The Top 15 Budget Destinations That are Known to Make Their Visitors Sick

By Miriam Brait


Most of us pick the least expensive destinations when we make our traveling plans--and for good reason. Nobody wants to come home broke!

However, that decision comes with a steep price.

The cheapest destinations are usually countries that have high levels of poverty and abysmal unemployment rates. This often affects the cleanliness in which restaurants cook their food, how often sheets in hotels are being washed, and many other aspects of the travel experience.

Here are top 15 budget destinations that are known to make their visitors sick:


There is more than one way to get sick in Thailand. Food poisoning, Dengue fever, Leptospirosis are just a few of the afflictions that you can run into during your trip.

This budget destination can be either heaven or hell depending on how well prepared you are for this experience.

Should you drink tap water in Thailand?

You shouldn’t take the risk of drinking tap water in Thailland. 

Make sure every dish you eat was prepared with boiled water. As for the ice cubes, there is an extensive network of ice factories that uses purified water. The ice cubes made from purified water are easy to spot since they are tubular in shape. Also, you should use your bottled water for washing your fruits and vegetables as well.

Make sure you don’t have any cuts or abrasions on your body when you’re swimming, kayaking, or whitewater rafting. There are many bacterial infections, such as Leptospirosis, that get into your body through cuts and abrasions.

Watch for Malaria and Dengue fever

Speak with a doctor in advance if you want to travel to a country that can put you at risk for Malaria. There are also tablets that you can take; however, they aren’t 100% effective. You should also try to use mosquito repellant on your skin.

Dengue fever is also transmitted by mosquitoes, and there is no cure or vaccine for this disease. Left untreated it can be fatal. With treatment it usually takes approximately 2 weeks to fade away.

14. Cuba 

This low budget travel destination can easily transform itself into a nightmare.

Right now Cuba is at risk of Zika, a devastating disease that provokes malformations in newborns and pregnant women. Women or couples who plan to have a child soon should steer clear of Cuba.

How can you prevent Zika?

Currently, there is no vaccine or medicine that can prevent Zika. The only thing you can do is to protect yourself from mosquito bites.

You can take precautions by covering your exposed skin with long shirts and long pants, using insect repellents, and staying in rooms with air conditioning, and sleeping under a mosquito bed net.

How Zika manifests itself and what you can do

If you experience a fever with a rash, joint pain, or red eyes, you should speak to a doctor immediately. Meanwhile, you can take a paracetamol to relieve fever and pain--but don’t take any medication that contains aspirin.

13. Mexico

Famous for its tequila, beautiful beaches, and inexpensive hotels, this exotic destination can leave you with a major intestinal parasite infestation.

How intestinal parasites are transmitted

If you are planning to travel to Mexico, make sure you always carry bottled water and wash your hands with antibacterial soap.

Undercooked meat or unwashed fruits and vegetables can also put you at risk.

How do you know if you suffer from an infestation?

If you are experiencing sudden gastrointestinal discomfort, vomiting, diarrhea a few weeks after leaving the country, you should talk to a specialist.

Some humans can live for years with intestinal parasites without even knowing, since some types of parasites create symptoms that resemble IBS.

12. Vietnam

Vietnam is no longer just in the history books. For many, it is the perfect vacation destination.It’s cheap, and has plenty to offer, from food to exotic beaches. But there are a few things to consider before heading to Vietnam.

Consider getting vaccinated

Make sure you get vaccinated for Hepatitis A, since it can be found in contaminated water. The same applies for Typhoid.

Rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals. You are at higher risk if you work or spend a lot of time outdoors or if you kids around you, as they are less likely to report bites.

11. South Africa 

South Africa brings up images of jungles, deserts, and adventure. Many Westerners choose to visit South Africa since it is an inexpensive destination and an easy choice when it comes to communicating with the locals (the official language is English). But few knows about the risks that the appealing destination brings.

Yellow Fever

The yellow fever is a virus that is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected mosquito.

There is currently no treatment for yellow fever, just for its symptoms.

As a traveller, the best way to protect yourself from yellow fever is to use insect repellent and wear proper clothing when you go outside. Additionally, you can also buy clothing that is pre-treated with insect repellent.

10. Uruguay

A peaceful, small country in Latin America, Uruguay is the preferred destination for lovers of Atlantic beaches and latin culture. What most travelers don’t consider, however, are the risks they expose themselves by traveling in this country.

Hepatitis A and B

It’s recommended not to have contact with blood or any body fluids or to get a tattoo in Uruguay. 

Contaminated water is also a concern. Bottled water is a must.

Intestinal Parasites

Intestinal parasites are a problem all over Latin America. Make sure you always carry bottled water to both drink and wash your food with. Also, don’t consume undercooked meat.

10. Greece

After the recent economical crisis in Greece, prices have dropped, and this European country is attracting more and more visitors.

What most people don’t know is that Greece failed long time ago, and this can be seen just by walking on their streets. The cities aren’t very clean, which negatively affects the quality of the water too.

Staphylococcus aureus

This bacteria is what causes staph infections, which are very dangerous, especially if your body cannot handle antibiotics.

The problem with staph bacteria is that it can survive extreme temperatures, drying, and high salt levels. It’s quite difficult to kill by just boiling water. However, certain conditions make your body more susceptible to staph infections.

If you are suffering of Diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Kidney issues, or undergoing chemotherapy, you are better off avoiding Greece.

9. Guatemala 

Many of us are fascinated by the Mayan and colonial legacies, so Guatemala seems to be a perfect place to explore ancient temples and have some fun on a budget.

