Black Friday is a cultural phenomenon. Many Americans wait all year to hit malls and retail stores the day after (and sometimes on) Thanksgiving, spending an average of $290 per shopper to stock up on clothes, electronics and goods that are available for a fraction of their normal price. Though it can be hard to pass up on discounted TVs, deals on designer clothes and marked down shoes and accessories, Black Friday is actually a great day to start a travel fund instead. So if you have the willpower, skip shopping on Black Friday all together and put that cash toward visiting these wallet-friendly destinations instead. Some of the flights to inexpensive countries can be pricey, but when you’re snacking on street food abroad instead of staring at clothes you bought on Black Friday that you never wear, your future self will thank you.
Johannesburg, South Africa
If you can find a flight deal to Johannesburg, South Africa, buy it. Johannesburg may not be as popular as the South Africa’s coastal Cape Town, but with entire flats in desirable neighborhoods like Maboneng and Kensington for as little as $18 and delicious meals at most restaurants for well under $10, Jozi is a budget traveler’s dream.
San Jose, Costa Rica
Traveling to Costa Rica is a win-win. Round-trip flights to the county can often be found for less than $400, and budget travelers can enjoy the best of San Jose for well under $100 per day. Ziplining is incredibly popular in Costa Rica and can often cost you a pretty penny, but with many attractions available for free (or close to it), and food at even the nicest restaurants often costing less than $20, San Jose is one place where your dollar will go far.
Flights to Shanghai from just about anywhere in the U.S. are shockingly low right now and expect accommodations, food and activities throughout the country to be affordable at just about every turn. There are high-budget options for anyone that wants to experience true Chinese luxury, but with soup dumplings from street vendors for $2, tours of the Jing’an and Jade Buddha temples for under $10 and accommodations on Airbnb for less than $20 a night, you won’t have to splurge to have a good time.
Wedged between Thailand and Vietnam, Laos can often get overlooked because of its more popular, coastal neighbors. Flights to Laos can come with a bit of a sticker shock, but if you’re already planning to visit Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh, it’s worth a visit. Like its fellow Southeast Asian neighbors, the country is incredibly cheap, so don’t be surprised if you have a hard time spending more than $45 per day, including the price for accommodation.