The 4th edition of The World’s Cheapest Destinations goes into production phase this week and will be out in January. Here’s a sneak peek at the front cover.
Lots of things have changed in the world since I released the first edition a decade ago, though not all that much since the 2009 edition. Most of the big price changes came about from currency fluctuations and a rising middle class in developing countries. Thailand, India, and Indonesia have a far larger percentage of people doing more than just getting by than they had even three years ago, but in India’s case prices haven’t budged much at the low end because of currency declines.
Prices have risen at the budget end in some countries (like Morocco and Thailand), but have stayed roughly the same for mid-range travelers on vacation. In others, major line items for backpackers have actually gone down because there are more hostels/guesthouses serving budget travelers and more buses plying the backpacker routes. Competition is usually a good thing, so that has opened up more good choices at a good price in Cambodia, Laos, Romania, Hungary, and Nicaragua.
As far as in/out changes in the book, I replaced Turkey with Slovakia, removed Argentina, and gave Cambodia a full chapter instead of it being an “honorable mention.” Acting like a mutual fund portfolio manager, when the price gets too high relative to value, I have to get out. Turkey and Argentina are still good values for mid-range travelers, but they’re getting too pricey for long-term backpackers. Argentina’s fiscal house of cards could implode any month now though, so if that happens it’s 2001 all over again.
If you’d like to get some perspective on which countries are the cheapest places to travel in the world (and are worth visiting too), see this interview with me that Gadling published last week. Looking back, I visited eight of the countries in this 4th edition just in the last eight months. Whew!