1. Taipei, Taiwan
Situated at the northern tip of Taiwan, Taipei is located on the Tamsui River. Taipei lies in the Taipei Basin.
What You Should Do While There: Check out the amazing night markets. Just imagine hundreds of street-food carts and pop-up stores all in a 10-block stretch. Experience the food, the fashion, the culture — all for a pretty decent price. If you’re looking to escape the city buzz, Taipei has several amazing day hiking destinations right in the city. What else could you need?
Cost: There is no shortage of cash machines that accept foreign cards. Beyond that, Taipei is a very large city with things in nearly every price range, but some tourists might find it to be on the expensive side compared with mainland China. Still cheaper than Japan, it’s quite possible to get by on very little once you arrive in Taipei.
Ease Of Travel: Buses are a great intercity travel option. There are also several companies that run bus travel with more luxury and higher pricing to get from point A to point B.
Potential Safety Concerns: Petty theft. While the general crime rate in the rest of Taiwan is said to be increasing or staying the same, the crime rate in Taipei is actually decreasing. Taipei has a reputation of being very friendly and helpful to tourists of all kinds.
2. Portland, Ore.
Portland, Ore., is situated on the West Coast of the United States near the meeting of the Willamette and Columbia rivers. It’s a city known for many things, its love of nature and bike commutes among them.
What You Should Do While There: A food cart tour. Try all kinds of local favorites for little money. After you’ve eaten all you can eat, take a walk through Forest Park and breathe in all the natural beauty that Portland has to offer. And if you’re craving something sweet, stop in for a doughnut and an experience at Voodoo Donut.
Cost: Relatively cheap with the occasional fine-dining experience that can be pricey. Food trucks and ease of transportation help keep costs low. You can also look into getting an attraction pass that will let you in multiple attractions for five days for around $30.
Ease Of Travel: You can walk/bike to many places in the city and use reliable public transit for the rest. Affordable and easy.
Potential Safety Concerns: Overall, generally regarded as safe with a few neighborhoods that might be worth avoiding: Hazelwood, Old Town, Lents, and West Burnside Street. Also, if you’re biking, be careful crossing Sellwood Bridge, as there is little shoulder space.
Located in Southern Ontario on the northwestern shore of Lake Ontario, Toronto has a rich history underneath a thriving city.
What You Should Do While There: Take a moment to escape the city life for a day and explore the Toronto islands. Easily hop a ferry and head to the collection of eight islands. They offer a welcoming green atmosphere beyond the cityscape that is Toronto. There are no cars on the island, so enjoy a nice stroll or bike. And while in the city, check out the St. Lawrence Market — possibly one of the best in the world.
Cost: Prices in Toronto are comparable to that of L.A. or NYC and while hotels can be pricey, they’re generally within walking distance to great city features.
Ease Of Travel: The public transportation system is extensive and very affordable. Otherwise, walking and biking will suffice.
Potential Safety Concerns: Downtown Toronto is considered pretty safe. But some sites recommend that travelers avoid straying too far from downtown into the outer neighborhoods.
4. Rio De Janeiro
Gorgeous mountains, pristine beaches, and a surplus of rainforests near a deep blue sea — Rio is one of the most gorgeous cities in the world. But it can also be one of the most dangerous. Take caution, but it’s worth a visit.
What You Should Do While There: Experience the landscape as much as possible. Go hiking on Sugarloaf Mountain and take in the glorious views. If you can, find a couple fellow travelers and explore the downtown area. The churches, the historic buildings, and the ample amount of museums give you a surplus of ways to occupy your time. And before you leave, relax on one of the beaches. It will be unlike anything you have ever experienced.
Cost: Rio can be pretty pricey. Hotels near beaches or city attractions tend to be on the more expensive side, as to be expected, and the costs of attractions aren’t low. But seeing the sights and hitting up the trails and beaches is free (unless you hike to the very top.)
Ease Of Travel: Rio buses are relatively cheap while also fast and frequent. They can be rather crowded, though.
Potential Safety Concerns: As mentioned earlier, safety is a major concern. Crime rates are high in Rio. It would be ideal to find other people to accompany you out in the city.
The town that was settled by Vikings has become one of the most amazing destinations in Europe. Dublin is situated in the province of Leinster near the midpoint of Ireland’s east coast, at the mouth of the River Liffey and the centre of the Dublin Region.
