Who’s ready for a island getaway?
If you’re jumping up and down yelling “Me, Me, Me” then you have come to the right place.
There is something about an island getaway that really makes you feel like you’re on vacation. Maybe it’s the fact that you’re surrounded by water.
Or maybe its all the fruity drinks.
But jetsetting to an island paradise comes with a price. Or does it?
With the help of some of my favorite bloggers we put together a list of some of the least inexpensive island destinations around the world.
Because here at Poor In A Private Plane we know there is an island getaway for any budget.
And I am not talking about the blowup islands you buy on amazon like this one.
Although that island in kinda cool. Ok. Time to focus. Let’s talk island getaways.
Where is the Cheapest Island to Vacation At?
But before we get into the list I have to say, when I first started writing this I thought tropical island, beaches, pina coladas… that kind of vibe. I do love a good all-inclusive resort.
And I soon realize that there are so many islands around the world that offer more than just a pretty beach. So we’ve included a few of those in here as well.
I hope you enjoy as much as we do.
Below is the list so you can skip around. Or keep scrolling to be inspired.
- Dominican Republic
- Utila, Honduras
- Phu Quoc, Vietnam
- Koh Rong, Cambodia
- Trinidad Island, Trinidad and Tobago
- Deer Isle, Maine
- The Outer Banks
- Orcas Island, Washington USA
- Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
- South Padre Island, TX
What is the Cheapest Tropical Island to Visit?
Photo Credit: The Coastal Campaign
Romblon Island is an absolute hidden gem in the Philippines.
It took several days, an internal flight, 3 local ferries and multiple bus rides just to get to the island. But it is so worth it.
It is so special because not only is it insanely beautiful but it remains relatively untouched by tourism due to its remote location.
This means you get to enjoy all of the beautiful places on the island with almost nobody else around.
The main reason to visit Romblon is to relax at Bon Bon Beach. This beach has a long and narrow sandbar that stretches out into the crystal clear blue water.
We even managed to have the entire beach to ourselves the first day that we visited which seems crazy considering how amazing it is.
We spent the day relaxing on the white sand, swimming in the blue water and walking along the sandbar.
One of the other highlights was taking a local boat tour around some of the surrounding islands to check out more sandbars and go cliff jumping.
As there are no organized tours here we paid a local fisherman to take us on his boat for the day which was super cheap.
As it is still relatively undiscovered there aren’t too many choices for accommodation but one that we recommend staying in is Romblon Fun Divers & Inn which is located right in the center of town and quite budget-friendly.
This is such an incredible place and is totally worth every second of the journey to get here.
Submitted By Luke from The Coastal Campaign
Where to Stay in Romblon Island
You can find rates and availability for other places to state in Romblon Island here.
Top Thing to do in Romblon Island
Visit Bon Bon Beach.
Photo Credit: Orange wayfarer
Zanzibar is one of the most scenic island destinations of Africa.
One of the important stops on the maritime trade routes of the Indian Ocean, Zanzibar has historically been a cultural melting pot of the Gujaratis of India, Omanese from Arab and Britishers from Europe.
Zanzibar flaunts ethereal beauty, especially during the summer months. Zanzibar also happens to be a great beach destination in Africa during the December holidays.
It is mostly sunny, not excruciatingly humid and no cyclone rages through her shore during this time!
Zanzibar is very affordable, with cheap accommodation. However, transport could be a challenge in Zanzibar with the almost non-exitenat public bus service.
We stayed in Zanzibar for about a week and divided our stay between stone town and Uroa beach.
Stone town is vibrant with culture, local life, food markets and heritage tour across the old town (a UNESCO heritage site). While in Stonetown, do not miss the football match locals play by the beach as a stunning sunset takes place!
You will also want to make time to visit the UNESCO heritage Zanzibari Doors of Stonetown.
For a more relaxed and laid back ambience choose between Kedwa rock/ Nuangwi in the north or Uroa beach in the east. The beachside is dotted with many all-inclusive resorts. In this area, it is a challenge to find a local market or bustling nightlife.
In Zanzibar, we stayed at the Dhow palace hotel, which is a heritage merchant house now turned into a boutique stay.
Submitted By Madhurima from Orange wayfarer.
Make time to explore the ancient doors of Stone Town (UNESCO heritage site).
Photo Credit: A Taste for Travel
While the Caribbean generally has a reputation for being a pricey vacation destination, the island of Grenada in the eastern Caribbean offers several options for a budget-friendly holiday.
Savvy travellers can save money by booking a budget hotel near Grand Anse Beach, the island’s most famous stretch of sand or nearby Morne Rouge Beach.
Not only will you save money on taxis (at a minimum of $16 USD one-way taxi fares can really add up) but you’ll be within easy walking distance to supermarkets, shopping centres and banks/ATMs.
Another way to enjoy a budget-friendly vacation on Grenada is to take public transit, privately-run mini-vans that run pre-set routes, into the island’s capital of St. George’s.
Founded in 1650 and set within a beautiful bay, this historic capital offers fabulous sightseeing, museums, a fish market, shops and Market Square, home to the Caribbean’s most colourful produce and spice market.
Although at its most bustling on Saturday mornings, there are local vendors offering fresh fruit, vegetables and spices such as nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon and cloves at the market most weekdays.
