Traveling isn’t cheap. But once you get to some places, adventure is. In fact, you might be surprised at how much fun and adventure $100 can get you around the world.
From swimming with sharks to repelling waterfalls, if you have the will, there’s probably a cheap way to do it. Learn how you can travel the world and have an amazing time on a budget.
Laos: Ride In a Hot Air Balloon
Want to see the most breathtaking views in the world? It won’t cost you all that much, said Raymond Walsh, who blogs about travel at Man On the Lam. He has personally experienced this travel adventure and said that for $90, you can take a peaceful ride in the skies above the spectacular karst landscape in Vang Vieng, Laos.
New York City: Visit the United Nations and Chelsea Piers
Sure, New York isn’t known for being an affordable travel destination. But it is possible to find fun on the cheap, said New York lifestyle and design professional Denise Foley. Consider a guided tour of the United Nations for $22 or a visit to Chelsea Piers, a sports and entertainment complex.
“With more than 25 different sports to choose from, you have many options,” Foley said. At Chelsea Piers, ice skating is $20 for one adult with skate rental, gymnastics is $32 per session and bowling is roughly $11 per session. You can also visit the driving range where you can hit a few golf balls for $30.
India: Tour the Taj Mahal
Want to feel like royalty for cheap? India is a good start. Here, you can experience the Taj Mahal for less than $100, said Tessa Juliette, a photographer and travel blogger with Where to Next.
“Stay at Hotel Taj Resort for around $50 a night. The rooftop has a great restaurant and a view of the Taj Mahal,” she said. “The next morning, wake up early and head to the East Gate before sunrise. This is the best way to see the Taj. Not only is it relatively empty, but the rising sun also turns the stones pink.” Best of all, entrance is less than $20.
Nicaragua: Surf the Waves — and a Volcano
If you’re up for some outdoor adventure travel, try surfing down the side of a volcano in Leon, Nicaragua. It’s dirt cheap, said consummate traveler Cynthia Mazereeuw, who blogs at Postcards and Polka Dots.
“[Thirty] dollars gets you the round-trip excursion,” she said. That leaves you with “enough money for a night’s stay in a charming bamboo hut at the Surfing Turtle Lodge and your surf lesson with board rental the next day.”
Hawaii: Dive With Sharks
There are a few musts when it comes to a Hawaiian vacation: surfing lessons, luaus and shark dives. Yes, shark dives. Breaking your budget to swim with the fishes, well sharks, in this case, won’t be a concern. Through places like North Shore Shark Adventures on the island of Oahu, you can get up close and personal with these toothy fish — from the safety of a cage — three miles offshore. The cost is $96.
South Africa: Dive With Crocodiles
Sharks aren’t your thing? How about crocodiles? If you want to go on an adrenaline-filled trip, you can do that in South Africa, where tours offer visitors the chance to dive with crocodiles — protected by a cage, of course. At around $70 a head, the cost is a little less than swimming with Hawaiian sharks. Kean Graham, an avid traveler, did it and reports: “It is a rush!”
Need More Excitement? 15 Cheap, Adrenaline-Filled Trips for Adventurous People
Spain: Fly in a Helicopter Over Barcelona
You can experience the beauty and romance of Barcelona from the air starting at around $80, said Christian Petzold, an agent with BCN Travel in Barcelona.
“Take in the spectacular views of the iconic city skyline of Barcelona and its one of a kind coastline,” he said. “[It’s] a very unique and truly memorable experience for anyone visiting the city that has always produced very positive reviews.”
Thailand: Island Hop, Go Snorkeling and See Monkeys
Crystal blue water, warm sun and monkeys — what’s not to like? Have a day of peace and tranquility in Koh Lipe, said Matt Kiefer, who travels and blogs at five-star hostel site Hostel Geeks. For $25, Kiefer took a boat ride to incredible snorkeling spots and interacted with monkeys.
“Koh Lipe is the Maldives of Thailand, perfect for a tranquil islands experience — and super romantic as well,” he said.
Colombia: Rappel the Juan Curi Waterfall
If your goal is to terrify yourself in a foreign land, repelling the Juan Curi Waterfall in San Gil, Colombia, might be the perfect, cheap way to do it, said Lia Garcia, an avid traveler who blogs at Practical Wanderlust. She did this in 2016 and screamed so hard she lost her voice for days. But hey, it only cost her about $20, so she had a lot left over for throat lozenges.
Peru: Take a Guided Tour of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu, the ancient, sacred, architecturally amazing Inca ruins, is on most travelers’ bucket list. Amazingly, it’s not that expensive to visit, said Tyler Breidenbach with Incan Adventures. He said the cost is about $70 for the entrance fee to this UNESCO World Heritage site.
“Now, if you want to really experience Peru, rent a room in the Sacred Valley,” he said. “Rooms here can be found for $12 to [$20] per night, so your $100 budget would keep you housed for a week.”
Be sure to visit soon, though, as heavy foot traffic is damaging this architectural achievement.
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Sydney: See an Opera at the Famous Opera House
You don’t have to be an opera lover to appreciate the experience of seeing a show in Australia’s most famous building. And though it looks grand and has a global reputation, you can actually see an opera in Sydney’s Opera House for under $100, said Matt Hobbs of Experience Oz, an Australian-based site for booking experiences.
Morocco: Ride a Camel
If you’re a horseback rider who longs for something a little different, here’s your chance, said Eric Espino with TourMega, a search engine of more than 18,000 experiences in 130 countries.
In a three-hour Marrakesh tour, you’ll wear a headscarf and robe-like garment as you ride through the city’s palm grove. The tour finishes off with a cup of mint tea and honey-drenched msemens (crispy stuffed crepes). And it will only cost you about $40.
Vietnam: Go On a Street Food Motorcycle Tour
A little riding, a little eating, a lot of culture. That’s the promise of this motorcycle tour through the streets of Hanoi. You’ll see many cultural landmark highlights and indulge in some delicious street food. Total cost: $35, leaving you plenty of money left over for seconds.
Iceland: Hike a Glacier
If you thought the only way to ease your way into climbing is signing up for time on an indoor climbing wall, here’s a tour that will change that. For $80, this 3 1/2-hour tour will have you climbing Iceland’s Vatnajökull glacier. You’ll walk the glacier valley, then traverse easy tracks. Finally, you’ll strap on crampons and climb the ice to view ice formations and crevasses.
China: Walk the Great Wall of China
Normally, walking a wall would be about as exciting as painting one. But when it’s the Great Wall of China, it’s a different story. You can walk — more like hike — the Great Wall of China for under $100, said Taryn White of Trip Wish List. In fact, if you go with a partner, it’ll cost you only $87 per person to go on a guided tour at the Juyongguan and explore the Ming Tombs. The cost includes transportation from and back to your Beijing hotel.
Canada: Go Skiing
Skiing can get expensive, especially in premier destinations. However, a strong U.S. dollar goes further at some Canadian ski destinations, so you can hit the slopes without breaking the bank, said Elizabeth Avery, founder of Solo Trekker 4 U, which helps people find bargains on travel and tours.
“I had a great ski day at St. Anne for a $100 package,” she said. “That included transportation from Quebec City round trip, ski rentals, lift ticket and a small group lesson.”
Keep reading to see 50 affordable trips to take before you turn 50.
More on Saving Money on Travel
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- 5 Beautiful, Underrated Spots to Buy a Vacation Home
Amen Oyiboke-Osifo contributed to the reporting for this article.