Have you been wondering about the cheapest islands to visit? If so, rest assured knowing that you have more than enough options available. The world is full of magnificent islands just waiting to be explored. And guess what? Not all of them are expensive to visit! It does seem to be the common perception that you have to spend a fortune to vacation on an island. But it’s just not true! In this listicle, I’m going to show you nine of the most affordable islands to visit right now!
The cheapest islands are often the best
I’ve traveled the world over in my years as a travel blogger. In that time, I’ve been lucky enough to discover all kinds of islands. Exploring them has given me some memories to last a lifetime. I’m really hoping that this post can help you to get out there and do the same! And though it might take a bit more effort to get to them than, say, to a mainland country, the experiences can really be worth it!
What do you think of when you think of an island? Most people would probably imagine a beautiful tropical island. You know the kind, with white sands and blue Caribbean waters. You’ll be happy to know that some idyllic islands like that have made it onto this listicle! But there are others out there that you may never have considered flying to before. How about the Isle of Skye in Scotland? Or the country of Sri Lanka in the Indian Ocean? Then, of course, you have some more familiar names such as Hawaii or Puerto Rico.
So, grab your sea legs and prepare to set sail: here are the 9 cheapest islands to visit right now!
My #1 tip for finding the cheapest islands to visit
When you’re looking for cheap islands to travel to, you have to face one certain reality: you’ll have to fly. And even if the particular island is cheap to visit, the flight may not be. Carriers have all kinds of overhead, particular fuel costs and plane maintenance. However, I do have one trick for finding all the cheapest flights to these amazing islands.
I have been using Scott’s Cheap Flights (now called Going) for the last few years to gain access to the cheapest available flights to my destinations. It’s a free service where you input your origin point and destination and then get free email alerts about cheap flights to those places. You’ve probably never seen airfare like this before. Scott’s sends you mistake prices and other deals that have been heavily discounted from the normal plane ticket costs you’re familiar with. I have saved thousands of dollars on flights over the years by using Going.
It’s up to you how you want to use Scott’s Cheap Flights. The free one will probably be fine for you. However, if you want to step up the number of cheap flights you receive from Scott’s, there’s a premium version. For $49 a year, you’ll get cheap flights sooner so you can jump on them before anyone else. It could be worth it if you travel a lot and want to keep doing so on a budget.
Whichever version you go with, though, know that Scott’s Cheap Flights (now called Going) can save you just as much money as it has saved me on flights around the world!
Considerations when looking for the cheapest islands to visit
There are a few things I want to point out before starting into this list of the most affordable islands to visit. No matter where in the world you’re going, the costs of getting and staying there may vary. Those variations can be due to a variety of factors.
One of those is seasonality. You know how it goes. An island is located in a certain climate zone that makes it more popular to visit at one time of year over another. Basically any Caribbean island is that way during the Northern Hemisphere’s winter season. Why? Because it’s cold up north and people want to escape to the beautiful tropics for a little while. But what happens is that hotels and other businesses on the islands raise their rates during those peak seasons. Therefore, you can usually save money by going to those kinds of islands during their more “off” seasons.
Other factors that affect whether your list of cheap islands to travel to will actually be cheap include the general economy of the region and world events. Certain elements might lead to costs rising for a time or jet fuel to become more expensive. You can’t control everything about your flight costs.
For the purposes of this article, I sought to cover several regions of the world, rather than just one or two. For example – there are hundreds of islands in Southeast Asia that are cheaper than any Caribbean one. However, I want to share a variety with you here.
Cheapest islands to visit in 2023
So here we go: here are some of the most affordable islands to visit from the United States and around the world:
1. Bali, Indonesia
Welcome to the Island of the Gods! Bali is a destination that has been on the travel bucket list of many globetrotters for years, and it’s no wonder why. This island paradise is known for its stunning beaches, lush rice paddies, vibrant culture, and welcoming people. But did you know that Bali is also one of the cheapest islands to visit? That’s right, you can soak up all the beauty and charm of Bali without breaking the bank!
One of the things that makes Bali such a desirable destination is its unique blend of culture and natural beauty. You can start your day with a sunrise hike up Mount Batur, one of Bali’s active volcanoes, and end it with a traditional Balinese dance performance. In between, you can visit sacred temples, explore local markets, and indulge in delicious Indonesian cuisine.
Visiting this island on the cheap
But let’s talk about how you can enjoy Bali on a budget. First and foremost, accommodation is where you can save a lot of money. There are many budget-friendly hostels, guesthouses, and homestays on the island, especially in the popular areas of Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak. If you’re traveling with a group, renting a villa can also be a cost-effective option.
