Where to go on a budget adventure vacation

Budget adventure vacation highlights


Budget adventure destinations open a window to a life less ordinary where organised tours let you travel safely and efficiently without the stress. Southeast Asia is a prime example with Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand permanently set to an adventure spin cycle from Hanoi to Bangkok via the Mekong Delta and Angkor Wat. China, Tibet, India and Nepal assure epic adventures where spiritual and cultural discoveries become just as relevant as white water rafting and jungle trekking. Latin America boasts Bolivia, Peru and Guatemala whilst Cuba and other Caribbean islands conjure budget adventure combinations worth their weight in pirate plunder. Finally, don’t discount Europe where Croatia, Greece and Spain are all worth a mention as Egypt and Morocco call from the sands of North Africa.
Cuba Croatia China India Peru Vietnam


In comparison to the rest of the Caribbean, Cuba is relatively inexpensive and one of the best ways to embark on a budget adventure is to stay at family run guest houses and put yourself in the hands of a local tour operator. What better way to catch a ride on a fishing boat to an uninhabited tropical island or find the best walking trail in Viñales Valley other than with a newfound friend who’s lived in Cuba their whole life?


Kayaking on the lakes, rivers and coastline of Croatia is one way to get your budget adventures off on the right foot, with cycling from Skradin to Skradinski Buk waterfall, rock climbing in Paklenica National Park or sightseeing in Split, Trogir or Zagreb, offering just a few more. Croatia is an affordable European destination with an abundance of naturally exciting landscapes to help bring budget adventures to life.


China is much easier to navigate on a small group tour, with the palaces, parks and pagodas of Beijing providing a perfect prelude prior to heading south to Xi'an, Shanghai and the mountainous hiking haven of Yangshou County. Trekking through steeped rice terraces, discovering Buddhist temples on top of misty mountains or taking in the enormity of the Great Wall; budget adventures in China never fail to amaze.


Clamber aboard an overnight express train and let your senses click into overdrive as you travel like a local in one of Asia's most absorbing budget adventure capitals. Delhi is a mind-blowing introduction to the intoxicating eccentricity of India as well as a gateway to explore overland with the mountains and agricultural landscapes of the Punjab and the backwaters and beaches of Kerala ideal for budget adventurers.


Exploring the streets of Lima on foot and journeying through the Amazon on a canoe are just a couple of ways to enjoy budget adventures in Peru. Obviously the influx of tourists heading for the Inca Trail has helped to push up prices but if you're prepared to eat like a local, take public transport and stay with a Peruvian family then you’re bound to also encounter a much more authentic experience in the process.


Head out of Hanoi and let the coast guide you south to Ho Chi Minh City via limestone karsts, rice paddies and characterful heritage to be discovered en-route. Budget adventures in Vietnam write their own script with train journeys onboard the Reunification Express and homestays on the Mekong Delta offering a chance to pick apart cultural threads and sew them back together within your own unique adventure.

Budget adventure travel advice


The following advice on how to have a successful budget adventure comes from Danniell Saunders, Director at our supplier and budget travel specialist, Encounters Travel:

Getting more for less

“Budget adventures obviously mean you'll be paying less but also you often get to do and see things from a different perspective as you may be staying in places off the beaten path and using methods of transport usually used by local people.”

Packing advice

“A travel pillow is a must. Often you have longer rides and it is always nice to be able to catch a few zzz’s. Also a good quality eye mask and earplugs are essential.”

Keeping an open mind

“Make sure you have enough money once you're in a country as there is no point being somewhere if you can’t afford to enjoy it. You also need to keep an open mind as often you might be staying in accommodation or traveling in transport that you aren’t used to.”

Budget adventure travel advice


At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travelers are often... other travelers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.

