I'm all about a good deal. Here's how I've found good deals for the Caribbean - whether on a cruise, all inclusive, or just heading to an island.
- Check different websites for the best deal and don’t be committed to a specific island. I've booked through Cheap Caribbean – they offer good deals for cruises, all-inclusive resorts, and travel packages. Travelzoo also has a lot of good deals and offers on cruises. Cruise critic can also help you find a good deal and give more tips on cruises.
- Wait for when you know sales are happening. There are always big sales for Black Friday (like an all-inclusive for $100 a night I booked once) and right after New Years (everyone’s New Year’s resolution is to travel). I’ve also seen a lot of good sales in the spring getting ready for the big travel for summer, but have found the best deals on cruises/all-inclusives during the winter - they want them full in the summer!
- Drive instead of flying to your cruise port - I know it saves tons of time to fly, but if you are within a day of your cruise port, then driving can be really cheap. Parking near the cruise port can be as low as $6 a day (in Miami at least!) and this made it wayyy cheaper than flying. Always check for flight deals though because saving time is also awesome.
- Check frequently on different sites for a cheap flight. I found a ticket to Nassau for just $70 one way using Google flights and not on a cheap budget airline either. Momondo also has cheap flights all the time!
- If you drive, park in the lot off the cruise port. Just like airports, cruises will charge you more to park. There are usually cheaper places to park close to the port. We paid $6 a day to park in Miami in a lot not too far from the port. They were charging $15 a day at the cruise port.
- Don't book tours through the cruise or all-inclusive. They are more expensive and usually very crowded because a lot of people book this way because it is hassle free. If you want to save, book on your own.
- Book a highly rated group tour/excursion, not private – I always look for small group tours that have high ratings on websites like Trip Advisor and Viator, I choose one that's having a sale, or the cheapest in the 4 – 5 star range with lots of reviews. This usually guarantees a good time, but you don’t spend too much. My favorite tour I booked for our whole cruise through the Caribbean was this day tour around St. Martin that was only $35 a person. It ended up being Elizabeth’s favorite. We visited so many cool places and two beautiful beaches. Cheap and wonderful.
- We ate all the meals on the cruise or at our all-inclusive and asked locals the best place to find the food we had to try – we knew we had meals included, but also wanted to try out local food. For example, we ate on the cruise then split a plate of conch fritters and conch salad.
- Don’t be afraid to barter – we bartered down the price of our massages on the beach from $50 to $30, souvenirs, and rental beach chairs from $40 to $20 (the rule of thumb is to at least start at half the price. Mike even goes as low as 1/3). Saved us lots!
- Research beaches in national parks. There are many national parks in the Caribbean that offer cheap fees for gorgeous beaches and cheap snorkel rentals. I went snorkeling at a beach in Nassau that was in a national park for just $20 (including snorkel rental). There were beach chairs, four beaches, and great snorkeling all right there in the park and because it was a national park, it was well taken care of and practically empty.
- Go where the locals go. There are great beaches, restaurants, and events that are cheap. Research before you go so you can find cheap and fun things to do!
Have you all found other ways to save in the Caribbean? Let me know!
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