When it comes to food, Bali has a wide range of affordable options, from warungs (small local eateries) to night markets. You can sample delicious Indonesian dishes like nasi goreng (fried rice) and mie goreng (fried noodles) for just a few dollars. And of course, you can’t miss out on Bali’s famous smoothie bowls and fresh fruit juices, which are not only delicious but also healthy and affordable.
Transportation can also be cheap in Bali. While taxis can be expensive, you can rent a scooter for as little as $5 per day and explore the island at your own pace. Just make sure to wear a helmet and drive safely, as the traffic in Bali can be chaotic.
Bali is also known for its abundance of free activities. You can spend a day at one of Bali’s beautiful beaches, like Kuta or Sanur, or explore the rice paddies in Ubud. There are also many free cultural activities, such as visiting local temples or attending a traditional dance performance.
Bali is a must-visit destination for anyone looking for a beautiful and affordable island getaway. From its stunning natural beauty to its vibrant culture and delicious food, Bali has something for everyone.
2. Isle of Skye, Scotland
Next up on this list of cheap islands to travel to is the Isle of Skye, a major island of Scotland. It’s located in western Scotland and borders the Atlantic Ocean. Despite being so expansive, it’s pretty sparsely populated. You can see this in the fact that you can’t even fly to the Isle of Skye. You’ll have to get a bus or a train from the mainland.
What to do on the Isle
Once you’re there, you can find hotels in the numerous villages on the island for really cheap prices. Your best bet if you want all the options may be to head to the colorful island capital of Portree. Once you’ve got a place to stay, you will probably want to rent a car so you can see everything this picturesque island has to offer.
The reason Skye is a cheap island to travel to is because its tourist offerings are based in its natural beauty rather than on urban activities. There are some amazing sights you just have to see while you’re here. One of those is the Storr, a famously steep and rocky hill that rises up out of the hills. It’s just a six-minute drive from Portree and will make for some amazing photo opportunities.
Another incredible set of sights to behold here are all the castles and castle ruins scattered across the island. Perhaps the most famous of these is the photogenic Dunvegan Castle. Since the medieval period, it has been the seat of Clan MacLeod (yes, it’s still inhabited by that clan). Other castles on Skye are in various stages of abandonment and ruin. But you can still travel to them all, if you’re willing to do some true hiking and exploring to get there.
From medieval castles to gorgeous green views from the dramatic landslip Quiraing, the Isle of Skye is just stunning. With all its natural wonders just waiting there to be explored, it’s no wonder this is one of the cheapest islands to visit. The best time to go, if we’re talking straight weather, is during the summer of May to September. Those are also the busiest times.
3. Sri Lanka, Indian Ocean
Another of the most affordable islands to visit is the nation of Sri Lanka. It’s located just off the coast of India in the Indian Ocean. Sri Lanka has some truly swanky hotels that could cost you hundreds of dollars per night. But if you intend to travel on a budget, you can certainly find discounted accommodations or even hostels and homestays. Those will be your cheapest options for where to stay.
Planning your visit
Sri Lanka is such a cheap island to visit for the same reason as the Isle of Skye: there’s so much to do outdoors for little cost or none at all. You can walk the streets of basically any city and find fresh, low-cost produce. Or you can bask on one of Sri Lanka’s many beautiful and picturesque beaches. If you want to catch some fascinating sights on the human history end of things, Sri Lanka has several Buddhist temples to visit. Or check out the local flora and fauna at one of the country’s national parks.
Getting around in Sri Lanka is pretty easy. You have so many public-transport options, including buses, taxis, and trains. You can take any of these to get where you’re going for just a few U.S. dollars.
All in all, Sri Lanka is really going to be one of the most affordable islands to visit. The best time to go is from November to April. That’s the dry season where you should experience warm but relatively dry days.
4. Roatan, Honduras
Welcome to Roatan, a tropical paradise of Honduras! This island destination is a hidden gem that offers visitors pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and a laid-back Caribbean vibe. And the best part? Roatan is one of the cheapest islands to visit, making it an ideal destination for budget-conscious travelers.
Roatan is a great place to visit if you’re looking for a relaxing island getaway. Spend your days lounging on the beach, soaking up the sun, and sipping on a fresh coconut. If you’re feeling more adventurous, you can go snorkeling or scuba diving in the vibrant coral reefs that surround the island. Roatan is also known for its eco-tourism, with opportunities to explore the island’s lush rainforests and encounter exotic wildlife.
