Caribbean Travel: Get More Bang for Your Buck

Traveling isn’t cheap.

No secret there.

Even in the Caribbean, a region that is comparatively more affordable than others, expenses add up. Factor in a round trip flight, accommodation, food, transportation and that list of must-do activities you’re constantly updating, and we’ve got an overall cost that can put an impressive dent in your bank account.

But, I am a firm believer that traveling is worth the expense, once you’re willing to forgo luxuries in other areas of your life. That being said, while I can’t lay claim to being an extreme budget traveler, I have picked up a few tricks to get the most out of my dollars and cents while traveling around the region.

Note the title says more ‘bang for your buck’, meaning this article doesn’t necessarily highlight the cheapest options. Instead, I offer up my 6 tips for getting the most value for the money you spend while vacationing in the Caribbean.

1. Go Island Hopping

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Island hopping isn’t cheap but it doesn’t have to be super expensive either. If you’re someone who loves the region and intends to visit several islands throughout your lifetime, then grouping a few of them together is ideal. Instead of having to pay exorbitant airfares from your homeland for every visit, it will be much more economical to set up a base on an island like Saint Lucia, Grenada, St. Maarten/St. Martin or even Jamaica, and schedule mini-getaways to neighboring islands. Regional airlines like Caribbean Airlines, Liat and SVG Air often offer reasonable rates, and there are also ferry services providing even more economical transportation options. So, consider killing a few birds with one stone each trip – you’ll cover a lot of ground and save a significant amount on airfare.

2. Stay at a Bed and Breakfast

Caribbean #Travel Tips: Stay at B&B

The Caribbean is famous for its all inclusive resorts where room, meals and yes, alcohol, are packaged at pretty attractive prices. But, the one major drawback of these sweet deals is that you’re chained to your hotel’s dining options, which are usually varied but rarely represent the destination’s authentic cuisine. I’ve found Bed and Breakfast establishments to be a convenient alternative that offer unique local charm, guarantees you the most important meal of the day, and allows you the flexibility to sample lunch and dinner at various restaurants and street vendors. Personally, I also love the ability to wake up, and fill up on a delicious, freshly prepared, satisfying breakfast before heading out for the day!

3. Schedule in a Day Tour (or Two)

Caribbean #Travel Tips: Schedule day tours

I’m torn about organized tours, as I outlined in this blog post weighing the pros and cons, but there are several upsides to this type of travel experience. You get to cover a significant amount of ground within a short space of time and these tours always include at least one meal, and sometimes even drinks! Through these excursions you’re able to visit several must-see attractions within a few short hours, an exercise that might take you several days if you attempted it on your own. Bonus: In the Caribbean, we’re big of filling meals so the portions are usually healthy enough to take you through the day and often times you only require a light dinner to tide you over till morning.

4. Rent a Car

Caribbean #Travel Tips: Rent a car

Taxis are expensive almost anywhere you go, including popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean. If you don’t mind a little adventure and relying on navigation apps, rent a car instead. There’s no guarantee the daily rate of a rental will always run lower than your taxi fares but the flexibility you’re afforded when you’re not watching every penny is well worth it. Plus sometimes getting lost helps you find the most amazing places and gives you the best travel stories!

5. Stay Close to the Action

Caribbean #Travel Tips: Stay close to the action

Accommodations located in the heart of tourist towns aren’t always the cheapest, but the convenience is usually worth the price. Overall you may save a decent amount of money if you stay somewhere off the beaten path but if you’re the type of traveler that likes to be in the thick of things, then the money saved on your room will quickly be eaten up by taxi fares (or gas, depending on exactly how far off the beaten path you venture). But, if you like your solitude and prefer to avoid the crowds, feel free to stay as far away from the tourist hubs as you like.

6. Shop for Souvenirs in Bulk

Caribbean #Travel Tips: Buy Souvenirs in Bulk

We’ve all got our preferences when it comes to souvenirs, whether we’re purchasing them for ourselves or as gifts. I’m partial to handcrafted jewelry so really there’s no avoiding high-ish prices there but if you’re in the market for t-shirts, caps, bags, postcards or mass produced jewelry, visit the local craft markets. Take the time to walk around and chat with the vendors then settle on the one you have the best rapport with and try to get as much as possible from their stall. The more you buy, the more willing they are to negotiate better rates!

It goes without saying that I absolutely love the Caribbean! It’s my home and I’m quite content to dedicate a significant amount of time exploring it as thoroughly as I can. We have so much to offer and I hope this post inspires you to come visit and see for yourself just how amazing our archipelago is!

