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First things first: no matter what anyone says and how many blogs you read, planning a trip is never easy. Planning one on a budget, even more so. Try cooking up an international travel plan with your friends, and the first names that’ll pop up are the usual Thailand, Singapore, Dubai, or that rich friend’s recommendation aka Europe.

But what if we told you that there are countries that are not just cheaper but prettier too, and spectacularly so? From picturesque mountains and pristine beaches to history, culture and modernism — this list covers it all.

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So if you’re looking at a budget trip from India, here are your best options for a truly memorable one:

1. Vietnam

Despite its beautiful natural landscapes and a welcoming culture, Vietnam remains one of the cheapest countries to travel to. And considering one Rupee converts to 350 Vietnamese Dong, you’re bound to get more than your money’s worth!

Flight + visa : Rs 28,000*

Stay: Rs 600* a day for a comfortable, clean dorm

Food: Rs 200* a meal for the healthy, delicious street food

Local transport: Rs 400* a day (there are buses, trains, and cabs that allow you to travel within and outside the cities)

2. Cambodia

A hidden gem until the recent past, Cambodia’s gorgeous rivers and equally mesmerising temples, especially the complex of Angkor Wat, will leave you floored. A Rupee is 63 Riel, so quite beneficial for us, again!

Flight + visa: Rs 26,000*

Stay: Rs 800* a day (while the non-AC rooms are cheaper, we suggest you pick an AC one, given the hot weather!)

Food: Rs 80* for street food, Rs 200* for a restaurant meal

Local transport: Rs 300* a day (with buses and tuk-tuks at your service)

3. Sri Lanka

Our neighbouring country is actually one of the most naturally gorgeous islands in the world, whose clean beaches are world renowned. And the food at the local restaurants is to die for.

When it comes to cultural sites and monuments, tourists are expected to pay as much as 100 times more for the tickets as compared to the locals, so that’s a bummer. If you don’t want to spend the money, then just hit the beach — it’s clean, beautiful and free!

Flight + visa: Rs 15,000*

Stay: Rs 1,000* a day for a nice guesthouse or B&B

Food: Rs 150* onwards for local delicacies

Local transport: Rs 50* for a bus ride (private cabs and tuk-tuks are also available)

4. Nepal

Situated at the foot of the Himalayas, Nepal is one of the most easily accessible countries for Indians. Culturally rich and naturally gorgeous, it makes for a splendid trip with family or friends.

Flight + visa: Rs 15,000*

Stay: Rs 500* onwards for basic hotel rooms

Food: Rs 200* or so, as the meals here are usually cheap and filling

Local transport: Rs 100* (travelling within Nepal is incredibly cheap, and a short taxi ride won’t cost you more than 100 bucks)

5. Bhutan

The only remaining Buddhist Himalayan kingdom in the world, Bhutan was inaccessible till the 1960s. Thanks to advancements and developments today, there are multiple ways to get there, but it still remains a country full of unexplored marvels.

Flight + visa: Flights to Bhutan are infrequent and obscenely expensive, but a hack around it is to fly down to Bagdogra in West Bengal and drive into Bhutan instead, all of which should cost you no more than Rs 13,000*.

Stay: Rs 1,000* a day for a basic room

Food: Rs 300* for a filling meal

Local transport: Never hire a taxi if you can use a bus, and if you must get a taxi, haggle to the best of your ability. Expect to spend Rs 500* a day.

6. Egypt

The only African country on the list, Egypt needs little to no introduction. The land of the pyramids is rich in culture and easily one of the most beautiful destinations to visit — and here’s proof that it is budget-friendly too.

Flight + visa: Rs 23,000*

Stay: Rs 800* per head for a nice hostel or B&B

Food: Rs 200* (we suggest you avoid high-end restaurants and enjoy the local delicacies instead)

Local transport: Rs 800-1,000* for train rides. You could also hire a mini-bus or a van for sightseeing.

*Note: The prices mentioned are approximate values, and may vary depending on your selection and dates. All airfares depend on when you book them – the earlier you book, the cheaper. We recommend booking a flight at least four months in advance.

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