Exploring the island in a budget-friendly way
When it comes to experiencing Roatan on the cheap, there are plenty of options for budget-friendly accommodation. From cozy hostels to charming guesthouses, there are plenty of options for travelers of all budgets. Food and drinks are also affordable, with local eateries offering delicious Caribbean cuisine at reasonable prices.
One of the best ways to experience Roatan on the cheap is by taking advantage of the many free activities the island has to offer. You can hike through the lush jungles, explore the island’s picturesque villages, or simply spend a lazy day lounging on the beach.
Transportation on the island is also affordable, with taxis and buses readily available. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even rent a scooter or bicycle to explore the island at your own pace.
In conclusion, Roatan, Honduras is a great place to visit for budget travelers who want to experience the beauty and relaxation of the Caribbean on the cheap. With its stunning beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and laid-back atmosphere, Roatan is the perfect destination for a tropical getaway. So pack your bags, grab your sunscreen, and get ready to experience the magic of Roatan!
5. Aruba, Caribbean Sea
Next up on this list of the cheapest islands to visit is Aruba, located in the Caribbean Sea north of Venezuela. You have probably heard of Aruba before. It is quite a popular destination for people looking to get away from the humdrum of their daily lives and enjoy some time in the tropics. Because Aruba is so popular, though, you may think that you can’t visit this Caribbean island on a budget. Not so!
Getting by on the cheap
Plenty of hotels around the island offer pleasant rooms for well under $100 per night. You don’t necessarily need the biggest and best resorts to enjoy your time away. And because the scenery is so beautiful here, you also don’t need to spend a lot of money to enjoy what’s around.
Take a trip to Eagle Beach in the capital city of Oranjestad. There, you can enjoy the white sands and calming blue Caribbean waters. Or wander up to the northern coast of the island to see and photograph California Lighthouse, the tallest structure on Aruba. There is so much else to do for no or low costs in Aruba. You can rough it out on the terrain in east Aruba to see the Natural Pool. And it will be no burden to visit the island’s Donkey Sanctuary to see how people care for the wild donkeys of the island. You may also just enjoy walking about in Oranjestad to photograph the unusual architecture.
It’s warm in Aruba all year, but if you want to get the absolute best weather for yourself, anytime between December and March would be ideal.
6. Oahu, Hawaii, Pacific Ocean
Oahu (as in, “Oh wahoo!”) in Hawaii is definitely a cheap island to travel to if only for the range of options you have for accommodations and transport. This is where Hawaii’s capital city of Honolulu is. Because there’s no shortage of hotels in the city, you should be able to find a place for much less than what the big resorts will charge you per night to stay in this Pacific paradise.
Spending time outdoors
From here, if you want a truly cheap vacation, why not set out into the great outdoors? From Honolulu’s Waikiki neighborhood, you can ascend the steep incline of the volcanic Diamond Head to get a gorgeous view of the area. And since you’re in the area, why not get in some R&R at Waikiki Beach? There, you can go swimming or surfing or just relax on the sand.
There’s so much else to do on Oahu if you really want to visit on a budget. Visit the Buddhist Byodo-In Temple in Valley of the Temples Memorial Park in the east. You can also enjoy some peaceful solitude at Ho’omaluhia Botanical Garden. There are also so many hiking trails to explore in Oahu that you could stay occupied for weeks.
The best times to visit Oahu are during the shoulder seasons of spring and fall. Those times are outside of the island’s rainy season and also before things get too busy with other tourists.
7. Puerto Rico, Caribbean Sea
Puerto Rico is a Caribbean territory of the United States. As such, Americans can get there with no passport or need to exchange currency. I consistently list Puerto Rico as one of the most affordable islands to visit because there’s so much you can see and do without spending a dime.
Getting around on the cheap
If you know your history, you know that Puerto Rico became a Spanish colony in the early 1500s. That means when you visit the island now, you can see the unique colonial architecture from that period. Nowhere is this more evident than the Old San Juan district of the Puerto Rican capital of San Juan. There, you can see the old buildings, the Spanish-era forts such as Castillo San Felipe del Morro, and the magnificence of the main square, Plaza de Armas.
There are so many things to do in Puerto Rico that you’ll have a hard time fitting them all in! You can go shopping on Ashford Avenue in San Juan. Or tour the Casa BACARDÍ distillery nearby. You can also hit up the absolutely stunning white beaches and take in the blue waters.