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Caribbean #Travel: Get More Bang for Your Buck

36 Comment

  1. Krysti says: Reply

    Wonderful post! Inspires me to go to the Caribbean in the very near future! Love all the money saving ideas- it definitely does add up.

  2. Loudy says: Reply

    Great tips the day I will plan a trip here I will definitely go back to your post Thanks for sharing amazing pictures

  3. Thanks for the tips. I’m ready to come to the Island!

  4. I agree with so many of your points! We love using Bed and Breakfasts for exactly the same reason you gave! And the rent-a-car is so helpful.

  5. Rebecca Robson says: Reply

    Your journey looks amazing. Some great cost saving tips!

  6. CL says: Reply

    Caribbean is lovely and I’ve always dreamed of visiting the islands there. Love the nature and the exotic feel it gives me. Thank you for sharing these useful tips, they’ll come in handy!

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      You’re very welcome! I hope you can visit soon!

  7. Bianca says: Reply

    As an island girl this post is giving me serious homeland vibes!

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      So happy to hear that!

  8. Sofia says: Reply

    These are such great tips! And they make me want to take a sunny destination vaca now that it’s winter!!!

  9. Some really good tips for Caribbean travel.

  10. Crissy says: Reply

    These are awesome tips! I haven’t been to the Caribbean yet but if I get a chance to go I will have to consider what you shared! Thanks!

    ~Crissy
    http://www.whimsicalfawn.com

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      I hope you can plan a visit to the region soon!

  11. We havent been in years- thats what four kids in 7 years will do to you though…

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      I can only imagine!

  12. Adding this travel to my list! I like what you said about staying close to action. I’m into convenience especially in foreign place so I don’t mind paying a bit more. Great post! xx

    http://www.prettyweirdbombshell.com/guide-to-denpasar-bali/

  13. Jade says: Reply

    Great Tips, I”m definitely going to take this to heart when I go to the caribbean.

    Jade | https://budgetsandweights.com/

  14. alia says: Reply

    Looks amazing! Thanks for all the tips!

  15. Oh my goodness this post gives me the itch to get traveling again! I rarely consider renting a car internationally but certainly an interesting thought worth weighing out!

  16. Caribbean… it was always in the end of my ‘to-do-list’. Maybe unfairly? After reading, I would say I will consider once again, maybe the next trip will come faster as I thought. 5-th picture just stole my heart.

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      So happy to hear this! I hope you’re able to visit soon 🙂

  17. Great tips, I can agree to all of them. Especially renting a car has the nice side effect to explore a place or region completely on your own with all the opportunities 🙂
    Bed& Breakfast is also a great solution to save a lot of money.

  18. Nina says: Reply

    I would absolutely love to travel to a cluster of islands in the Caribbean. The idea of waking up in a bed and breakfast in paradise sounds amazing. I like the idea of going for a few weeks and checking several islands off the list.

  19. I would love to go to the Caribbean! The closest I have been were the San Blas Islands in Panama and that was already amazing. I love the idea of island hopping!

  20. Great tips! We do something similar in terms of proximity too, I like your ideas on sometimes having to give in into group tours too

  21. Claire says: Reply

    Some great tips here. I completely agree about sometimes paying a little more to stay more central saves money in the long run. Also, I always buy all my gifts in bulk, you are so right about being able to get the price down more buying more. thanks for the tips!

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      Thanks and you’re very welcome!

  22. Meg says: Reply

    Love this! Been looking for a Caribbean adventure! Thanks for all the helpful tips to keep me on budget!

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      You’re welcome! I hope you get your Caribbean adventure soon!

  23. St. Maarteen sounds like a dream, have always wanted go, Island hoping definitely sounds doable and loads of fun. great tips on traveling the islands, I like you am always torn on taking tours, sometimes they can be so wonderful and other times I feel stuck.

  24. Nice article and some great tips about the Caribbean. It is so far from my home but hopefully I one day can go island hopping, book a tour, enjoy some breakfast and enjoy a full Caribbean experience.

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      I hope you can as well!

  25. Yes, I’ve always had The Carribean pegged for “luxury holidays” 🙂 but this sure gives me another perspective! Very informative, thanks!

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      You’re welcome, glad I was able to show you the other side of Caribbean travel!

  26. Michelle d says: Reply

    Love this post! You made some great points about what you should do while Island hopping. Especially the shopping bit!

    1. islandgirlintransit says: Reply

      Thanks so much, glad you found it helpfuL!

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