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Tigro Jun 17, 19 12:28 pm

Trying to organize an interesting solo trip with $2500
Recently I managed to have some more free time and I saved up a bit of money to be able to take a fun trip somewhere. I saved a little above $2500 - so far, I've only been flying across Europe, visited a few capitals within and that's basically it. Now I wanted to do something more interesting that spending a few days in yet another capital so I started looking at more distant locations and such that would allow me to stay for a bit longer than a few days (if it was possible, something around a month would be perfect though something shorter is also OK if it's that much interesting - I just wouldn't want to eat everything up within a week ;)).

I don't have any high demands with regards to accomodation, I am fully aware that with such a money I won't be spending my nights in palaces so I'm OK with hostel rooms and such, as long as they're clean (I would just rather they were private but all things considered I'd be down with spending part of the travel in coeds too ;)). It'd also be nice if there wasn't a sweltering heat all around cause I'm not too keen on extreme temperatures. I'm pretty free time-wise now so basically anything goes with respect to dates - may be in a week, may be in three months (though it'd be cool if it was sooner rather than later and not a trip for 6 months from now :)). Ah - also, I'm going to be travelling solo so it'd be cool if safety wasn't on the levels of Libya ;)

I did my research and so far it looks like the best choice would probably be SE Asia? For example, a typical route consisting of some subset of China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand, Malaysia, Birma. It seems like money-wise a month there would be within the budget, and without looking at every dollar 5 times before spending it. These are a bit problematic temperature-wise, though, cause from what I saw, the weather in Thailand tends to be in the 30s even during the "colder" part of the year, which start a few months from now - and as I said, it'd be good if I didn't have to postpone the travel to eternity (and when the alternative is 40+ temps or monsoon, it gets problematic ;)).

USA would be great but it seems to me like it'd be mighty hard to comfortably fit into this budget for a longer time. Similar thing with different Asian destinations like Japan or Korea. Iceland seemed very interesting to me but the prices there are pretty wild and when comparing 2 weeks in Iceland to a month in SE Asia, the latter certainly sounds more tempting in the "trip of a lifetime" category :D I was also wondering that maybe some kind of an RTW trip would be possible in this budget though I'm a bit scared that constant one-way flights are going to eat up my budget really, really fast when compared to something more stationary.

Having said all that, that's why I decided to turn to people way more experienced in travelling - what would you recommend in this budget? Maybe there's something I haven't even thought about? Or maybe you have some input regarding the stream of consciousness above and I'm wrong about some of the destinations I talked about? :)

EDIT: Also, I'm based in Poland - completely forgot to mention that, adding it in after @Romelle's remark, thanks! :)

Romelle Jun 17, 19 3:01 pm

You don't say where home is? Your comfortable use of English suggests the USA, but "...flying across Europe" and "USA would be great ..." conflict with that assumption? ??

A wild stab here, just to get things started. If it were me and I had your budget and time, I'd look at Eastern Europe (I'm in the USA). I'd get several good guide books from the library, and pick places that intrigued me. Maybe start with Brno and head east and a little south. Non-capital cities and larger towns - maybe Gyor, Novi Sad, Belgrade, Timisoara, Craiova, Varna, and similar. Open-jaw air ticket that got me to one end of the route and returned me from the other. I checked a few of the cities, and in July it seems easy to find well-rated 3* hotels - single rooms about $50 per night (with breakfast). AirBNB places are probably similar. Summer weather is a little more bearable than SE Asia and one can drink the water. But the whole area is still wonderfully different and interesting.

Of course, if you wait until things cool off a bit, SE Asia would be a great choice also.

Tigro Jun 17, 19 3:10 pm

Oh my, completely forgot about that and that's one of the most important things in the whole budgeting ordeal, silly me! I live in Poland - edited that into the main post, thanks a lot :)

That's a very good idea you're suggesting but because of my location, I was thinking more of something more culturally distant from the nearby countries. I bet these would be very interesting but it's just that it's the first time in a long time when I have the time and the means to have a memorable solo travel and I'd rather something that isn't as everyday around here as Hungary or Romania. This is a very good idea for a shorter travel somewhere in the future when I need something closer to home so thanks a lot, will definitely come in useful someday :)

EmailKid Jun 17, 19 3:31 pm

Well, if you want something different, the mountains of South America sound nice :)

There have been some good deals for flights lately, and once there, the hotels are very cheap if you don't mind local places. Last year I stayed in Lima, Peru (OK, not in mountain, but still not hot like Rio or Buenos Aires in summer) for under $25 and Cusco was also cheap.

South America isn't as safe as most of Asia, but I've made several trips and didn't encounter any problems (I do tend to be careful though).

Oh, a nice hotel in Quito, Ecuador for about $15. Nothing fancy, but clean and close to historical colonial city center, and close to the Equator - I have a photo where I have one foot in northern hemisphere and other in southern :)

Romelle Jun 18, 19 7:25 am

Now that we know where your home base is, I'd also suggest South America. Buenos Aires first comes to mind - tangos, music, beef, color. If you go in Poland's winter, you'll be there in their summer. 3* well-rated hotels starting under $60/night on I like staying someplace for 3-7 days, doing day trips out in all directions, then moving on. Breakfast and evening meal back in the place to save money, but also to wander food markets and cook with local products.

CLICK THIS for checking overall country safety. Argentina seems OK. I do admit to twice experiencing some really creative short-changing, but the loss was minimal and has since made a good story. The second time served me right, as I knew what to watch for and still missed it.

Lots of other safe lovely places in South America. I haven't spent enough time there to tell you more.

Don't forget to check about visas.

