Family vacations are the best! They are even better when they are cheap! Find out how we spent 10 days in the Southern Caribbean for less than $3,500.
How to Spend 10 Days in the Southern Caribbean with 3 kids for $3,500
I know an eye roll just happened when you read 10 Days in the Southern Caribbean. My husband’s first impression was dollar signs. However, our total trip was “cheap” for a family of 5.
Cruises are fun. The accommodations, food, beverages, entertainment, childcare, and fun are covered. The key to our vacation was hitting up the “OFF SEASON”. The cruise we took costs roughly $1,300 a PERSON in the “on-season” (for our family ocean view room ). Luckily, Marty’s crazy work schedule fit in with a few “off seasons” in the cruise world. We ended up getting on this itinerary for $600 per person (for the first two) with the kids being about $400 each (3 kids) – $2,400.
|Family Ocean View Stateroom|
Food was covered in the cost of the cruise so we utilized it very well. Bottled water and snack foods from the ship were packed into our bags when we left the boat and toured each island. The kids loved munching on cheerios, fruit loops, etc. It may not be “healthy” but they never complained. Amazingly, we planned each port stop strategically and were able to see everything we wanted without having to buy food. Once we were back on the ship we would grab a quick snack, clean up and go to dinner. Cha-Ching. At dinner, we indulged.
Don’t be afraid to deviate from the “norm”.
Transportation was tricky. Most of the people at the ports are hustlers but I am a pretty good hustler myself. I refuse to take anyone’s nonsense and their overpricing. I argue with them then walk to anther person to see if they will compete for a lowered rate. Don’t be afraid to deviate from the “norm”. One day we took public transportation (i.e. the bus) to another part of the island for $2. TWO DOLLARS! Cha-Ching. The taxi driver wanted $60.
Airfare was another score. For all of us to go from Fort Lauderdale to San Juan, Puerto Rico (where we left from) cost $917 RT with taxes and baggage. Yep. 5 people for $917. Since I don’t live in Florida, we did have to drive but we do that drive multiple times per year to see our family in Miami. Why not leave from home? It would have cost us an extra $1,000 to leave from our home. The gasoline only added $85 to the budget. Cha-Ching.
Hotel stays were minimal. One stay was the night before we left on our cruise in Fort Lauderdale. That Marriott was $84. The 2nd stay was when we returned from our trip. Since our cruise port was San Juan, we wanted to stay an extra day and explore the city. That hotel was free because I used my Marriott Rewards for a complimentary night. However, the average night is about $130+, depending on your hotel choice and location.
How much did I spend on junk? $0. We don’t “shop” on cruise ships because it is overpriced and we rarely buy from any cruise port or town we go to. Why? It isn’t needed. I take wonderful photos and I enjoy my vacation with the kids. I may or may not have shells from various islands. SHHH. I also make books to share with family members and it’s a wonderful keepsake for us.
How do you save money on vacations? I want to hear! I am always planning a trip for my family somewhere, whether close by or far away.