A barkada trip is an extraordinary experience, especially when you get to fly on the same plane together. Travelling time seems to get shorter and once you get to the country; it’s just non-stop fun that only you and your friends could ever enjoy. While we get that maybe your friends are hesitant to spend money on travel or could have different financial priorities altogether, we think these wallet-friendly countries could convince you that travelling as a group is worth it.

Also read: 15 Overseas Destinations Filipinos Can Travel to Under ₱20k Budget

Affordable barkada trip destinations abroad

1. Hanoi, Vietnam

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The beautiful city of Hanoi has a lot to offer to those who come its way. From its historic and cultural sites to its high-end shopping malls, this city has it all for tourists of any kind. It definitely helps that Hanoi is also budget-friendly, whether for solo or group travellers. And at only ₱9,000 for round-trip tickets, Hanoi is clearly irresistible for a barkada trip.

If your friends are interested in Hanoi’s fascinating history, visit the Temple of Literature and National University to see one of the first Confucian temples in the world. For a glimpse of Hanoi during its French colonial period, drop by the Hanoi Opera House — if you’re lucky, you might catch a performance. Finally, for some shopping on a budget, take the time to walk around the Old Quarter. Here, you’re bound to find bargains and souvenirs for less!

Accommodations in Hanoi can be very cheap, saving you and your friends more cash if you want to spend on activities instead. Homestays can go for as low as ₱500 to ₱800 a night. Delicious food is also inexpensive in Hanoi, so you won’t have to think too much about budgeting your meals. Some of the best meals in the city can amount to ₱50 to ₱160.  Unless, of course, you and your friends fall in love with pho, in which case, more food for all of you!

Also read: Hanoi Travel Tips for First Time Filipino Travellers (From a Former Expat)

2. Singapore

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Usually, Singapore is the most popular barkada trip destination for most Filipinos. You can book round-trip flights at ₱8,000, maybe even less, at any time of the year. And with so many activities to do, it’s practically guaranteed that your friends will find something to enjoy in the Little Red Dot. Stepping foot in the world-class beauty of Changi Airport alone makes the trip worth it!

While certainly a small city, Singapore offers a multitude of attractions. Among the most famous of them, of course, is Universal Studios Singapore, where you and your friends can scream on high-speed roller coasters or rapids. If you’re lucky, you might chance on discounted packages which might grant you and your friends admission to places like Singapore Zoo or Gardens by the Bay.

Hawker centres are rampant in Singapore and will give your taste buds a thrill without leaving your wallets dry. From Hainanese chicken to lokloks, the multicultural palate of Singapore will stretch your budget and your tummy. These dishes would cost around ₱200 per order and are very delicious for their price.

For Singapore accommodations, you can find considerably priced hostels in the heart of the city. Most of these stand in fascinating neighbourhoods, some of them even host communal spaces, so you and your friends can make even more friends! Reasonable rates tend to reach up to ₱1,000 per night, with some including free breakfast.

Also read: How to Travel to Singapore From the Philippines on a Budget

3. Johor Bahru, Malaysia

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For a city that you can visit that has everything without going broke, you and your friends should discover Johor Bahru. Affectionately called JB, this vibrant city is a great follow-up when visiting Singapore or vice versa because they are connected by two checkpoints: Woodlands and Tuas. So if you’re looking for a great extension to an already shoestring budget, consider visiting JB and Singapore when going through your barkada trip. That’s also two immigration stamps for the price of one flight, so it’s worth it!

JB has so many attractions filled with a lot of sights and sounds, especially for a barkada trip with variety. Legoland Malaysia is easily one of the most popular attractions in JB for its creative use of the famous building block. It may not roll off the tongue easily, but visiting Arulmigu Sri Rajakaliamman Glass Temple is a transcendental experience and is something that needs to be seen to be believed. For a simpler thrill, the historic Johor Zoo houses over 100 species of animals, all of which are fascinating. Finally, JB has so many high-end shopping malls where you can shop or relax on a hot day.

Food and accommodations in JB are also quite affordable. Local food is as lively as the city, showcasing impressive Malaysian and Chinese cuisine while being considerate of your budget at ₱300 for meals good for two to three people. As for accommodations, look for establishments near the Causeway, so you can easily wander in JB with ease. Prices would range from ₱600 to ₱1,200, giving you affordable and flexible options for lodging.

4. Bangkok, Thailand

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Backpacker-friendly Bangkok is one of the best destinations for a barkada trip because of the fun to be had. This fascinating city has it all: rich history, amazing food, and exciting attractions. Round trips can go for ₱10,000 or less. With careful planning, travel budgets in Bangkok can extend for more than you might think!

