8 Best Budget & Safest Destinations In The World For Solo Travelers

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Charles Bridge, Prague, Czech Republic

Sometimes solo traveling is a good idea but considering how costly prices have become these days, a budget and at the same time a safe destination are two of the biggest worries that you have to face. But on the other hand, going alone on a trip can be a worthwhile experience as long as you use your proper insight and never take futile risks.

When it comes to cheap travel, the world is full of limitless opportunities as long as there is a good planning beforehand. In all the years of working on a ship I had the chance of visiting some budget-friendly and safe countries that make traveling as handy as it can be. Here is a shortlist of significant destinations for solo travelers, however some of the cities I’ve mentioned are based on research.

Valparaiso, Chile

Aerial view of Valparaiso with Lutheran Church from Cerro Carcel Hill – Valparaiso, Chile

A South American country of coastlines, deserts as well as mountains, Chile may not be the cheapest to explore as compared to Peru, Bolivia and Argentina but for sure it is the safest destination for solo travelers in the region. But while it is a bit expensive than its neighbors, it is amazingly encouraging especially the port city of Valparaiso. Known for its spirited provincial and Bohemian vibe, Valparaiso, which has been declared a World Heritage Site, is one of the destinations to visit with a small budget.

Dubbed as the “Pearl of the Pacific” and full of quirks as well as oddities, the best way to traverse this city is via a relaxed stroll on its streets especially at its iconic piano staircase which is also a favored photo area. You may take the funicular to get to the hills for a rewarding view of the port and Valparaiso in as low as US$17.40 (round trip fare), or ride in the trolleybus, another pocket-friendly way to bring you the other travel sites of this beautiful city. And unlike Santiago, the capital city, political protests in Valparaiso rarely happen so it is peaceful and a safe, tourist-friendly area where you can enjoy exploring its vibrant culture.

Prague, Czech Republic

Prague’s Charles Bridge, one of the few remaining medieval times bridges still in use today and a link between the Old Town and Prague Castle.

Unlike its other Central European neighbors, Czech Republic or Czechia as it is now known is a cheap travel destination. Due to its long and intricate past, from being a Bohemian kingdom to being a part of the former Czechoslovakia, then under Communist rule and finally going through the “Velvet Revolution” (separation from Slovakia) it’s why the cost of living is the lowest in the region. And while Czech Republic is a “little” nation and easy to get around, it belongs to one of the safest countries in the world especially the capital city of Prague.

For the longest time, Prague has always been regarded as a city of affordable tour and even if prices have soared dramatically, still is is one of Europe’s budget-friendly destinations. A city well known for its architectural wonders (Prague Castle, Old Town’s City Hall and others), wonderful Christmas Markets (Wencelas Square), lively culture and its Pilsner beer, this is an area where you can always explore its Gothic style splendor without tearing down your wallet. In fact, most hostels offer free city tours especially when you stay outside the city center and your tour is done during wintertime for half the price accommodation. And along with a very reliable public transportation system, Prague has a low crime rate because on-foot police officers are at hand to tackle any problem that you may run into while on a visit.

Christmas markets at the Old Town Square in Prague.

Riga, Latvia

Wintertime at Riga, Latvia‘s Old Square.

One of the three Baltic countries, Latvia is located in Northeastern Europe between Estonia and Lithuania. Together with its neighbors, it has suffered a tremendously painful past; during World War II with Nazi rule then to a long period of Soviet control until the fall of Communism in 1989. Off the beaten path yet Latvia is a stunning and one of the best budget and solo travel destinations that you should not miss when you’re planning a trip to Europe mostly its capital of Riga.

Of late, Riga has become a tourist magnet from all over the world, its Old Town a region of magnificent historical buildings, grand Churches and cobbled stone streets. During the turn of the 20th century when Art Nouveau (ornamental style) was at its peak, Riga boasts a splendid share of said buildings and it’s one of its most unique features. And yes, you can see all the main travel sites on foot since this is a compact city while food, hotel accommodation including public transportation system are quite cheap. Overall Riga is safe to explore with its crime rate relatively low, but of course you have to be watchful all the time especially for solo travelers.

Berat, Albania

Berat, Albania, the “City of Thousand Windows.”

A small nation on the coast of Adriatic and Ionian Seas, Albania is situated on Southeastern Europe’s Balkan Peninsula. An ancient land where Greeks, Illyrians, Ottomans, and Romans have lived, for over 45 years it was under Communist rule and isolated to the outside world until 1991 when Communism ended. Albania has since got back fiercely on its feet and although it is still one of the moderately developed countries in Europe, it has opened its doors to the world through its thriving tourism industry.

