Foreign travel can be intimidating. In fact it's almost always a bit scary before you actually land somewhere, get your feet wet, and realize you're going to be fine. But some places really are just plain easier than others for first-time travelers and some are best kept for seasoned veterans. Here are some of my favorites and why I think they are good for starting out.
Some things to take into consideration when choosing a budget travel location are:
Public Transportation- Is it prevalent, easy, and inexpensive?
Tourist Infrastructure- Will you be able to find enough hotels and restaurants to suit your comfort level at a budget?
Flights- Are they reasonable in both schedule, flight time, cost?
Safety- What is the crime level? Can you travel alone? Can you travel alone as a woman?
Language- If they use Roman letters (or whatever script you are fluent at reading - it's so much easier if you can read signs). Do you speak the native language? How much of your language do the locals speak?
Cost- How much does it cost once you're there?
There are other places that are super easy like New Zealand, Croatia, and some other European countries but they are either not easy on the budget or take a good bit more effort to travel on a budget. Therefore they don't fall into our category of "Easiest Budget Travel Destinations".
I will say that the first place I traveled alone was India - one of the more difficult places to travel alone - and I survived. And felt quite proud of myself too. But no matter where you go, you can feel proud of yourself for getting out there and experiencing the excitement of world travel!
Indonesia / Bali
On Bali in particular, it's so easy to get taxis all over the island, book tours, find retreats, and get almost any kind of food you could possibly want. The bemos (budget local transportation) are not widely used by tourists so transportation-wise, Bali is the not super easy on the "cheap".
Indonesia not only uses Roman letters, but the language is relatively easy. Many of their words are just phonetic versions of English words. Like taksi (taxi) and kopi (coffee). There is a lot of English spoken on Bali, too.
Because Bali is high on the over-touristed list, it takes a little searching out to get an authentic experience, but it can be had. Bali is rich in tradition and has a culture unique to the rest of Indonesia. Their ceremonies, festivals, artwork, and temples are what drew people to this island in the first place.
There is not a ton of diversity on the island but there are a few places to go explore if get tired of lazy days sipping Monkey La La's on the beach. There are mangrove forests, a butterfly farm, and Garifuna villages to visit.
Honduras has a reputation for being extremely unsafe, but the mainland and the islands are completely different worlds. There is indeed more crime on the mainland but Roatan is Westernized and not any more unsafe than other travel destinations.
In the Mayan Riviera (Costa Maya), you should make an effort to stay out of the big tourist hubs. There is a hostel in the hotel zone if you really want to be in that area, but there are way better places to spend your time and where you can get a lot more for your money. There are some budget-friendly places to stay in Cancun proper (my favorite area is near the Parque de las Palapas), on Isla Mujeres (OMG Playa Norte!), and most places along the coast. Local buses are everywhere both in the city and along the coast, and street food is your friend. Also because of all the tourism, you'll find English spoken everywhere and modern conveniences. Sites include ruins, cenotes, lakes, and beaches.
Mexico City is absolutely full of sights from museums to ruins to parks to historical houses. Hostels are clean and friendly and you can get everywhere by walking or with a combination of an easy-to-use subway system and Uber (although you really really need to watch for pick-pockets particularly on the subway). Reasonable (and sometimes very interesting) food can be found everywhere.
Booze and food can get really expensive, but inexpensive food can be found by partaking in the typical local plates and also roadside food stalls. Local buses and shared taxis will take you around the islands and there are plenty of hostels, too. As with anywhere, you might be somewhat limited as to your island experiences due to budget limitations (pricey ferries to other islands and such), but you can definitely enjoy a Fiji beach paradise on a budget.
The Thai script is not going to be possible for most travelers to read, but there are a lot of signs in English. Thai is a tonal language so it more difficult to learn, but you will find some English spoken in most places. Also, if you are used to Western culture, this will be a much bigger culture shock (AKA amazing experience!) for you.
Speak some Spanish? Great. If not, you will find English spoken throughout the country. As with Fiji, it is not an overall inexpensive country. The grocery stores are filled with gringo food, national park entry fees are high, and lodging is also at the higher end. But it can be done, and if a more Western vibe suits your desires (especially for newbie travelers), then this might be just perfect for you. I do love Costa Rica and have enjoyed it thoroughly on a low budget.
Georgia is a fun and energetic place to visit and enjoy culture, food, and coffee while being super budget friendly.
Again, this is still Europe so doesn't fall into the "dirt cheap" category, but you can definitely enjoy this culturally rich country without breaking the bank, and with and easy traveler infrastructure, so it ekes its way into this list.