From its ornate temple complexes like Wat Arun and Wat Suthat to historic buildings like The Grand Palace, these are the sites to visit should you and your friends want to know more about Bangkok. Shopping can also be quite engaging, especially when you try your bargaining skills at Chatuchak Market. For an exciting experience, why not try muay thai lessons? Just don’t hurt each other in the process. We did say that Bangkok was an exciting city!

Don’t worry about food and accommodations too much when in Bangkok. Authentic Thai cuisine like pad thai and tom yum are nutritious and affordable so most dishes can fill you and your friends up quite easily. It might also surprise you that a day’s food budget of ₱800 is just a few bills shy of average room rates when in Bangkok. One night in Bangkok may not be enough!

Also read: 9 Airbnb Homes in Bangkok for Your Thailand Getaway

5. Jakarta, Indonesia

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As the second most populous city behind Tokyo, there are many attractions in Jakarta that groups of friends can easily enjoy. Most of them are free while some are quite affordable. Time your flights right and you might get to fly for ₱8,000, back and forth. 

Groups can book a tour to Taman Mini Indonesia, which has a little replica of Indonesia and exhibits that summarise the cultures found in the archipelago. You can also visit Pantai Ancol, an eclectic beach and commercial district. You can also find Ancol Dreamland nearby for amusement park thrills.

Your group can also save a lot of money depending on where most of your itinerary will take place. For example, it’s entirely possible to stay in Ancol or Kota Tua which can save you money on transport. Hostels can range around ₱600 a night but for groups of friends, you can book an apartment for ₱2,000 a night. Food is both affordable and accessible in Jakarta, not to mention delicious. The famous nasi goreng is under ₱200! Explore their exquisite street food options if you can! 

Also read: 10 Jakarta Airbnbs Close to the City’s Top Attractions

6. Sydney, Australia

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Time your flights right, stretch your budgets a little more, and you might just get to fly to the Land Down Under for less than you think. And if your, ehem, mates, are looking for non-stop fun, Sydney will exceed those expectations and more. It is entirely possible to book flights in Sydney for ₱18,000. Being the biggest city in New South Wales, it hosts a lot of diverse activities for people who visit it.

For a start, you’ve never really been to Sydney if you haven’t gone to the Sydney Opera House, cliché as it may sound. Seeing this majestic building up close is worth the trip alone. For a more definitive Australian experience, you can visit koalas and kangaroos at Taronga Zoo, along with other various animals. You can also lounge around in ocean pools found on Bondi Beach, where you and your mates can learn how to surf.

Backpacker stays are commonplace in Sydney and you’ll find no trouble in looking for local rentals which your mates can afford. Some of these are even beachfront options at less than ₱2,000 a night! Full disclosure, though: Sydney may be highly-regarded as a gastronomic hub but it can be troublesome to find cheap food. A good idea is to look for group meals. Some restaurants have these options for about ₱2,000 that’s good for four to five people. Not bad, right?

7. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

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This is another case of good timing for flights but miracles can happen! Usually, travelling to Dubai can be cheap during their summers, going for as low as ₱17,000 for a round-trip flight. But since it’s a desert, the heat might not be ideal for a leisurely vacation. If you want to experience Dubai without the heat, try and book a flight during the Christmas season. This barkada trip destination will be up to your group’s patience so don’t give up! (Piso sale is key.) 

Should you get to fly Dubai, there is nothing quite like it. As one of the most advanced cities in the world, Dubai prides itself as a prime destination for activities. It seems every other year, the city unveils another incredible theme park, hotel, or mall where friends can visit and enjoy. It goes without saying that a visit to the Burj Khalifa is unmissable. But really, anything that you and your friends will think of doing, chances are, Dubai might have it in its best possible way.

Since tourism has picked up in Dubai, there are several hostels that groups can stay in for less than the city’s famed hotels. A good idea is to book your Dubai rentals in districts you will likely spend your time on. For example, if you want to visit historical sites, Old Dubai’s proximity can save you transportation budget. Group budgets can likely score you a nice apartment at around ₱9,000 a night which you can divide among your friends.

Food options in Dubai are a mix of Persian, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisine. Some can be expensive, some can be cheap. But for an affordable group meal, you and your friends should look out for the kabsa or mandi. These basmati rice platters are popular in Dubai and are absolutely massive in serving portions. It’s a delicious dish that should definitely be shared with friends and at roughly ₱900 a platter, this robust meal is worth it.