We have selected some of the most useful budget adventure travel tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your vacation - and the space inside your suitcase.
“Be flexible and prepared for anything! Cuba can be a very frustrating place, as government control means that things operate in a completely different way to most countries. Don't let it get to you - it's all part of the experience!” – Helen Peake in Cuba

“The family provides wonderful hospitality and you will spend the days living as they do. It is basic compared to what we were used to, but you have absolutely everything you need.” – Aaron Markowitz-Shulman on a budget camel safari in Morocco

“The part I remember most fondly is riding up to a remote farmhouse for lunch on one of the islands… Greeted by an energetic friendly dog and a lovely couple who rely mostly on their own produce and a kilometre walk to the nearest road... Coffee was offered after and I dared asked about the possibility of milk... 'hmm yes, is goats milk ok?'... How could I say no! He then went out to the barn, cornered the goat and served me warm milk in a little jug. The best coffee I have had in a long time, thank you!” – Ingrid Sloan in Croatia

“We were served an abundance of food prepared by a local on the terrace of her house. The vines provided us with the shade we desperately needed. We were welcomed with a homemade lemonade of mint and honey. And loads of traditional dishes! Delicious and priceless!” – Katrien Ertryckx on an activity vacation in Montenegro

“Go for it. It was one of the best vacations I've done - with so many different types of activities – it covered everyone's likes. I'd say that it was definitely the type of vacation for people wanting to do lots of things. Not the most relaxing if people just want a pool side vacation… We used local family run hotels and local transport most of the time, so I felt that money was going directly to the country.” – Sarah Williams on an adventure vacation in Costa Rica

“Probably one of the best vacation's I've been on – Bolivia is a truly amazing country. Not for the faint hearted though as the Country is still relatively undeveloped. It's more of an adventure than a normal package vacation – on occasions sleep deprivation and extreme heat and cold. However no doubt one of my best trips.” – Paul Brant
Written by: Chris Owen

Photo credits: [Map top box, Nepal market: Juan Antonio F. Segal] [China map point: Ronald Tagra] [Peru map point: Corey Spruit] [Vietnam map point: Benjamin Vander Steen] [Getting more for less: ryguywy] [Keeping an open mind: Adams Homestay Cochin] [Getting more for less: Harry Wood] [Keeping an open mind: travelwayoflife]
Costa Rica highlights vacation & beach

Costa Rica highlights vacation & beach

Short highlight itinerary covering city, forests and beach.

From £1165 13 Days ex flights
East Vietnam budget vacation

East Vietnam budget vacation

Trace Vietnam's mystical eastern coastline

From US $965 15 Days ex flights
Vietnam vacation, South to North

Vietnam vacation, South to North

From bright lights, to beaches and junk boats.

From £1148 16 Days ex flights
Belize & Guatemala adventure vacation

Belize & Guatemala adventure vacation

Combine sand sea wildlife and culture

From US $1799 15 Days ex flights
Trekking holiday in Cuba

Trekking vacation in Cuba

Hiking and exploring the unspoiled national parks of Cuba

From £325 4 Days ex flights
Egypt budget small group tour

Egypt budget small group tour

Cairo and the Nile Valley with a Red Sea beach extension

From £879 13 days ex flights
Cuba adventure vacation

Cuba adventure vacation

Cuban adventure

From US $1199 8 Days ex flights
California, Nevada and Arizona vacation

California, Nevada and Arizona vacation

Journey into the remote wilds of Western America

From US $1845 11 Days ex flights
Sailing vacation in Greece, Mykonos to Santorini

Sailing vacation in Greece, Mykonos to Santorini

The boat, the beach and inviting Greek villages

From US $1411 8 Days ex flights
Bangkok to Singapore small group tours

Bangkok to Singapore small group tours

Small group adventure tour in Malaysia, Singapore & Thailand

From US $1275 14 Days ex flights
Croatia river kayaking vacation

Croatia river kayaking vacation

Learn kayaking techniques on clear Croatian rivers

From 790 8 Days ex flights
Inca Trail adventure vacation

Inca Trail adventure vacation

Discover Cuzco and the Sacred Valley on this Incan adventure

From US $1115 7 Days ex flights
Ecuador adventure vacation

Ecuador adventure vacation

Delve deep into indigenous culture

From US $1449 18 Days ex flights
Langtang Valley trekking vacation, Nepal

Langtang Valley trekking vacation, Nepal

Hike beyond the beaten path to the majestic Langtang Valley

From £1030 15 Days ex flights
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