You can find cheap hotels and other accommodations on the island, too. I’m talking about rooms for less than $100 a night. Best of all, they take U.S. dollars on the island since it’s an American territory! Puerto Rico is definitely one of the most affordable islands to visit. The best time to go is over the winter of the Northern Hemisphere, between December and April. If you want to save on hotel costs, going between April and June is better.
8. Boracay, Philippines
For our next stop on this journey to the cheapest islands to visit, we’re headed to Southeast Asia. This time, it’s Boracay in the Philippines. This is just one of more than 7,100 islands that make up the country, but this place is worth it. You can’t fly directly to Boracay, but it’s just a short boat trip over from the island of Panay. That’s where the closest airport is: Godofredo P. Ramos Airport (MPH).
One of the best islands
Travelers from around the world consistently rate Boracay pretty high on their lists of the best and most affordable tropical islands to visit. And all the stories are true! The gorgeous resort island features some of the most beautiful beaches I have ever seen. The blue waters meet the white shores against sweeping vistas of the ocean and the mountains of nearby islands.
Despite the stunning location, you can definitely find cheap hotels on Boracay. You don’t need anything too fancy to enjoy all there is to do here. From snorkeling to parasailing to shopping and hiking, you will love your time away in this true island paradise. Or, if you want the most relaxing vacation you’ve ever had, a week on the beach can work wonders. Especially when you’re lounging on one of the top-rated islands in the world for beach quality!
You will experience the warmest and most pleasant weather in Boracay between November and April. The springtime of March to May is also beautiful! Of course, these are also popular times for other international tourists. You can always travel there in the off-season of July to November, too.
9. Malta, Mediterranean Sea
Topping off the list of cheap islands to travel to is the sunny island nation of Malta in the Mediterranean Sea. For reference, Malta is located south of the Italian island of Sicily.
History and beaches
Now, Malta is an interesting place to visit no matter where you’re coming from. That is due to its unique position as an island that spans multiple worlds simultaneously. The history of Malta dates back millennia. You can actually visit temples from the Stone Age on Malta. The nation’s history also spans the Crusades and afterward. It seems to be a place where West and East have come together over the years.
As such, there are a number of historic sites you can visit here in addition to the Neolithic temples. There’s the Rotunda of Mosta, an ornate Catholic church. Or see the royal palace the Casa Rocca Piccola.
If you’re looking for something more relaxing and low key, Malta has some of the best beaches in the world on its three islands. You can also stroll along the Valletta Waterfront and bask in the views of the boats and the water.
You don’t have to spend a fortune to visit Malta. Like most of these islands, you can find cheap hotels and do a lot of things outdoors for free. If exploring history in a picturesque Mediterranean location while also lazing around on some beaches sounds like fun to you, you’ll love Malta. It is one of the most affordable islands to visit!
Frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the cheapest islands to visit
I get that if you’re new to travel, you may still have some questions about the most affordable islands to visit. After all, it can be tough trying to think of everything you need to do to plan the perfect vacation. Everything from airfare to hotel costs and itineraries is probably on your mind. I’m here to help! Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about the cheapest islands to visit in 2023.
How can I save money traveling to these cheap islands?
I understand that, even if these islands are cheap to visit, getting there by plane may not be. Airfare can be all over the place, and there’s no telling how and when prices might change. Fortunately, I have found a way to alleviate a lot of that pain. Scott’s Cheap Flights (now called Going) has been saving me money on airline tickets for years. You just put in your origin point and destination and receive free email alerts from Scott’s. The emails contain cheap mistake fares that you won’t find anywhere else. There’s also a $49/year premium version with more timely alerts. Scott’s Cheap Flights has saved me a ton of money over time. I know it can do the same for you.
What is the cheapest Caribbean island to visit?
The Caribbean is an endlessly popular region to travel to for the stunning beauty of its beaches. If you’re from the Northern Hemisphere and want to get away from a chilly winter for a few days, the Caribbean is a great place to go.
As far as the cheapest island destination in the Caribbean, that honor would have to go to the Dominican Republic. You can get cheap hotels, relax on the beach, and benefit from the exchange rate with the U.S. dollar. It’s a popular tropical vacation spot, and you can enjoy it all on a budget.
What are the cheapest airlines in the world?
If you want to travel all over the world visiting cheap islands, it can be challenging to lock down a specific airline that can take you to all your preferred places. However, I can still do my part by listing off some of the cheapest airlines to fly with in the world:
- AirAsia (Malaysia)
- easyJet (England)
- Ryanair (Ireland)
- IndiGo (India)
- Spirit Airlines (United States)
- JetBlue (United States)
- Tigerair Australia (Australia)
- Air Arabia (United Arab Emirates)