Destination Packs Project: Top 5 Affordable, Sunny Escapes

Brrrrr! Even here in Los Angeles, it’s feeling chilly. No, it’s not snowing. Yes, we are wearing parkas and gloves anyway. For those in more frigid climates, the longing for a little sun is beginning to build.

Luckily, you can catch some rays without wrecking your hard-earned savings. This winter, travel south to one of these warm, beachy, sun-soaked spots.  

The Florida Keys

When you picture Florida, the first thing that probably comes to mind is retirees in Hawaiian print shirts and cargo shorts, but Florida has much more to offer than that. The Florida Keys, a chain of warm, tropical islands sprawling out at the end of the sunny state, is no retirement home.

Key West is a go-to party destination known for stunning sunsets and endless outdoor activities. Some resorts are pretty expensive, but the Lime Tree Bay Resort isn’t bad- and the onsite kayaking, hammocks, and pools don’t hurt, either! 


A sunny escape for less than 50 bucks a night? Sign me up! Panama is a destination few people consider, but it’s on our list for more than one reason. Because it’s not as heavily publicized as other winter destinations, like Cancun, the risk of heavy crowds is low. For the best scuba diving around, explore the islands of Bocas del Toro.

Panama City itself is quite spectacular as well, with sunset views and music on the streets. There are tons of hotels to choose from, but Selina Playa Hotel is hard to beat in terms of price. Rooms at the well-reviewed inn start at only $25/night! 

The Bahamas

A more mainstream destination, The Bahamas are a classic. They’re not far from Florida, so flights are pretty reasonably priced between about $300-500. The water is warm, crystal clear, and perfect for a long list of water sports.

The beaches are by far the most special part of the Bahamas, and tourists flock from far and wide to enjoy the sun, sea, and sand. Long Island’s Chez Pierre offers private bungalows with ocean views- kayaks and bikes included! 

Montego Bay, Jamaica

Ah, Jamaica, the land of rum punch, amazing food, and relaxation. Jamaica’s most popular season is from January-March. It’s usually crowded during the high season and flights hover around $500, but the hotel prices start at a very low $30 a night. If you want the most relaxing trip ever, consider an all-inclusive package. Some resorts like the Iberostar Rose Hall Beach offer affordable ones that include food, drinks, and scuba tours. Jamaican me hungry for a vacation, man! 

Borocay Island, The Philippines 

Last but not least, Borocay Island is an ideal retreat for anyone dying to escape chilly, winter weather. The island is small, but it has no shortage of pure, white beaches. It’s more well known than it used to be, but it’s still much quieter than the Bahamas.

Like the other amazing destinations on our list, it’s pretty affordable, starting at a mere $70/night. Spend your day however you’d like, with spa treatments, horseback riding on the beach, cliff diving, snorkeling, and more! 

What to Pack

We weren’t kidding when we said these destinations are toasty warm! Your traveler bag or duffle should be stocked with: 

  • A swimsuit (or three!) 
  • Sunblock
  • Sandles 
  • Shorts
  • All your other warm-weather essentials


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