Another budget-friendly feature of the island of Grenada is its wealth of free outdoor activities including hiking rugged trails through its mountainous interior, exploring crater lakes formed by volcanic eruptions, swimming in plunging waterfalls, birdwatching and snorkelling.
Access to the beaches is free and you can bring your own food and drink or enjoy a rum punch from one of the local beach vendors.
Submitted By Michele from A Taste for Travel
Photo Credit: The Danish Nomads
Tasmania is a big, beautiful, island located about 260 miles south of Australia. It’s an outdoor lovers paradise, with lots of wildlife, breathtaking natural landscapes, and a great selection of national parks.
The best way to experience the island is by going on a road trip, and it’s especially recommendable to rent a campervan. This also happens to be the cheapest method of travel, as there are plenty of free camping possibilities scattered around.
You need to spend about a week to see the main sights, and a proper Tasmania road trip itinerary will bring you in a circle around the entire island.
Highlights will include Cradle Mountain National Park, which is filled with epic hikes and cute little animals such as wallabies and wombats. Freycinet National Park, home to some of the most impressive beaches and coastlines in Australia.
And, surprising to many, you’ll also get to enjoy plenty of waterfalls and rainforests during your visit! If you arrive during summer, a visit to Bridestowe Lavender Estate is also a must.
Make sure to book the public campsites well ahead, but don’t worry too much if you aren’t comfortable with camping life.
The island has plenty of nice hotels as well, many in seaside locations, such as the Edge of the Bay Resort in Freycinet NP.
Tasmania can be reached by plane from Melbourne in around an hour, or by ferry in 8 hours. The so-called “Spirit of Tasmania” ferry carries cars back and forth, so you can bring your own wheels from the mainland. This is particularly great if you plan on extending your road trip to the famous Great Ocean Road as well!
Submitted By Nick from The Danish Nomads.
Pulau Weh, Indonesia
Photo Credit: Stingy Nomads
Pulau Weh island is a small island located close to Sumatra, Indonesia.
This beautiful little is an off the beaten track and is a great budget-friendly. tropical island destination.
Some highlights of Pulau Weh are the amazing diving, the relaxed vibe far away from tourist crowds, and exploring the island by scooter. Gapang and Iboih are two great beach areas to stay with, white sand, clear turquoise water, and beautiful coral reefs nearby.
Casa Nemo with beautiful ocean views and a private beach is a great place to stay. There are several hotels and hostels located on the beach.
Scuba diving around Pulau Weh is fantastic, the water is warm and clear with an amazing variety of marine life covering the coral reefs. Reef sharks, bluefin trevallies, huge gorgonian fans, and thousands of Indian triggerfish make for spectacular diving.
With clear, warm water and beautiful reefs there are some great spots for snorkeling around the island. You can see a variety of fish at the reefs just in front of Erick’s Greenhouse or Yulia Guesthouse Pier.
You will have the best snorkeling by going out with one of the snorkeling boat trips. If you rent a scooter and explore the island you will find small hidden beaches, a volcano, and rainforest to spend the day.
Submitted By Campbell and Alya from Stingy Nomads
Isla de la Plata
Photo Credit: LivingOutLau
Anyone traveling to Ecuador will inevitably want to visit the legendary Galapagos Islands, an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean.
Lying about 1000 kilometers off the coast of Ecuador, Galapagos was made famous by the renowned scientist Charles Darwin who studied evolution here on finches.
Nowadays, though there are many things to do in the Galapagos Island, travelers mainly come here for a unique experience in wildlife-watching. With such a distinguished title, it should come as no surprise that traveling to the Galapagos is extremely expensive.
Luckily for you, there is a similar island called Isla de la Plata located 40 miles off the coastal town of Puerto Lopez in Ecuador.
Known as the Poor Man’s Galapagos, Isla de la Plata contains many of the same species that are seen of the Galapagos Islands, such as the blue-footed boobies and frigatebirds.
Unlike the Galapagos Islands which are inhabited by people, no one lives in the 5.9 kilometer-squared Isla de la Plata and gives off an unworldly vibe.
Visiting there feels like you are in the Jurassic Park movies! You probably want to drop everything right now and visit Isla de la Plata and I am not surprised.
To get there, you need to base yourself in the coastal town of Puerto Lopez. There you will be able to find travel agencies selling tours to Isla de la Plata.
Don’t forget to negotiate when searching for the best offer.
Because visiting Isla de la Plata is a full-day activity, I recommend that you spend at least 1 night in Puerto Lopez for accessibility. I highly recommend the luxurious Nautilus Lodge if you can afford to splurge.
Submitted By Sean from LivingOutLau
Where to Stay in Isla de la Plata
You can find rates and availability for other places near Isla de la Plata here.
Top Thing to Do in Isla de la Plata
Visiting Isla de la Plata is the activity. Enjoy the beautify of the Island.
Photo Credit: Teddy Charti on Unsplash
Martinique, French Antilles, located on the Caribbean Sea between the islands of Dominica and St Lucia is an island straight out of a magazine.
This beautiful French island is well known for its wonderful beaches, gorgeous nature, and its rum!
