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Pokhara Boats HDRThe month of March is one of the better ones on the calendar for budget travelers since it’s well before the summer season in the Northern Hemisphere and the winter crowds in the tropical areas are starting to thin out at the same time. Through much of Latin America and Asia you can find perfect weather with off-peak hotel prices and reasonable crowds.

For those starting in North America or Europe you’ll find that most of these places will require a fairly long flight to reach, but that’s the price you pay for warm weather this time of year, and those staying for at least two weeks can easily justify the airfare by the cheap prices they pay once they have arrived.

Prices listed for each city are from our Backpacker Index for 2014, which compares cities around the world for the same common budget travel expenses.

Looking for tropical beaches? Check our cheapest Caribbean islands list for the best-value destinations, including at least a few that are surprisingly cheap even in high season.

The Americas

With the United States and Canada either being frozen or expensive (south Florida) this time of year, you’ll want to head to Latin America or the Caribbean for the best bargains with sunny and warm weather.

The Caribbean

Negril JamaicaIf you are looking for cultural destinations then there are many better choices below, but if you are mainly looking to relax on a beach in the warm weather then the Caribbean is your best bet in March. Obviously many of its islands are quite expensive, while others continue to be great bargains. The Dominican Republic and Jamaica are quite cheap in general, with a few resort areas being surprisingly inexpensive.

Believe it or not, the cheapest option for most people is going to be a all-inclusive resort. Rates at most of them are very competitive so they often only cost a bit more than resorts where everything is sold separately. Specifically on the Dominican Republic and in Mexico near Cancun, you can get an all-inclusive room for two starting not much over US$100 per night in March. Nicer places start closer to US$200 per night for two people, which is still quite cheap when it includes all meals and alcohol.

Mexico City, Mexico

  • March avg high: 78F/26C
  • March avg low: 49F/9C
  • March avg precip: 0.4″/1.0cm

Due to its elevation, Mexico City is fairly cool during winter, but by March the days have warmed up enough that it will feel great when arriving from a cold climate. This city is routinely underrated as a cultural destination by those who might fear the worst, and the city center is very safe by almost any standard.

The food, the nightlife, and the shopping are other great reasons to visit Mexico City at any time of year. Perhaps best of all, it’s all very cheap compared to most of Latin America so you can afford to splurge a bit while still keeping costs down.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$32.73

>>>Mexico City prices

Lima, Peru

  • March avg high: 80F/27C
  • March avg low: 69F/21C
  • March avg precip: 0.0″/0.0cm

As a very popular summer destination for South Americans, Lima can be quite crowded from December through February, but by March the crowds are thinning out and hotel prices are falling a bit, in spite of the continuing perfect weather. This is another historic colonial city that also has very good nightlife and excellent food at very good prices.

Most people who visit Lima from far away will do it as part of a tour of South America, and in that context it’s a great stop for at least a few days. By the way, the rainy season in Cusco goes on in March, so the trails can sometimes be cut off, although many people go anyway.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$31.30

>>>Lima prices

Cartagena, Colombia

  • March avg high: 86F/30C
  • March avg low: 77F/25C
  • March avg precip: 0.1″/0.3cm

Cartagena is an excellent choice for a late-winter vacation as the weather is still pretty much perfect and yet hotel prices are starting to ease off of their high-season levels. There are great deals on beach hotels in this city from 2-star all the way up to 5-stars, and airfare prices are often cheaper than you’d expect as well.

Another key feature about this city is that it’s a cultural destination in addition to being a great beach spot so you can explore the historic city center and include some culture on an otherwise hedonistic getaway.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$37.22

>>>Cartagena prices

San Jose, Costa Rica

San Jose

  • March avg high: 79F/26C
  • March avg low: 59F/15C
  • March avg precip: 0.8″/2.0cm

While the capital city of Costa Rica isn’t terribly special on its own, San Jose is where most people will be landing first and the weather there is actually a bit cooler than most beach towns due to the elevation. All of Costa Rica is still on high season in March, but it’s still quite cheap by most standards so it deserves consideration for sure.

The beaches (especially on the Pacific side) are great for surfing and the whole country is brimming with canopy tours and adventure activities, so it’s very big with the Spring Break crowd as well as before and after. Still, it’s hard to find this ideal weather and more to like in such a cheap country so close to the US in March.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$31.93

>>>San Jose prices

Santiago, Chile

  • March avg high: 80F/27C
  • March avg low: 51F/11C
  • March avg precip: 0.1″/0.3cm

Santiago is far enough south that it’s starting to cool off just a bit by March, which is a good thing because it’s even more pleasant. This is another city that is popular with South Americans during their summer so hotel prices start coming down and crowds start thinning out by March, making it an ideal time to come. There’s almost zero threat of rain, and evenings are pleasantly cool.

Another feature of Santiago is that it’s the gateway to several different other destinations within Chile so many people come and stay for just a few days before heading on to a mountain resort or the colonial city of Valparaiso.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$36.77

>>>Santiago prices

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Buenos Aires

  • March avg high: 84F/27C
  • March avg low: 63F/17C
  • March avg precip: 5.3″/13.3cm

Though March is actually the wettest month in Buenos Aires, visitors are unlikely to notice because rainfall is fairly consistent through the year. Again, the temperatures in March are pretty much ideal and many South American tourists have gone back home by now so hotel prices are a bit lower.

