Don’t you wish there were some luxury destinations you could travel to, but at a fraction of the price?
Have no fear. These places do exist. They just need to strike a balance between being affordable and having the unique, fulfilling, and exclusive experiences that are so often part of luxury travel.
I’ve come up with a list of 9 cities across the world that offer just that, but for the budget-savvy traveler.
Read on to see whether one of these luxurious (and cheap!) places may be next on your bucket list!
If you’re curious about the method I used to find these places, read this section. If not, feel free to skip down to the first city in this list (Udaipur, India).
I started off by looking at a list of countries arranged by their cost of living index. The cost of living index is a general number I use to compare countries to my own (United States). Generally, a country will be cheaper for me to travel through if its cost of living index is lower than the one I live in (this is my own personal method of comparing ballpark prices and setting budgets — yours may be different!).
My hometown, New York City, has a cost of living index of 100 (14th out of 514 cities across the world, based on Numbeo). Los Angeles has a cost of living index of 82.84 (96th out of 514 cities). The United States overall (the entire country) has a cost of living index of 77.23.
Now, you can probably tell both New York City and Los Angeles have a relatively high cost of living (and that numbers really excite me).
So, I looked for countries that had a lower cost of living index than New York’s. I then picked luxury travel destinations in each of those countries my readers would adore.
Easy peasy, right?
Awesome. Keep reading to see the entire list!
**Note: All prices listed are in USD**
1. Udaipur, India
Cost of Living Index of India: $25.39
Price for an inexpensive meal (one person): $2.53
Three-course meal for two people: $11.69
Water, 12 oz: $0.23
Taxi Start: $0.62 + $0.35 per mile
Udaipur is one of those cities that make you wonder if it was pulled straight out of a book of fairy tales. In fact, it’s even called the “Venice of the East,” and has its own collection of man-made water bodies and lakes. You can take a cruise around the beautiful Lake Pichola and stare at the mesmerizing beauty of the Lake Palace, which now a hotel. The City Palace, another must-visit locale, was built over a period of 400 years. It features some breathtaking architecture and has tons of art nestled inside the palace.
2. Batumi, Georgia
Cost of Living Index of Georgia: 32.72
Price for an inexpensive meal (one person): $4.05
Three-course meal for two people: $14.17
Water, 12 oz: $0.18
Taxi Start: $1.21 + $0.55 per mile
Batumi is Georgia’s second-largest city, and it’s a beautiful one at that. People vacation at this resort town for its ports, casinos, and subtropical weather. Batumi is situated right by the Black Sea, so it boasts miles of coastline for you to walk along. Plus, Batumi has tons of all-inclusive resorts and cheap accommodations. Take a stroll (or bike) down Batumi Boulevard, a scenic paved road that has you immersed in both the coastline and cityscape. It’s around 4.35 miles long, so pick up some lunch afterward in one of the city’s many specialty Eastern European cafes.
Related reading: 23 Awesome Travel Planning Tips From The Best In Travel
3. Margarita Island, Venezuela
Cost of Living Index of Venezuela: 35.15
Price for an inexpensive meal (one person): $4
Three-course meal for two people: $40
Water, 12 oz: $0.31
Taxi Start: $1.32 + $1.61 per mile
Margarita Island lies off the coast of northeastern Venezuela in the Pacific Ocean. Locals refer to Margarita Island as the “Pearl of the Caribbean,” probably because it has gorgeous natural wildlife and beauty (and because most foreigners don’t frequent here). You can access the island easily with flights from Venezuela’s capital, Caracas, which is only 100 miles away. Flights tend to be discounted during the week since locals visit the island during the weekend. Since it’s not very well-known to many foreign travelers, Margarita Island has accommodations at a fraction of the price to those of neighboring Caribbean islands.
4. Tangier, Morocco
Cost of Living Index of Morocco: 38.13
Price for an inexpensive meal (one person): $3.21
Three-course meal for two people: $16.07
Water, 12 oz: $o.43
Taxi Start: $0.72 + $1.03 per mile
Did you know Tangier is less than 20 miles from Spain? Yup. Cross the Strait of Gibraltar from Spain and you end up in Morocco. Considered Europe’s gateway into Africa, Tangier attracts a bunch of foreigners drawn to the allure of Morocco. Apart from the Mediterranean Ocean, the city has awesome scenic panoramas to behold including a backdrop of the Rif Mountains. Feel free to lounge around during the day on some of Tangier’s beautiful beaches. And when you’re feeling overheated, tuck away into a Mediterranean-Inspired cafe where you can cool down with some fresh mint tea.