Martinique is a great destination for a winter getaway when it’s cold in Europe or the United States.
The island is also great for a romantic holiday or for a road trip with family or friends and it is especially popular for its colorful carnival which takes place every year in February.
While Martinique can be pricey tt is possible to visit Martinique on a budget as long as you stay away from the most luxurious hotels, eat local food and opt for public transport to get around the island.
You will be surprised at how truly budget friendly it is.
Travel during the summer/fall is when you can find the best deals.
Some of the best things to do in Martinique include beach days (sunbathing and swimming), hikes, and exploring picturesque small towns. These activities are totally free. And don’t forget to pack a picnic to take along your adventures.
Submitted By Elisa from France Bucket List
What is the Least Expensive Tropical Vacation?
Photo Credit: This Rare Earth
One excellent but often overlooked country in the Caribbean is the Dominican Republic.
The main island actually shares Hispaniola with Haiti, it’s western neighbor, while Dominican Republic sits to the east.
The Dominican Republic offers incredible beach views, golden sunsets, and tasty cuisine for a much more reasonable price than many other Caribbean locations.
One great area to visit is the capital city of Santo Domingo, to the south, where you can visit the oldest city in the Americas. Historical buildings and ruins, such as the first monastery and the first military fortress in the Americas, are all a short walk around the Zona Colonial.
Many of them can be visited completely free, or you can take the Zona Colonial Train Tour to get your bearings. Just a few blocks out from the busy touristic center square are small local food stalls and restaurants that are half the price and just as tasty.
Luckily, in the Dominican Republic, the beach is never far away. From Santo Domingo, you have three main beach options to choose from, two of which are reachable through a very cheap Uber ride. The beaches are free to enter.
In Santo Domingo, the best area to stay hands down is Zona Colonial. You can easily get clean and basic accommodations for under $30 per room, such as La Choza Guesthouse, all within walking distance to the historical sights.
The Dominican Republic is an excellent Caribbean option on a budget.
Submitted By Monica from This Rare Earth
Where to Stay in the Dominican Republic
You can find rates and availability for other places to stay in the Dominican Republic here.
Top Thing to Do in the Dominican Republic
Check out the Zona Colonial Train Tour.
Photo Credit: Top Travel Sights
One of the best Caribbean islands to visit on a budget is Utila.
Here, you can find white beaches, coral reefs and colourful houses – and all of this without breaking the bank.
Utila is popular with divers who come here because it’s one of the cheapest places in Latin America to get diving certified. But even if you’re not planning on diving, Utila is worth a visit.
For just a few bucks, you can rent snorkeling gear and see hundreds of colorful fish. Or you can just lie on the beach and relax with a cocktail in hand. Utila is known for its laid-back atmosphere, and nobody here will ever be in a rush.
After you’ve enjoyed your lazy day at the beach, stroll through the colorful town and end the day with a plate of fresh seafood. If you want to feel like Robinson Crusoe, book a trip to Water Cay.
This island just off the coast of Utila is so tiny that you will only find a handful of palm trees here. You have the choice between staying for the afternoon or even overnight.
Tour operators can provide you with hammocks and all equipment you need for cooking your food over a campfire in the evening.
And the best part? You’ll get a much better price for these tours than anywhere else in the Caribbean.
Submitted By Daniel and Ilona from Top Travel Sights
Where to Stay in Utila, Honduras
We highly recommend you stay at Chez Milady’s. Here, you can either rent a room or an apartment. Milady is super friendly and will do everything she can to make you feel welcome during your stay.
You can find rates and availability for Chez Milady here.
You can find rates and availability for other places to in Utila here.
Top Thing to Do in Utila, Honduras
Go to Water Cay and spend a whole afternoon relaxing under a palm tree and splashing in the turquoise water. If you rent snorkeling gear, you can also see lots of colorful fish here.
Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Photo Credit: Stories by Soumya
Phu Quoc in Vietnam is one of the most magical tropical islands to visit with friends and family.
Located off the western coast of Vietnam, in the Gulf of Thailand, Phu Quoc makes for an easy, laid back, and affordable getaway from the frenetic pace of Ho Chi Minh City.
There are many wonderful things to do in Phu Quoc. First, of course, is spending quality time at the 20 or more gorgeous white sand beaches on the island.
Sao Beach is the most popular though you can find many less-crowded ones on your own. You can spend a day exploring the bounties of the Phu Quoc National Park, a UNESCO-designated biosphere reserve.
Adventure seekers can hike, river raft, and kayak here. If you are interested in learning more about Vietnamese culture, head to one of Phu Quoc’s quaint fishing villages, shop and eat at the Dinh Cau night market, and visit the Ho Quoc pagoda – the island’s largest Buddhist temple.
One of the most unique things to do in Phu Quoc is to ride the world’s longest cable car here. Connecting two very pretty islands, the Phu Quoc cable car ride lasts for 15 minutes and gives you an absolutely stunning view of the tropical islets.
Lush green islands and colorful fishing boats against turquoise blue waters glistening in the sun is definitely a sight to behold.
Submitted By Soumya from Stories by Soumya
Where to Stay in Phu Quoc, Vietnam
You can find rates and availability for other places to stay in Phu Quoc, Vietnam here.
