When it comes to vacationing, (or doing mostly anything, for that matter) who doesn’t like a good hack? Making your travel plans can be quite a chore if you’re not sure when to go, where to go, and what to do. Due to its popularity as a vacation destination, the Caribbean isn’t exactly the cheapest place to visit, nor is it the least crowded. However, there are some great tricks you can employ to conquer just about any problem you might encounter when it comes to the Caribbean– whether it’s budget, crowds, food, or those pesky mosquitos that never seem to let tourists be. Check out our Caribbean travel hacks below, and see which ones you might have missed the last time you planned a trip!
Budget travel hacks
Most of us are looking for ways to squeeze as much “juice” out of our pocketbooks as we can. Just remember– squeezing too much can leave you with a vacation as “delightful” as some old dried up grapes on a Monday morning. In other words, don’t go so cheap that your vacation is so uncomfortable, it’s not even worth experiencing! Stay away from questionable hotels or red-eye flights that won’t be worth the savings in the long run. Here are a few money saving tips that won’t leave you high and dry:
1. Fly during the off-season
According to Frommer’s, the season in which less people travel to the Caribbean is Mid-April to Mid-December. That means that hotel prices go down, and your savings can go up! You may be able to save some money on flights as well, depending on where you’re flying from. Use flight-search sites that allow you to compare multiple airlines and flexible dates to find out when the cheapest flights are. Some sites, such as SkyScanner, even allow you to see the prices of flights across several months.
If you head to the Caribbean islands during the so-called “spring break” season (around Easter) or during the December holidays, expect to shell out more hard-earned cash for flights, accommodations, and food. Even most souvenir shops hike up their prices during those dates. They’re expecting a a huge influx of tourists, so can you blame them?
2. “Mix and match” flights
If you want to go to several destinations in the Caribbean, consider visiting those countries during the same trip. In the long run, this can actually save you money, depending on where you live. That’s because a flight from one island to another may be quite inexpensive. If you live far away, you can save by buying a multi-destination flight package, instead of two separate round trips. Note: not all Caribbean islands are located a short distance from each other.
This may sound surprising: you may also find that it costs less to fly to two destinations instead of just one. For example, if you live in the U.S. or Mexico, it can actually be cheaper to fly to the state of Florida, then to a Caribbean island, and then back to your hometown, than to purchase a round-trip ticket between your hometown and the Caribbean. This is because of Florida’s close proximity to many Caribbean islands. You might even wish to take advantage of your stop in Florida to head to one of those famous Orlando amusement parks!
3. Go with friends
Since hotels don’t usually charge per person, you can save money by traveling with a few friends and splitting the room costs. If you’re traveling with your family, you’re essentially getting more value for your money, because your entire family can stay in a room where you’d stay by yourself, for the same price.
“Beating the crowds” travel hacks
Want to enjoy the beauty of the Caribbean without hundreds of tourists blocking your view? Here are a few tips for having the islands “all to yourself”:
4. Don’t go during peak times
Like we mentioned earlier, the Caribbean islands can get absolutely packed with vacation-goers around Easter and Christmas. Unless you book a private island, you’ll undoubtedly be stuck sharing the beaches, restaurants, hotels, and shops with other eager vacationers.
5. Book private accommodations
Speaking of private islands…imagine pulling back the curtains of your ample room in a private villa to behold the crystalline ocean waves crashing softly over the white-sand beach before you—and not a soul is in sight. That view is a rarity, due to the fact that Caribbean beaches are often teeming with tourists. However, it’s more than a possibility when you rent your own private beachside abode.
You’ll get the most out of your Caribbean vacation by forgoing popular hotels for a private villa or a private resort. The incredible advantage to these places is that they are normally far removed from noisy city areas. Private accommodation businesses may be smaller, but they can offer you many perks. You’ll get better service, and in most cases you’ll share the resort with only a few other guests, if at all.
Entertainment travel hacks
Wondering what to do while on vacation in the Caribbean? Here’s how to make the most of your time and money during your stay:
6. Do your research.
It’s absolutely crucial to plan what you’ll do and see each day, BEFORE you go. If you don’t, you’ll probably end up doing much less than you’d like. Do activities that are close in proximity on the same day, to save driving time. Avoid trying to do strenuous activities (like hiking or scuba diving) on your first day, especially if you’re arriving from far away and are experiencing jet lag.
7. Choose unique activities.
Everyone will be heading to the beach, but you could do something “off the beaten path”. Book a subwing tour or swim with whale sharks, for example. Not only are these activities more memorable, but they may be less crowded than “typical” tourist activities.
3. Buy tickets ahead of time.
If you’re planning on seeing any shows, or enjoying any amusement parks, it’s always best to buy your tickets ahead of time. These days, you can find almost any kind of ticket on the internet. Here are some of the top attractions you may want to check out:
- Coco Bongo Show ( Punta Cana)
- A Memorable Evening in Bermuda with Mark Twain (Bermuda)
- Aruba Ray’s Comedy Club (Aruba)
- Holetown Festival (Barbados)
- Tobago Jazz Experience (Tobago)
Not only will these Caribbean travel hacks save you money, but you’ll also be able to simply relax and enjoy your vacation once you arrive! Happy vacationing!