Finding affordable vacation destinations for active-duty personnel isn’t as daunting as a drill sergeant on a Monday morning. Instead, think of it as a treasure hunt, where the treasures are pristine beaches, majestic mountains, vibrant cities, and, most importantly, price tags that don’t make you break into a cold sweat.

If you’re active duty personnel, or someone dear to you is, you’re in for a treat. We’ve scouted the globe for the most breathtaking yet affordable vacation destinations tailor-made for our men and women in uniform. 

Whether you dream of a tropical beach getaway, a quiet mountain retreat, or an adrenaline-packed adventure, we have you covered. Read on to find out where you can find your next escape without breaking the bank.

Affordable Vacation Destinations For the Service Member 

After months of grueling drills, challenging assignments, and answering the nation’s call, every soldier deserves a break. Here are some options to consider. 

A Taste of the Tropics Without the Expense

Palawan Island, Philippines (Unsplash)

Ever dreamt of sipping a fresh coconut on a sandy beach, waves gently lapping at your feet? Many tropical destinations seem out of reach, but here’s a secret – they don’t have to be. 

We’ve found several affordable vacation destinations that offer that same paradise feeling.

  • Thailand: Whether exploring bustling Bangkok or relaxing on the idyllic islands of Phuket and Koh Samui, Thailand offers an exotic experience without a hefty price tag. Expect to spend around $600-$800 per person per week, including accommodation, food, and local transportation.
  • Philippines: From the white sands of Boracay to the hidden lagoons of Palawan, there’s beauty at every turn, all at an accessible price. You can enjoy a week’s stay for around $700-$900 per person, covering lodging, meals, and entertainment.
  • Costa Rica: Explore the rich biodiversity or surf world-class waves without breaking the bank. Depending on your chosen activities, a week in Costa Rica may cost anywhere from $800-$1,200 per person.
  • Sri Lanka: Known for its golden beaches, flavorful cuisine, and friendly locals, Sri Lanka is a tropical gem that won’t leave your wallet empty. Expenses for a week-long vacation here might range from $500-$700 per person.
  • Nicaragua: Offering stunning volcanic landscapes, surf-worthy beaches, and colorful colonial towns, it’s a tropical haven accessible on the purse strings. Enjoy a week’s holiday for around $600-$800 per person, including meals, lodging, and local excursions.

Adventures for the Thrill-Seeker

Machu Picchu, Peru (Unsplash)

Maybe sandy beaches aren’t your style. We have some affordable vacation destinations if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush.

  • Peru: Hike the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu or explore the vast Amazon rainforest. A week in Peru can range from $800-$1,200 per person, including accommodations, meals, and some guided tours.
  • South Africa: For wildlife enthusiasts, a safari in South Africa can be an unforgettable experience. Expect to spend around $1,000-$1,500 per person per week, including lodging, game drives, and meals.
  • Georgia: With its towering mountains and ancient monasteries, Georgia offers a unique blend of history and adventure. A week-long stay might cost you $600-$800 per person, covering basic expenses.
  • Morocco: Trek the Atlas Mountains or ride camels through the Sahara Desert. A week in Morocco could cost anywhere from $700-$1,000 per person, depending on your chosen experiences.
  • New Zealand: Known for its stunning landscapes and outdoor activities, a week in New Zealand might cost $1,200-$1,600 per person, including accommodations, food, and adventure sports like bungee jumping or white-water rafting.

A Quiet Retreat

Paros Island, Greece (Unsplash)

If peace and tranquility are what you seek, don’t worry; we have that too.

  • Greece: Explore the quiet islands like Paros or Naxos for a more peaceful Greek experience. A week here can range from $800-$1,200 per person, including accommodation, meals, and local transportation.
  • Ireland: Wander through the rolling green hills and cozy up in a countryside B&B. Expect to spend around $900-$1,200 per person per week, including car rental, lodging, and meals.
  • Cambodia: Visit the ancient temples of Angkor Wat or relax in the coastal town of Kep. A week in Cambodia might cost you around $600-$800 per person, covering basic expenses.
  • Slovenia: With its beautiful lakes and charming small towns, Slovenia offers a perfect quiet retreat. A week’s vacation might range from $700-$900 per person, including accommodations, food, and sightseeing.
  • Japan’s Countryside: Step away from the bustling cities and explore the tranquil countryside. Depending on the region, a week in rural Japan might cost around $800-$1,200 per person, with lodging, meals, and local travel.

Don’t Forget the Family

The Budapest city skyline at night (Unsplash)

Family-friendly doesn’t have to mean costly. We’ve found some excellent and affordable vacation destinations where the whole family can enjoy the fun.

  • Croatia: Explore beautiful coastlines and historical sites with the family in Croatia. A week’s vacation can range from $800-$1,200 per family, including accommodation, meals, and some family-friendly activities.
  • Turkey: With its vibrant bazaars, stunning beaches, and rich history, Turkey offers a unique family vacation. Expect to spend around $700-$1,000 a week, covering lodging, food, and entrance fees to attractions.
  • Malaysia: Visit the bustling city of Kuala Lumpur or relax on the island of Langkawi. A week in Malaysia might cost around $800-$1,100 per family, including accommodations, meals, and family-friendly outings.
  • Hungary: Explore Budapest’s historic castles or enjoy the famous thermal baths. A week’s stay for a family might range from $700-$900, covering lodging, meals, and sightseeing.
  • Estonia: Discover this Baltic gem’s medieval architecture and beautiful national parks. A week in Estonia might cost around $800-$1,200 per family, including lodging, food, and adventure.

Serving Those Who Serve

Finding your slice of paradise doesn’t have to break the bank. From tranquil retreats to thrilling adventures, these affordable vacation destinations are waiting to welcome you. Remember, our prices are estimates; if you choose to go high-end, the sky is the limit no matter where you go. On the other end of the spectrum, if you don’t mind staying in a hostel or two, you could end up paying less. 

Pack your bags and prepare to discover the world without worrying about the cost. Because, after all, a soldier’s paradise is never too far away if you know where to look.