What You Should Do While There: Expand your mind in one of the several museums that Dublin has to offer. The surplus of rich culture and history may surprise you. And you, of course, have to check out the Guinness Storehouse. It’s like Disneyland for beer lovers. And the FOOD. Make sure you visit Dublin on an empty stomach.
Cost: Fairly pricey. Hotel bargains can be found and there’s plenty of hostels to choose from with good locations, but your location might cost you. Some of the more famous attractions are on the more expensive side, but there’s plenty to see in Dublin that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Food won’t be as cheap as some cities, but it WILL be delicious.
Ease Of Travel: Easy. You can jump on the coastal train (DART) to explore just outside of Dublin or use the extensive public buses to get all around the city. If you prefer, you can also bike or walk as everything is fairly close.
Potential Safety Concerns: Just as safe as any European city. Take the usual necessary precautions.
This city referred to as the Venice of the east possesses so much energy, chaos, and beauty. Bangkok is definitely a must-see for ANY traveler.
What You Should Do While There: Immerse yourself in the Buddhist culture. Spend time in one of the many temples and take time to appreciate the culture and everything it has to offer. Explore the waterways by boat, and eat local. The cuisine offered in Bangkok is superb. If nothing else, relax. Bangkok is a great place to slow down and remember who you are.
Cost: Cheap. There are many bargains to be found in Bangkok. Decent hotels can be secured for low prices and the food is famously cheap AND wonderful. Spending a week or so in Bangkok will be a nice change for your budget.
Ease Of Travel: Bangkok’s excellent and modern public transport systems make it surprisingly easy to navigate your way around. Taxis are cheap and never too far off, and tuk-tuks are worth the experience at least once.
Potential Safety Concerns: Bangkok is not inherently dangerous. Crimes most prevalent against tourists are “stealth” crimes such as pickpocketing, scams with credit cards, or confidence tricks with fake goods or gemstones. Recent protests have raised some concerns this year, but it was recently deemed safe again.
7. San Francisco
San Francisco, the leading financial and cultural area in northern California. This city on a bay has a manageable size and a generally happy population.
What You Should Do While There: First and foremost, get brunch. There’s a multitude of cafes and restaurants to choose from. From there, head over to the Haight-Ashbury district to experience where the hippie movement was born. If nothing else, make sure you check out the Golden Gate Park. It’s breathtaking.
Cost: Can be considered a little pricey, but doable. Bring comfortable walking shoes and use public transportation to get places. Avoid expensive brunch spots by checking them out on Yelp first.
Ease Of Travel: When walking gets to be too much, SF has an extensive bus, streetcar, cable car, and subway network to get you to your destination.
Potential Safety Concerns: The Mission District, while perfectly safe during the day, can be an intimidating location at night, particularly around 16th Street and east of Valencia.
A city famous for its spectacular canals, colored houses, coffee shops, and rich culture is a solo traveler’s dream.
What You Should Do While There: Go to the beach! Despite the fact that Amsterdam actually is not located by the sea, the city created Blijburg. This beach is situated on the artificial island of IJburg and there is swimming, sunbathing, and beach parties galore. If you’re looking for a quieter atmosphere, check out Vondelpark. This park is right in the heart of the city but offers a slower pace.
Cost: Amsterdam is a great bargain as far as European cities go, but hotel and hostel pricing can make it a bit pricey. With that being said, they offer breakfast! You can easily find cheap options for your meals, and you might not even need transportation, so that helps keep costs low.
Ease Of Travel: You can essentially walk and bike anywhere in the city. Super easy.
Potential Safety Concerns: Known as an exceptionally safe city. But, as with any city, there can be dangers of robbery, etc. Avoid talking to street peddlers.
9. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
A city that houses monkeys and a myriad of cultures; Kuala Lumpur is a gem.
What You Should Do While There: Explore Bukit Bintang, the insane shopping center in Kuala Lumpur. Once you’re done exploring there, check out some of the local markets for fantastic arts and crafts. And of course you can’t leave without experiencing a meal on a banana leaf.
Cost: Bargain! You can find great hotel pricing, affordable cuisine, and no shortage of free activities.
Ease Of Travel: Most visitors stick to taxis as they are convenient, reliable, and affordable.
Potential Safety Concerns: Relatively safe, take normal precautions.
