This blog post is in partnership with Hostelworld. As always all these views are my own.
9 Unique & Cheap Places To Travel In Summer 2023
Updated June 2023, 9 Unique & Cheap Places To Travel was originally written in June 2019
If you’re looking to go backpacking on a budget and want an array of unique and cheap places to travel in 2023 and want to get off the beaten path then you’re in the right place.
Travel doesn’t have to be expensive as many people think it is, especially with the help of Hostelworld giving you access to a wide variety of accommodations. After spending the last decade or so traveling the world, on at times the tiniest budget here are 10 of my favorite destinations to travel in 2022, all of which I have visited booking hostels along the way with Hostelworld.
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Egypt has taken a huge hit in the tourism sector in the last few years which has made Egypt a very budget-friendly destination for backpackers. With so much history it’ll make even the biggest buff’s head spin, you could spend years in Egypt and still learn new information every day.
Egypt has all the makings of a perfect getaway with iconic sites (pyramids, anyone?), delicious food (I nearly overdosed on tahini), souks astir, and friendly locals welcoming you to their country around every corner.
For more ideas to help you plan your trip to Egypt check out:
Where To Stay
For a centrally located spot with easy access to many of Cairo’s highlights, I’d say go stay at Holy Sheet Hostel. The staff is beyond helpful and friendly. Pair that with a nice open common area to swap Egypt tips with and perfect rooms, making this easily one of the best places you can possibly stay in Cairo.
Oft misunderstood and painted evil by much of the media, Iran isn’t what many in the west think it is (ie: don’t believe everything you hear in the mainstream).
Iran easily tops the list for unique and cheap places to travel in summer, even after I set high expectations for the country after my numerous visits to its Persian neighbors of Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Some of my favorite travel moments are from my time spent in Iran, making several friends along the way that I now talk to on a near-daily basis.
I spent a few days shy of a month backpacking across Iran recently and can honestly say Iran really has it all… From world-class hospitality to epic desert landscapes, some of the most beautiful architecture in the entire world, a magical rainbow island, rich history… I could keep going on all day.
And to sweeten the deal a little more it was one of the most budget-friendly places I’ve ever traveled- seriously. I spent less than $550 USD in the country and I wasn’t even trying to keep to a tight budget.
For more inspiration to travel Iran check out:
- A 1-4 Week Iran Itinerary
- Solo Female Travel In Iran
- The Rainbow Island Of Hormuz
- How To Get To The Cave Village Of Kandovan
- A Perfect 2 Day Yazd Itinerary
- Everything You Need To Know To Visit Kashan
- How Much Does It Cost To Backpack Across Iran?
- A Two Day Guide To Tehran
- How To Get An Iran Visa
- Iran-Iraq Border Crossing Report At Haji Omaran
- The Ultimate Shiraz Travel Guide
- Afghanistan-Iran Border Crossing At Islam Qala
- Tabriz Travel Guide
- Esfahan Travel Guide
- A Day Trip To The Kaluts Desert
- Pink Salt Lake Of Maharloo, Near Shiraz
Where To Stay
From my own experience, I recommend staying at Tehran Heritage Hostel for those kicking off their trip from Tehran. The staff can help you with just about anything (like getting me a bus ticket to Tabriz) and they have a huge communal area in the courtyard where you can meet other backpackers to trade stories or even share a day trip with. One of my favorite parts of staying at Tehran Heritage Hostel was sat eating breakfast talking with other backpackers from all over the world sharing stories from other parts of Iran and even other countries.
Georgia is gaining traction and becoming more popular by the year, but still has many a hidden gem around each twist and turn. This shining jewel in the Caucasus offers the trifecta of awesome- budget-friendly, great food, and wine, and epic mountains (not to mention culture, architecture, decent infrastructure and so much more).
Georgia straddles Europe and Asia, and many will argue to which continent it belongs technically– but those of you that don’t care about the technical things will thoroughly enjoy Eastern Europe meets Western Asia atmosphere in Georgia.
