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2018 list of budget travel destinations

The beginning of the year is often when we feel that financial “pinch” the most, but that shouldn’t mean putting life experiences and travel on hold. Here are the top ten most affordable foodie destinations to explore in 2018.


Bold, vibrant and known for its incredible culture and traditions, Mexico is a must-see. Whether it’s for magnificent food, unforgettable adventures or rich cultural and historical experiences, Mexico delivers on every front. Their cuisine goes beyond tacos and burritos. Traditional dishes make use of corn, cactus, chia and (of course) chilli.

  • Average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant: N$58
  • Average cost of a local beer: N$16
  • Average travel time: 27 hours and 55 minutes (including one stop)


Fiji serves up dishes that comprise of fresh, local ingredients lovingly prepared according to traditional methods passed down for generations. Coconut and fish are favourite ingredients when it comes to local dishes.

  • Average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant: N$50
  • Average cost of a local beer: N$25
  • Average travel time: 19 hours and 27 minutes (with one to two stops)


Balinese cooking is big on fragrances, with the “typical” eight-spice combination used in cooking consisting of white pepper, black pepper, coriander, cumin, clove, nutmeg, sesame seed, and candlenut. Done correctly, the Sayur Urab mixed vegetables will spoil all other vegetable dishes for you with its crunchy combination of carefully selected ingredients. Curries and seafood are a must when your taking your tastebuds for a tour.

  • Average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant: N$25
  • Average cost of a local beer: N$28
  • Average travel time: total of 19 hours (including one stop)


Inspired by the country’s interactions with other cultures over the years, Moroccan cuisine packs a flavourful punch and takes notes from Mediterranean, Arabic and occasionally European and Sub Saharan influences. Beef and couscous are staples and best-enjoyed with some fragrant vegetables.

  • Average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant: N$40
  • Average cost of a local beer: N$40
  • Average travel time: 8 hours and 42 minutes


The fact that Portugal is the home of the delicious spicy sausage, chouriço, says it all! Portuguese food combines Mediterranean influences with a great spicy and flavourful influence, often resulting in dishes that are mind-blowingly good and yet surprisingly light (if you can resist the urge to go back for seconds).

  • Average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant: N$80
  • Average cost of a local beer: N$18
  • Average travel time: 9 hours and 23 minutes


Famed for the way they prepare meat, you have to try out Carbonada Criolla (a local stew) and Empanadas (traditional meat pies) when you’re in Argentina. Dulce de leche also needs to be at the top of your list of things to try, as the national spread pairs perfectly with the likes of ice cream, pancakes, as a spread on toast or even straight from the jar (we won’t tell if you don’t).

  • Average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant: N$60
  • Average cost of an imported beer: N$27
  • Average travel time: 9 hours and 27 minutes


Polish cuisine is definitely for foodies looking for another take on meal-time. Leaving behind the typical Asian, European and Mediterranean influences that are scattered throughout global cuisines, Polish food is very proud of its history. With a diet that is rich in meat (especially pork and an endless variety of kielbasa—traditional sausages) and vegetables, Poland is best visited in their winter to get the most out of their hearty meals. Breads, cheeses and desserts are also chart-toppers when it comes to flavour and comfort food.

  • Average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant: N$72
  • Average cost of a local beer: N$29
  • Average travel time: 13 hours and 30 minutes (when flying from Johannesburg, South Africa)

Cape Town

Just an easy two hours away when flying, Cape Town is home to some of the greatest restaurants in Africa, and even two of the top 75 restaurants in the world (The Test Kitchen and La Colombe). Along with proudly-local restaurants (where you can enjoy traditional mains such as bobotie and desserts such as melktert and koeksisters) you can also indulge in globally inspired menus from almost any corner of the globe with the knowledge that the chefs have gone the extra mile to deliver an authentic experience of the meals they serve.

  • Average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant: N$100
  • Average cost of a local beer: N$25
  • Average travel time: 2 hours and 5 minutes


Prawns, pregos and peri-peri! Mozambique’s Portuguese influence has lent itself to a cuisine that is full of flavour and not shy when it comes to spices. Peri-peri chicken will surely put any roast you’ve ever tried to shame, while steak prego rolls will show you what it really means to enjoy a tender steak sandwich with an unforgettable sauce. Did we mention the prawns? Seek them out and see for yourself… they are some of the best you will ever have!

  • Average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant: N$99
  • Average cost of a local beer: N$10
  • Average travel time: 4 hours (including one stop)


One of the most famous cuisines in the world, Thai food offers up fragrant meals that are both light and yet also filling. A thrilling combination of influences from the East and West, Thai cooking places an emphasis on flavours which range between sour, sweet, salty, bitter and spicy—offering a truly diverse experience for your tastebuds.

  • Average cost of a meal at an inexpensive restaurant: N$24
  • Average cost of a local beer: N$27
  • Average travel time: 14 hours and 55 minutes

Is your mouth watering yet? It should be! Get in touch with one of our Travel Experts today and find yourself one step closer to the tastebud-tour of a lifetime (and all on a dime, no-less)!

Costs are based on January 2018 statistics on Numbeo with comparisons between Windhoek and a major city of each destination. Comparisons are subject to change.

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