Also read: At 293 Metres, Address Beach Resort Dubai’s Infinity Pool Is World’s Highest

8. Seoul, South Korea

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Yes, chingus, Seoul, South Korea is an affordable destination for your barkada trip. Round-trip ticket prices can cost as low as ₱8,000. There are also a lot of options when it comes to affordable accommodations, most of which are located right in the heart of the city. In fact, a lot of hosts are designed for groups of more than five people so if your barkada is big, you’ll be comfortable inside these homes for at least ₱1,000 a night.

You and the chingus will definitely find the time of your lives in this gorgeous city. Dress up in hanboks as you take a stroll in Bukchon Hanok Village or why not shop at the famous Gangnam District for clothes that ooze Gangnam Style? And if your group went to Seoul solely for K-pop, you can visit some of the agencies such as JYP Entertainment or SM Entertainment, both of which are near each other. Who knows, if you’re very lucky, you might get to see your biases!

If you loved the samgyup trend in the Philippines, try out the real thing in Seoul. These are some of the most affordable foods (around ₱1,000 for a group) in the city so if your barkada are frequent diners of these barbecues back home, it’s not that different here. Other than that, you can sample some trendy street food in food strips around the city.

Also read: South Korea on a Budget? This Filipina Traveller Shares Her Tips for a Wallet-Friendly Trip

9. Osaka, Japan

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While the more popular destination when visiting Japan is Tokyo, Osaka is the more affordable option. It’s entirely possible to book a flight to this city for as low as ₱13,000 to ₱20,000, depending on the season. But that’s not to say that Osaka isn’t as lively as Tokyo! Osaka is a side of Japan that’s worth exploring and enjoying just as well.

Groups can find no shortage of attractions in Osaka. There are many historical sites and museums found throughout the city. The most famous, of course, is the historic Osaka Castle, a 400-year-old structure that highlights the best of Japanese architecture. You can also visit the district of Shinsekai, a lively part of Osaka that has some of its best restaurants and bars. If you’re looking for enlightening attractions, you can book a tour of the Osaka Science Museum or The National Museum of Art. And if you and your tomodachis are fans of Harry Potter, Universal Studios Osaka is a must-visit.

Food and accommodations are pretty generous in Osaka. If you know where to look, you can eat conveyor belt sushi here for less than you think (around ₱120-₱200 per plate). There are also many Osaka rental options for groups. Pool your money together and you can find a house rental worth ₱800 per pax a night.

10. Hong Kong

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Another popular destination for barkada trips is Hong Kong. It’s only a three-hour flight away from the country or less! With visa-free entries for Filipino tourists and tickets for as low as ₱7,000 and you have one of the best destinations for a barkada trip.

For Disney fans, Hong Kong Disneyland is the most accessible for Filipinos and is a great destination for friends to have fun. If you’re after bargain hunting, Temple Street Night Market has many finds which you can try to score for less. Finally, it is also possible to cross to Macao from Hong Kong through a bus or ferry.

You can find many food tours in Hong Kong, but if you just need to eat, there are delicious meals here that you can buy for ₱300 or less. To save money on accommodations, you can book hostels that go for ₱1,200 to ₱2,000. If you can pool money together, there are apartments that can go for as low as ₱7,000 a night.

Also read: 12 Free Places to Visit in Hong Kong for Budget Travellers

11. Macao

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Don’t overlook Macao because this dazzling casino city can be a cheap destination for tourists travelling in groups! Slightly cheaper compared to Hong Kong, Macao also boasts affordable options for accommodations, food, activities, and places to visit. Visa-free, budget-friendly, and barkada-trip-ready, Macao is just the place to be!

A one-way flight ticket to Macao can go as low as ₱2,300. When looking for places to stay here, there are tons of budget hotels and inns to choose from for at least ₱1,500 per night. Here, expect your food trip to be a mouthwatering mix of Chinese and Portuguese cuisine. Satiate your hunger with street food delights like Portuguese egg tarts and pork buns for just ₱60 each. Moreover, local restaurants offer tasty meals for ₱400 to ₱500. 

As for budget-friendly things to do in the city, Macao offers an array of free attractions for you to see. Visit the iconic Ruins of St. Paul and explore the nearby Historic Centre of Macao for a dose of history and sightseeing. Other must-visit tourist spots include the vibrant Taipa Village, A-Ma Temple, Senado Square, and Mount Fortress Garden

12. Taipei, Taiwan

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Dreaming of bustling night markets, delicious Taiwanese eats, ancient wonders, pristine beaches, and unlimited bubble tea? Taipei awaits you! And you don’t need to break the bank to experience the magic of the Taiwan capital. Additionally, with its relaxed visa policy and visa-free entries, it’s no wonder why it has also become a top choice for Philippine passport holders. 

