The Countries With the Lowest Airfare.
Airfares can change by the day or even the hour and are driven by movements in everything from fuel prices to currency conversion rates. So it’s no surprise that the average cost of outbound air travel can vary significantly from country to country.
To help travelers navigate the complex world of fluctuating fares, GOBankingRates consulted Kiwi.com’s Flight Price Index. The flight search engine company analyzed more than 1 million flights to find the average price of outbound air travel in 80 countries. All flight searches took into account high and low seasons, and prices were checked for the same travel dates.
Many of the countries that topped Kiwi.com’s list for cheapest outbound airfares also offer rock-bottom rates at restaurants and hotels. What’s more, several of these countries offer attractive exchange rates, making them bucket-list bargains for travelers looking to get the most bang for their buck.
11. South Africa
The average cost per 100 km: $7.25
South Africa boasts beautiful beaches and mountain vistas, and its diverse attractions include everything from safaris to winery tours. Many of its top attractions are also affordable ― or free. For instance, hiking up Cape Town’s Table Mountain is free, and a round-trip cable car ride up and down the mountain starts at 275 South African rand for adults, or around $19.75.
As a whole, costs in the country seem relatively affordable. A three-course meal for two at a mid-range restaurant averages around $32, according to Numbeo.
The average cost per 100 km: $7.08
Spain counts Pablo Picasso, Joan Miró and many other iconic artists as native sons, so it’s no surprise the nation boasts a number of notable museums — many of which you can visit for free. Spain is also known for its diverse cultures and cuisine, and it continues to draw crowds to the beach resorts on its southern coast.
In fact, a record number of tourists have been sampling Spain’s tapas and other offerings recently. It drew 12 percent more tourists in the first half of 2017 than during the same period a year ago, despite drawing a record 75.3 million visitors for all.
The average cost per 100 km: $6.96
Sweden is known for its crystal-clear lakes and expansive forests, but the Scandinavian country also offers beautiful beaches that are often uncrowded, considering its population barely tops 9 million. Sweden also boasts a number of ferry-accessible islands ideal for hiking or an invigorating dip during warmer weather.
Considering the country’s mild climate, it’s no surprise hotel prices spike when temperatures do. So visitors should plan on spending some of the cash they saved at the airport on accommodations if they visit during the summer.
The average cost per 100 km: $6.74
Although it doesn’t offer the bargain-basement prices it once did, Thailand can still be a cost-savvy traveler’s dream, especially for those willing to live like locals. Shophouse and street food is still incredibly affordable, for instance.
The average room rate for a weekend night in Phuket City was $39 in late October, according to Kayak, which also offered at least one 3-star hotel option for just $12. That’s a steal considering the island of Phuket is known for its white sand beaches, among many other attractions.
The average cost per 100 km: $6.50
The dollar is making a strong showing against the euro right now, which, along with cheap flights, makes this already affordable nation an even bigger bargain. And budget travelers will get a lot of mileage out of their money. The country’s capital city of Lisbon is known for nightlife that, in fact, sometimes lasts past dawn. You can find many free activities in Lisbon, including the Cemetery of Pleasures.
Visitors can explore cafes and intricate cobblestone streets by day. In Porto, they’ll find charming courtyards and cafes and enjoy fabulously fresh seafood at scenic riverside restaurants for the cost of a meal at a chain eatery in the United States. That should leave more than enough in the dining budget to enjoy a glass or two of tawny port.
The average cost per 100 km: $6.49
Indonesia is both exotic and affordable. It offers experiences as diverse as wilderness trekking, when you might catch a glimpse of an orangutan, to megamall shopping at spots including the Grand Indonesia, which encompasses a total of 263,226 square meters.
In addition to its cheap flights, Indonesia offers smart shoppers some high-end accommodation options. For example, Bambu Indah, an eco-friendly resort in Bali, offered a house large enough for two for $135 per weekend night in late October. Another plus ― room rates include breakfast and afternoon tea.
The average cost per 100 km: $6.46
Perhaps best known for medieval towns and castles where the Dracula legend was born, Romania also offers culture and clubbing, cafes and cobbled walkways to explore. Then there are outdoor adventures that range from hiking to boating, fishing, birdwatching and even beach bathing, depending on the season.
A dollar goes a long way in Romania, which hasn’t adopted the euro yet. Until 2022, it plans to stick to the Romanian leu. A dollar will get travelers nearly four lei, the plural for leu, under current exchange rates. Better yet, a domestic draft beer will set visitors back only about 7 lei, about $1.75.
The average cost per 100 km: $6.28
Although air travel is affordable here, continued threats of terrorism led the State Department to issue a travel warning for Turkey. It urges American citizens to “carefully consider the need to travel to Turkey at this time” and avoid southeast Turkey altogether.
The warning said terrorist groups have specifically targeted U.S. citizens and other foreigners in kidnapping and assassination attempts. Popular tourist sites, transportation hubs and other areas likely to draw international visitors have been frequent targets for terrorist violence.
The average cost per 100 km: $4.96
India is dotted with ancient forts, palaces, temples and tombs. The Taj Mahal alone attracts 7 million to 8 million visitors annually. Constructed by Emperor Shah Jahan as a memorial to his wife who died in childbirth, many consider it to be the most beautiful building in the world.
The UNESCO World Heritage Site also includes expansive gardens. Visitors can stay as long as they want during operating hours, so the foreign tourist entry fee of 1,000 rupees, or around $15, seems well worth it. You can also time your trip to attend the Holi Festival for a life-changing experience.
The average cost per 100 km: $4.65
Bulgaria offers monasteries, monuments and museums with artifacts that date back 6,000 years. The Thracian settlement near the town of Isperih also features a three-chamber burial tomb that boasts well-preserved reliefs, artwork and burial gifts from about 300 B.C., which tourists can view for an entry fee of about $6.
The country’s capital, Sofia, ranks as the most affordable on the 2017 Europe Backpacker Index compiled by the travel site Price of Travel. So history lessons come cheap even in Bulgaria’s larger cities.
The average cost per 100 km: $4.18
If you’re seeking street food and shopping options, visit Kuala Lumpur’s Central Market. For nature lovers, Malaysia offers beautiful beaches, lush jungles and an expansive national park that is home to a number of endangered species — so cheap flight tickets are far from the only reason to visit this Southeast Asian nation. Plus, accommodations are a bargain, with Kayak listing the average room rate for a weekend night in late October at $53.