Check out more on Georgia:
Where To Stay
Envoy Hostel was where I stayed on my impromptu stay in Tbilisi. Easily one of my favorite hostels I’ve crashed at. From meeting other travelers to grab a gooey khachapuri and a red wine with, share day trips in the country alongside, and even plot an escape to Armenia with Envoy was an easy win– in fact, I still talk to two of the backpackers I met in the hostel kitchen pretty frequently and even have shared many meals and day trips with. The staff is also super helpful offering group trip outings, and even direct you to where to grab a shared taxi to your intended destination at.
Less popular than its Chilean and Peruvian neighbors but not lacking whatsoever in epic adventures, vibrant and diverse culture, amazing high altitude sceneries, and underrated cities. Bolivia isn’t so far-flung that people don’t know about it, but it still houses some epic off the beaten path trekking potential. I traveled the country with a friend who was still completing university and Bolivia was a piece of cake even on a college kid’s odd-job savings.
For more inspiration to travel Bolivia check out:
- 10 Photos To Make You Book A Trip To Bolivia
- My Top Salar de Uyuni Tips For Visiting The World’s Largest Salt Flat
- A La Paz Travel Guide
- Cycling The Bolivian Death Road
Where To Stay
In Copacabana whatever you do, stay at the La Cupula. This is by and far my most favorite accommodation I have ever stayed at.
The architecture is inspired by pre-Colombian elements with an Arabic twist. The yard out front offers epic views of Lake Titicaca with llamas roaming around and the staff was more than gracious.
As many of you already know, I do not travel for the sake of staying at fancy hotels like many “influencers” you see out there, but this is the one accommodation that I would make the detour to Copacabana for if it’s not already on your itinerary.
Before I went to Botswana as part of an adventure traveling from southern to eastern Africa I was told only rich tourists with huge budget went there… challenge accepted.
Two of my favorite highlights of Botswana were seeing hippos lazing about and giraffes frolicking around in the Okavango Delta, as well as nearly coming face to face with an elephant herd and watching lion cubs play around with a monitor lizard while their mothers hunted an impala at Chobe National Park. But the big takeaway was that Botswana doesn’t have to be expensive, as the country is more than just bougie safari lodges.
Where To Stay
While it’s a haul out of the town of Kasane, the Elephant Trail Hostel is a good option for budget backpackers wanting to experience Botswana to the fullest. The friendly staff can easily help you arrange trips into Chobe National Park and even make arrangements as far away as Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. There’s also a large communal area where you can meet other independent travelers making their way across Botswana and even Africa as a whole.
For more ideas to help you plan for Botswana check out
As far as I’m concerned Slovenia may be the most beautiful country in Europe. After I stepped off the train in Ljubljana on my first visit in 2010 I couldn’t help but keep thinking I could easily live here. Don’t miss quirky and artfully beautiful Ljubljana (seriously my favorite capital city in Europe) and the Julian Alps with the famous Lake Bled nestled perfectly in its pinnacles.
Read up more on Slovenia:
Where To Stay
Most will start their Slovenian adventure from the capital city of Ljubljana. After a few visits, I will always recommend Hostel Celica.
Celica is truly one of the most unique hostels in the world. The building originally served as a military barrack for the Austro-Hungarian Empire before turning into a prison that operated for 100 years.
By the early 1990’s it was abandoned, later to be re-molded into a one-of-a-kind hostel. Each of the 20 prison cells was re-vamped having its own story and concept applied by artists brought in to design each and every one of them. To keep the prison’s history alive you will not be able to choose your cell, it will be assigned to you.
In 2018 Hostel Celica underwent renovations so I personally can’t wait to return and see what the new makeover looks like. Every time I have stayed at Hostel Celica I’ve had the opportunity to meet countless travelers from Mexico, Slovenia, Argentina, the US, New Zealand, and beyond making their way through Slovenia.