From Manila to Taipei and back, airfare can go as low as ₱6,000! When in Taipei, you’ll find a range of budget-friendly accommodations for only ₱1,000 per night. Your best bet? Districts Ximending or Da’an, no doubt. That way, you’ll still be close to all the action during your barkada trip. 

If you’re after free fun, you’re spoilt for choice! Explore Longshan Temple in the Wanhua District, soak up the vibes at Ximending, and conquer the peaks of Elephant Mountain or Tiger Mountain for stunning overlooking views. If you and your barkada have extra money to spare on activities, groups of 10 can visit the National Palace Museum for a discounted price of ₱566 each! 

Also read: 10 Things to Do in Taipei for Your First Time in Taiwan, According to This Solo Traveller

13. Phnom Penh, Cambodia

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Planning a barkada trip to Cambodia? If you’re seeking the energy of city life, Phnom Penh is your best choice. Meanwhile, Siem Reap is an ideal destination for travellers who love ancient wonders, history, and serenity. Both Cambodian gems offer unique experiences and can be budget-friendly cities. However, the latter can be slightly more expensive possibly due to the higher volume of tourists here. 

While travelling to Cambodia on a budget boils down to your spending style, choice of accommodation, travellers with a shoestring budget might be able to save more in Phnom Penh. 

Here, accommodations are typically priced at ₱450 to ₱1,200 per night. Moreover, you can enjoy local delicacies like Khmer curry, rice noodles, and spring rolls for only ₱120 to ₱280 per meal. 

Getting around Phnom Penh is fairly inexpensive, too. Tuk-tuks and motorbike taxis are the most common (and cheapest) means of transportation in the city. These go for as low as ₱35 per kilometre. Of course, you can’t miss out on top tourist spots like the Royal Palace, the bustling Central Market and Russian Market, or the scenic Sisowath Quay

14. La Paz, Bolivia

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In case you don’t know yet, Bolivia is visa-free for Pinoys for up to 90 days! The administrative capital city of La Paz is known as the highest city in the world, sitting at a staggering elevation of 3,650 metres. While it’s less popular compared to its South American neighbours, Bolivia promises an affordable holiday for your international barkada trip!

Although flights from Manila may be expensive, exploring the city is possible on a shoestring budget! Expect to spend about an average daily budget of ₱2,500, which includes lodging, food, and activities. We suggest looking for hostels and guesthouses near Plaza Murillo or El Prado to save up on accommodation. You’ll also have easy access to public transportation and attractions if you stay around these areas. 

An ideal destination for travellers who love photography, adventure, and sightseeing, La Paz has tons of entrance-free hotspots to visit. Tour the historical centre of Plaza Murillo, spot mystical finds by local yatiri witches at the Witches’ Market, or baskin in panoramic vistas from Mirador Killi Killi (one of the best viewpoints in the city).  

15. Belgrade, Serbia

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Travelling to the landlocked nation of Serbia on a budget is definitely possible! While compact in size, it offers a chock-full of fun experiences outside of Europe’s busy tourist magnets. Its capital city, Belgrade, is one of Europe’s cheapest cities to travel to and is known as the backpacking capital of the Balkan Peninsula

In Belgrade, you can have your fill of traditional Serbian dishes like sarma (stuffed cabbage leaves), ćevapi (grilled meat), and other local eats for less than ₱500 per meal. Don’t forget to spend some time checking out its colourful street art scene. And by sundown, hit the local bars in one of its many party districts. Here, local beers go for as low as ₱130! 

As for tourist attractions and sightseeing, consider visiting the Museum of Yugoslavia (free entry every first Thursday of the month), the historic Belgrade Fortress, and the Temple of Saint Sava

Also read: 10 Best European Countries That Won’t Break the Bank

Barkada trips are always special and unforgettable chapters in anyone’s lives. To spend a vacation overseas with your closest pals is doubly so! It may take a lot of research and saving, but once it happens, it holds the distinction of a memory that only you and your friends can share.

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Aldous Vince Cabildo and Andrea Larice Yap

Ever since growing up, Aldous learned how to look at things from an historical perspective. So whenever the opportunity to travel arises, he makes sure to go to places that contain local stories and memories. From there, he takes in the lessons from the past and picks out what to learn, or should it interest him, what to unlearn. At any chance he gets, he also makes sure to try out local cuisine. When not charting his next destination, Aldous likes to explore worlds found in video games, hip-hop, film, and professional wrestling. He is a proud resident of Tondo.