Guatemala has immense beauty, but travelers should be warned that there has been a recent Zika outbreak. As a result, pregnant women or women who plan to become mothers should avoid traveling to Guatemala for now.

Safety measures

When traveling to Guatemala, make sure you get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B because you might stumble upon contaminated water.

It’s also a good idea to talk with your doctor about your traveling plans since you might need prescription medicine to prevent Malaria.

8. Russia

If you always dreamed of visiting Moscow and to drinking a glass of real, authentic vodka made in Mother Russia, you should prepare yourself not only for the cold but also for illnesses too.

Despite the cold weather, many viruses survive and get transmitted in Russia through contaminated water.

A plethora of diseases

Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and Japanese Encephalitis are just a few ailments you may run into during your time in Russia. 

Depending on which time of the year you plan your vacation, as well as where you plan to spend it, your doctor should help you decide if a vaccine is the right decision for you. Usually, the more time you spend outdoors in certain remote areas of Russia, the more chances to get sick.

7. Laos 

It’s hard not to be captivated by Laos’s beauties, especially if you are a country area lover.

However, the small, underdeveloped country has some issues with cleanliness in hospitals and restaurants. On top of it all, a lot of the water in Laos is contaminated.

Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Typhoid, Polio, and Japanese Encephalitis

Laos can be quite an unsafe destination if you don’t get vaccinated, even for Polio.

If you had your vaccine as a child, you might need an extra does as an adult. 

You should also avoid drinking tap water, washing your veggies in tap water, eating undercooked or raw meat, or being around blood or other body fluids of locals.

6. Portugal

With castles, vineyards, and stunning beaches, Portugal is a vacation hotspot that is hard to ignore.

It’s also happens to be one of the most inexpensive travel destinations in Europe.


If you are an adventurous traveller, you might come home with more than photos and memories. You might also bring along rabies.

Travelers who adventure in remote areas such as caves put themselves at risk of being bitten by bats.

Bats often carry rabies, so you should be especially careful if you travel with a kids, since they often don’t mention any bites or cuts.

Other concerns

Even though you’re less likely to get Hepatitis in Portugal than most destinations on this list, a disease such as that can break out all over the world.

5. The Gambia

Known for its beautiful beaches, Africa’s smallest country attracts a lot of beach and animal lovers.

At the Chimp Rehabilitation Centre in the River Gambia National Park, you can take a look at how primates interact in their natural habitat.

However, most travelers ignore the dangers that await them if they aren’t prepared.

Yellow Fever

Transmitted by an infected mosquito, yellow fever can be quite dangerous. Some get away with a fever while others suffer of severe liver disease and bleeding. The symptoms include yellow skin, fever, chills, headache, and vomiting.

If you experience any of these symptoms above, you should see a specialist right away. Yellow fever can be deadly if left untreated.

4. Bolivia 

One of the cheapest destinations in South America, Bolivia usually attracts travelers who are into hiking, walking on rough terrain, and relaxing in the country area.

However, pregnant women should avoid Bolivia for now since Zika outbreaks were reported in the region. 

As for other viruses, there are some safety measures you can take to prevent getting sick.

Safety measures

Before traveling to Bolivia, you should make sure you’ve been vaccinated against Hepatitis A and B, especially since in Bolivia you are at risk of getting these no matter where you are staying.

Typhoid vaccine is recommended for the travelers who want to spend their time in rural areas, Yellow fever is also a concern in certain areas in Bolivia.

3. Turkey 

The paradise for bargain hunters, and a country that was build on the crash on two empires, Turkey attracts over 35 millions visitors every year.

However, this travel destination has a problem with contaminated water, and it’s a wise decision to get a vaccine before packing your bags.

Safety Measures

All travelers in Turkey should get vaccinated for Hepatitis A and B, no matter where they stay.

Also, rabies can be found in dogs, bats, and other mammals in the country. If you are traveling with kids, make sure they don’t play with animals, as kids are less likely to report bites or scratches that could transmit the disease.

Even though the risk of Malaria isn’t as high as in other countries, it’s still a valid safety concern. Make sure you are using an insect repellant.

2. China

Many travelers are fascinated with the many beauties of China. The architecture, food, and traditions are hypnotizing.

Even though China can pride herself on clean water and beautiful cities in the rural areas, there are still many risks for adventurous visitors.

High-risk diseases in China

If you are traveling in the country area, you should watch for Malaria, Yellow fever, and Rabies.

You can avoid infestation by using insect repellant, covering your skin, and avoiding animals. There are also vaccines or medication you could try using before traveling to China.

Hepatitis A and B are also a concern. Drinking bottled water and avoiding raw traditional dishes would be a wise choice.

1. India 

By far the most preferred destination for travelers with a low budget, India is also by far the most dangerous destination health wise. Even though it has its beauties, you are certainly putting yourself at risk with a trip to India.

High-risk diseases in India

Depending on the area, you are exposing yourself to a high risk of Hepatitis A, B , Malaria, Cholera, and Rabies.

All of the ailments mentioned above can be prevented by vaccines or preventive medication.

Trying to stay away from contaminated water, food, or defending yourself from mosquitos helps too, but it doesn’t guarantee your safety.

Wrapping it up

Traveling to underdeveloped countries might seem a good idea at first, but you must keep in mind that it usually puts you at a higher risk of getting a disease.

The best way to keep yourself safe is to ask a specialist about the vaccines that you need to take in order to travel to a certain destination.