The problem is that such an idyllic break often comes at a price, and often this can be the only thing holding you back from booking your dream Caribbean holiday. But with a bit of research and planning you could be jetting off on the holiday of a lifetime for less than you might think. Peter Lampkin of Intimate Holidays shares a few tips to make sure you get the best deal on your next trip.
Some people tend to discount the more exotic holiday locations because they automatically assume they’ll be more expensive. With a bit of careful planning this doesn’t have to be the case, and with the euro offering poor value against the pound there’s never been a better time to head further afield.
Even so, it's important to research your trip thoroughly to find the right location and get the best value for your money. People can fall into the trap of considering all the Caribbean islands to be alike, when in reality they all have their own distinct culture and feel. Considering that the region covers over 2.5 million square kilometers, this is hardly surprising!
Whether you’re looking for the warmth and friendliness of Antigua, the natural beauty of Barbados, carnivals in Trinidad or diving amidst unspoiled coral reef in Tobago, the Caribbean truly has something for everyone.
That said, if you don’t have a particular island in mind there are great savings to be had. Costs can vary depending on destination, the travel operator, the departure airport and even flight times, so spending a few hours comparing your options can lead to major savings.
Travelling outside of school holidays and peak times is a great option for those holidaying without children. Between April and December is the off season in the Caribbean, but thanks to the islands’ location near the equator temperatures in winter don’t drop by more than a few degrees! Some guests also find that the islands are less crowded at this time of year, and an even more peaceful way of life exists. Do beware of the rainy seasons though. These vary from island to island, but storms rarely last long before the blue skies and sunshine return.
Whether you are looking for an all-inclusive package deal or something a little more off the beaten track, it's definitely advisable to check a variety of websites and travel agencies. And don’t overlook independent operators, as they tend to offer a more personal service and still have access to some excellent prices.
Booking your perfect holiday months in advance is a sure fire way of tracking down a great deal. Tour operators offer price incentives for early bookers to keep their revenue streams moving, so book before the rush to access some great early bird offers. Apart from anything else, there's nothing like the peace of mind when all the planning has been done and you can sit back and look forward to your holiday.
At the other end of the spectrum late availability deals can offer some fantastic bargains. Whilst they’re not convenient for everyone, if you can be flexible with your travel dates then why not try booking nearer your intended travel date? This can lead to some fantastic low rates as travel companies clamour to fill up planes and beds at discounted prices.
Finally, shop around for the best deals on foreign currency and you’ll avoid paying over the odds. Try to steer clear of getting currency at the airport where rates are higher than on the high street, or from cash machines at your destination where banks may charge a conversion fee. It’s worth considering prepaid travel cards which can offer favourable exchange rates and do not charge a fee for use abroad. They’re also more secure than cash.
Following these simple guidelines can really help to make your money go further and can transform your dream holiday into a reality. With a bit of research and planning you can save a packet on your favourite Caribbean destination. So what are you waiting for? Your perfect holiday might be closer than you think…