Top Thing to Do in Phu Quoc, Vietnam
Ride the world’s longest cable car in Phu Quoc.
Photo Credit: Travel Passionate
Cuba is a fascinating destination to visit no matter your budget as it offers a wonderful range of things to see and do as well as a wealth of history and culture to discover.
Cuba provides guests the chance to explore museums, beaches, colorful towns, countryside landscapes (great for cycling and horse-riding) and, of course, Havana with its intriguing mix of old and new architecture.
Many travelers choose to visit Cuba to just stay in an all-inclusive hotel on the coast, and while these are pretty cost-effective, this island has so much more to offer that I’d really recommend doing some traveling around places like Vinales, Cienfuegos and Trinidad too!
There are various ways to travel around the island of Cuba but some of the most budget-friendly options include the bus (Viazul offers a good service) and collectivo cars – shared taxi services often run in classic Cuban cars!
One of the best things about Cuba is that most of the accommodation comes in the form of ‘casa particulares’ (the Cuban version of bed and breakfasts) which usually cost around $25/night for a comfortable double room for two guests, with a hearty breakfast included.
These casas are often centrally located in the main tourist towns and cities and the hosts are happy to give you tips and recommendations about travelling around the country.
Staying in casa particulares also gives you a great opportunity to interact with the locals, speaking to them about their lives, the history of Cuba and the highlights of the island’s natural beauty and dance scene. You never know, you might even get a private salsa lesson thrown in for free!
Submitted By Chrysoula from Travel Passionate
Photo Credit: A Social Nomad
While this Caribbean island may not strike you as one of the more budget-friendly there are ways to visit the island nation of Antigua & Barbuda on a budget and seriously enjoy it.
Antigua is in the Eastern Caribbean and reputedly has one beach for every day of the year – all of which are public access by law, even those that the all-inclusive resorts back onto.
The most budget-friendly way to visit Antigua is by combining your visit with a little volunteering.
The Antigua Donkey Sanctuary offers board and lodge in return for assistance with the donkeys, through Workaway – and what a fabulous way to earn your keep!
Alternatively, this glorious AirBnB run by Amaryllis and her daughter in English Harbour is gorgeous and will also let you self-cater.
Antigua is also pretty easy to travel around if you’re on a budget – the network of local minibuses run throughout the day, though not to any recognizable timetable and by combining a few routes you’ll be able to travel around the island relatively easily, albeit slowly.
This mode of transport will also take you past the local places to eat – make your main meal at lunchtime and you’ll save a huge amount too. Aside from Antigua’s glorious beaches, you’ll want to visit the iconic Shirley Heights to see the sunset.
Skip the expensive Sunday night party and hike up from English Harbour in about 60 minutes for one of the world’s best sunsets and views.
Submitted By Sarah from A Social Nomad
Koh Rong, Cambodia
Photo Credit: I’m Jess Traveling
Imagine a palm fringed, white sand beaches sprinkled with hammocks as far as the eye can see. Thats what you get when you visit Koh Rong. The only thing better than the scenery are the prices.
Koh Rong is an island located off the coast of Southern Cambodia. Often compared to the iconic beaches of Thailand, Koh Rong has miles of coastline and crystal clear blue waters.
But unlike its neighbors, Koh Rong is an untouched paradise that gets way less visitors per year. Less crowds = cheaper prices.
One of the best things to do on the island is to see the bioluminescence plankton. This natural phenomenon can only be seen at night and happens when a rapid movement in the water causes a certain type of plankton to light up a fluorescent blue.
You can swim with the plankton on a tour for $5 or opt out and do it on your own for free.
Koh Rong is an emerging ecotourism destination. Opting for a stay at an eco resort like the Lonely Beach Resort is not only great for the environment but its also great for your budget.
The wooden bungalows are secluded on a private beach surrounded by jungle. The resort is run by solar panels which means a torch is helpful after sunset and there are plugs available in the restaurant to charge your devices during the day.
Lonely Beach is also a WiFi free zone so travel here to unplug and leave a light footprint. When you stay here you can’t Koh Rong and neither can your wallet.
Submitted By Jess from I’m Jess Traveling
Trinidad Island, Trinidad and Tobago
Photo Credit: Paulina on the Road
A popular mix of splendid multi-culture and heritage makes Trinidad island from Trinidad and Tobago the most suitable, budget-friendly islands to visit.
Situated in the southernmost group of islands in the Caribbean Sea, Trinidad island is the fatherland of spectacular rainforests, graceful coral reefs, gorgeous waterfalls, and intimidating wildlife.
The palm-fringed white-sandy beaches give you a peek of the leatherback turtles laying eggs. However, if you could make it to the Trinidad coastline between August and September, you could witness the hatchlings make a bid for the sea.
Trinidad and Tobago make a perfect holiday destination for pleasure seekers. From exploring awestruck city sights to wander around sampling street delights, the islands have wonders sculpted within. The islands are acknowledged for steel-band and calypso music, along with the special dance known as the limbo.
In addition, Chaguaramas bay or enjoying a Bake’n Shark sandwich or bird-watching at the Asa Wright Nature Centre are some of the best things to do in Trinidad.
