How to Plan an Island-Hopping Itinerary and How Many Islands Can You Visit in a Week or Two?

Island-hopping is a great way to explore different destinations and cultures in one trip. You can enjoy the variety of landscapes, activities, cuisines, and vibes that each island has to offer, while also experiencing the thrill of traveling by boat or plane from one place to another. But how do you plan an island-hopping itinerary that suits your budget, preferences, and time frame? And how many islands can you realistically visit in a week or two? In this blog post, we will give you some tips and examples of island-hopping itineraries that you can use as inspiration for your own adventure.

Choose Your Region

The first step to plan your island-hopping itinerary is to choose the region you want to visit. There are many island groups around the world that are ideal for island-hopping, such as the Caribbean, the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. Each region has its own charm, climate, culture, and attractions, so you should do some research and decide which one appeals to you the most.

Some factors to consider when choosing your region are:

  • The distance and cost of traveling from your home country
  • The visa requirements and travel restrictions (especially during the Covid-19 pandemic)
  • The weather and seasons (avoid hurricane season in the Caribbean, monsoon season in Southeast Asia, etc.)
  • The availability and frequency of transportation between islands (ferries, flights, etc.)
  • The diversity and size of the islands (do you prefer small and secluded or large and lively?)
  • The activities and attractions you are interested in (beaches, hiking, diving, culture, etc.)

Pick Your Islands

Once you have chosen your region, you can start picking the islands you want to visit. This can be a fun but also challenging task, as there are so many options to choose from. You should narrow down your list based on your personal preferences, but also on practical aspects such as:

  • The distance and time of traveling between islands (you don’t want to spend too much time on transit)
  • The availability and cost of accommodation on each island (book in advance if possible)
  • The safety and infrastructure of each island (some may be more developed than others)
  • The compatibility of each island with your travel style (do you prefer luxury or budget, party or relax, etc.)

A good rule of thumb is to aim for 2-4 islands per week, depending on how much you want to see and do on each island. You should also leave some room for flexibility and spontaneity in case you want to change your plans or extend your stay on a certain island.

Plan Your Route

After picking your islands, you can plan your route and book your transportation. You should check the schedules and prices of ferries and flights online and compare them to find the best option for your itinerary. You should also consider the order of visiting the islands based on their location and connections. For example, you may want to start with the closest or most accessible island from your arrival point, and then move on to the furthest or most remote island. Alternatively, you may want to save the best or most expensive island for last.

Some tips for planning your route are:

  • Book your transportation in advance if possible, especially during peak season or for popular routes
  • Check the luggage allowance and fees for each mode of transportation (some may have strict limits or extra charges)
  • Allow some buffer time between transfers in case of delays or cancellations
  • Have a backup plan in case something goes wrong (such as alternative routes or accommodation)
  • Keep track of your bookings and confirmations (print them out or save them on your phone)

Examples of Island-Hopping Itineraries

To give you some ideas of what an island-hopping itinerary can look like, here are some examples based on different regions and durations. You can use them as a reference or modify them according to your preferences.

Caribbean Island-Hopping Itinerary (1 Week)

The Caribbean is one of the most popular regions for island-hopping, thanks to its stunning beaches, diverse cultures, and easy connections. Here is an example of a one-week itinerary that covers four islands: St Martin/St Maarten, Anguilla, St Barts, and Saba.

  • Day 1: Fly to St Martin/St Maarten, the island that is split between France and the Netherlands. Explore the Dutch side, which is known for its nightlife and casinos.
  • Day 2: Take a ferry to Anguilla, a British overseas territory that boasts some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Relax on the sand or try some water sports.
  • Day 3: Take another ferry to St Barts, a French island that attracts celebrities and jet-setters. Shop at the designer boutiques, dine at the gourmet restaurants, or party at the chic clubs.
  • Day 4: Take a flight to Saba, a Dutch island that is known for its diving and hiking. Explore the Saba Marine Park, which has over 30 dive sites, or climb to the top of Mount Scenery, the highest point in the Netherlands.
  • Day 5: Fly back to St Martin/St Maarten and explore the French side, which is known for its quaint villages and nude beaches.
  • Day 6: Take a day trip to one of the nearby islands, such as Pinel Island, Tintamarre Island, or St Kitts and Nevis.
  • Day 7: Fly back home or extend your trip to another island.

Thailand Island-Hopping Itinerary (2 Weeks)

Thailand is another popular destination for island-hopping, thanks to its tropical climate, rich culture, and affordable prices. Here is an example of a two-week itinerary that covers six islands: Phuket, Koh Lanta, Koh Lipe, Krabi, Railay Beach, and Khao Sok National Park.

  • Day 1: Fly to Phuket, the largest and most developed island in Thailand. Enjoy the nightlife and entertainment on Patong Beach or relax on one of the quieter beaches.
  • Day 2: Take a day trip to Koh Phi Phi, one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand. Visit Maya Bay, where the movie “The Beach” was filmed, or go snorkeling or kayaking around the island.
  • Day 3: Take another day trip to James Bond Island (Khao Ping Kan), where the movie “The Man with the Golden Gun” was filmed. See the iconic rock formations and explore the nearby caves and mangroves.
  • Day 4: Take a third day trip to Similan Islands, a group of nine islands that are part of a national park. Dive or snorkel among the coral reefs and colorful fish or relax on the white sand beaches.
  • Day 5: Take a ferry from Phuket to Koh Lanta, a laid-back island that offers a mix of nature and culture. Visit the Old Town, which has a Chinese and Muslim influence, or go hiking or biking in the jungle.
  • Day 6: Explore more of Koh Lanta or take a day trip to one of the nearby islands, such as Koh Rok, Koh Ngai, or Koh Mook.
  • Day 7: Take another ferry from Koh Lanta to Koh Lipe, a small island that is often called the Maldives of Thailand. Enjoy the turquoise water and powdery sand or go diving or snorkeling in the surrounding marine park.
  • Day 8: Explore more of Koh Lipe or take a day trip to one of the nearby islands, such as Koh Adang, Koh Rawi, or Koh Tarutao.
  • Day 9: Take a ferry from Koh Lipe to Krabi and then a taxi or bus to Railay Beach, a stunning peninsula that is only accessible by boat. Climb the limestone cliffs, swim in the lagoons, or watch the sunset from Phra Nang Beach.
  • Day 10: Take a bus from Krabi to Khao Sok National Park, one of the oldest rainforests in the world. Stay in a floating bungalow on Cheow Lan Lake or in a treehouse in the jungle.
  • Day 11: Explore Khao Sok National Park by boat, kayak, or trekking. See the wildlife, such as monkeys, elephants, and hornbills, or visit the caves and waterfalls.
  • Day 12: Take a bus from Khao Sok National Park to Surat Thani and then a flight to Bangkok or another destination in Thailand.
  • Day 13-14: Spend some time in Bangkok or another destination in Thailand before flying back home or extending your trip to another country in Southeast Asia.

Mediterranean Island-Hopping Itinerary (2 Weeks)

The Mediterranean is another region that offers