As Sean Bean has been trying to warn us for years, Winter is finally here (Game of Thrones reference). The soggy commutes, office sniffles and endless darkness can grind anyone down after a while. So if you’re planning to escape to cheap exotic holiday destinations, let us inspire you with our list of 12 warm, exotic countries to suit even the tightest budgets.
Flight prices are taken from Skyscanner and are the cost of cheapest return flight prices. Hotel prices are from Booking.com and Airbnb and are shown as nightly rates. All information is based on travel in the month of February but will still provide a helpful guide for other months.
Flying From Europe
These 6 cheap exotic holiday destinations are for people who are starting out near or in Europe. In particular, the information laid out here is if you were flying from London, but even if you’re not, you’ll still be able to get a good idea.
Average temperature: 21°C / 70°F
Lose yourself in the bustle of Marrakesh medina or take time to reflect at Casablanca’s glorious Hassan II Mosque. Explore the strikingly colorful streets in the capital’s Oudaias Kasbah or get in touch with the real Morocco in Fes old town. You’ll never be short of things to do in this ancient, sun-drenched country.
Flights from: $47 per person (although beware of hidden costs).
Hotels from: $10 per person for a dorm room in Marrakech; $10 for a twin room in other areas.
2. Cape Verde
Average temperature: 25°C / 77°F
The islands of Cape Verde, off Africa’s west coast, has enjoyed a boom in tourism in recent years, thanks to incredibly beautiful places and low prices. Surf off the white sands of Santa Maria beach, float in a sea even saltier than the Dead Sea in Pedra Lume, or discover the local Creole culture around the islands.
Cape Verde has an incredible volcanic landscape, enjoys the sun all year round, and is extremely accessible to get to too!
Flights from: $299 per person.
Hotels from: $18 per person for a dorm room; $22 for a twin.
Average temperature: 28°C / 82°F
An old favorite for backpackers and luxury seekers alike, Thailand’s booming cities, lush jungle habitats, gorgeous street food and immaculate beaches means it’s always a popular spot. Visit an elephant sanctuary, go white water rafting on the Mekong river, scuba dive with an array of tropical fish, or bounce from temple-to-temple. The list of options is almost endless.
One could also visit Bangkok too, Thailand’s capital. This is a massive city of over 8-million people and offers so many unique attractions and foods. It can also be done on a budget too—even better!
Flights from: $350 per person.
Hotels from: $10 for a small double room in Krabi or Surat Thani; $6 for a dorm room or $11 for a twin in Chiang Mai.
4. Puerto Rico
Average temperature: 25°C / 77°F
After walking the streets of colonial old San Juan, whale watching at Rincon and splashing through the waterfalls of El Yunque National Forest, you’ll be ready to flop down on the beach and relax in the sunshine. When the time comes, find your secluded tropical paradise on Culebra Island.
Puerto Rico has an exceptionally diverse landscape meaning you won’t get bored easily traveling it. It also features beaches that glow at night called “bioluminescent bays.” These bays can be found at either La Parguera, Mosquito Bay in Vieques, or at the Bioluminescent Bay located in Fajardo.
Flights from: $368 per person.
Hotels from: $44 for an apartment on Airbnb.
5. New Delhi
Average temperature: 17°C / 63°F
India’s capital is a buzzing, pulsating, slightly chaotic kind of town. The Red Fort, the city’s most imposing building, finds its antithesis in the tranquil architecture of Gurudwara Bangla Sahib–Delhi’s most important Sikh temple. Once you’re done with New Delhi’s many attractions, why not make an onward journey to the incredible “pink city” of Jaipur, or get some beach time down in Goa?
Flights from: $370 per person.
Hotels from: $8 for a basic double; $12 for a comfortable double.
Average temperature: 29°C / 84°F
Elephants, giraffes, lions and other big game can all be seen in Uganda—a much cheaper alternative to Kenya and Tanzania. So if you’re looking for cheap places to travel to in Africa, this is it.
You can go white water rafting on the Nile at Jinja, canoe on Lake Victoria, and, for those whose budgets will stretch, go mountain gorilla trekking at Virunga National Park. All good reasons Uganda should be on every travelers wish-list.
Flights from: $410 per person.