Trinidad and Tobago’s rich cultural heritage reflects vibrant food, festivals, customs, and a decent way of life. Additionally, Trinidad’s most famous annual carnival is a must-attend. It is the second-largest carnival in the world and participating in it with a masquerader’s costume is one of the best things to do in Trinidad.
The islands promise you a pleasurable stay in the full-fledged resorts and cottages along the beaches. It is pocket-sized heaven on earth that must be visited, once in a lifetime.
Submitted By Paulina from Paulina on the Road
What is the Cheapest Vacation?
Photo Credit: Travel for a while
When you’re looking for a budget-friendly vacation in the Mediterranean, one of the places you should consider is Samothraki island in Greece.
Greece has its few famous (and expensive) islands but there are many more islands often overlooked by tourists. Samothraki is just like that, a beautiful piece of land thrown in the North Aegean.
You can only get to Samothraki by ferry and I recommend bringing your car or renting either a car or a scooter when you get on the island.
That’s the best way to reach the beaches on any side of the island as well as the traditional villages inland.
There’s plenty of things to do in Samothraki: deserted beaches to enjoy, a 1600 meters summit to hike, an ancient Sanctuary to explore, waterfalls to discover, mineral waters good for your health, and amazing Greek food.
Everything is very affordable on Samothraki, accommodation, food, and about anything else.
The only sand and also organized beach on the island is Pachia Ammos, but you will find plenty of other places where to swim and enjoy a rocky empty beach.
If you like a quiet vacation on a Mediterranean island but away from the crowds, consider Samothraki as your next destination.
Submitted By Anda of Travel for a while
Visit the Sanctuary of the Great Gods.
Photo Credit: Grumpy Camel
Malta is the perfect European island to visit if you want to soak up some sun and explore some amazing historic attractions without spending a lot of money. Several budget airlines fly to Malta from main European cities.
Accommodation tends to be a bit pricey during the summer months, so I highly recommend visiting Malta in spring or autumn, when the island is much quieter (and still fairly warm) and you might be able to find some great deals on accommodation.
Despite being a tiny country, there are plenty of amazing things to do in Malta. If you want to immerse yourself in local history while exploring old cities with cute alleys, make sure to visit Valletta, Mdina and Birgu.
If you’d rather spend the day at the beach, take a trip to Golden Bay, Paradise Bay and Mellieha Bay. Indulging in local food is another must when you’re in Malta.
Restaurants in tourist hotspots like Sliema, St. Julian’s and Valletta tend to be a bit expensive, so for a cheap and hearty meal, head to Mgarr.
This rural village is known for its rich agriculture, and there are various restaurants where you can enjoy traditional meals, including rabbit, octopus stew and beef olives.
Submitted By Daniela from Grumpy Camel
Photo Credit: Both Feet On The Road
The pearl of the Indian Ocean is a nickname often given to Sri Lanka.
Though this nickname refers to the pearl (or tear) shape of the island, Sri Lanka’s beautiful and diverse landscape also shows why it deserves to be called the pearl of the Indian Ocean.
From stunning waterfalls, green hills, ancient cities, beautiful temples, and stupas, to safaris with elephants and leopards, you can find it all on this small budget-friendly island.
One of the best things about Sri Lanka is that many of the awesome sights are free to visit.
For example the stunning green hills and waterfalls around Ella, the world-heritage listed fort at Galle, the beaches around the island, or the green tea plantations.
Even if you do have to pay a fee for an activity, the costs of transportation, accommodation (including homestays), and food are so low in Sri Lanka, so you will be able to do a lot of activities and visit many places with just a small budget.
For the adventure seekers, I would recommend a visit to Arugam Bay for some surfing on the southeast coast (about 17 USD for a two-hour private lesson).
Animal lovers will enjoy an elephant safari in Sigiriya (about 22 USD, which is extremely cheap compared to African safaris).
And beach lovers should head to the Mirissa or Trincomalee.
A highlight of a trip to Sri Lanka is a visit to the world heritage listed Sinharaja Rainforest Reserve. It’s not quite the cheapest activity in Sri Lanka, but it’s definitely a unique and awesome off-beat activity that’s worth the investment.
Submitted By Lara from Both Feet On The Road
Where to Stay in Sri Lanka
You can find rates and availability for other places to in Sri Lanka here.
Top Thing to Do in Sri Lanka
Surfing at Arugam Bay, Elephant Safari at Sigirya, or a visit to the Sinharaja Rain Forest.
Photo Credit: Eat Live Travel Drink
he most beautiful thing about Oahu, Hawaii is that it can be done on every budget! Oahu is a great budget destination.
All throughout Honolulu and Waikiki are budget-friendly lodging options, such as the Hilton Hawaiian Village. The bonus of staying at this hotel is that it is on Waikiki Beach, has fireworks every Friday night AND you can enjoy both sunrise and sunset views because of its position on the island.
Some of the best things to do in Oahu are surfing, snorkeling, hiking Diamond Head, visit Pearl Harbor, spend time at the beaches, such as Lanikai Beach, one of the best in all of America, eat your heart out in the North Shore, visit the Dole Pineapple Plantation, and drive the island.
If you are looking for a splurge activity: cage swimming with sharks or taking a helicopter ride would top the list. Renting a car and parking can be expensive but public transportation is really good in Oahu and budget-friendly.