Buenos Aires is starting to look a bit expensive by South American standards, but it’s really more apt to compare it to Europe since that’s how it looks and feels, which still makes it a wonderful bargain. Food and drinks are notoriously good and cheap so you will feel like you are splurging even while keeping your budget low.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$45.29

>>>Buenos Aires prices

Ambergris Caye, Belize

San Pedro Belize

  • March avg high: 79F/26C
  • March avg low: 74F/23C
  • March avg precip: 1.9″/4.8cm

March is definitely part of high season in Belize, so it’s a good thing that even during this period it’s fairly cheap by most standards. The weather is perfect day and night with almost no chance of rain. San Pedro on Ambergris Caye is the most expensive part of the island so backpackers and budget travelers are advised to head to Caye Caulker, very nearby, instead, for lower prices and a similar vibe.

Belize is definitely one of the cheapest Caribbean destinations, and the offshore islands actually do have quite a Caribbean feel in spite of being surrounded by Latin America. There are wonderful resorts here for those willing to spend more, but even the cheaper hotels are decent, and very good bargains even in high season.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$49.79

>>>Ambergris Caye prices

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Rio de Janeiro

  • March avg high: 90F/32C
  • March avg low: 73F/23C
  • March avg precip: 5.1″/12.8cm

With Carnival having taken place in mid to late February in 2012, March is a perfect time to hit Rio de Janeiro because the crowds have thinned out and the weather is a little more bearable as well. There will be some rain, but Rio is in the Tropics so it tends to come and go quickly, usually in the late afternoon.

Rio de Janeiro has crept up in price in recent years so it’s not the bargain it once was. Budget travelers can still do well here if they stay inland from the beaches or even in the city center area, but those who want to participate in the good life in Copacabana and Ipanema most days will be paying more for it.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$54.04

>>>Rio de Janeiro prices

Europe

From November through March there are literally no European cities that could qualify as having “great weather,” except for the Canary Islands, mentioned just below. So during the winter Europe is all about cultural tourism, and lower hotel prices make it especially appealing for those who like to stretch their travel budgets and avoid crowds at the same time.

If you are thinking about a city break instead you should check out our recommended cheap London hotels, our recommended cheap Paris hotels, and our recommended cheap Amsterdam hotels, recommended cheap Rome hotels, recommended cheap Prague hotels, and recommended cheap Berlin hotels.

Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

  • March avg high: 71F/22C
  • March avg low: 60F/16C
  • March avg precip: 1.1″/2.8cm

Tenerife is the most popular part of the Canary Islands (off the coast of Africa) for English-speaking tourists, but there are other options with similar weather and prices. It’s not as warm in March as most other places on this list, though at least it’s fast and cheap to reach by plane from Europe, which isn’t true of the others.

Compared to Europe this island is a relative bargain, which helps make it popular pretty much all year round. Needless to say, prices can range quite a bit from one part of the island to another so it’s good to stay somewhere central if possible so you have the most options for food and drink.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$51.92

>>>Tenerife prices

Africa

March is a good month for the northern and southern parts of Africa, which are where most of the popular destinations are anyway.

Cairo, Egypt

  • March avg high: 75F/24C
  • March avg low: 52F/11C
  • March avg precip: 0.2″/0.5cm

March is part of the sweet period in Cairo where it’s nicely warm but still not overwhelmingly hot. With so many things to see in the outdoors in Cairo you are much better off avoiding the summer heat. Even as part of the high season for hotels, Cairo is incredibly cheap by most standards so you can find a great bargain any time of year.

When Egypt is struggling to attract tourists you might find that you can get a fantastic deal at a 3- or 4-star hotel, since they tend to lower prices when demand is weak while the cheaper places generally hold steady. Food tends to be very cheap in Cairo as well, as long as you avoid the restaurants in those fancy hotels.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$27.53

>>>Cairo prices

Marrakech, Morocco

  • March avg high: 72F/22C
  • March avg low: 49F/9C
  • March avg precip: 1.5″/3.8cm

It may still be a bit chilly in Marrekech during March so it’s not really ideal for those who are absolutely fed up with snow and freezing temperatures, but at least it’ll be pleasant here. Fez tends to be a bit cooler year round and a bit cheaper as well, though March may be a bit too early for that city if you need warm weather.

There are amazing numbers of hotels in Marrakech and it’s good to be aware that the bottom price level will usually be for something that is very shabby by European standards so many will want to pay a bit more for something nicer. Still, things tend to be cheap in all of Morocco so it’s a good overall destination.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$30.41

>>>Marrakech prices

Cape Town, South Africa

  • March avg high: 78F/26C
  • March avg low: 58F/14C
  • March avg precip: 0.8″/2.0cm

March is yet another very dry month in Cape Town, and temperatures tend to be pretty much perfect all day and all night as well, even for the beach. The high season hotel prices have eased off a bit so this is a perfect time to enjoy the best possible weather without having to pay the highest prices for it.

