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10 ways to holiday in Barbados on a budget

Barbados isn't as expensive as you might think. As a favourite destination for the rich and famous, you may have assumed you'd be shaking the piggy bank to keep yourself in rum punch. As it turns out, there are quite a few ways to stay on budget in Barbados without compromising on holiday fabulousness.

Here are some tried and tested tips on how to do the island on the cheap, from travel blogger [VickyFlipFlop](

1. Book your flights ASAP

It works out cheaper to book your flights well in advance – so as soon as you know when you’re wanting to go, get bookin’. Check Skyscanner‘s flight comparison tool to get the best deals and savings, or for more information about the best time to book, read up on our seven secrets to finding low cost flights.


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2. Let’s talk money: USD or BBD?

US dollars are widely accepted on the island. The exchange rate is fixed at $2BBD to $1USD. This means that if you operate in British pounds, it doesn’t make a different whether you take US or BBD. Just make sure you check which currency the restaurant/tour operator is working in before you commit (just a heads up – it’s usually BBD).

3. Find free sun loungers

Ah, kicking back and soaking up some sun on a lounger – that’s what we want to go to Barbados for, right? Most beaches will charge for loungers – and you can definitely expect to pay a premium for the fancy ones. Usually, the rate is upwards of $20 BBD, which is OK if you’re there for the day – but if you’re doing a bit of a beach tour it can add up. You need to either perfect the art of looking casual and telling a little fib if anyone asks you if you’re staying at the hotel – or go on a hunt to find the freebies. Browne’s Beach has free loungers, otherwise start setting up your towel on the sand.

4. Know your beach rights!

Barbados law states that all beaches on the island are public, so hotels can’t corner sections off and claim it as private, which is great news for us budget travellers. This means you don’t actually need to buy anything from "exclusive" hotels like the Crane Hotel, or Sandy Lane, or even Sandals to access their beaches. You might have a few problems from the security guards if you try to walk through, but by law there will always be some sort of beach access route nearby. So, find the most expensive hotel you can, get your reflective sunglasses on for people watching, and lounge away.

5. Go to Oistins Fish Fry

Oistins Fish Fry is one of the cheapest and most fun ways to try the wealth of Barbados’ oceans. The huge BBQ spans about 10 different restaurants along the beach and is now an institution in Barbados. Expect to pay around $50 BBD for a huge piece of BBQd fish with all the sides and you’ll need a beer to wash that down with too.

6. Cheap eats do exist

Of course you can pick up a few bits in the supermarkets on the island to save a few dollars, but that’s no fun is it? Eating out doesn’t have to be too expensive in Barbados anyway. Eat like a true Bajan and go to Chefette, Barbados’ answer to fast food. Barbados is one of the few places where a McDonalds couldn’t survive, thanks to the local love for this place. Go for the chicken roti (£5 with a coke), yum. Or, try the Surfer’s Café in Oistins, where you can get breakfast and coffee for less than £10. Bonus: it’s on the beach. Even The Boatyard, one of Barbados’ best beach bars, served a huge flying fish and fries basket, with two rum and cokes, for £11. Coffee and banana bread at The Crane Hotel costs less than £5, which you can then take down to the beach. Not a bad view for breakfast. You don’t have to confine yourself to supermarket food to save money on food in Barbados, just choose your eatery wisely.

7. Watch those service charges

How much of a generous tipper are you? In Barbados they add a compulsory 10% service charge to your bill and then some will expect a tip on top too. Whether to give it or not is up to your conscience.

8. Take buses over taxis

The bus routes in Barbados are so efficient and easy. You can get to all the main sites of the island for $2 BBD, and enjoy a cultural immersion as you do. Some buses are like little mini vans, while others are big public ones. The driver usually blasts out music, they’ll have a friendly helper who collects the money and you’ll find a mix of tourists and locals on board. Bus stops are easy to work out with signs stating either ‘into the city’ or ‘out of the city’ – it’s down to you to work out which one you need. You can take taxis to and from the airport, which cost between $30-40 BBD each way.

9. Hire a car

To get to the harder to reach places, and to see more, you’d do well to hire a car. Why not opt for a Moke? It’s kind of like a beach buggy and is native to the island. For $200 BBD per 24 hours, you can cruise around with as much mileage as you like. Beware, though: there are stories of Mokes being quite dangerous, so you might be better off with a safer car.

10. Just relax

The cheapest thing you can do in Barbados is to lie on the beach, on a beach towel from your hotel, and relax. You can splash out on a sun lounger if you like, but for free activities, lying under the Caribbean sun, listening to the sound of the waves crashing, is hard to beat.

One last money-saving tip for you: save buying your Mount Gay rum souvenir supplies until you get to the airport. You’ll find it for about half the price in Duty Free as it is on the island. I can personally recommend the Black Barrel blend. It’s disappearing fast!

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