Budget-friendly eats: Giovanni’s Shrimp Truck, acai bowls, shave ice, spam musabi, and don’t miss Leonard’s Bakery!
Oahu is one of the best girls’ trip destinations in the world. Endless stretches of beach and sun, you can’t go wrong.
One of the most fun and most budget-friendly things to do is hit the farmer’s markets for fresh food and shopping from the locals. Whatever you decide to do in Oahu, you are going to have a fantastic time!
Submitted By Nicole from Eat Live Travel Drink
Photo Credit: Trip Anthropologist
The most beautiful island in the Aegean Sea is surprisingly accessible on a budget. A ferry from Athens to Santorini is inexpensive, and whist astonishingly luxe hotels cling to the caldera edge, just a street or two away from the cliff edge, prices drop significantly.
Because Santorini has its highest peaks in the center of a long, narrow island, the views out to the volcano from the villages in the center of the island are equally spectacular. When you add the beachside family-oriented villages on the eastern side of Santorini, accommodation is every price range is possible.
Sunset on Santorini is one of the very best you will see anywhere in the world. It is, of course, entirely free! From the cliff-edge pathway in Oia and from Oia castle, hundreds of people watch the sunset, even in winter.
Of all the possible places for the rumored city of Atlantis, Ancient Akrotiri on Santorini is perhaps the most likely contender. An ancient Minoan bronze-age city that was perfectly preserved in the earthquake that blew Santorini apart is only a few dollars to explore.
One of the most beautiful hikes in the world is the hike between Fira and Oia, and sunset sailing cruises can be substituted with ferry rides across the caldera to the island of Thirassia.
On such a beautiful island, eating and staying in local villages away from the caldera edge lets you enjoy all of the million-dollar views of Santorini for a fraction of the price.
Submitted By Monique from Trip Anthropologist
Photo Credit: Frugal Female Abroad
Penang in Malaysia is an amazing island that offers visitors many options for activities and sights. There are a few options to can reach Penang from the capital, Kuala Lumpur. These include flights, buses and trains, so you can pick which mode suits your budget and time constraints.
Penang is home to George Town which is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Other things to see include the amazing street art, the Clan Jetties, Fort Cornwallis, and one of the many temples, mosques, and religious sites.
A recommended activity on Penang would be to see the street art on a trishaw tour. Your trishaw driver will know all the best places to take you. Penang Hill is a popular location and it has the world’s steepest funicular tunnel. Entopia is another amazing place.
It is an enchanting butterfly farm. Penang also has some beautiful beaches. Penang is a very affordable island to visit. You can spend around $100 per day on food, activities, and accommodation.
Of course, you can spend much more! But it is possible to visit Penang on a small budget.
A great hotel to stay at is the Chulia Mansion Hotel. This hotel is situated right on Chulia St and is close to all the amazing sights that George Town has to offer. It is affordable and modern and offers a great breakfast.
Submitted By Beth from Frugal Female Abroad
Photo Credit: Map Made Memories
The tropical islands of Samoa are a perfect, budget friendly destination.
There is good quality, affordable accommodation on both Upolu and Savai’i islands and food and drink are cheap by European standards. Plus, many of the island’s attractions are free or donation only.
In the capital, Apia, spend a day visiting the excellent free to enter Samoan Cultural Centre to see wood carving, tapa painting, and traditional cooking demonstrations. Wander the small city’s bustling markets or marvel at the ornately carved and painted roof in St Mary’s Cathedral.
Explore the home of renowned author Robert Louis Stevenson in Vailima and visit his grave on Mount Vaea behind his house. Visit the otherworldly Giant Clam Sanctuary (donation entry) where visitors can swim right over the giant, ethereal clams. The size and vivid colors of the clams will take your breath away.
Alternatively, keen snorkellers should visit the Palolo Deep Marine Reserve near Apia. Tour the interior of Upolu Island with its dense forests and plunging waterfalls; Papapapaitai Falls and Sopoaga Falls look like a film set from Jurassic World.
Try freshly cut coconut or take part in a traditional Fia Fia night celebration of Samoan food, fire, and dance. Relax on Samoa’s stunning unspoiled beaches; don’t miss the palm tree-lined golden sands of Lalomanu whose crystal clear, warm waters are ideal for snorkeling.
Swim in the rich blue-toned waters of Piula Cave Pool or descend into the deep, natural sinkhole at To Sua Ocean Trench, one of Upolu’s most scenic locations. The 30-meter deep swimming hole is full of tropical fish and is surrounded by lush vegetation. It is a slice of paradise!
Submitted By Sinead from Map Made Memories
Cheapest Islands to Visit that are Not in the Caribbean
When you think Island you may think sandy beaches and palm trees. But not all Islands fit that description. Check out these islands that will provide you a little something different while still being budget-friendly.
Deer Isle, Maine
Photo Credit: Robe Trotting
One of the best American islands to visit is Deer Isle, Maine in New England’s Penobscot Bay. The laid-back, small town USA feeling is noticeable as soon as you drive onto the island.
It’s a relaxing destination that will give you a chance to get back to nature and explore a beautiful region of the country. On the island you will find that your money goes a long way.