5. Bali, Indonesia
Cost of Living Index of Indonesia: 42.32
Price for an inexpensive meal (one person): $2
Three-course meal for two people: $21.12
Water, 12 oz: $0.51 USD
Taxi Start: $0.53 + 0.85 per mile
Bali’s an entire island in the Indonesian archipelago, and it has a lot of nature, wildlife, and private luxury “huts” to offer. I was on Airbnb the other day and even saw a decked-out luxury treehouse available! One thing you’ll notice about Bali is that many of the accommodations have an organic, natural luxury to them and the hospitality they offer is out of this world. It’s studded with forested volcanoes, sandy beaches, and expansive jungles. It’s so easy to get a private little rental in Bali that’ll keep you away from the bustle of tourists (and it won’t break the bank, too).
***Note: At the time of writing this post (9/2017), one of Bali’s volcanoes experienced activity, putting the country’s disaster preparedness efforts into high alert and ordering evacuations (this volcano hasn’t erupted in over 54 years).
And please be sure to double check the state of natural events in a destination before planning a trip there!***
Related reading: Is Travel Safe? Why Your Ideas Of Safety Really Matter
Related Reading: Travel Myth Exposed: Why You Shouldn’t Be Afraid To Travel
Related Reading: Is Fear Holding You Back? You’ll Love This Powerful Solution
6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Cost of Living Index of Malaysia: 43.31
Price for an inexpensive meal (one person): $3.34
Three-course meal for two people: $16.70
Water, 12 oz: $0.32
Taxi Start: $0.72 + $0.58 per mile
Kuala Lumpur, usually abbreviated “KL,” is Malaysia’s capital and largest city. One of the things people love about KL is its wide array of cuisines (and delicious food!). Malaysia’s a kind of melting pot of people from all over Central and Southeast Asia. Its skyscrapers run sky-high, and its bright city lights at remind you of a cosmopolitan hub you would find somewhere in the West. Visit the museums bursting with cultural artifacts, and take a walk through KLCC Park where the glow of the neighboring Petronas Twin Towers never leaves you.
Related reading: 7 Travel Bloggers You Need To Follow Now
7. Herceg-Novi, Montenegro
Cost of Living Index of Montenegro: 43.74
Price for an inexpensive meal (one person): $5.99
Three-course meal for two people: $29.94
Water, 12 oz: $0.86
Taxi Start: $1.20 + $0.96 per mile
Herceg-Novi is the quiet cousin of the louder cities in Eastern Europe. Unlike Montenegro’s main cities, it offers a quiet respite away from touristy areas. Tourism has spiked in the recent years thanks to travelers from neighboring Serbia and Russia, but Herceg-Novi still remains pretty slow. The city also boasts some relaxing “mud therapy” spas (the locals believe this healing sea mud helps heal skin disorders) and a beautiful beaches to swim in. Herceg-Novi is almost eternally, sunny, too, in the summers, so don’t expect any rain during your stay.
8. Sochi, Russia
Cost of Living Index of Russia: 44.48
Price for an inexpensive meal (one person): $7.32
Three-course meal for two people: $34.44
Water, 12 oz: $0.52
Taxi Start: $0.86 + $0.47 per mile
Most people think of Sochi, Russia, as the snow-drenched city that hosted the Olympic games in winter of 2014. Here’s a mind-blowing fact: it’s not all snow, all-year-round! It’s actually right on the coast of the Black Sea, so you have the opportunity to check out all of its lovely beaches during the summertime. During the wintertime, its landscape completely transforms into a hilly winter wonderland, attracting ski-lovers at its popular ski resorts.
9. Grand Baie, Mauritius
Cost of Living Index of Mauritius: 53.38
Price for an inexpensive meal (one person): $7.48
Three-course meal for two people: $30.53
Water, 12 oz: $0.52
Taxi Start: $3.74 + $3.13 per mile
Grand Baie has the largest cost of living index compared to the other cities on this list. Still, you shouldn’t neglect to visit Grand Baie (it offers accommodations, food, and tours at least at half the cost of what you’re used to!). Cheap boutique and luxury hotels abound, it offers some prime accommodations close to the shores. One of the unique qualities of Grand Baie’s oceans is their bright emerald color (not to miss!). Also, the bars and clubs are pretty lively at nighttime, so feel free to hit up Grand Baie if that’s your scene.
Well, here you have it. Travel destinations that’ll make you feel like you’re in the lap of luxury, but without breaking the bank!
Now, where are your favorite places to adventure, but with a little bit of luxury? Let me know in the comments below!