There are cruises that start on one side of South America and loop around the bottom, ending on the other side. Santiago - Buenos Aries and similar. They occasionally can be amazingly inexpensive. I used to think cruises were just for silly indulgent idle rich older people. Long story, but I discovered they also work for me. I read (the ships have libraries), watch whatever is passing, go to educational things on ship, and enjoy the ports. Your problem of course is that ship cabins are priced for two people. To get one for yourself, you usually have to pay the "single supplement", and this is most often 100%. So it is necessary to find the real bargains. I look for ~$50 a night, knowing I'll have to pay $100 BUT the amount includes that room, all food, entertainment and transportation from place to place. A few ships have single cabins at more reasonable rates, and sometimes the single supplement is less than 100%.

You'll probably have to register to get on this site, but (This is the one I mention above, but it still is pretty expensive. I've seen it much lower.)


And then there are the Channel Islands Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and some smaller islands. A trip all unto themselves. And of course Malta ....

You are sort of like at the beginning of a wonderful buffet.

RustyC Jun 23, 19 2:45 am

Another vote for either SE Asia or South America. I had a larger scale version of your situation with a year and maybe $25K and decided to favor the cheaper countries to make the bankroll last longer. I had about $60/day for everything except for miles for most of the flights. Vietnam ended up being the cheapest place, but Indonesia also wasn't bad at all. Cambodia and Laos also were cheap, Thailand and Malaysia could be more expensive, but that's because there were so many more choices. Isaan is the cheapest part of Thailand.

One of my specialties was trying to find the best bang-for-buck private room, as I'm told I snore. In parts of Thailand outside Bangkok it was doable at $10-25 then. I didn't want to drop down quite as far as the hostels in "The Beach."

Ecuador is one of the cheaper countries in South America, and I also like Peru. Chile can be among the more expensive. Chile and Peru have budget domestic carriers, though, and both places have a nice variety of possible edventures.

Joe Epsi Jun 25, 19 2:50 am

Maldives, EuroTrip, North Africa

wojciechm Jul 7, 19 3:53 am

Seconding, perhaps something in the Pacific?

rjh Jul 10, 19 3:20 pm

Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam. Maybe Lao. Start here with Travelfish, which I've been recommending elsewhere in FT. The site includes suggested itineraries and budget guidelines. (I have no financial interest in TF.)

Best sights: Cambodia, Thailand
Best inexpensive food and mostly reliable transport: Thailand

Poles get 30 days stay in Thailand arriving by air; 15 days at a land border.

Antonio8069 Jul 10, 19 5:44 pm

Depending on where you travel, my "advice" is to become familiar with AirBnB, couchsurfing, etc.
Having said that, we do home exchanges. The problem? Most of them are not last minute. Also, it takes a lot of effort to arrange.
I have done AirBnB in Japan, New Zealand, and South America. Generally, the smaller the destination, the more amenable, cheaper, etc.
In general, where you stay can eat up half or more of your $2500!

Catweazle Jul 22, 19 6:45 am

Originally Posted by wojciechm (Post 31277461)
Seconding, perhaps something in the Pacific?

Coming from Poland, flights will be the most expensive and accomodation across many Pacific islands isn't that cheap. If the OP is interested in island adventures, I'd suggest Malta like others have suggested. Even better, the Azores are incredibly cheap, especially since RyanAir now flies there and they certainly feel 'out there'. Cheap food, cheap drinks and cheap accomodation (by Australian standards, that is).
Sao Miguel island in the Azores

Of course, if you can get a home-stay type vacation in the Pacific (anywhere, really) then you'd have an incredible holiday, and very much different to what you're used to in terms of culture, landscape, environment, cuisine etc. Safe too (unless you end up in Papua New Guinea...)

Have you ever heard of You could always spend a week or three doing some volunteering. A few hours per day at the most in return for free bed and often board (meals), with plenty of time to go exploring. I spent two weeks on a horse farm in Canada last year and had great fun.

Around the world? Sure thing, you could pick up a RTW for about $1400 in Y if you find a good deal and not too fussy about destinations. But that just doesn't leave too much for all your other necessities. Let us know what you end up doing, and do post a trip report!

MSPeconomist Jul 28, 19 4:29 pm

For summer travel, in parts of Europe and the USA, many universities rent dormitory rooms to tourists. The bathroom is usually shared and they're not fancy, but they're clean and in some places air conditioned. Cafeteria meals are often available on premised too, cheap, and some places have shared kitchen facilities. Sheets and towels are provided but don't expect hotel type toiletries or other amenities, and you might not have housekeeping service every day.

RustyC Jul 28, 19 8:40 pm

Originally Posted by MSPeconomist (Post 31352326)
For summer travel, in parts of Europe and the USA, many universities rent dormitory rooms to tourists. The bathroom is usually shared and they're not fancy, but they're clean and in some places air conditioned. Cafeteria meals are often available on premised too, cheap, and some places have shared kitchen facilities. Sheets and towels are provided but don't expect hotel type toiletries or other amenities, and you might not have housekeeping service every day.

I did that in Vancouver to save money back in summer 1991. Dunno if they still have it. UBC was in a great location.

nk15 Jul 28, 19 9:08 pm

Bali Indonesia is very cheap. Greece in September- October. Turkey and Egypt a bit more risky options but also cheap. Maldives may have some really cheap remote locations, I booked once $15 rooms a day in some pristine island but did not go.

EmailKid Jul 28, 19 10:25 pm

Originally Posted by RustyC (Post 31352956)
I did that in Vancouver to save money back in summer 1991. Dunno if they still have it. UBC was in a great location.

Ya .... UBC area is great.

Last time I did uni dorms was three years ago in Madrid.


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