Cape Town is relatively cheap once you get there, so the main problem for most people is that it’s quite expensive to fly in. Since most people coming from longer distances tend to combine Cape Town with a safari or other activities then the airfare can still be worthwhile for a longer visit, even if it’s too expensive to just pop down for a few days.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$38.46

>>>Cape Town prices

Asia

March is a good month to visit many parts of Asia, although some cities like Bangkok, Saigon, and Siem Reap are already too hot during the day for most people.

Pokhara, Nepal

  • March avg high: 72F/22C
  • March avg low: 50F/10C
  • March avg precip: 1.2″/3.0cm

It’s still a bit cool in Pokhara, especially toward the beginning of March, but at least it’s very dry, and that is a big key here. This is the trekking capital of the world so you’d rather have cooler days as long as they are clear and dry.

Hotels in Pokhara are incredibly cheap by most standards, and they’ve built so many new ones that prices are likely to stay low for years to come. Food and drinks are also very good deals here so it’s a great place to chill out for a while. The trekking tours can be expensive, however, so if you want to go on multi-day trips with guides you are going to spend a decent chunk of money compared to just staying in town.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$14.32

>>>Pokhara prices

Chiang Mai, Thailand

  • March avg high: 95F/35C
  • March avg low: 65F/18C
  • March avg precip: 0.5″/1.3cm

It’s good to consider that April is the hottest month of the year in most of Southeast Asia so March is already pretty scorching. Fortunately, Chiang Mai is one of the cooler cities in the region, especially in the evenings, so it’s still quite nice and bearable this month. Hotels are still in high season, but the prices here are fantastic even then so there is no point in trying to save money by going when it’s hellishly hot instead.

Chiang Mai is one of the world’s great budget destinations, especially with its hotels but also with its food, drinks, and shopping. It’s very popular for those spending a month or more in the region because it’s much less hectic than Bangkok or other big cities while being cheaper as well.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$17.66

>>>Chiang Mai prices

Goa, India

  • March avg high: 90F/32C
  • March avg low: 74F/23C
  • March avg precip: 0.0″/0.0cm

The difficult part of Goa is that it’s quite remote for most people so it’s not the sort of place you can go for a long weekend. For that reason this Indian state tends to be very popular for longer trips of a couple weeks or more. The weather is really ideal in Goa during March, though it probably means you’ll want a place with air conditioning rather than just a fan.

Some cities, such as Anjuna and Vagator, are better for the budget crowd and the nightlife crowd, while other beaches further south specialize more in package hotels in the mid range. You can get by on very little in this area if you need to, but paying more will often get you much better quality that’s worth it.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$18.25

>>>Goa prices

Luang Prabang, Laos

  • March avg high: 92F/33C
  • March avg low: 64F/18C
  • March avg precip: 1.3″/3.3cm

Similar in some ways to Chiang Mai mentioned above, Luang Prabang at least has cooler evenings through this period of the year so it’s still quite nice to visit in March. The key is to do your sightseeing as early as possible and then relax for most of the afternoon.

March is still part of the high season for hotels in Luang Prabang, and accommodation here isn’t as cheap as it is in many other tourist cities in the region, but it’s still quite cheap by most other standards. Affordable food and drink are also easy to find if you look around a bit, so don’t just go into the first place you see if you are trying to save money here.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$21.71

>>>Luang Prabang prices

Phuket, Thailand

  • March avg high: 92F/33C
  • March avg low: 76F/24C
  • March avg precip: 1.9″/4.8cm

It’s getting quite hot in March in Phuket, but since it’s almost exclusively a beach destination it is still worthy of consideration. In fact, all of the islands in Thailand can be quite nice to visit in March, with Phuket being the most expensive of them. The crowds are thinning out after February so hotel prices are coming down a bit as well.

Phuket is quite a large island with many different beaches on its edges, most of which are quite expensive and lined with posh resorts, so if you are on a low budget you are going to have to choose a beach carefully or even stay in Phuket Town, which is inland. Still, food and drink prices are quite low and it’s a fun place if you find the right area for your style.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$26.09

>>>Phuket prices

Hong Kong

Hong Kong

  • March avg high: 71F/22C
  • March avg low: 62F/17C
  • March avg precip: 2.8″/7.0cm

Hong Kong is still fairly cool in March, but at least it’s mostly dry, so it’s a good time to visit before the summer rainy season can be problematic. This is mostly an indoor city anyway and the evenings are very mild so this is an ideal month to come and enjoy the restaurants, nightlife and shopping in this unique city.

Hotels in Hong Kong have fairly steady prices throughout the year, and the hostels are generally terrible, so finding a cheap hotel isn’t too easy. Still, compared to most of the rest of the world Hong Kong is fairly cheap and it’s a fascinating place to visit, at least once in your life.

2014 Backpackers Index: US$44.03

>>>Hong Kong prices

Middle East

March is cool and even a bit rainy in most of the Middle East. An exception is Dubai and Abu Dhabi, which both have perfect sunny weather. However, they don’t make this list because they aren’t really cheap enough for the cut.




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