10. San José City, Costa Rica
A city situated 3,690 ft. above sea level, San José enjoys wonderful temperatures year-round, and its location in the Central Valley makes it both breathtaking and convenient as a base of exploration.
What You Should Do While There: Visit the impressive collection of museums and take yourself back in time. Also make sure to check out the open air markets to see the copious amounts of indigenous arts and crafts. And don’t you dare let yourself miss out on experiencing some of the best nature in the world, specifically the Volcan Poas.
Cost: Although San Jose is one of the most expensive cities in Central America, it’s still cheap by North American or European standards. Eating local will help keep the cost low.
Ease Of Travel: It’s not advisable to rent a car. Walking is the best option, bus would be second best but it can sometimes be a hassle.
Potential Safety Concerns: Fairly average. Take necessary precautions as always.
11. Reykjavik, Iceland
The center of culture and life of the Icelandic people is a necessary place for any traveler’s bucket list.
What You Should Do While There: Absolutely make sure you explore the city’s natural wonders. The Blue Lagoon, a geothermal spa, has warm waters rich in minerals. For more spectacular sites, go whale watching, and you could possibly spot some dolphins or seals too. And, of course, the waterfront strolls and walkways are perfect for a relaxing morning or afternoon walk to gather your thoughts.
Cost: Reykjavik is famously expensive, although it’s gotten a bit better since the 2008 currency crisis. Alcohol is especially pricey, but the experience, as always, is priceless.
Ease Of Travel: Overall a good public transportation system. Renting a car wouldn’t be a bad idea either. But of course if you’re looking to keep costs low, public transportation is by far the best option.
Potential Safety Concerns: Considered one of the safest places in Europe, but naturally safety precautions never hurt.
The capital of Belgium AND Europe, Brussels is filled with 17th-century buildings and daily flower markets.
What You Should Do While Here: See Brussels’ very own Eiffel Tower, the Atomium. It provides great views, inside and out. Also, needless to say, get some chocolate and waffles. Belgium has some pretty outstanding selections. And absolutely do not allow yourself to miss out on the many Art Nouveau buildings. One of the best ways to do so is to spend some time at one of the Art Nouveau cafes where you can enjoy chocolate AND architecture. Win-win.
Cost: Brussels is pretty pricey. An average lunch can cost about $25.00 while a dozen eggs can be well over $5.00. However, there are many attractions you can enjoy for free, and walking is a great and affordable option for getting around.
Ease Of Travel: You can walk! It’s definitely not suggested to drive, as Brussels is one of the most expensive places for drivers in the WORLD. If nothing else, decent public transportation is never far away.
Potential Safety Concerns: No major concerns; take necessary precautions.
13. Johannesburg, South Africa
This city is great to mix big-city culture, shopping, dining, nightlife, and outdoor adventures.
What You Should Do While There: Check out the view of this great city by visiting the top of Carlton Centre. To learn more about Jo’burg, visit The Apartheid Museum for an insight into the history of the city. And certainly don’t miss out on the ample nature and wildlife. Say hello to a lion! Just don’t get too close…
Cost: Reasonable. Food and drink can be relatively cheap and attractions aren’t ridiculous.
Ease Of Travel: Johannesburg has often been compared to Los Angeles in that it caters to freeway motor tourists. While public transportation IS possible, it’s not always convenient.
Potential Safety Concerns: Johannesburg has been known to have tension among its residents because of socioeconomic inequality. As a result, Johannesburg has a very high crime rate day and night. There are plenty of safe areas, however every tourist should take precautions to avoid any problems.
The city that is spread out over 14 islands overlooks the Baltic Sea to the east and encompasses rich history along with beautiful buildings and scenery.
What You Should Do While There: Eat some of the freshest and best-tasting fish in the world at Nystekt Strömmingvagnen. You might never view food carts the same way again. When the sun sets, prepare yourself for an incredible experience with Södermalm Nightlife. And make sure to take in the nighttime views of the city.
Cost: Quite expensive. If you have a tight budget, Stockholm isn’t the most ideal destination. But the rich history, beautiful scenery, and ample attractions make it a place to visit if you can afford it.
Ease Of Travel: Easy. Walking and biking are heavily encouraged but public transportation is easy to navigate as well.
Potential Safety Concerns: With riots in the past, travelers are encouraged to take precautions, but proceed as you would anywhere else.