Are you interested in traveling the Caribbean but don’t know where to start? Do you worry that the cost of a Caribbean vacation will set you back thousands or cost you months of overtime? Luckily, there’s tons of ways to make your Caribbean dreams come true.
First, Plan Your Trip
Thoroughly researching your options will help you to make the best choice for your family, as well as your wallet. To ensure you are on the right track when it comes to planning your Caribbean getaway, we have composed a few tips:
Choose a Destination
In the Bahamas alone, there are over a hundred islands to explore. Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic are only a short flight away, with Jamaica, Turks and Caicos next door.
You literally can’t go wrong when it comes to choosing a vacation destination in the Caribbean. Each Caribbean island has its own identity, language, currency and tourist attractions. Decide where you’d like to travel to by researching each destination.
Consider the Cost of Living
While the cost of living in many Caribbean islands can be less than we are used to here in the U.S., prices vary throughout the Caribbean. Puerto Rico, Mexico and the Dominican Republic are known for affordability. St. Thomas, St. Barth’s and the Cayman Islands are known for their upscale, aka pricey, options.
Consider the Time of the Year
The Caribbean can be quite costly during busy season. Busy season is during winter, when Americans are buried knee-high in snow. Prices surge to their highest over the Christmas holiday. Fortunately, the low season is from mid-April to mid-December – just before winter.
This is when you will save the most money on your vacation rates. While the temperature drops during the low season, the tropical weather still remains in the 80’s. Unfortunately, this is also when the Caribbean experiences hurricane season. If you’re willing to take the gamble, you can save some serious cash by vacationing during the low-season.
Airfare prices are greatly affected by the destination you choose. Islands that are closer to the mainland typically charge less for airfare. There are a wide variety of budget airlines that cater to Caribbean destinations, such as Winair, Bahamas Air and Air Caraibes. Utilizing a budget airline, or setting your sights on a nearby island, are effective ways to cut costs.
Another approach to save on airfare is to closely-monitor airfare rates. Tuesdays are the cheapest days to fly to the Caribbean, while Wednesday is the cheapest day to return. While it is typically advisable to purchase your airfare far in advance to save money, you could also save if you wait till the last minute.
How to Book Online
Once you have decided upon your destination, it is time to start browsing for the best deals. There are several online booking agents that deliver on the promise to save you money on your next Caribbean vacation. Online booking agents allow you to book airfare, lodging, rental cars, all-inclusive, expeditions and activities. Many even allow you to create your own package - choosing exactly what you’d like – ultimately saving you the most money.
Popular Online Booking Agents
Adago – Options include hotels, rental homes, airfare and flight transfers. Adago is a popular option for international travel.
CheapCaribbean – Options include packages, all-inclusive, wedding packages, resorts, luxury lodging and cruises. CheapCaribbean caters to those traveling to Mexico and the Caribbean islands.
Kayak – Options include booking hotels, flights, hotels, cars, packages, deals and cruises. Kayak gives you the option to sift through user reviews in the mentioned areas, as well as restaurants, routes and guides. Trip Huddle provides you will an easier way to plan a trip with others; instead of emailing back and forth, simply share vacation plans via Trip Huddle.
SkyScanner – Options include booking flights, hotels and rental cars. SkyScanner differs from other online booking agents because it recommends destinations for the undecided shopper. You can browse by price, destination or month to find the cheapest airfare. SkyScanner is also a great place to find last minute deals.
Trip Advisor – Options include booking hotels, things to do, restaurants, flights, vacation rentals, cruises, cars and road trips. If you are looking to read through reviews prior to booking your trip, this is the spot. Users upload personal reviews and photos to share their vacation experiences.