4 winter travel destinations on a budget

As wintertime approaches, it’s understandable we all dream of escaping to sunny and warm destinations this time of year. If you’re on a budget you may think making that dream a reality is impossible but the fact is there are a range amazing getaways to explore that won’t impact your pocketbook (much).

Here are some of our top budget-friendly winter vacation hotspots:

Panama: Mexico and even Costa Rica get a lot of the attention from North American travelers, but Central America’s southernmost country is a fantastic warm weather option to consider. Flights can be a bit pricier but accommodations are usually cheaper and it’s less overrun by tourists. Check out Panama City’s charming Spanish colonial architecture and Bocas del Toro in the north for fantastic surfing and scuba diving.

Tulum: South of Cancun and Playa del Carmen on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, Tulum offers stunning Caribbean beaches, pre-Columbian Mayan ruins to explore and giant turtles. More established resorts may be pricey but search for affordable hotels and Airbnb options as well.

Barbados: At the Caribbean’s southern edge, this English-speaking island paradise offers it all – fancy resorts on its south coast as well as a range of options for every budget along its west coast. In particular, explore the area around Holetown – including the fish fry at Oistins Bay Gardens and Sandy Lane Beach where Rihanna and Simon Cowell can sometimes be spotted near their winter homes.

Cartagena: This 500-year-old colourful walled city on the northern coast of Colombia, facing the Caribbean, offers visitors great food, charming and scenic walks, white sand beaches and stunning coral reefs to explore. It’s also one of the most affordable places to visit in the Caribbean.

What other budget-friendly winter destinations have you discovered? Please share your experiences and suggestions in the Shop Talk blog community forum. We’d love to hear from you!

Did you know? Vietnam offers another breathtaking option

If you’re open to more far-flung options, consider Vietnam. The southeast Asian nation offers the bustling Ho Chi Minh City to explore, as well as the Mekong Delta and Ha Long Bay for unforgettable sites.

60 thoughts on “4 winter travel destinations on a budget

  1. Would be interesting to know what any of these “budget” trips actually cost. For those who are actually on a budget, cost is important

  2. wow! What a great ideas to go for rest. It is a great opportunity to combine the rest and aknowledge something new.
    Thank you for ideas!

  3. Vietnam certainly looks like a lovely place to visit, I will certainly keep that in mind when we next decide a vacation.

  4. Your description of different areas in Barbados is a little confused…..the fancy resorts ie Sandy Lane are on the West Coast (sometimes referred to as the Gold or Platinum coast ) not the South. Simon Cowell, Rihanna, and Holetown are all on the West Coast but not the Oistin’s Fish Fry which is on the South. Yes there is somewhat more affordable “range of options” accommodation on the South Coast.but hardly for every budget. I love that you are promoting Barbados ,…but keep it realistic.

  5. Vietnam looks like a wonderful place to visit. Since my health is on the decline, I would love to experience another culture and people. For me this opportunity to break bread and enjoy their smiles and learn how another culture lives from day to day would be a trip of a life time.

  6. I would think twice about travelling anywhere in Mexico, or Cartagena (Colombia) as there are known safety risks. Of course one must always take care and be aware when travelling, but Mexico and Colombia have higher risks than other places. They may be beautiful, but unless you travel with a large group, I would NEVER go off exploring in these places.

    1. Just an FYI to anyone who might be thinking of going to Mexico, I was there this past February (2020) before all travel restrictions (due to the Coronavirus) had come out, it was not my first choice for a winter vacation but my sister talked me into it….. we stayed at SIRENAS spa and resort and not once did I feel we were in any sort of danger, we went off the resort to go shopping and our driver comes back to pick you up at the specific time you have arranged, you don’t even pay the driver until you are back at your hotel safe and sound. I can honestly say if you don’t do anything stupid (like leaving the complex at night), you will be as safe and sound as anywhere else these days….. ELAINE

  7. I’ll so happy, to good to be true, only a dream, never travail in my life, it would be so great to have to chance. ??

  8. Thailand and similar area (Cambodia etc) are high on the list for next year. Especially a multi location trip over a few months. Biggest hurdle is finding fun, safe places to tour and comfy places to stay. Looking forward to it all.

  9. I would really love to get away this winter but I have ms and have not been able to work for the past 20 years so I could never afford it

  10. Now that my 4 children have grown up its time to start saving for a honeymoon that we never took as we just bought a house. Its our time now

  11. Are these destinations safe? Tourist casualties are climbing and safety is now the one of the biggest considerations when traveling to another country.

  12. There are only 4 destinations, where is the 5th one?

    I am originally from colombia and have been to Cartagena a few times, not “white sand beaches and stunning coral reefs to explore” there, at least not close by

  13. Be nice to get away from this very cold weather from up northern Yukon and go somewhere warm in the middle of Feb. like one of these great destinations and enjoy my life in a tshirt

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