Many of the best activities are inexpensive, but high on excitement.
One of the biggest draws to the island is the chance to explore the nature preserves of Deer Isle and one of the best is Crockett Cove Woods Preserve. It’s a fog forest which means the forest floor is covered in moss and lichens and looks truly majestic.
When you visit the preserves, be sure to pick up a map to guide you because cell phone service is unreliable in the remote areas. Another popular outdoor activity is kayaking or canoeing.
The island is full of adventure companies like Driftwood Kayaks that offer guided tours, but you can also rent the equipment or bring your own to cut costs.
The bay is deep and full of small islands which has created small coves and calmer waters than you would expect. Even a beginner kayaker can easily navigate around the island.
Visiting Deer Isle is a chance to relax, enjoy a small town USA experience, and get back to nature. It’s a beautiful and unique island getaway in America.
Submitted By Derek and Mike from Robe Trotting
Where to Stay in Deer Isle, Maine
You can find rates and availability for other places to in Deer Isle, Maine here.
Top Thing to Do in Deer Isle, Maine
One of the best things to do is kayak or canoe around the island.
Holy Island of Lindisfarne
Photo Credit: ASocialNomad
Perched off the coast of Northumberland, England’s most northerly country, the Holy Island of Lindisfarne is a glorious budget-friendly island to visit.
You can visit most of the island in a single day and stay in cheaper accommodation on the mainland.
You’ll find lots of holiday cottages around here which all allow for self-catering, including this St Cuthberts cottage which is excellent value. Holy Island is only accessible by a tidal causeway, so you’ll want to plan your visit accordingly.
The more adventurous can take the ancient Pilgrim’s Path across the sands and mudflats, but you’ll want to plan carefully for this.
Holy Island has been an important center for Christianity for many centuries and the Lindisfarne Priory tells many of the stories and legends, it’s a must-visit for your day out.
Holy Island is also a fabulous place to take a walk – head to Lindisfarne Castle and explore this once private home and then take the coastal path and explore more of the island.
Be sure before leaving to buy – or at least taste Lindisfarne Mead in the visitor center – there are many offerings and all provide a free sample!
Submitted By Sarah from ASocialNomad
Where to Stay in Holy Island of Lindisfarne
You can find rates and availability for other places to stay in or around Holy Island of Lindisfarne here.
Top Thing to Do in Holy Island of Lindisfarne
Visit Lindisfarne Priory (English Heritage).
The Outer Banks
Photo Credit: History Fangirl
The Outer Banks are a great option for budget travel in the US. While US travel is always a bit more expensive than many places in the world, if you’re already in the country you can start by saving money on international flights.
The Outer Banks are perfect for road tripping, which is one of the best ways to travel the USA on a budget. You will drive in on State Highway 12 which is known as the Outer Banks Scenic Byway. It turns into the Cape Hatteras National Seashore.
In the Outer Banks, you’ll find gorgeous public beaches that aren’t expensive to visit, you can save money by picnicking and preparing your own food, and you can enjoy coastal walks and inexpensive visits to the area’s man historic lighthouses.
This is truly a place to enjoy the best of Americana while staying budget-conscious.
If you want to spring for a fun activity, go on a Corolla Horse Tour to experience the local wild Spanish horses brought here in the early days of Colonial America.
If you love history, you can also visit the Wright Brother’s National Monument in Kill Devil Hills and the Lost Colony of Roanoke near Manteo.
Submitted By Stephanie from History Fangirl
Orcas Island, Washington USA
Photo Credit: The Awkward Traveller
To find all of the beauty of the Pacific Northwest in one place, head to Orcas Island off the coast of Washington, USA.
A moderately affordable destination, Orcas Island is a getaway for those looking for nature and adventure.
Camping is the most popular form of lodging on the island, with campsites around $30USD in the peak summer months. But for those who would prefer a less immersive sleeping arrangement, stay at the Outlook Inn.
There are plenty of things to do on Orcas Island, but the one MUST-DO activity on the island is to head out on a whale watching tour. After all, the island is named after the orca.
The high season for whale sightings is between April and October, and if you book with Outer Island Excursions ($99 for adults), they offer a whale-sighting guarantee or you get a free tour.
You can even rent a kayak to take out on the water, either by yourself or in a tour, for $25 or $75 respectively. Out of the water, take one of the many (free!) hikes around the island.
You can even summit Mt. Construction, the highest point in all of Washington’s coastal islands. The 7-mile hike will take you roughly 3-4 hours round-trip, and give you 360 views of the island. That said, there is a nice paved drive up to the top if you aren’t into hiking.
Submitted By Kay from The Awkward Traveller
Photo Credit: The world in my pocket
Mallorca is one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean Sea, with attractions suitable for every budget. Having high mountains and stunning beaches, Mallorca is a very desired holiday destination among European travelers.
There are so many things to do in Mallorca, starting with visiting remote beaches, some accessible only be hiking or by boat. The color of the sea around Mallorca resembles the Caribbean and, if you wouldn’t know, you could easily think you are in Central America and not in Europe.
Boat trips are some of the best things to do in Mallorca. Day trips on the sea include visiting caves, looking for dolphins, swimming and snorkelling, ending with a romantic dinner on the boat.
