Five International Family Destinations For Under $100 A Day

While most people think that cheap travel is an option only for the young and single backpacking set, traveling cheaply is definitely possible, even as a family.

There are plenty of interesting destinations that won’t break the bank once you’ve arrived.

It’s fairly common knowledge that you can live cheaply in Central or South America, most of Asia and any number of third world countries for relatively little however there are plenty of locations around the world that you can as well.

Here are five of our favorite international family destinations that cost us less than $100 a day that we’ve visited in the past year.

Note: We’ve personally visited all of the places in this article, and these are the prices we paid as a family of four including our two children.


Dad and the kids in Pamukkale, Turkey

To stay on $100 a day in Turkey, you’ll likely need to stay outside of Istanbul, which is every bit as expensive as it is interesting and cosmopolitan. Like Greece, we found food in Turkey to be fresh and delicious. And for the love of all that is good in the world, make sure you try the famous Turkish delight where it’s made best, at about 1 Euro for a couple of small squares. Don’t forget to try out the dondurma ice cream as well.

You can easily stay in a comfortable apartment in smaller tourist destination like Bodrum, Pamukkale or Goreme for under 70 USD a night (though you’ll need to spend more to stay in one of the gorgeous cave hotels in Goreme). One of the most friendly and welcoming hotels we stayed at was the Melis Pansiyon in the pretty port town of Bodrum, where we splashed out on the apartment for 80 a night, though the triple room rents for 65 USD (including a fresh Turkish style breakfast).


At the Walls of Avila, Spain
At the Walls of Avila near the Puerto del Alcazar, Spain

All things considered Spain is still a relatively cheap destination. To live on $100 a day comfortably, stay outside of the trendy central areas in large cities, take the local bus lines or discounted train fares, travel outside of peak season and enjoy the fresh, local food.

The good news is that you won’t have to make your own meals all the time to save money. Most neighborhood cafes in Spain are very inexpensive, and you can easily get an espresso for 1 Euro almost anywhere, and a simple dish of a fresh baguette and Manchego cheese drizzled with olive oil for another 2 Euro. Wine and beer are especially affordable. It’s possible to pick up a can of San Miguel beer for around 0.70 Euro and a decent bottle of red wine for less than 4 Euro in the local supermarkets.

You can get a room in a small apartment hotel like the spotlessly clean Exe Hall88 Apartahotel for around 65 USD in smaller cities like Salamanca, or book a longer stay on a site like Airbnb to save even more.

Looking for a great deal on your next Airbnb? Follow our link to get a $35 USD credit if you sign up with a new email (and we get a credit, too).


Smiling on the Douro River Cruise Porto Portugal
Jordan loving our boat tour of the Douro River in Porto

Just a bit cheaper than Spain (though that’s debatable), Portugal’s a fantastic destination for budget families. Like Spain, you’ll pay for the privilege of staying in the historic centers of major cities like Lisbon and Porto. To save money, stay outside the center of the city and brave the somewhat confusing transit systems, or plan a visit exploring the much less expensive rural areas of Portugal.

While Portugal overall is quite affordable, we found admission to historical attractions a bit steep. To save money, try to time your visit to take advantage of free admission times or for days with reduced fares.

Like in Spain, you’ll need to be outside of larger cities to get a vacation apartment for around 60 USD a night, though we did score a room with four beds in Porto at the quirky and charming Pedro Iberica (be sure to check out the hidden watchtower behind the garden in back!) for 62 USD a night.


little girl on Camel morocco
Ready to go!

Morocco hardly gets any mentions among family travelers, likely because of concerns over safety and just simple unfamiliarity. We found Morocco to be friendly and welcoming to families. That said, there’s a significant amount of culture shock involved in navigating among the chaotic streets of Marrakech, so it’s best approached with a fair bit of research and an open mind.

Traveling in Morocco for under $100 a day is simple, as long as you avoid the pricier hotels and restaurants marketed almost only to tourists. Getting there can be affordable as well, as flights to and from Europe are cheap thanks to budget airlines like RyanAir. Moroccan food (think tagines and barbecued lamb skewers) is tasty, plentiful and affordable, and accommodation in converted Moroccan houses (called riads) can be a great deal.

We stayed in the perfectly serviceable, but a little worn, Ryad Laârouss in Marrakech for 45 USD a night, including breakfast.


Kids playing on the fallen columns at the Kos Agora Greece
Kids playing on the fallen columns at the Kos Agora

Greece has always been a fantastic bargain for families, and is especially cheap since the country declared bankruptcy. We were especially thrilled with Greek food, as it’s not only healthy and diverse but also affordable. The kids loved tzatziki and fresh bread, trying saganaki (flaming cheese) and rich goat’s milk feta cheese. We found one of our very favorite bakeries called To Special on the Island of Kos, where almost everything from cakes and pastries cost under 1 Euro.

A budget two bedroom apartment can easily be found for around 50 USD, even in vacation hot spots like the island of Kos, where we stayed in the bare bones Fantasia Hotel Apartments for 39 USD .

