I feel kind of guilty being on this esteemed list since my book came out a few years ago. But I am hard at work on the home stretch of an updated version, due out sometime around the end of February next year. No earth-shattering changes, but much of Eastern Europe has gotten more expensive, especially for Americans, and a few up and comers have gotten more attractive. New additions will be Argentina, Nicaragua, and Romania. I want to keep the number at 21 though, which means a few will drop out and become “honorable mentions.”
I’m also adding a short bit on East Africa, since more than a few backpackers make that trek down the coast. Having just gotten back from Botswana and South Africa, however (more on that in the next blog), I stand by my assertion that just because a region has a lower per-capita GDP than where you come from, it doesn’t mean it’s a bargain.
If you are a student traveling on a budget, as opposed to a trustafarian who just wears the uniform of the rebellious disenchanted, you need to go where your limited funds will go a long way. This means avoiding the places 90% of college kids on summer vacation set off for: Western Europe, Australia, the U.S., Canada, and New Zealand. Yes, it sounds cool to say you spent your summer bopping around London, Paris, Amsterdam, New York, and Sydney, but you’ll come back with a debt load rivaling next semester’s tuition. Look beyond the obvious–it’ll be much more of an adventure, and you can live it up on the cheap.