Barbados. All the beautiful images you’ve seen on postcards are true. Turquoise blue waters, white sandy beaches, stunning sunsets and rum punch by the pool. When you travel to Barbados, you’ll find beachside cocktail bars, fresh BBQ fish grills and turtles to swim within the waters. It’s true, this island isn’t known as a cheap Caribbean destination, but is it really possible to visit Barbados on a budget?
Barbados is sold as a luxury destination, and it’s clear to see why. There are so many gorgeous beaches and bays to choose from, but in the end, you’re in control over how to plan your vacation before you’ve arrived. It’s also up to you how you spend your money once you’re here.
Many visitors buy a package deal, which includes accommodation at resorts or hotels, car hire and pre-purchased tickets for excursions or day trips and that’s fine, but it’ll cost ya. Let’s talk about how you can travel to Barbados for the best price.
Affordable Travel to Barbados. What’s the secret?
If you’d like to visit Barbados without the huge price tag, you just need to be clever about how you spend your dollars here. Visiting Barbados on a budget is possible because we just did it.
You can stay in beautiful accommodation, get around the island easily and eat good food for a fraction of the cost as the packaged tour visitors.
Here are our best tips to visit Barbados on a budget
When to go:
Barbados experiences a wet and a dry season. Both seasons coincide with the low and high seasons for tourists, with most visitors booking their holidays in the cool, drier months that run from December to May.
Many people travel to Barbados at this time because the weather is at its best.
The wet season can see intense downpours, however, unlike the rest of the Caribbean, thanks to its position, the country is not as affected by hurricanes and storms as other islands.
Barbadian Dollar (BBD). At the time of writing, 1 USD = 2.00 BBD.
The Barbadian dollar is pegged to the USD and it is possible to pay with US currency on the island and you’ll receive BBD in change. I’d recommend withdrawing some local currency from many ATM’s around the island (most ATM’s charge will charge 6.00 or 10.00 BBD for the transaction, which is quite expensive so make sure you get enough to sustain your stay to avoid more bank charges).
You can also bring USD currency and easily change this to BBD in any bank, these are well located around the island too.
How to get to Barbados on a budget
Depending on where you are travelling from, the cheapest flights to Barbados can be booked online. We researched a few different websites, however, Aviasales seems to always have the best connections and the cheapest prices.
We flew in from London and we found direct flights from London, Gatwick with Thomas Cook. The fare we paid was about GBP 230 per person for a one-way flight. This is a great deal for an 8.5-hour flight.
Return flights (direct) from Miami are less than $500 per person on this website!
Using Aviasales, you can view a whole week or month of flights to compare prices. This is ideal for this destination, as costs can vary greatly depending on the days of travel and from what city you are flying to.
RELATED POST – How to Find and Book the Cheapest Flights Everywhere
How to get around
Minivans and local buses are great
Barbados is one large island. The hub is the capital of Bridgetown, also a popular cruise port for visitors cruising around the Caribbean islands. The bus and minivan network on the island is very good.
Most transport starts or changes here to then go towards your destination or past the beach you’d like to visit. All buses/vans have a number on the front of the vehicle and they have signs in the front window for the direction they’re going to.
The local Barbadians are very friendly people, so if you’re unsure of how to get to where you’re going, just ask somebody. Barbados is an English speaking nation.
How much does it cost?
Each ride will cost you 2.00 BBD or USD $1. If you leave one van/bus and change to another, you must pay again for the next ride.
There are many small bus stops located all over the island. Simply flag down the driver as he’s driving past and press the convenient buzzer when you’d like to get out. Pay the driver when you jump out, it’s best to have correct or small change if possible.
Private taxis are available, however, they’re quite expensive. Remember to negotiate the rate with the driver before you begin the journey.
How to take the bus from the airport to your accommodation:
TIP: If you don’t have any small USD notes or BBD currency, there is an ATM in the baggage collection hall. It charges a 10.00 BBD ($5) transaction fee, but you’ll need it to pay for transport to get to your accommodation.
Exit the airport and directly ahead and across the car park, near the main road you will see a bus stop. Take the bus from here. If you don’t know the van/bus number, just ask a local at the bus stop or ask the driver when he arrives if he is going in your direction.
Taxi from the airport:
Once you walk out of the arrival halls, there is a board with prices for your taxi, depending on where you’re going. Look for the authorized taxi stand right next to this and someone there will ask where you’re going and arrange your taxi. He’ll write you a paper receipt and ask you to pay the taxi driver directly, with cash. Only USD or BBD is accepted.
Our flight arrived quite late on arrival, so we took a taxi from the airport and paid 24.00 BBD to our driver once we arrived at our Airbnb accommodation in Silver Sands.
Stay Connected in Barbados with eSIM
It’s so easy to get connected in Barbados with eSIM. Read more about what is an eSIM and how it works here, or check out this 1GB eSIM valid for 7 days for $9.50.
It’s super easy to buy it, download it to your phone and activate it – so you’re ready to go! Buy this Data Plan for Barbados.
Where to Stay in Barbados on a budget
If you’re aiming to visit Barbados on a budget, yet you’d still like to stay somewhere that is clean, comfortable and well located, the room we booked in a house on Airbnb was perfect!
Our host, Elease has a two-level open and breezy Caribbean home with 3 bedrooms for guests.
We had access to two guest bathrooms and our room and bed were very comfortable. We paid USD $39 per night to stay here and we absolutely loved it.
Our accommodation had everything we needed and more
The house has a large kitchen downstairs with your own space in the fridge and cupboards to store food. There is a coffee filter machine and an espresso machine, so bring your own coffee to enjoy each morning. There’s a dining area to enjoy meals and a large living area with a big TV hooked up to Netflix.
The wifi is super strong in any room and there is a cute little veranda where you can chill out in the evening with a rum or tea.
The best part is that you can walk to nearby Silver Sands beach (less than 10 min) and there’s a small supermarket a few minutes away. You can also walk less than a minute along the road to catch convenient little minivans that run all over the island.
Each trip is BBD 2.00 and it’s an affordable and great way to explore the island.
To check out this accommodation located in Silver Sands, here’s the link.
If sharing a house or space just isn’t for you, here are some other great value options in this area. Check out these properties below.
Ocean Spray Apartments – Studio Apartments located on the beach in Christ Church from $75 per night.
Clearwater Apartments – Studio Apartments are located near the fabulous Miami Beach. This place has great reviews and the price is from $65 per night.
Ferienwohnung Barbados Bed & Breakfast – Located right on Maxwell Beach and fantastic transport options close-by to reach anywhere on the island. Prices from $75 per night.
The West Coast is popular to stay among tourists and tends to be the more expensive side of the island. These are the best deals in this area.