Five Ways To Save Money On Your Caribbean Vacation

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The most common assumption on how to save on your Caribbean vacation is to find the “secret” time frame of when to book. However, in recent years, more and more hotels have moved to dynamic pricing, similar to how the airlines work. Prices for hotel rooms fluctuate now more than ever. The same room can be $510 one day, $430 the next, and $600 a month later. “We tell our clients that in today’s travel market, it is less about finding the deal and the best pricing but focusing on ensuring your hotel is truly the best fit for your desired vacation plans,” explains Laura Sangster, Founder and Luxury Travel Advisor of The Journey Group and purveyor of Caribbean Journey, a website devoted to providing valuable information concerning travel to the Caribbean along with Mexico and Central America.

She adds, “When you arrive to find that your hotel checks every box on your wish list, you’re almost guaranteed a fabulous vacation. Clients often come to us because they’ve made a mistake in the past of booking the flashy promo that landed in their inbox. Then they arrived to find that not only did their hotel not suit their taste, but that promotional piece failed to disclaim a major enjoyment factor, such as that there was construction next door.”

Courtesy of Sangster, here are five ways five ways that you can save on your Caribbean vacation:

  • Book early. This ensures you will get the resort and room you want, which can save you in the end. If you settle for a smaller room on a last-minute “deal,” you could arrive to find your family doesn’t fit comfortably and be forced to pay for an expensive upgrade at the front desk or incur the cost of moving to an entirely different hotel.
  • Book the off-season. Avoid traveling over the holidays. The most popular weeks for Caribbean travel are Christmas, New Years and President’s Week in February. During these weeks, hotel and airfare rates skyrocket. If you must travel over this period, you’ll want to book at least ten months to a year in advance. If you miss the early booking window and find that most hotels are sold out, check back again at the end of September. This is when many final payments are due for luxury hotels and villas and concurrently when many travelers change or cancel their plans. We always see some fresh inventory pop back into hotel reservation systems around this time.
  • Book the club level. We work with many clients who don’t favor all-inclusive hotels. They find them unappealing due to the mass-market culinary scene. However, these same clients often like the cost-saving idea of having some included meals and amenities. Booking club level at a hotel can help offset your food & beverage spend as the club lounge usually includes breakfast, cocktail hour, coffee bar and a few food presentations throughout the day.
  • Go for larger, more popular islands. The more popular the destination, the more airlift available. The more flight options, the more competitive the pricing. The smaller, harder-to-reach islands can sometimes have double the airfare price point as the larger islands. Another perk about flying to a more popular island is that your likelihood of securing a nonstop flight increases. While nonstop flights could be more expensive upfront, your chances of costly travel disruption doubles when your flight itinerary includes a change of planes.
  • Use a travel professional. An experienced travel professional can help you avoid costly mistakes. Over the years, we’ve come to the rescue of more than a few clients who have booked their travel independently and inadvertently scheduled flights to the wrong airport. Multiple islands have dual airports, but there is always one that is the clear winner in terms of proximity to your hotel. We’ve also had clients book their own hotel, assuming it included more meals and amenities than it did. Booking travel these days is information overload, and a skilled travel advisor can guide you through the process quickly and ensure you are matched with the best-fit property.

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