An underrated gem, Albania is a budget destination and one of the least dangerous places in Europe. Because it’s not yet a part of the European Union and not subject to inflation in Schengen area, therefore it is a solo traveler’s paradise. The town of Berat, which is a 2-hour drive from the capital of Tirana is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an extremely cheap travel area famous for its assortment of windows that earned its moniker as the “City of Thousand Windows.”

A compact and walkable town, at Berat you can save money from public transportation. Its cobbled stone streets are pleasant to explore with many architectural sights (Berat Castle) along the way. But most of all, this town just like the rest of Albania is a relatively safe destination where foreigners are not targeted to petty crimes and its locals are friendly.

Sibiu, Romania

Sibiu, Romania main square with the Bridge of Lies (where lovers meet and make promises that are never intended to keep) and houses that have “eyes” (ventilation windows for attics).

Located on the western shores of the Black Sea, Romania is the largest of the Balkan countries and where the Carpathian mountain range commands the heart of the country. Thus it entices visitors with its mesmeric mountain landscapes, pristine countryside along with its significant cities. This nation has seen countless kingdoms, from the Romans to Ottomans down to Austro-Hungarian then fell to Communist rule after World War II until Christmas Day in 1989.

Sibiu is an elegant and historic city where houses have eyes and with Germanic roots in the Transylvanian region which is one of the budget destinations in Romania. Since it is a pedestrian-only area, you can simply spend hours walking around the old town and can save money from transportation costs. Romania’s national currency is Leu which is 5 times weaker than the Euro therefore it makes cheaper for anyone especially solo travelers to get around this city. On the other hand, safety is an utmost issue here and Sibiu, Romania is quite safe as long as you take extra precautions, you will be alright.

Istanbul, Turkey

The Hagia-Sophia, an iconic landmark in Istanbul, Turkey.

Formerly called Byzantium in olden times then Constantinople, Istanbul is the largest city in Turkey and it spans the Bosporus Strait lying in both Asia and Europe. Where the East meets West, this is a mix of the old yet modern city including a blend of Islamic and Mediterranean cultures in a fascinating way. This city offers an indelible experience for solo travelers and a budget destination as compared to cities in Europe.

For as low as USD40 a day, you can explore Istanbul on a tight budget. Put aside 300 Turkish Lira a night in a hostel and for a USD2.20, it can already get you a chicken and rice pilaf street food meal. Local ferries are an inexpensive way to discover the wonders of Istanbul and taking aside the threat of terrorism, this city is safe to travel for solo travelers as long as you remain wary from scams and pickpocketing tactics.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

The Ho Chi Minh City Hall built in the early 1900s of French colonial fashion and now one of the important landmarks of the city.

Used to be known as Saigon, this city is the economic hub of Vietnam, a place undulating with zest and transformation, filtering together the old and the new with influences from its former French rulers and ethnic Chinese immigrants as seen in its culture most especially the cuisine. If you are on the lookout for a budget travel destination, Ho Chi Minh City (or simply HCMC) is the place to be. This is an area bustling with life, affordable accommodation and food, lots of bargains coupled with an unending list of historic attractions to fill up your day.

For solo travelers on a shoestring budget, there are hostels along the Bui Vien district which can cost you between USD7-USD10 per night for a bed. This area is in the heart of the city and exceedingly lively at night. Public transportation via a bus is the best choice to get around HCMC which is very cheap and it is famous as well with its street foods that can save a lot from your travel allocation. Ho Chi Minh City is a safe place to visit, its major source of income is tourism so tourists’ safety is the topmost concern of this city.

Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia

The city of Phnom Penh, Kingdom of Cambodia with the Royal Palace at the foreground..

The bustling capital of the Kingdom of Cambodia which is situated at the intersection of 3 great rivers- Mekong, Bassac and Tonle Sap, Phnom Penh is oozing with rustic charm and tranquility in French colonial architectures and tree-lined boulevards amongst the colossal Angkor Wat. Despite its dark past under the brutal Khmer Rouge regime, this city has transformed into an attractive destination that it is today. And while the conflict may have left a deep scar on the country, Phnom Penh is filled with friendly locals, delectable food, amazing coastline, a spirited night life and one of the very budget-friendly city in the world.

With hostels available from USD3 to USD8 a night, this city is among the cheapest destinations with meals costing from USD1 to USD5 depending on the location while the mode of transportation is generally via the inexpensive tuk-tuk. Having said that, you can be sure to get a lot for your money particularly in the low season, between April to October. Phnom Penh may have its own share of petty crimes just like in any Southeast Asian capital but nevertheless it is pretty safe for solo travelers and as long as you stick to safety precautions, you will be alright.

Solo traveling can be a fulfilling experience too most specially when the financial aspect or budget is the foremost issue to consider. Making some researches regarding the cost (of traveling) will give us a better plan for an enjoyable trip. I hope this blog may help you make better decisions of which is the best budget and safest destination you should go.


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