If you want keep your accommodation costs as low as possible, consider renting an apartment through a site like Airbnb. You’ll get better discounts the longer you stay, with weekly rates usually far below that of a hotel.

Are you an Airbnb fan? Click here to get a $35 credit on your first Airbnb stay with a new Airbnb email!

Want more? Check out these posts on family travel:

19 Responses

    • Charles Kosman

      Talon, sorry to say but Istanbul was an expensive city to stay in period. Not many hotel deals and not even many hostel deals. We ended up renting a condo through Airbnb in Beşiktaş. It was close enough to the train station that we could walk down and catch a ride on the tram to the main center to check out the sites but far enough away that we got to experience the local atmosphere a bit.

      We were surprised how ridiculously busy Istanbul was with thousands upon thousands of tourists and locals alike milling about. At one point walking around the Hagia Sophia it felt more like we were at DisneyWorld than a city. Totally didn’t expect that.

      One word of warning though, the roads in Istanbul are crazy busy (especially in the center) and if you plan on taking a taxi to get around (they’re fairly cheap) you could waste hours just going a few miles. Walk, take the train and if you have the chance, jump on one of the ferries for a view of the harbor.

    • Charles Kosman

      Terry, we still ate at home for a lot of our meals while we were in Spain but lunches were always cheap and going out for tapas at night was great as well. Depending on where you stayed and what you did, Spain was a great deal!

    • Charles Kosman

      I guess sticking to a budget comes from our years of alternating between work periods and periods of extended travel. Previously, when we were on the road we got used to watching the bank account slowly deplete and calculating how many more days we could go before heading back to the “real world” and getting back on that money making hamster wheel.

      Jessie, now that we take our work on the road with us and do everything online, we still stick to a loose budget. At times it’s hard to separate ourselves from our old ways however it’s so easy to spend money while traveling that a budget still helps to keep our life in check.

      We never ate out every meal, visited every attraction, showed up at every event and stayed exclusively in plush hotels when we were back in Canada working for our next trip so I guess the same needs to apply to our new life on the move.

      That doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy ourselves though. 🙂

  1. cat of Sunshine and Siestas

    FINALLY a list I’ve been to every destination on! I do agree that Spain can be done rather cheaply, so long as you pick where you’re going to go. It’s hard for me to stay on budget in big cities (even when staying with friends). Off-beat destinations and going January-mid March is always a great time for deals, too, and many museums are free once a week. Wonderful list, guys!

    • Charles Kosman

      Cat, staying on budget is always tough, especially when you’re on the move. We always find our transportation costs (especially with 2 kids now) higher than we expect but for the most part, it seems everywhere we go it always costs us less to live than back in Canada.

      Big cities are always the most expensive to stay in so we always find a place that maximizes our time there and get out as soon as we’ve seen everything we wanted to.

      The nice thing about travelling with young kids is not feeling the need to go out every night and eat an expensive meal followed by even more expensive night caps. 😉

      Good tips on off beat destinations, off season deals and free museum days. That was pretty much us for all of Spain and Portugal. 🙂

    • Charles Kosman

      Val, the prices definitely go up in summer however there are always going to be deals around. Food and meals shouldn’t change much however accommodation will definitely cost you more and there will be less availability.

      On the plus side, the ocean will be warmer and the temperatures will be hotter. It hit 0 Celsius a few days in Avila and Salamanca while we were there. Gorgeous places but a little chilly to fully enjoy in the winter.

      Have fun on your trip. They’re all great countries to visit!

  2. Travis

    We have traveled to all but Morocco on this list and as a couple were well under 100 dollars a day in all of them – even without pinching pennies too much. Thanks for sharing this…these are all great places for families!

  3. Gem

    Traveling with kids sure can be expensive, so these are such great tips. Thanks for sharing the information!

  4. Steve

    Thanks for the tips. I don’t have a family, but I am backpacking with my girlfriend, and it seems I can use lot of this tips to help us save a bit more cash. Cheers.

  5. Heidi @WagonersAbroad

    Yeah Spain! Yes, we get by just fine as a family of 4 on $100 a day in Spain. It is great to take advantage of the local produce too. Love your list and your tips. Morocco next week for us, so we will see how we survive.

  6. Fintan Corrigan

    Love these five destinations. Each has so much to offer. Morocco is especially cheap. And Marrakesh has Markets straight out of a Indiana Jones movie.

  7. sandeep

    Wow.. That’s a lot of information How cheap can a traveler spend for his vacation. But sadly the info is not completely correct. I wonder why the author just published half info. India I say has lot of interesting places to visit yet very cheap. With $100, you can stay in a 5 star rated hotel, dine expensively for $ 5-10, lot of street shopping. Lot more things.

    • Charles Kosman

      Sandeep, there are tons of countries around the world that you can stay in for less than these. Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, India and Indonesia are some of our Asian favorites however there aren’t that many families from the western world that visit them.

      We listed 5 western countries we had just been in where we knew the costs firsthand and thought there was a good chance that families wanting to travel would check out.

      We’ll get to writing about India the next time we’re there. Thanks for reminding us how cheap India is though!


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