10 cheap vacation ideas for 2022

There are lots of amazing cheap vacation ideas for any kind of traveller on a budget. In this article I'll show you 10 of them.

7min

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2020 and 2021 have been interesting years. With a global pandemic and multiple lockdowns around the world, people are itching to go on vacation.

Luckily, for those who want a vacation that doesn’t cost a fortune, there are lots of amazing cheap vacation ideas for anyone on a budget. 

From the national parks of the USA, to magnificent castles in Europe, to the islands of Southeast Asia, the world is full of cheap vacation spots

These cheap vacation ideas may not be the most conventional, like Paris or Rome or Tokyo or all-inclusive resorts on a Caribbean island. But they are unique and affordable!

In many of these places, you can also do a Worldpackers work exchange to further cut the costs of your vacation. If you work in exchange for your accommodation, you’ll save money and get to have an enriching experience. Work exchanges are perfect for those who want to learn, grow, meet new people, and get off the beaten path during their holiday.

So enjoy this list especially made for you!

10 cheap vacation ideas for 2022

1. Go hiking and camping in a USA national park

2. Island-hop in Southeast Asia

3. Visit the Sahara Desert in Morocco

4. Volunteer with animals in Central or South America

5. Have a staycation in your home country

6. Visit Machu Picchu in Peru

7. Tour castles in Transylvania Romania

8. Volunteer with a community project in Africa

9. Stay at an eco lodge in Costa Rica

10. Visit beaches and surf in Southern California

1. Go Hiking and Camping in a USA National Park



The USA is full of stunning national parks. Within all 50 states, there is so much natural beauty to explore. This is one of the best cheap family vacation ideas, as you can travel in an RV or campervan, or pack tents. 

There are also lots of official lodging options like cabins and guesthouses to stay in.

2. Island-hop in Southeast Asia



When considering cheap vacation ideas for couples, the islands of Southeast Asia are perfect. In countries like Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, or Vietnam, there are so many stunning islands to visit on a vacation.

Everything is super cheap in that area of the world as well, so it’s easy to save money. You can even book nice hotels and eat at fancy restaurants for much cheaper prices than many countries. 

Treat yourself to a relaxing tropical vacation without spending much money at all! Or consider volunteering so you can have an epic time and meet lots of other young, fun travelers.

3. Visit the Sahara Desert in Morocco



The Sahara Desert is one of the most mysterious and dreamlike places on this Earth. Covering most of Northern Africa, there is so much of the Sahara that humans rarely see. 

However, Morocco is a popular tourist destination located on the western edge of the Sahara Desert. So when traveling through Morocco, it is very easy to visit the golden sand dunes of the Sahara.

There are a few work exchange opportunities in the Sahara Desert, believe it or not. So if you were looking to save some money and get to know the Moroccan locals, you can volunteer at some places.

4. Volunteer with animals in Central or South America



Some people may choose to have enriching vacations where they can give back to the community and feel a sense of self-fulfillment. 

If you’re an animal lover and you want to have a heartwarming experience helping others, consider volunteering at an animal shelter or sanctuary.

There are lots of volunteer opportunities around the world to help animals. Particularly in Central America or South America, where there is a diverse range of wildlife, there are plenty of wildlife sanctuaries that accept volunteers. 

So whether you’re visiting Peru, Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador, or Colombia, you can volunteer with animals and really make a difference.

5. Have a staycation in your home country



If you find yourself wondering, “what are some cheap vacation ideas near me”, don’t forget about your home country! 

It’s very common to desire to venture elsewhere for a vacation, but sometimes there is lots of fun to be had right in front of you.

If you’re really low on funds, you don’t have to travel far to have an incredible vacation. You can get a nice Airbnb near your hometown, stay at a friend’s house in a different town, or just visit a different area of your own country. 

A staycation is convenient and affordable, and with an open mind, you can still experience new things. 

Staycations are also perfect cheap family vacation ideas, as you don’t have to worry about the logistics and planning of traveling across the world with kids.

6. Visit Machu Picchu in Peru



One of the best affordable vacation options is visiting Peru and Machu Picchu. This historic Incan village which sits atop a majestic mountain is world-famous, and it’s actually very cheap to visit. 

You can choose to either complete a multi-day trek to the mountain or take the train. Either way, Machu Picchu is a fascinating wonder of the world that is accessible for travelers of all budgets.

Peru is also an affordable country to visit. You can combine Machu Picchu with a stay in Cusco, and even visit other nearby historic sights and mountains. 

To further save money, consider doing a work exchange in Cusco or Machu Picchu.

7. Tour castles in Transylvania Romania



Another one of the best cheap vacation ideas for 2022 is visiting Transylvania, a beautiful and historic region of Central Romania. It is known for being the home of “Dracula’s Castle”, though it has so much more than that. 

This region surrounded by mountains and forests is full of charming, colorful villages and super friendly locals!

Romania isn’t a super touristy European country like France or Italy, so locals are generally very welcoming towards travelers. Explore castles, eat hearty Romanian food, and enjoy a unique cultural experience. 

Volunteer in a hostel for an extra fun time. There are Worldpackers work exchanges available in these Transylvanian towns:

8. Volunteer with a community project in Africa



Africa is a vast continent that is full of diverse landscapes, amazing wildlife, and warm and welcoming people. 

Visiting many countries in Africa can be done on a budget, although airfare is generally expensive. Large parts of Africa are unexplored and underdeveloped as well, so the tourism industry isn’t as expensive as other places in the world.

If you’re interested in visiting Africa, work exchange is a great way to do so. Worldpackers can help you get in touch with locals who are willing to put you up in exchange for some volunteer work. 

You can read reviews from other travelers and ask your hosts any questions. This is an amazing cheap vacation idea for couples because you can expand your life experiences together, and potentially make a difference in a small community. 

There are so many community projects in Africa that include helping kids, creating videos, doing marketing, and more. Worldpackers has over 500 work exchanges in Africa, in countries such as Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Algeria, Benin, Egypt, Ethiopia, Rwanda, South Africa, Ghana, and more.

9. Stay at an eco lodge in Costa Rica



One of the best things to see in Costa Rica is the unique nature and the wildlife. In order to get up close and personal with the natural world, lots of travelers choose to stay at eco-lodges in Costa Rica. There are so many local businesses in the country that combine tourism with sustainability

If you’re looking to save money on your vacation, you can do a work exchange at one of these places.  You can work for your accommodation in Costa Rica and have a magical experience.

  • Help, enjoy and learn in an organic farm in Costa Rica
  • Help, learn and create good memories in an ecological farm!
  • Join a beautiful eco lodge and learn about greenhouse and cultivations

10. Visit beaches and surf in Southern California



The last thing on this list of cheap vacation ideas for 2002 is to enjoy the beaches of Southern California. With iconic beach towns like Malibu, San Diego, Laguna Beach, and Santa Monica, paradise can be found without even leaving mainland USA. 

Surf, swim, snorkel, hike, and explore the bustling, lively towns of Southern California. This is also one of the best cheap family vacation ideas if you live in the USA. 

You don’t have to travel internationally, and you can book budget motels for the whole family. But no matter who you’re traveling with, this sunny and beautiful area of the USA makes an amazing affordable vacation

Did you see how many vacation ideas you can have with little money? So don’t waste time, sign up to Worldpackers, explore some of the WP Academy courses for travellers and apply to as many hosts as you want!



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