Cheap Caribbean: How to enjoy a Caribbean vacation this Spring without blowing your budget
This is one of the world's most unique rivers. Make sure to include it in your to-do-list during your next Caribbean trip!
It’s spring, which probably means you’re ready for a vacation. You want someplace warm, a destination that offers an escape from the last blasts of winter and a preview of the coming summer months. But you probably don’t want the money you spend today to limit your summer vacation plans, either. If this sounds like the situation you’re facing, consider the Caribbean. The weather there is exactly what you’re looking for this time of year, and if you follow a few basic tips, you can have a great time without spending a fortune. Here’s why:
Photo by Reiseuhu
1- April is off-peak in the Caribbean, so the time is right
Vacationing in any tropical location between December and March is going to equal premium prices. That’s because these months are considered the peak seasons for winter getaways in the Caribbean. However, starting in mid-April, Caribbean travel becomes cheaper for both airfare and lodging. The weather conditions are also ideal. The climate is warm, sunny and pleasant this time of year with not a lot of humidity, which will increase in the summer.
Photo by Romello Williams
2- Pick a destination with a budget in mind
Remember that the Caribbean is a region, not a place. There are 13 countries in the region and more than 700 islands of various sizes. Some are popular and expensive. Others are less thought of for vacations and therefore can be visited at cheaper prices. Mexico and Colombia are both in the Caribbean region and offer a wide range of vacation options at affordable prices. Other affordable places include Cuba and the Dominican Republic. Some Caribbean islands are easier to reach than others, which impacts airfare. Also consider the cost of lodging and food in the islands you consider. You may find some places in the Caribbean cheaper to reach but more expensive to stay. Just by comparing the combined costs of these two variables — airfare and accommodations — across a few desirable islands, you can map out a pretty cheap vacation plan.
Photo by Bari Abikar
3- Go local
Brand-name imports are super expensive in the Caribbean because they are always the preference of vacationing Americans. That goes for beer, food, and supplies like shampoo and soap. A trip to a local supermarket will show you what the locals use, and what they pay, for some of the same things. The price difference can be huge. The same holds true for restaurants and nightspots. There really are tourist traps in the Caribbean and while you might find these places easy and comforting to choose, you will pay more and won’t always have the best experience.
Photo by Sebastian Pena Lambarri
4- Embrace the parks and beaches
Activities like scuba diving excursions and adventure sports aren’t going to be cheap in the Caribbean. But you can enjoy some of the world’s most beautiful national parks and beaches without paying a dime. The Caribbean is also a world-class sailing destination with plenty of options for affordable island hopping. Just be sure to do your research ahead of time to make smart choices as far as safety and reliability.
Photo by Alexander Mils
5- Pay in American dollars
You can save money by living like a local in the Caribbean, but you will have more leverage when you pay like an American. That means avoiding the temptation to exchange your currency and asking how much things cost in US dollars, which is usually preferred by most places you’ll visit. Paying in dollars will also give you the opportunity to barter for certain goods and services.
Photo by Spencer Everett
6- Think outside the resort
Vacation resorts are tempting to book because most things are included in one simple cost. But, despite the fact that there are plenty of resorts to choose from in the Caribbean, they aren’t cheap. And if you plan to explore a little bit, you will find it easier and less expensive to book a well-rated local hotel or vacation rental property instead. You will have to find places to eat and recreation activities on your own, but that’s how you’ll have a more memorable experience and save a lot of money.
Photo by Emily Bauman
Mid-April is a great time to take a cheap Caribbean vacation. You can enjoy outstanding weather and good times without spending a fortune if you avoid touristy locations and luxury goods. By living like a local with safety and caution always top of mind, you’ll have the perfect spring getaway with enough money saved to enjoy more vacations later in the year.