Depending on what type of traveller you are, each part of Mallorca offers a different type of experience: the North is known for being quiet and family friendly, the east is famous for the endless parties whilst the south is for culture lovers.
A great place to base yourself is Port Pollenca, at Aparthotel Flora. Traveling around the island is cheap and reliable, with buses covering every touristic attraction.
One of the highlights of Mallorca is the Sierra de Tramuntana road, which leads to Sa Calobra, a hidden bay surrounded by mountains.
The road to here is not for light-hearted, as the numerous hairpins can be very scary, especially from a bus. This is a very popular route for active tourists, who take it as a challenge and cycle it up.
Submitted By Joanna from The world in my pocket
Mount Desert Island, Maine
Photo Credit: Sea Salt & Fog
Mount Desert Island is the largest island off the coast of Maine, best known for being home to Acadia National Park. The island is full of hiking trails, views of the beautiful Maine coast, and is a great place to see the fall colors in New England.
Nature lovers will have their pick of outdoor activities, including hiking, biking, kayaking, bird watching, and so much more. The best part is that a visit to Mount Desert island is very affordable.
To visit Acadia National Park and take advantage of most of what the island has to offer, you only need to pay a $30 entrance fee (valid for 7 days).
There are many things to do in Acadia, but some of my favorite including seeing the sunrise at Cadillac Mountain, hiking the Ocean Trail path, and relaxing at Sand Beach – all free!
Plus, if you’d like to ditch the car, there’s a free shuttle that will take you through most of the park. Due to the popularity of the national park, there’s many affordable AirBnBs, including this small cottage that comes with paddleboards included so you don’t have to rent them.
Mount Desert Island is beautiful and is absolutely worth the trip. If you can visit in the fall months to see the famous New England fall colors in full display, you won’t regret it.
Submitted By Ale from Sea Salt & Fog
Where to Stay in Mount Desert Island
You can find rates and availability for other places to stay in Mount Desert Island here.
Top Thing to Do in Mount Desert Island
Visit Acadia National Park.
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Photo Credit: Seven Day Weekender
The island of Vancouver in Canada’s British Columbia is full of natural beauty and metropolitan diversity. For those looking for a West Coast outdoor escape coupled with all of the European vibes, Victoria, British Columbia is the place to go.
The architecture of both the parliament building (this is BC’s capital after all) and the famous Empress Hotel (aka “The Castle on the Coast”) will immediately transport you right out of North America. If you are already located in the Pacific Northwest part of the fun of Victoria is getting there via ferry (which can be done in Washington State).
After you arrive there are a multitude of places to stay for any budget – the recommendation being that you split your time between a more affordable B&B such as Abigail’s Hotel, and spend your last night in the ‘once in a lifetime’ Fairmont Empress.
Mixing in Butchart Gardens, a walk along Dallas Road, afternoon tea at The Empress, a walk down the narrowest street in Canada (Fan Tan Alley) and an afternoon spent at the Royal BC Museum will give you the perfect blend of outdoor activity and cultural experiences.
One of the best things about Victoria is its smaller size, which lends itself to be the perfect weekend trip, leaving you feeling satisfied that you have fully experienced the capital of Canada.
Submitted By Lindsey from Seven Day Weekender
Where to Stay in Victoria, British Columbia
You can find rates and availability for other places to stay in Victoria here.
Top Thing to Do in Victoria
With so many things to do in Victoria, it is hard to pick one. Be sure to check out Butchart Gardens, Dallas Road walk, afternoon tea at The Empress, Fan Tan Alley, and the Royal BC Museum.
South Padre Island, TX
Photo Credit: Travel Fam Life
A barrier island located in the most southern tip of Texas, South Padre Island gives you the island vibe with the small town feeling.
Since Texas is such a big state, driving distance can vary quite a bit depending on where you are coming from. There are 3 airports close by with the major airlines covering the area.
The choices for lodging are vast, from economy hotels to luxury ones to plenty of vacation rentals. A great choice for you to watch the fireworks display going on Friday in June and July from your balcony would be the Garden Inn by Hilton.
South Padre Island is very family-oriented all year round but if you choose to go over spring break be aware of the many college students that flock there for its beautiful waters, location, and affordability.
Even though it’s a small island, there are still lots to see and do there. A favorite among visitors are the sandcastle building classes that can be a great family activity, the company will bring everything you need to build a beautiful sculpture and give you some of the tools for you to bring home.
Another great activity is parasailing on the gulf waters, you also have the choice of parasailing on the Laguna Madre, both can be fun but the gulf water is breathtaking.
For the children and children at heart, the dolphin cruise is a must, very inexpensive, and fun for the whole family. And when in South Padre Island you have to watch the sunset, it’s a must. It can be done from the many restaurants located on the Laguna Madre Bay or you can take a sunset cruise.
Submitted By Patricia from Travel Fam Life
Where to Stay in South Padre Island, TX
You can find rates and availability for other places to stay in South Padre Island here.
Top Thing to Do in South Padre Island, TX
South Padre Island is great for water sports.
Cheapest Islands to Visit in the World
Are you inspired yet? Check out the map below to see where in the world you can go that is budget-friendly.