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Can you afford a Barbados vacation? Yes, you can!

Updated on May 30, 2013
One Sandy Lane, this beachfront mansion is a favourite of Rihanna
One Sandy Lane, this beachfront mansion is a favourite of Rihanna

First the 'bad' news

The Caribbean island of Barbados is often regarded as a fairly expensive holiday destination.

The fact that celebrities like Rihanna, Simon Cowell and Andrew Lloyd Webber own property on the island or holiday there adds to the mystique and to the view of the island as a luxury destination.

It's true that flights to Barbados are not cheap for most visitors (who are mostly from the UK, Canada, USA and Europe). There was a direct Concorde supersonic service between London and Barbados in the winter months, and in fact one of the retired Concorde jets is now part of a wonderful museum right next to the Barbados airport - it's well worth a visit to see how the wealthy chose to fly!

There are very expensive hotels on the island with the most exclusive being the famous Sandy Lane Hotel, where rates are in the thousands per night. Tiger Woods rented the whole place for his wedding a few years ago! The most expensive hotels are, like Sandy Lane, on the west coast of Barbados. Other exclusive favourites include Cobblers Cove and Coral Reef Club.

That's the bad news. Here's the good... a holiday in Barbados doesn't have to be expensive. Not at all.

Now the good news

Yes, there are expensive places to stay, eat and party in Barbados. But one of the beautiful things about Barbados is it's incredible diversity.

For every fancy restaurant there is a casual eatery or rum shop, for every luxury resort there is an affordable guesthouse or vacation rental.

You just need to be on the lookout for Barbados deals, while planning your trip and when on the island. Trust us, there's a Barbados for every budget.

Planning your trip

Ah, those pesky expensive flights.. what to do? First off check out AirfareWatchdog.com and sign up for alerts on Barbados flights. They'll do the hard work of monitoring for great flight deals to Barbados.

Now, about that accommodation. We've found http://barbados.org/stay.htm to be a great resource for finding less expensive places to stay in Barbados. There are affordable 3* beachfront hotels like Coconut Court and Rostrevor, as well as self-catering apartments like Nautilus Beach Apartments and Southern Surf Apartments. Ocean Spray Apartments are a super option if you want to get away from it all. Booking direct with the hotel can often score you a great deal - don't be afraid to ask about special offers and discounts.

Even more budget-friendly are the local guesthouses, once you're happy to share some facilities, such as a shared living/dining room, with other guests.

Be sure to check reviews on TripAdvisor to avoid any undesirable accommodation.

Backpacking and camping in Barbados is not an option. No such facilities exist.

Packaged holidays

By packaging flights + hotel, you can often save quite a bit of money.

Lots of tour operators and travel agents (yes, they still do exist!) offer great Barbados holiday deals that include both flight and accommodation. Talk to an agent in your area to see what they have to offer.

Also check out online agencies like Expedia and Travelocity.

Barbados deals on-island

There are lots of ways to save money while on holiday in Barbados. Here are a couple of tips:

  • Ask the locals where are the best places to eat - they know where to find good food at reasonable prices. Some of our favourites are Cuz's Fish Stand near the Hilton Hotel, Sand Dunes restaurant on the east coast, Mr. Delicious food truck at Miami beach and cutters (local sandwiches) at any of the numerous rum shops!
  • Use public transportation - it's safe, reliable and much cheaper than hiring a car or taking a taxi. Try to catch the blue Barbados Transport Board buses.. the yellow buses and white vans are privately operated and like to drive a little fast!
  • Pick an island tour that will show you as much of the island as possible in one tour, rather than choosing specialty tours such as eco or heritage tours.
  • Treat yourself to a least one 'once-in-a-lifetime' thrill! In Barbados that could be a submarine ride on Atlantis Submarines, a cruise on the Jolly Roger pirate ship or a zipline ride over trees and gullies. No point coming all this way and then not making the most of it!
  • Be on the lookout for free events - there are often free concerts, heritage walks and interesting lectures. The Frank Collymore Hall offers a free sunset concert (usually once a month) and the Barbados National Trust does free hikes on Sunday mornings and afternoons. Check the newspapers, WhatsOnInBarbados.com and ask at your hotel about any such events.
  • We found some other great suggestions on this Barbados deals page - including tips on free WiFi and what items to bring with you rather than purchasing in Barbados.

Start booking... and packing!

We hope you see that a Barbados vacation is not restricted to the rich and famous. Smartly plan your holiday and you too can be enjoying the Caribbean vacation of your dreams.

Oh, and by the way celebrities like to save money too. We usually spot quite a few strolling down the beach from the luxury resort to the unpretentious beach bar to grab a drink!

What do you prefer NOT to on skimp when traveling?

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