10 Best Alternative Destinations Instead of Going to Hawaii

Most travelers agree that Hawaii is one of the most incredible places to visit, but what if you want to avoid traveling there or you’ve already visited? You’re in luck. Recently, experienced jet setters met in an online discussion to reveal the best alternative destinations to Hawaii. This is a great list for anyone looking to expand their horizons.

1. The Azores

Beautiful View of Sete Cidades, Azores, Portugal Europe
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Located far off the coast of Portugal, the Azores resembles Hawaii in many ways. In fact, many travelers consider it the Hawaii of the Atlantic! “Super budget-friendly, absolutely beautiful, safe, English is spoken pretty much everywhere, but you’ll still feel like you’re in a foreign place, with its sense of culture still very much intact,” explains one frequent visitor of the Azores.

2. Montego Bay

Montego Bay
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Home to countless white sand beaches, luxury resorts, and plenty of culture, Montego Bay is the crown jewel of Jamaica. As one of the most accessible Caribbean vacation destinations from the mainland United States, it offers plenty of opportunities for fun. Don’t worry; if you’re in the mood for rest and relaxation, Montego Bay can accommodate that, too!

3. Reunion Island

Old effect picture, aerial view on coast, Reunion Island, France
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Not many explorers know about this nearly-hidden island off the coast of France. If mountains are more your style, Reunion is the place to visit. “Reunion is all about the mountains,” explains one man. “It has three calderas you can hike in. The views are breathtaking. The mountains have the wild jagged look that is typical for volcanic islands. They are covered in green, and the calderas are huge. You are about two-to-three kilometers high when you are on the ridge, and you can see everything. I might even prefer hiking there over Switzerland. Waterfalls are also plentiful; they come in all shapes and sizes.”

4. Panama

Aerial view of the modern skyline of Panama City , Panama with modern Highrise buildings.
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Many travelers report that their entire vacation in Panama, including lodging and airfare, costs about half of what a trip to Hawaii would cost. Luckily, Panama has plenty to offer. Many recommend island-hopping in Bocas de Toro between hiking countless mountains on the mainland, which sounds like a quintessential adventure.

5. Alaska

Glacier Bay, Alaska
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Although, in many ways, Alaska is the polar (pun intended!) opposite of Hawaii, it doesn’t make visiting any less of a thrilling proposition. Many travelers love the juxtaposition between the two locales, as Alaska is home to just as many natural wonders as its tropical counterpart. 

6. Belize

The Belize Collection – Belize
Image Credit: The Belize Collection – Belize

For anyone who wants the closest thing to an authentic Hawaiian vacation, Belize should top any list. “Belize would result in nearly zero jetlag compared to Hawaii and brings cheap and easy access to islands and beaches,” reports one traveler. “You’d also have great privacy with plenty of exploration options.”

7. Punta Cana

Punta Cana
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The Dominican Republic is known for beaches stretching miles and perfect year-round weather. Thanks to a booming tourism industry, Punta Cana has emerged as one of the most beloved destinations on the island – especially if you are a fan of all-inclusive luxury resorts! (Give me all the tropical drinks, please!)

8. Costa Rica

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Not only is Costa Rica naturally breathtaking, but it’s also one of the least expensive travel options on this list! “I did Costa Rica last summer for my honeymoon, and it was amazing,” reveals one woman. “We did nine days and were at least $2,000 under budget. We also stayed at nicer resorts than we needed to. There was plenty of excitement and lots of hiking and adventures. We did ziplining and horseback riding as well.”

9. Thailand

Travel vacation background - Tropical island with resorts - Phi-Phi island, Krabi Province, Thailand.
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While many people explore the sprawling city of Bangkok during a visit to Thailand, you’re better off traveling to one of the smaller islands! From Ko Samui to Koh Kood — and every island in between — you’ll find endless culture, cuisine, and excitement wherever you end up. 

10. Indonesia

Manta Bay or Kelingking Beach on Nusa Penida Island, Bali, Indonesia
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If traveling to Hawaii is prohibitively expensive, look no further than Indonesia. Cities like Bali aren’t just beautiful but also shockingly affordable. Cheap drinks, gorgeous beaches, and locals who are exceedingly welcoming to travelers are just a few things to expect when visiting Indonesia. 

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