How To: Rent a Private Island for Your Next Vacation

by  Tommy Burson | Jul 28, 2014
Beach wedding
Beach wedding / Preto_perola/iStock

“Cheap” and “private island.” There’s no way those two words go together, right? Only billionaire investors and Brad Pitt vacation on their own exotic paradise.

To be the bearer of great news, we're happy to share that, actually, you can possibly afford a wee vacation on your very own island -- no crowded resorts or overpriced mojitos.

Yes, you'll still find that most private islands offer stereotypically high rates. Vatulele Island off the coast of Fiji, for instance, will cost you $11,000 per night to rent in its entirety. But websites like Private Islands Online feature private island rentals for prices as cheap as $485 per night -- less than what you'd pay to stay at most high-end island resorts.

But how can a private island be so affordable, you ask? Most privately owned islands aren’t occupied for most of the year. Unless the owners are celebrities and elites like Johnny Depp or Richard Branson (who rents his out for $50,000 per night), it makes more sense for them to make a modest profit rather than let their islands sit unused.

The islands available on Private Islands Online are scattered all over the world, from Belize to Thailand to the South Pacific. For U.S. travelers looking for a rustic experience in the heartland, islands in Michigan, Ontario, Maine, and Connecticut are currently available at under $500 per night. The islands all feature lodging of some sort, most typically a furnished cabin with three or four bedrooms, a kitchen, and living room space.

Still don't want to shell out? Check the Special Offers section for cheaper resort experiences instead. Right now, a 7-night stay on Viwa Island in Fiji will cost couples $3,000 and includes private beach picnics, romantic dinners on the beach, massages, and nights sleeping inside a traditional Fijian bure. That comes out to just $215 per night -- a stark contrast from the $11,000 to rent out the entire island.

At the end of the day, these deals allow the average traveler an experience primarily reserved for the the über rich -- and possibly for less than what you might be prepared to pay for a special occasion vacation in the first place. And, let’s be real: Who hasn’t dreamed of owning a private island at one point or another?

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