From the windblown high steppe over to the glimmering lakes nestled in the Tian Shan Mountains to the whistling dunes and epic canyons of the Kazakh desert, stunning Silk Road architecture of Turkestan to the Vegas-like glitz of Astana and Euro-chic streets of Almaty, Kazakhstan packs a lot within the borders of the 9th largest country in the world. Kazakhstan is a great place to begin a delve into Central Asia from, as it offers all the creature comfort in its modern cities before setting out for authentic experiences staying homestays in remote corners of the country.
For more inspiration to travel Kazakhstan check out:
- The Kazakhstan Travel Guide
- How To Get To Charyn Canyon
- How To Get To Kaindy & Kolsai Lakes
- The Best Things To Do In Almaty
- How To Get To Big Almaty Lake
- A Guide To The Almaty Metro
- 32 Photos That Will Put Kazakhstan On Your Bucketlist
- Kazakhstan-Kyrgyzstan Border Crossing At Karkara
Where To Stay
A great place to kick off your Kazakhstan adventure is the European-chic ex-capital of Almaty. Get acquainted with buzzing Kazakh lifestyle here in Almaty before heading off for great adventures beyond. For Almaty, I recommend booking a bed at Almaty Backpackers.
From here I met two backpackers that I shared a trip to Charyn Canyon with (as in getting a car and navigating the journey on our own), and yet another who I spent several days roaming around Kazakhstan and even returned to Kyrgyzstan with. By and far this was one of the more social hostels I’ve stayed and have lifelong friends because of.
Chile spans 4,270 kilometers from north to south, only second in the world to Brazil in north-south length. With a span like that Chile offers endless adventure from the dry Atacama Desert in the extreme north to the frigid Magellanes Region in the ultimate south. Chile, of course, isn’t exactly known to be the most backpacker-budget friendly country, but it is 100% possible to take in the country’s highlights without breaking the bank… even in the majestic pinnacles of Torres del Paine in Patagonia.
Chile can be a pretty cheap place to travel in summer thanks to it being winter in the southern hemisphere. In Patagonia, many accommodations and operators close down for the southern hemisphere’s winter months, but not to worry! Some do stay open and prices are a steal, plus you’ll feel like you have some of the iconic spots to yourself.
For more inspiration to travel Chile check out:
Where To Stay
YaganHouse Hostel in Puerto Natales is an easy favorite with a cozy communal area to socialize. The staff is super friendly, the hostel offers trips to surrounding areas, and is located right in the center of Puerto Natales. I actually joined one of the hostel’s day trips to Mirador Las Torres and made friends with a Brazilian couple that I still talk to regularly.
Indonesia is more than just Bali, though there’s no definite number of how many islands comprise the nation some say 13,466, others 17,508, and even some as high as 18,307. With this mind-boggling number of islands, you can find endless corners of the country to explore. My travels in Indonesia included Lombok, Borneo, the Gili Islands, and Bali, which I feel doesn’t even qualify to even have scratched the surface and why I intend to visit many more times. Indonesia is also a steal and with some of the best months to visit being June, July, and August makes the country an easy winner in the ‘cheap places to travel in the summer category.
Looking for more Indonesia inspiration to get you to start planning? Check out:
Where To Stay
For those headed to Bali and want to experience a little more rustic Indonesia head to neighboring Lombok. We opted to stay at the Jazz Senggigi in Senggigi Beach. This accommodation has private and dorm beds on offer and even has a shared pool where you can easily meet other travelers to share Indonesia travel info.
Why Book Your Unique & Cheap Travel This Summer With Hostelworld?
- Hostelworld has the widest selection of hostels bookable directly through their site
- Reviews and feedback can easily be accessed from each Hostelworld hostel’s page so that you can determine which hostel suits you best
- You’ll save major money by staying in shared accommodations helping you stretch your money and travels a little further
- Hostelworld hostels are always a great place to meet other likeminded travelers, who knows, you may check out with new friends or even head off on a new adventure with someone you met in your dorm
Need More Inspiration For Unique & Cheap Places To Travel In Summer?