Photo Credit: Elshaday Kebede
Visit These Affordable South American Destinations In 2023
Elshaday Kebede is a San Francisco Bay Area-based Black solo female traveler and content creator that enjoys traveling to affordable destinations. Having grown up in Ethiopia, travel is her biggest passion, and also one she does not take for granted. Following her becoming a U.S. citizen in 2019, she took her very first trip to Europe.
“Prior to that, I held the misconception that traveling is not for everyone. The lack of representation and role models to emulate for Black and budget-friendly travel made me think that travel was exclusive to certain demographic groups and those with cash to spare. However, after traveling for the past three years, I now believe that travel is an incredibly enriching experience that EVERYONE can enjoy. That is because almost all travel destinations can be budget-friendly, and Black girls like myself travel, too!”
Sharing budget travel info
Through her social media accounts, Elshaday shares travel guides and tips on solo, Black, female, and budget travel in hopes of educating and empowering others to travel confidently without worrying about safety and cost. There are many benefits of traveling on a budget that she believes make it a great way to travel.
“The main benefit is that the less money you spend on your travels, the longer you can travel for. Budget traveling has also allowed me to travel slower, spend more time in one city, and eventually see more of one country as I travel through it.”
When asked about amazing affordable destinations she recommends for Black travelers to consider in 2023, Elshaday said our neighboring continent, South America, is the place to go. Full of unique history, archaeological sites, and diverse cultures, it is a place every traveler simply must explore when they have the opportunity to do so.
South America is home to a variety of stunning landscapes, including beautiful mountains, rainforests, deserts, beaches, and islands that make it a great destination for outdoor adventures. It also boasts a unique flora and fauna with an unparalleled number of plant and animal species. In Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia, specifically, Elshaday was able to travel with a budget of under $30 a day (including flights!)
“I stayed in Ecuador for 16 days and spent a total of $431. During my time there, I visited Quito, Cotopaxi, Baños, Montañita, and Cuenca. I did at least one activity every single day and stayed at hostels and Airbnbs. The most memorable activities I did were hiking the refugee center at Cotopaxi National Park, swinging at the end of the world, and going on a day trip to the Amazon. Canyoning and renting a bike to see beautiful waterfalls in Baños and visiting a museum in Cuenca were also highlights.”
“I also stayed in Bolivia for 16 days and spent a total of $453. I visited Copacabana, La Paz, Sucre, and Uyuni. My activities included visiting the floating islands in Lake Titicaca, watching WWE-certified Cholitas wrestle, biking the most dangerous road in the world, and also taking a three-day/two-night tour to the Uyuni Salt lakes.”
“I stayed 40 days in Peru and spent a total of $904. The highlight of my Peru travels was hiking! I did multiple day hikes near the city of Huaraz, a five-day/four-night Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu, a day trek to the rainbow mountains/red valley, and a two-day/one-night trek to the Colca Canyon. In 40 days, I visited Chiclayo, Trujillo, Huanchaco, Huaraz, Lima, Ica, Huacachina, Cusco, Sacred Valley, and Arequipa.”
Traveling more affordably
As for her best tips for traveling more affordably, Elshaday recommends:
- Taking free walking tours
- Using student and other discounts everywhere you go
- Learning to travel hack and use credit card points
- Eatiing where the locals eat or cook your own meal
- Walking everywhere you can and use cheap ride-sharing apps everywhere else
- Staying at hostels
Presently, Elshaday is finishing up her travels in South America. For her next cost-effective adventures, she looks forward to exploring Southeast Asia. You can follow her travels on Instagram at @whereintheworldiselshu.
Related: Budget Travel: 5 Top International Destinations You Can Fly To With Spirit Airlines