Hotels from: $18 for a comfortable double.
Flying From America
These next 6 cheap exotic holiday destinations are for people who are starting out near or in the Americas. In particular, the information laid out here is if you were flying from New York, but even if you’re not, you’ll still be able to get a good idea.
Average temperature: 25°C / 77°F
Martinique is dripping with French-Caribbean charm. Hike up the active volcano of Mount Pelée, explore the island’s many beautiful beaches—of which Les Salines is perhaps the highlight—or spot rare hummingbirds in the botanical gardens of Fort-de-France.
Like French food? Of course you do. Martinique is blessed with a wonderful mixture of French food, fresh seafood and Caribbean spices. So if you like fine food, rum, sun and nice beaches, this is the place for you.
Better yet, Martinique is not even that touristic, and it’s very possible to have whole beaches just for yourself!
Flights from: $160 per person.
Hotels from: $50 for a good double.
2. Cancun & The Maya Riviera
Average temperature: 24°C / 75°F
One of those cheap places to travel internationally, Mexico features the Maya Riviera which is packed with attractions for every type of traveler. Cancun has the nightlife and the sprawling beaches, Cozumel has a laid-back vibe and some world-class dive sites, whereas Playa del Carmen offers amazing snorkeling in Xel-Ha lagoon.
Throw in a couple of Mexico’s most iconic Mayan ruins—Chichen Itza and Tulum—along with some natural swimming in breath-taking cenotes, and you can’t ask for much more.
Flights from: $200 per person.
Hotels from: $18 for a double in Cancun; $25 for a double in Cozumel.
Average temperature: 31°C / 88°F
Probably the cheapest country to visit in the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic also happens to be a luxury holiday destination. It has a wealth of beaches to enjoy and offers the best of the Caribbean…but for a fraction of the cost.
Go kite-boarding at Cabarete, unwind in Punta Cana or go looking for Humpback Whales off Samana. If its thrills you’re after, consider canyoning or ziplining in the jungled interior. Also, make a visit to buzzing Santo Domingo and pick up some larimar jewelry—a semi-precious stone that is only found on this island.
Flights from: $236 per person.
Hotels from: $15 for a double in Santo Domingo; around $20 for a double in coastal resorts.
4. U.S. Virgin Islands
Average temperature: 26°C / 79°C
If you’re looking for a winter break where you can sip piña coladas beneath swaying palm trees, then look no further than the US Virgin Islands. With tonnes of happy hour specials and live bands, St John is the place to go if you want to party it up. With only three ferries traveling to Anegada per week, this is the place to go if you simply want to get away from it all.
Flights from: $248 per person.
Hotels from: $50 for an apartment on Airbnb.
Average temperature: 18°-28°C / 64°-82°F (depending on region)
Despite a troubled recent past, Colombia is back in business as a major tourist destination. It could be the cool, picturesque city of Medellin that captures your heart, or perhaps the rolling coffee plantations of Eje Cafetero.
Maybe you’ll fall in love with the beaches of Tayrona National Park, the kaleidoscopic colors of Caño Cristales, or gravity-defying Las Lajas sanctuary? Whatever it is, we’ll bet that one trip is not enough.
Flights from: $266 per person.
Hotels from: $12 for a comfortable double.
6. Costa Rica
Average temperature: 27°C / 81°F
Nesting turtles are the star turn here, and although February is not the best time of year, it is still possible to see them on Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline. Other attractions include diving with hammerhead sharks off Cocos Island, the brilliant-green caldera lake at the summit of the Irazu Volcano, and the Spanish colonial buildings of San Jose, the nation’s capital.
What’s more, Costa Ricans are—perhaps—some of the friendliest people in the world. If you make a friend in Costa Rica (which is very possible), they’ll be sure to make your trip as enjoyable as possible.
Flights from: $285 per person.
Hotels from: $11 for a dorm; $23 for a twin.
We hope this helped you track down some cheap exotic holiday destinations to travel to this Winter.
Also, because we can sometimes run out of ideas of cheap places to travel, if you have any more cheap destination ideas for this Winter, feel free to share them below with other readers!
Suggested next reading: 10 Cheap & Warm Countries Perfect For People Who Hate The Cold