Best Countries For Budget Travel Map

1) View the world based on the best countries for budget travelers.
2) Hover over countries to view stats in safety, cheapness, map keyfriendliness, & our World Travel Expert Rank (WTE Rank).
3) Click for travel guides and articles about that country.

*For the most accurate indication of which countries are best for budget travel refer primarily to the WTE Rank.

Travel Guides By Region, Country & City

Central America

Costa Rica
El Salvador

Southeast Asia


Eastern Europe


Western Europe




East Asia

South Korea
North Korea


South America


Middle East


Central Asia


North Africa


East Africa


West Africa


Sub Saharan Africa

South Africa


New Zealand


Puerto Rico

North America

United States

25 travel experts rank countries based on good times, cheapness, and overall backpacker friendliness. Together they have backpacking experience spanning over 7 decades and in nearly every country in the world. Click here to view the top 100 world travel experts.
The Best Countries For Backpacking Map’s country ranking is derived from the experience of 25 world travel experts. Expert ranks are averaged to form the final score, 1 being the worst and 5 the best. This is the primary index of the map. The individual country rankings of 1) Safety 2) Cheapness 3) friendliness are derived from data collected from quantitative studies undertaken by the Institute for Economics & Peace, The World Economic Forum, and
Safety: is derived from an extensive study undertaken by the Institute For Economics and Peace. In this 2013 study, 10 separate indexes, such s crime, homicides, and internal stability, are used to inform the GPI or global peace index. Click here for a map of the world by how prevalent peace and safety is by country, Global Peace Index 2013. Cheapness: The consumer price index was chosen as the primary indicator. It is a measurement of the average cost of consumer goods, including transport, groceries and restaurants among other things. It best reflects what you can expect to spend while backpacking through that country. Best Countries For Backpacker’s Map’s cheapness ranking is informed from a  quantitative study undertaken by Click here to see a map of the worlds cheapest countries, CPI Map. Friendliness: refers to the attitude of locals towards foreign tourists. Data for this category is derived from a 2013 study undertaken by the World Economic Forum.


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Let Me Know What You Think!

  1. mamelouk says

    I think safety is not weighted enough in the total score. no way I’m backpacking in a country with safety “1” even if it’s friendly and cheap (india, turkey, mexico, etc.)

  2. Panagiotis says

    Think te hole article is to bring FYROM into the picture …easily written as “Macedonia”.
    Don’t be a backpacker if you don’t know about history then ….

    Macedonia is greek , is Greece , FYROM is vardaska.slavs not Greeks . Do you understand that ?

    By the way why Greece is not in any category ..?
    I can be with a greek salad ( 3 euro ) alone on a beach , sleeping there all night , finding 100 friends around and talk under the moon nearby the calm see with 26 degrees tripping and discussing about greek myths and the stars …

    I am very disappointed to see all these …

    What is a backpacker by the way ? :)


    • says

      I’m a bit confused, are you upset that Macedonia is no longer a part of Greece? Did you want me to call it the former yugoslav republic of macedonia? A Backpacker is someone who travels with a backpack and is on some kind of a budget.

      • Aravella Salonikidou says

        You are not confused because you know very well why any Panagiotis should be upset. Macedonia is still part of Greece, and I’ m from there (Thessaloniki …you know). The point is how you can skip Greece when you’re traveling around Macedonia (ok, no problem) and Turkey etc.

        • says

          Hey Aravella,
          I understand Macedonia and Greece is very similar in culture and history and that much of the region of Macedonia overlaps with greece and vice versa but going by todays political boundaries and not those of ancient greece or the ottoman empire, it’s a separate country. So it’s going to get it’s own ranking. But I agree visitors to Macedonia should also check out the whole Panagiotis region.

          • Aravella Salonikidou says

            I think i’m wasting my time. You must study history and geography first! We don’t talk about empires and nothing is similar etc. And of course nothing is ‘…overlaps ….and vice versa’. Greece anyway it’s a beautiful and safe country and you don’t Want to know anything about it, you don’t even use a capital letter to name it. Why don’t you come here first and then … go ranking.
            I feel citizen of the world and not a greek or something ( it’s Hellas anyway). For a person who creates a guide it’s really stupid! Dislike! (Sorry for my mistakes, we are barbarians here… :) )

          • says

            I love Greece! I’ve been to Thessaloniki a few times! Good times and good food, can’t get enough of that Tatsiki! I’m sorry if you disagree with the ranking or current political boundaries but I can’t change it. I only had one vote towards the final ranking and I gave greece a 4 out of 5 which is pretty good. I’m doing an update soon and bringing in 13 more backpackers to rank.

  3. Someguy21231 says

    India and Turkey are not safe countries, even suggesting it is strange. Turkish police are known to be thieves and even rapists and Islam is still rampant over there.

    India is well known for its rapes of anything that moves. I really don’t know what kind of individual wrote this article.

