The common belief that travel must be expensive keeps many would-be travelers at home. Don’t let yourself fall into this trap. With enough creativity and planning, and a few good tips, you can create a memorable and amazing vacation to fit a wide range of budgets.
A Few General Budget Travel Tips
1. Know Your Priorities
Are you taking this trip because it’s important to get a nice sun tan? Do you want to stay in a fancy hotel room? Are you taking this trip because you want to go SCUBA diving? Are you looking to eat until you burst? By knowing what’s most important to you, you can avoid blowing your budget on something that isn’t really important to you.
2. Shop Around For Your Flight
Use a website like Skyscanner to find your best deals. It may be the case that leaving a day later or earlier could save you a great deal of money.
3. Shop Locally
Whether you’re looking for a restaurant, a bottle of water, or a souvenir, stepping a block or two off the beaten tourist path can save you a few dollars.
The Cheapest Time to Visit Barbados
Traveling in the offseason is always an easy way to cut the cost of almost every expense with your trip. Everyone visits Barbados during those cold, North American winters. Traveling during the low season, which runs June through November, will bring costs down a lot. The cheapest flights and accommodations are usually around September-November, when the weather isn’t the best and kids are in school. This can save you 25-50%.
Drinking On the Cheap
Alcohol can suck up a lot of vacation budget. You can cut costs here by drinking locally. What’s more Caribbean than rum? It’s around ⅓ of the price it is in the US. Imported beers will also cost you a lot more money. Try a local beer instead of a Budweiser and have a local experience at the same time you save money. Keep an eye out for the local Banks beer.
For a local experience and a healthier option, buy a coconut from a roadside vendor! These will usually cost you around $3BD ($1.50USD).
Bonus Tip! Visit the Mount Gay Rum Distillery. This will double as an activity for the day, which will help stretch your budget and be a great experience. Mount Gay is one of the oldest distilleries in the world and is respected worldwide. Take a tour for $10USD and explore the history of the distillery and learn about the process. In the end, you’ll be able to buy rum directly from Mount Gay at a huge discount! Drinks, an activity, and souvenirs—this is what getting the most bang for your buck looks like.
There are a lot of options here, so you will have to revisit your priorities list to know what’s most important to you. Staying on the south coast will usually be your cheapest bet. Coconut Court Beach is a popular choice. This hotel offers a swimming area, a nice beach, and a continental breakfast.
Staying anywhere, Airbnb has a lot of more affordable options. As a bonus here, you can find a place with a kitchen and make breakfast at home.
You can also check out the All Season Resort and Rostrevor Hotel. For something completely different you can always stay in one of the worlds most luxurious hotels like Sandy Lane featured in Barbados News.
Renting a car or joining an organized tour is expensive in Barbados. If you want the freedom to get around on your own to tour the island, look into renting a scooter. This is an affordable and popular choice on the island. Otherwise, consider taking the buses. They have frequent service on the south and west coasts and cost around $1USD.
What to Eat on the Cheap in Barbados
The local rum shops have cheap and filling meals, especially for lunch.
Chefette is Barbados’ local fast-food chain. They’re easy to find around the island, cheap, filling, and fun. Who knew fast-food could count as a local experience?
Visit the local restaurant Lemongrass.
There are wooden huts near the fish market at Oistins. If you’ve come to Barbados with seafood in mind, this should hit the spot. They have grilled fish here with rice and macaroni pie for around $15USD.
Look for fried fish cutters. A cutter is a sandwich on a soft bread roll; these are a popular local favorite.
Other Cheap and Free Things to Do in Barbados
First, if you’re planning on any expensive activities, like diving, book online ahead of time to get a discount.
Go to the beach! When you imagined coming to Barbados, you likely imagined days spent on the beach. All the beaches in Barbados have free access. If you want to rent an umbrella and a lounge chair, this will run you around $15USD for the day. If you’re up for more of an adventure, you can snorkel right off the beach and see tropical fish. This is best done on the west coast.
On Sundays, there are free group-led hikes. These are organized by the Barbados Hiking Association. These last for three hours and are a great way to meet a few other people and enjoy the scenic parts of the island, all free.