With the world at your fingertips these days, plenty of cheap flights, and your dream vacation just a click away, you don’t need to sacrifice your perfect beach getaway because of budgetary constraints. It’s possible to be on some of the most beautiful beaches in the world with even a very limited holiday budget.
Beach holidays do not have to be all about private five-star bungalows on the most remote islands. There are plenty of beautiful options for those on a budget, both in more developed areas and in slightly more undeveloped parts with romantic, secluded coves waiting to be explored.
If you want to explore with your partner or just kick back in a beautiful setting but don’t have a bottom bank account to travel on, look no further. Whichever part of the world you want to head to, we’ve got you covered.
Beach destinations for couples on a budget
Beach vacations can be very romantic and the perfect way for couples to get away to unwind together. Family-friendly beaches full of children crying and running into and out of the ocean is probably not what they had in mind, and neither are the all-inclusive family-style resorts that one can often find advertised as part of budget holiday packages.
So whether it’s somewhere a bit quieter or with more of a nightlife that you’re looking for but still can’t afford that 5* Seychelles private beach bungalow vacation, we’ve got some ideas that won’t leave you feeling like you’ve settled.
Depending on which region you want to visit, where the flight specials are, and how far your budget will stretch, we’ve got options all around the globe. This is by no means exhaustive, and there were so many options we didn’t cover!
- Playa del Carmen, Mexico, is a low-key sister to Cancun, offering the same beautiful beaches and budget accommodation, but with far more peace and quiet than its party central sibling city. Less than an hour’s drive from Cancun, it is still accessible, as are the day trips to surrounding points of interest if you want to take a break from the beach.
- San Juan, Puerto Rico, gives you access to the Caribbean without the high prices. Beautiful beaches with lower costs where you can lounge, scuba or surf, this is a super accessible option for mainland US residents.
- Samana, Dominican Republic, is one of the lesser developed, more serene parts of the island nation. With friendly locals, white sandy beaches, and year-round sunshine, this country offers some great beach experiences. Boasting eight international airports and multiple all-inclusive accommodation options, this is an accessible option too!
- Belle Mare, Mauritius, is a quiet beach with many secluded spots. Mauritius is a romantic island, popular for couples and honeymooners, and offers a variety of well-priced all-inclusive options.
- Watamu, Kenya is beautiful white beaches and shallow turquoise waters that form part of the Malindi Marine Reserve Park, a protected area. With fresh seafood and local beer, this is a great African getaway.
- Nungwi, Zanzibar is on the north coast and is palm-lined and tropical looking. If you’re looking for somewhere even quieter and even cheaper, a bungalow at one of the beaches down the east coast of the island is a good bet.
- Petrovac Beach, Montenegro, is popular with locals and tourists and offers the historic town of Petrovac to explore nearby too. Still, warm water and stunning forests meeting the water make the Montenegran coastline a hidden gem worth exploring in a very budget-friendly way.
- Bacvice Beach, Croatia, is bustling and has shallow crystal clear waters. Most of the Croatian coastline has stunning beaches with clear, calm waters, and is not an expensive destination, so couples have a huge number of options along this coastline.
- The Algarve, Portugal, has plenty of beaches to explore – both secluded ones you can only access through hiking and wide-open white sand lined with sunbeds. Old historic towns provide a great backdrop to explore when you’re all sunned out.
- Coron, Philippines, is an island that has several idyllic beaches to explore, with both beach huts and hotels at great prices. With neighboring islands to explore, snorkeling, SUP boarding, kayaking, and many other water activities, this is great for couples who just want to relax as well as those who want to be more active.
- Koh Rong Sanloem, Cambodia, has beautiful clear beaches, arguably some of the best in Southeast Asia (like Long beach).
- Phuket, Thailand, or any number of other beaches in Thailand. With a coastline of 2815km, a warm, tropical climate, cheap everything, and several islands off the coastline, this is a beach holiday made for everyone! Whether you’re looking for nightlife (check) or quieter beaches (check), for basic bungalows (check) or nicer hotels that still work within your budget (check, again), Thailand has it all, and it comes with service as a smile, as a bonus.
- There are so many options here; it was hard to narrow down. Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam also have the most beautiful beaches and are generally very affordable destinations, not to be ruled out!
- Unawatuna, Sri Lanka, is one of a number of beaches on this island that are cheap and tropical. Happy locals can drive you along the coast any time on this year-round warm island.
- Palolem beach, Goa, India, has blue waters and white sand. The area is geared towards tourism, so there are plenty of options for accommodation and other beaches to explore along the coastline.
- The Maldives can be done on a budget. Typically all-inclusive island resorts are available, but finding a room in a guesthouse is the best option for those on a budget. Specials are constantly changing, so find an island and an option that works for your budget, and you will have uncrowded turquoise waters and white sand to look forward to.
Now all that’s left is for you to find your flights, take your pick, and book that holiday!
Tips for a cheap beach vacation
- Don’t book on the beachfront. If you’re looking to save money, this is an easy way to compromise. You spend so little time in your accommodation; you don’t need the view – you’ll be in it all day! Without paying for the view, you can still get some great accommodation a couple of blocks back or a short walk from the beachfront.
- Pack picnics or snacks. It is not necessary to eat three meals a day out at restaurants. Pack a picnic or some snacks for lunch or your afternoon on the beach, and if you’re somewhere that allows public drinking, then taking some beers or wine to the beach for sundowners is also a good idea. Make sure to check the laws on public drinking in your host country first!
- Book somewhere self-catering. You can spend less at a supermarket buying local groceries than the extra they’ll charge you for an inclusive breakfast at your accommodation. This is also a great opportunity to familiarize yourself with local culture and to find the foods that you like.
- Go to public beaches. Some countries have private, paid sections, but there are sure to be great public beaches that are free. It’s not necessary to pay to use a beach – ever!
- Take public transport. If you want to explore beaches in the area, make like a local and use public transport. It’s likely cheaper than renting your own car and will make a stop at the popular beaches.
A great beach holiday is totally possible on a tighter budget. Most young couples are trying to make the most of their time without kids yet by traveling, but are still paying off student debt, trying to buy houses and get established, but there is no need to sacrifice a nice beach holiday because your purse straps are a little tight. Where you want to go in the world, there are options for you on a budget. All that’s left is to actually book it now!