  4. sirmoz says

    So Turkey is better than other European countries ?!! I’m Turkish and i can’t believe this.We are friendly but eastern Turkey is not good for “backpackers”.

  5. baap says

    How does the data determine the red vs. blue ranked countries? This is highly subjective and based on limited research, if that. 10 world traveling experts.. I see. I call B.S on this. For example, Mexico is rated as blue but is highly volitile and violent due to the “war on drugs”. Russia/Saudi/Pakistan are all rated red due to the political bias that exists without any on the ground real world experiences.

    • says

      Everyone keeps calling BS without reading the methodology! Just read it and then comment yea? The color coding is based on backpacker experience, that’s it. the other rankings were included to provide a degree of objectivity. If I had known they would be so controversial and confusing I wouldn’t have included them

  6. Peter Newson says

    Something’s wrong with your math:- Spain gets 5,4,3 ranks in #5; Portugal gets 5,4,5 yet ranks down in #4

    • says

      Hey Peter, check out the Methodology bit below the map. Those rankings are from independent studies. The primary rank is the average rank from the travel experts. That’s how the color coding was determined

      • Harrison says

        Indian’s (2) less friendly than Thai (5) people? I am not sure what your experiences where, but your blog for me loses all accountability with such a remark.
        Morocco the 3rd friendliest? Also hysterical.

  7. says

    I don’t know if I agree with this. The Philippines? = Worst backpacking experiences I’ve ever had. How can you list it as green? Did you ever try traveling through the South and Mindanao? Hmmmm. Also, how about Cuba? If you’d like some info about backpacking Cuba, I’m your girl.

    • cottonpatch says

      Backpacking in some parts of Mindanao are as good as backpacking in Pakistan. But I’ve been to other places in Mindanao that are actually nice.

      Overall, my entire north to south Philippine experience has been good. I guess it depends on every person and the visited region of a country.

  8. suresh says

    I bet Nepal is one of the friendliest country among other countries listed.Welcome to the country of Himalayas.
    love from Nepal.

  9. says

    Nice post! Surprised that China didn’t feature in any of those lists though. I’ve been living there for about a year total and have found it to be quite a budget-travel-friendly location. And extremely cheap too! I’m definitely hoping to check out SE Asia this spring some more though, so I will keep this list, and your site, in mind before I head off for my next trip!

  10. Bryan says

    This is really helpful, but because the Global Peace Index incorporates conditions that have no affect on backpacking, such as nation militarism, and external conflicts, it does not necessarily reflect the level of safety within a country. For instance, the safety score of the US is lower due to its militarism and continuous external conflicts that have no bearing on traveling within the country.

    • says

      I see what you’re getting at, but it takes into account a lot of variables. I think they use 10 different indexes to make it. Its true about the US abroad but it’s also true that the US has one of the highest gun related homicide rates in the world.

  11. says

    Neat concept, but you can expect a LOT of debate about your rankings. Your “experts” have each only been to some of these countries, and seem to be going based on their own personal experiences and prejudgments more than any ranking data that you claim to use. And the rankings seem to take country statistics as a whole, and not just areas and goods that are most relevant to backpackers. “Cheapness” should focus on a backpacker basket of goods like accommodations, food and drink, transportation and such. “Safety” should focus on areas frequented by backpackers, and not on localized violence in remote areas that is unlikely to touch or affect tourists. “Friendliness” seems like an impossible thing to rate, since it’s so subjective.

    • says

      Hey Segacs, thanks for commenting. Cheapness comes from a study done by It was not ranked by the travel experts. Safety and friendliness also comes from separate studies. That’s why the color coding and main index of the map comes from real backpackers. I included these studies in an attempt to add a degree of objectivity but from my experience there are many instances where they are flawed. I’m considering removing them entirely and replacing them with just the rankings of backpackers.

  12. says

    Interesting and fun, but the first column doesn’t bear much resemblance to what travelers experience rather than expats buying a basket of goods and services. Nepal is cheaper than India. Cambodia is cheaper than Vietnam. Bulgaria is cheaper than Macedonia.

    • says

      Hey Tim, good point. One of the reasons I decided to put this together was to disprove the world economic forum and numbeo rankings. This is why the map is based off of the experiences of actual backpackers. Considering the amount of comments about this, I’m considering dropping those rankings provided by independent studies entirely and instead using rankings from just backpackers. What do you think?

  13. says

    Malawi’s friendliness rating is completely incorrect. Your research needs some updating and actual experiential input. Just common knowledge in Africa that Malawi is one of the friendliest countries on the continent!?

    Just saying. Otherwise nice layout but not sure from this incident that it is that reliable.


    • says

      Hey Carlos, I completely agree. Under methodology, you can see that this is not my research. In fact, I made this map in part to disprove the findings of friendliness study undertaken by the world economic forum. That is why Malawi scored high according to 12 backpackers.

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