How to Travel West Africa on a Budget

West Africa is an interesting puzzle when it comes to budget travel. Unlike many infamously expensive destinations – think Paris or Dubai – you’ll be “roughing it” in West Africa regardless of your budget.

Yet compared to reliably cheap backpacker havens like Laos, West Africa is a bit of a splurge. Let’s just come out and say it: the value for money might not seem great.

But that’s just one way of looking at it, because it all depends on what you value.

If you care more about interesting conversations with locals and less about air-conditioned transportation, if you prize vast tracts of jungle and empty wild beaches more than having a toilet seat in your motel room, and if you crave adventure more than comfort, West Africa definitely won’t let you down.

Though you’ll never reach the absurdly low prices of Southeast Asia, for example, it IS possible to travel West Africa on a budget. To pull it off, you’ll need to embrace a particular style of travel that can be unpredictable, slow, and sometimes hilariously frustrating. In return, you’ll be welcomed into a colorful land of natural beauty, vibrant culture, and memorable interactions.

I traveled in West Africa for three months on a limited budget, moving through five countries along the coast: Senegal, Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Côte d’Ivoire. I spent endless hours in cozy bush taxis, stayed in the cheapest local guesthouse rooms I could find and ate my meals in the same roadside shacks as everyone else.

While it’s hard to generalize an entire region, I think many of the budget travel tips I learned in these five countries will help others looking to travel cheaply throughout much of West Africa. 

This is the beginning of a guest post I wrote for Go Backpacking.

Read the full article on

More West Africa Travel Resources

For detailed country guides, hiking routes, travel tips and more, visit the full list of West Africa travel resources or these popular posts:

About the Author

Hi there, I’m Alissa, founder of Exploring Wild. I’ve had the pleasure of traveling independently and solo on six continents, including some unusual destinations like Liberia and Sudan, and it has forever changed the way I see the world and myself. Learn more about me here.

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