How to Travel the Caribbean on a Budget: Tips and Tricks to See the Region Without Breaking Bank
by Maia Muttoo Sep 23, 2019
The Caribbean is one of the most beautiful and culturally rich regions in the world.
With 26 countries and over 7,000 individual islands, there’s a lot to discover. While it may seem financially daunting to explore the Caribbean, it is possible to do so affordably; all you need are the right hacks!
Here are five tips for travelling the Caribbean on a budget.
Eat and Drink the Local Products
Many small Caribbean islands with limited resources and infrastructure must import goods from overseas. This means that prices on imported products can be high. You can save a pretty penny by eating and enjoying locally made products instead, such as locally brewed beer or farmers’ market produce.
Ask locals about their favourite dining establishments and drinking holes. While it’s tempting to overspend at those luxury restaurants recommended by your tourist guide, you’ll likely find less expensive food that is just as good at modest local hotspots.
Travel During the Off-Season
From November through March, tourists flock to the Caribbean to escape the winter weather. During these high-season months, you can expect flight and hotel prices to skyrocket.
Research your chosen destinations in advance to determine which months are least busy, and then book accordingly. The summer months from May through October tend to be a better bet cost-wise.
Stay at a Guest House, Home Stay or Airbnb
Vacationers tend to think of all-inclusive resorts when they think of the Caribbean.
Instead, stay at an Airbnb, homestay or guesthouse. These options are typically far less expensive per night and give you a more authentic experience as you’ll be staying in a local’s home. There are hundreds of homes to choose from so you can tailor your experience to your unique tastes. Whether you want to stay right on the beach, relax in the mountains or be within walking distance of city attractions, there are affordable accommodation options.
Find the ‘Cheap’ Activities
Look beyond the pricey activities like jet-ski rentals and parasailing. You can still make the most of your trip around the Caribbean by being selective with your itinerary.
Learn about the Caribbean’s rich culture by taking a free self-guided walking tour of historical sites, bask on a public beach, or seek out activities that are reasonably priced. If you’re on a staycation of your own country, ask about local rates as some vendors offer discounts to residents.
Choose Your Stops Wisely
Think carefully about what you want to do and see in the Caribbean. Some islands have a higher cost of living than others. If you’re on a tight budget, leave that pricey stop off your list if it doesn’t offer something you really want to experience.
Make a map of the islands you’d like to visit, and how cheaply you can travel between them. Remember, you’ll need to consider airfare or boat fees to move between islands, so build that into your budget! Local boats or ferries are the most cost-effective method of travel but may not be available in every instance.
The Caribbean is a stunning region that boasts diverse landscapes, cultures and activities.
If you’ve been itching to travel the Caribbean but are concerned about the cost, start with these five tips. It’s possible to enjoy the region without breaking the bank!