under $10, budget accommodations can be found for $10 and under.
SE Asia (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam) – $30/day
The backpacking route throughout SE Asia is one that has been well traveled since the ‘60s and for good reason – it’s cheap! Street food runs this part of the world and with delicious, heaping plates of pad thai for under $1 it’s easy to understand why. There are tons of local transportation options, budget accommodations can be found for crazy low prices, and the picturesque post card views will make you never want to leave.
Sri Lanka – $25/day
Sri Lanka lacks the tourism infrastructure neighboring countries have but that may be a good thing. Accommodation varies depending on where you are but can be found between $5-15 per day. Ask your tuk-tuk driver to give you suggestions. Often he’ll be able to help you find a place unfound in guidebooks and for a great bargain based on your budget. There’s an abundance of low cost food options, beer is around $2, and public transportation will cost $4 for a ride across the country.