Budget slow travel destinations

You can ‘slow travel’ to incredible destinations in early retirement on a relatively small budget — we’ve proven it from 2015 to 2024.

Often we are asked: “Where’s your favorite place?”

We never know how to answer that because we crave variety and still have many countries to visit. Every country has positives, and also negatives.

That said, we’ve been to some places multiple times, such as: Hua Hin (Thailand), Tulum and Puerto Vallarta (Mexico), Penang and Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), Rishikesh (India).

We’ve been to 27 countries, and many cities in those countries between August 2015 to early 2024. That said, we aren’t “country counters.” We travel slowly, one country at a time, because the faster you go, the less you see.

Budget slow travel destinations

Tap or click the country name in the list after the Table of Contents to see every post about that country.

Latin America

Mexico

  • Mahahual (Chetumal, Xcalak)
  • Tulum (Playa del Carmen and Cancun)
  • Campeche 
  • Sabancuay (Ciudad del Carmen)
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Yelapa
  • Huatulco
  • Puerto Angel (Zipolite and Mazunte)
  • Puerto Escondido
  • Ajijic/Chapala
  • Mexico City
  • Guadalajara
  • Tijuana
  • Rosarito Beach
  • San Cristobal de las Casas
  • Tuxtla Gutierrez
  • Oaxaca City
  • Zihuatenajo
  • Mazatlan
  • La Paz
  • Cabo San Lucas

Belize

  • Corozal
  • San Ignacio, Cayo District
  • Caye Caulker
  • Ambergris Caye

Guatemala

  • Peten
  • El Remate (Isla de Flores, Santa Elena)
  • Tikal
  • Guatemala City
  • San Pablo, Lake Atitlan (Tzuzuna, Panajachel, San Marcos, San Juan)
  • San Pedro, Lake Atitlan
  • Tecpan
  • Antigua
  • Acatenango Volcano

Europe & UK

Portugal

  • Lisbon (Sintra)
  • Porto (Gaia across the river)

Italy

  • Rome
  • Lerici (La Spezia, Tellaro)
  • Cinque Terre (Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore)
  • Florence (Siena, Gimignano, Pisa)
  • Venice (Burano, Murano, Torcello)
  • Ancona

Spain

  • Barcelona (Figueres, Girona, Tarragona, Montserrat)
  • Tarifa & Algeciras
  • Seville

United Kingdom

  • London
  • Greenwich

Croatia

  • Zagreb
  • Split
  • Omis (Supetar and Splitska)

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • Sarajevo

Montenegro

  • Kotor (Dobrota, Perast, Orahovac, Jaz Beach, Budva)

Albania

  • Tirana
  • Saranda (Butrint)

Greece

  • Athens
  • Corinth
  • Rio & Patras
  • Lefkada Island (Nidri, Kathisma Beach)
  • Corfu Island (almost every place on the island – 10 villages minimum)
  • Kalavryta

Serbia

  • Belgrade, New Belgrade
  • Vrsac
  • Plandiste

Romania

  • Timisoara
  • Alba Iulia
  • Sibiu
  • Brasov
  • Bucharest

Bulgaria

  • Veliko Tarnovo
  • Nesebar / Sunny Beach
  • Varna

Turkiye

  • Istanbul
  • Uchisar
  • Goreme
  • Mersin
  • Alanya
  • Antalya (do not miss Termessos!)
Snow-capped Atlas Mountains in Morocco

Northern Africa

Morocco

  • Marrakesh
  • M’hamid
  • Erg Chigaga (*Sahara desert*)
  • Ouarzazate
  • Casablanca
  • Fez
  • Chefchaouen
  • Tangier

Southeast Asia

Singapore

Malaysia

  • Cameron Highlands
  • Penang: George Town, Tanjung Bungah, Batu Ferringhi
  • Kuala Lumpur
  • Melaka (Malacca City)

Vietnam

  • Hanoi
  • Lan Ha Bay
  • Cat Ba
  • Ninh Binh
  • Phong Nha
  • Dong Ha (Cam Lo and Khe Sanh)
  • Hue
  • Danang (Ba Na Hills)
  • Hoi An (An Bang)
  • Nha Trang
  • Dalat
  • Can Tho/Mekong Delta
  • Cu Chi
  • Ho Chi Minh City

Thailand

  • Pai
  • Chiang Mai
  • Phuket
  • Krabi (Klong Muang, Ao Nang)
  • Hua Hin
  • Bangkok
  • Pattaya

Cambodia

  • Phnom Penh
  • Siem Reap

Indonesia

  • Katu, Semanyak, Legian
  • Lovina
  • Ubud
  • Labuan Bajo
  • Komodo National Park
  • Sanur
  • Nusa Penida

Philippines

  • Cebu City, Cebu
  • Liloan, Cebu
  • Moalboal, Cebu
  • Garcia Hernandez, Bohol (and Jagna, Anda, Valenica)
  • Panglao (Bohol)
  • Camiguin (Northern Mindanao region)
  • Valencia, Negros
  • Iloilo, Panay
  • Gigantes islands
  • *Motag, mainland Malay, Aklan, Panay*
  • Caticlan, Panay
  • Boracay Island
  • Kalibo, Aklan, Panay
  • Roxas City, Panay
  • Antique, Panay

South Asia

India

  • Mumbai
  • Alibag
  • Pune
  • Udaipur
  • Jodhpur
  • Jaisalmer
  • Jaipur
  • Pushkar
  • Kota
  • Bundi
  • Agra
  • Chennai (day trip to Puducherry)
  • Delhi
  • Dehradun (day trip to Mussoorie)
  • Rishikesh (twice, 10 weeks total)
  • Kolkata
  • Bodhgaya (and Buddhist Circuit in Bihar)
  • Kochi
  • Alleppey / Alappuzha
  • Majorda, South Goa
  • Morjim, North Goa
  • Puducherry (aka Pondicherry, Pondy)
  • Tiruvannamalai (Dhamma Arunachala)
  • Mahabilapuram (aka Mamallapuram, Mahabs)
ellen and theo at the taj mahala in india
Agra, India, 2022

Nepal

  • Pokhara
  • Hyangjakot
  • Kathmandu
theo and ellen in the himalayas, nepal
Hyangjakot, Nepal, 2023

Middle East

United Arab Emirates

  • Ras Al Khaimah
  • Dubai
  • Abu Dhabi

Before these slow travel destinations…

Before early retirement, we also visited Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama on vacations from work.

In fact, those vacations showed us this low-cost travel lifestyle was possible. Those trips were successful short “trial runs.”

We also kept track of our expenses during those glorious vacations to see exactly what it would cost to live like long-term travelers instead of short-term tourists.

All inclusive resorts and cruises never appealed to us. Where’s the adventure in that?!

We are shrouded in blue cloth in the Sahara Desert, one of our slow travel destinations in early retirement.
Erg Chigaga, Morocco, 2018

vagabond

Vagabond: (n) A person who wanders from place to place without a home or job. (adj) Having no settled home.

slow travel

Long-term stays; use buses and trains with infrequent flights; the faster you go the less you see.

early retirement

Stay on budget
Financial freedom
Active learning
Global citizenry

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