It’s always beach season somewhere in the world. In the northern hemisphere you can enjoy the beaches from June to September; in the southern hemisphere from December to February; and in the tropics, well, year round! Since I’m a budget traveler who always loves a stunning beach, I’ve partnered with Expedia to select some of the best beaches in the world every budget traveler will enjoy.
Now, where in the world can you go to enjoy a world-class, beautiful beach destination without breaking your pocket? Here I’m going to give you eight great options all around the world.
Sunny Algarve has been a more upscale destination for European beachgoers, but in recent years prices have gone down dramatically, making Algarve, and Portugal in general, much cheaper and affordable to budget travelers.
Algarve counts with miles of sandy beaches, a picturesque sun-kissed coastline, and a vibrant nightlife. This destination is so popular that you can commonly find cheap packages including accommodation and airfare from all around Europe and even the US. You can also plan your trip on your own and book your accommodation for as low as 20 Euros a night, or even less.
Since Algarve is in the Iberian Peninsula, you should enjoy the delicious regional cuisine and the excellent wines. As a bonus, don’t forget to check the island of Madeira, which is an excellent sunny destination year round.
Well known for its parties and all-inclusive vibe, Cancun has become one of the most popular destinations for American across all ages. You can find ridiculous deals where you get a five-star experience for a small fraction of its price. Actually, if you look at Expedia’s All-inclusive Resorts page, it is full of options in Cancun as some of the cheapest deals on their site.
But, Cancun is not a stand-alone destination. From there you can visit Isla Mujeres, the beautiful Mayan ruins of Tulum, the world wonder of Chichen Itza, and the relaxing island of Holbox.
Another thing Cancun has to its advantage is that you can find ridiculously cheap flights from almost anywhere in the world.
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
I’m sure you’ve probably heard of Punta Cana before. This is one of the world’s greatest beach strips and there’s a reason for it. Its 20 miles (30 km) of golden fine sand and warm waters are welcoming all year round.
Punta Cana is beautiful, but its beauty comes with a downside – it has the most extensive resort concentration in the Caribbean. But, it is not all bad news, this ample supply of all-inclusive resorts helps instead to lower prices, bringing them as low as $30 and $40+ a day for all-inclusive packages. From experience, these resorts offer an excellent value for the money paid, and their food and service is always exceptional. Again, I recommend checking Expedia for deals.
Fethiye is much more than just a beach destination. This town, which has an international atmosphere and a good nightlife, is considered to be the only town in the world where you can see pre-Roman sarcophagus on the street – which are beautifully lit at night.
The best time to go is from April until October to enjoy the history and culture as well as the Mediterranean beaches. Beyond swimming, there are dozens of watersports you can do like paragliding, parasailing, canoeing, and more.
Hire a motorbike for as low as 35 Liras (around $17) a day and roam around the town and surrounding landscapes. For accommodation, you can find rooms for $20 a night or even cheaper if you stay in a hostel dorm.
Koh Tao, Thailand
Koh Tao is no longer the secluded backpacker paradise it used to be, but in my opinion, it is still an excellent beach destination for budget travelers. Diving and snorkeling here is a must. Also, an overnight stay or a day visit to Koh Nang Yuan – three private islands connected by sandy beach strips– should also be high on your list.
You can find accommodation for as low as $5 a night for a very basic beach bungalow. Street Thai food is so easy to find, but even restaurants offer tasty meals for a decent price.
Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt
Egypt has been known for decades as a cheap destination, particularly among Europeans who want to escape the cold season and soak up the sun in Africa. Everyone knows about the pyramids and ancient Egyptian temples, but did you know that Egypt also has some world class beaches too?
Sharm el-Sheikh, while slightly more expensive than most of Egypt, is still a great budget destination and a well-known Egyptian beach resort. If you’re a diver, you should try it here, as it is known as one of the best and most colorful diving spots in the world.
While resorts abound in Sharm el-Sheikh, accommodation can go as low as $20 a night for a double room in smaller hotels and guesthouses. If you look for street food, a tasty meal can cost you less than $4.
Corn Islands, Nicaragua
The Corn Islands (Big Corn and Little Corn) are some of the most prominent tourists draws of Nicaragua. Their crystalline coves and horseshoe bays are the perfect representation of those “wish you were here” postcards.
Tourism on these islands is still in its infancy, so there is not a lot of infrastructure for travelers. Still, you’ll find decent budget accommodation and restaurants serving excellent local food.
Little Corn seems to be the more popular of the two islands due to its jungle environment and lack of development. In fact, there are no cars or roads here. This island is perfect for a relaxing and tranquil vacation.
Bali is world famous as a gorgeous beach destination that seems to be far out of reach from many, but did you know Bali is pretty affordable? Yes! Accommodation can be found for as cheap as $10 a night in places such as Kuta and Ubud, local food can be as cheap as $2 a meal, and a motorbike rental as low as $4 a day.
Being an island, Bali is surrounded by hundreds of gorgeous beaches, but I’ll recommend you to go to Geger Beach, Padang Padang (where Eat, Pray, Love was filmed) and Blue Lagoon. Also, you can easily jump to the Gili Islands, where you’ll have an even more laidback environment, and more beautiful beaches to choose from.
Lastly, don’t miss hiking the volcanoes in Bali to see a breathtaking sunrise, as well as the diving and snorkeling their reefs.
Now, where in the world would you like to go on your next beach vacation?