While it may seem like summer has just begun, the sunny sky and warm weather will not last all year round. As this summer may be the first summer many Americans are making travel plans after the pandemic, it is a great time to make an itinerary and set aside a few days to rest and reset this season.
If you haven’t made any summer plans yet or are worried about affording a vacation this summer, no need to fear. The following guide will help you find the cheapest locations to book your summer vacation, as well as what you can expect as far as accommodation and activity costs and options.
1. Cook Islands, New Zealand
If you are looking for an island getaway in a location filled with multicolored coral tropical fish and underwater exploration, the Cook Islands might be the place for you.
For those looking for a bargain, the Cook Islands offer some amazingly inexpensive options. Located in the South Pacific, the Cook Islands are composed of 15 islands with the main island of Rarotonga featuring the most hotel and accommodation options. Nightly hotel options for this island will likely cost you around $150 per night, according to Trip Advisor.
For those not keen on underwater life, this island offers plenty of other activities to keep visitors busy including biking, hiking and shopping at the Punanga Nui Market.
2. San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan offers an affordable summer vacation right on the Atlantic Ocean. This location is sure to not break the bank as hotels in Puerto Rico are as low as $100 per night, and if you stay in San Juan, you will be close to the airport and can avoid a long and expensive Uber trip to your hotel.
“San Juan is filled with vibrant nightlife, authentic culture and historical sites, as well as the famous Isla Verde beach,” said Megan Jones, travel expert and founder of the website Traveller’s Elixir.
While the island might be fairly small, it offers many affordable activities including a visit to a Spanish citadel, going hiking through the national forest, checking out the bioluminescent beach or just relaxing on the sand.
3. Lady Musgrave, Australia
Lady Musgrave is not a place to ignore when planning your summer vacation. This island is located just off the coast of Queensland, Australia, and is a part of the Great Barrier Reef. This wilderness habitat offers a very affordable vacation experience, as the location features only a campground with no showers or running water. If you are up for a camping wilderness adventure, you will find this island offers one-of-a-kind snorkeling where visitors can see colorful fish, sharks and sea turtles.
“It costs a few hundred dollars to get transferred across to the island, which seems a lot, and a few bucks per night to stay there, but the experience you get there… no hotel comes close to matching it,” said Belinda Antonenko, founder of Journey. Discover, a travel blog with location reviews and recommendations.
4. Zanzibar City, Tanzania
Zanzibar City, also known as Stone Town, is recognized for its many buildings built from coral stone. This city is also a great inexpensive travel option for those planning a last-minute vacation.
“Since almost everything is close by in the city, you’ll be able to save money by avoiding using taxis or public transportation,” said Jenny Ly, founder of Go Wanderly, a travel website that creates travel guides for locations around the world.
Zanzibar’s location alongside the Indian Ocean allows its guests to enjoy fresh fish, and they can also enjoy affordable lodging. You can find a hotel room in Zanzibar for under $200 per night, according to Trip Advisor, but guests can also consider staying at the many newly developed and affordable hostels across the island.
5. Boracay Island, Philippines
Boracay Island is a popular destination for vacationers looking for a cheap island getaway. This location is known for powdery white sand beaches and crystal-clear water and offers affordable vacation options for guests. The island is about an hour’s flight from Cebu or Manila, and an excellent option for visitors looking to island-hop.
On the island, a hotel can cost as little as $30, with a slightly more expensive price point during the busiest months of the year, January to April. Hostels are also an affordable option for travelers looking to save on lodging, and The Boat Station 3 neighborhood on the island has some fantastic lodging options, according to Ly.
6. St. Lucia, Caribbean
St. Lucia is also a top contender for one of the best affordable islands to visit this summer. This location is great for those living on the East Coast due to its proximity. It features many all-inclusive resorts, which are an appealing option for many younger travelers.
“Like Hawaii and other pricier island destinations, St. Lucia boasts stunning beaches, water sports, rainforests, mountains, waterfalls and volcanos, but while those destinations are fabulous, a mid-range hotel can average over $500 a night with no inclusions. In St Lucia, you can get a full all-inclusive stay for around the same cost,” said Sarah Kine, owner of Time for Travel, a company that has been planning honeymoons and destination weddings for over 20 years.
7. The Big Island, Hawaii
While a Hawaiian vacation can be on the expensive side, you might be surprised at just how affordable a trip to the Big Island can be. On the Big Island, booking a rental car costs as little as $30 a day from Turo or other car agencies, and by bringing your own snorkel gear, you can save on daily rental costs, said Adam Marland, founder of We Dream of Travel, a travel site that features Hawaiian travel guides. Additionally, you can stay on the Big Island for as little as $150 a night at numerous hotels in Kona, according to Booking.com, which is a price point comparable to staying in any major city.
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