Island hop your way to relaxation
Here are some planning tips for a successful – and more affordable – island-hopping vacation.
Island hopping sounds fun and exotic, but it takes research and planning to do it successfully. The destination, length of your stay, distance between islands and your budget are key factors that should be considered when building your island itinerary. We’ve rounded up some islands worth hopping and provided some helpful resources to help you plan an unforgettable vacation.
Hawaii tops vacation wish lists for millions of Americans, but which of the six accessible islands should you visit? The most frequently visited islands – Maui, Kauai, Oahu and Hawaii (the “Big Island”) – offer unique qualities and landscapes, ranging from arid to lush and tropical, so visiting just one island may not afford visitors all this paradise has to offer. With inter-island flights costing between $70-$140 each way, CNN Travel recommends limiting your hopping to just two islands. Oahu is a great place to start, as it provides direct flights to the other islands. CNN also directs readers to Maui’s more budget-friendly ferry service to Lanai and Molokai. Visiting during the off-season, specifically May and October, is another way to keep a Hawaiian vacation affordable. Starting in 2018, you’ll be able to find cheaper flights to the Hawaii thanks to Southwest! The airline recently announced its plan to extend service to the vacation hotspot.
A bit more intricate than the Hawaiian Islands, the Greek islands are divided into six main island groups plus Crete, Greece’s largest island. It’s easiest to pick a group and hop between them than to go group to group. A total of eight islands have international airports that serve carriers like British Airways, Air France and EasyJet in the summer (high season). The islands are more accessible during high season, with more ferries, planes and restaurants open, but they’re just as beautiful (and less crowded) if you visit in early June or September. Check out Travel + Leisure’s helpful travel guide to the Greek Islands to inspire your vacation.
While you may think of tropical landscapes when you hear “island hopping,” that’s not always the case! You can island hop your way through Scotland to discover the unique characteristics of Isle of Skye, Orkney, Isle of Islay and more. Whether you plan to stay for a few days or a few weeks, you can easily experience some of the islands via plane or ferry. The Isle if Islay is a major whiskey region with eight distilleries from which to choose. The oldest legal distillery in Scotland is Bowmore Distillery, so it may be best to start there. Check out this helpful itinerary to find additional destinations to round out your trip.
Finally, if you want to island hop without handling the headaches of the logistics, a cruise is the best way to go! Research the port destinations of the ship and leave all the rest up to the captain.
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