5 tropical islands no budget traveller should miss!
When we think of the word "island", there are so many images that come to our minds. Palm tree's, white sand beaches, turquoise crystal clear waters, peace, quiet, hot weather, hammocks, freedom! There are a number of great island destinations for budget travellers that are very popular on the travel trail. Islands like Bali and Lombok are well-known to budget travellers from around the world, but what other islands have the same intrigue as those? Off the beaten track?
There are a lot of great island destinations that will break the bank. Think of the Maldives, Seychelles & French Polynesian islands and you go broke just wondering how you are going to get there. Outside of the luxury island holidays, accustomed by honeymooners alike, the world has plenty of great places that provide both a great time and plenty of travel options for the backpacker or budget conscious traveller.
Palawan Island, The Philippines
Palawan Island is a hidden gem in The Philippines. The island's white-sand beaches are inviting and offer picture-perfect views from Palawan's shores. The island is not a party destination, which will help you save money during your travels. With cheap drinks and food to match, you will spend your nights underneath star-filled skies. Whether you are travelling alone or with a friend, you will find plenty of solitude on the island; and plenty of time to reflect on where you have been and where you are going.
The untouched – or barely touched – island has plenty to offer you when it comes to beach activities. The island does have resorts and you can fly to Palawan's main city El Nido. But to save serious cash you can find alternative ways to the island. Catch a bus or van to El Nido from Puerta Princesa, which will cost you a couple of days, but think of all the stories you can tell when you get home. Remember its the journey, not the destination!
El Nido has plenty of budget accommodation, especially if you sacrifice having a room with air conditioning. Eat like a local and the Palawan Islands are a perfect budget travel holiday in Southeast Asia.
Trinidad and Tobago
Trinidad and Tobago doesn't immediately come to mind when thinking of a place for budget travel. Sure, the flights might cost a bit, but once you arrive on one of the two islands – or one of the 21 other islands – you will find Caribbean adventure waiting for you.
Tobago is the more beautiful of the two islands and full of natural wonders. It is also less developed, which means cheaper options for travellers. If you fancy a white-sand beach or rainforest to explore, you will find it on the Caribbean island.
Maracas Bay is a must-see beach on Trinidad and it is the island's most famous. Travel from Port of Spain to Maracas Bay through rainforests before the mountainous area gives way to the gorgeous ocean waters. You won't want to leave once you arrive, and I don't blame you.
Hostels and guesthouses make great venues when staying on the islands. You can find places to stay on Trinidad and Tobago for about £10-£12 per night. While you may find something a bit cheaper in parts of Asia, travelling around the Caribbean offers so many different experiences.
Gili Islands, Indonesia
Three islands make up the Gilis, and each offers a very different experience. Trawangan is the largest of the three and it is perfect for partying the night away. In fact, if you want a party every night, it isn't difficult to find. The island has plenty of great budget accommodation options and eating like a local will save you plenty of cash. If you want to go upmarket, you can even stay at one of Trawangan's dreamy resorts.
Once you tire of the beach parties that last all night, hop over to Air for a laid back experience. Surf, snorkel or just hike the island from top to bottom. Again, the accommodation on Air won't break the bank and you can find plenty of great food options.
If you are travelling with a loved one or meet that special someone during your travels, Meno is the island to visit. This is the closest thing you will come to when it comes to deserted tropical islands. Watch the sun set from the island's sandy shores before dining on authentic Indonesian food. In the morning, wake up and take a dip in the crystal clear waters that surround the island. Remote, romantic and remarkable, Meno is an unforgettable experience.
You should be able to find rooms on the Gilis for £8-£10 per night.
Koh Rong, Cambodia
Cambodia has long been a travel haven for young and old as they trek across Asia. One of the biggest draws of Koh Rong island is the feeling of being off the grid, and it is hard to argue with that claim. You won't find high-rise accommodation here. What you will find are cabins, a few little shops and very little else.
If you like being on the edge of the world, or you want to give it a try, head to Koh Rong. Electricity is provided by generators and everything is rather basic. The island paradise doesn't get a lot of visitors, so you may find yourself all alone, in the best possible way!
You can find dorm accommodation for as little as £5, but keep in mind it is basic. In fact, you will be roughing it, but that is part of the adventure of travelling. You should be able to find a private room for around £8-£12 as you enjoy your island paradise. Once you soak in the crystal clear waters just metres from your cabin, you will understand just why you chose to visit Koh Rong.
San Blas Islands, Panama
There is more to budget travel than just Asian islands. The Caribbean offers just as much in budget travel and a completely different experience in your adventures.
If you fancy emerging from the ocean's waters onto a white-sand beach shaded by glorious palm trees then this is the place for you. The islands are in an autonomous region of Panama, which makes it even more of an experience when getting to and staying on the San Blas.
In some cases, when you book a hostel on the island it includes a boat trip from the mainland. Once you arrive, there is plenty of budget accommodation available. The accommodation is right on the beach and is constructed from palm tree leaves and sticks. It is truly rustic & authentic. It is also a picture-perfect experience when you stroll the beach. If you have ever dreamt of being on a deserted island after leaving all of your problems thousands of miles away, the San Blas Islands enables that to happen.
Be prepared to bring a lot of food, water and whatever else you need to survive. The San Blas is not a five-star hotel, it is budget travel at its basic best.
These five island destinations are perfect for budget travellers looking for a place to explore. Secluded and cheap, the island adventures are perfect for your next trip around the world.