The Caribbean was practically made for families who want to kick back, relax, and forget about life on a beach so beautiful it’s hard to believe it’s real.
The collection of territories and island nations that make up the Caribbean are popular with couples and honeymooners, but its families who can benefit from a trip here the most. Not only does the Caribbean boast many of the world’s calmest and most family-friendly beaches, but the region is home to numerous kid-friendly resorts — many of which are all-inclusive.
Still, one factor does prevent some from venturing further from home to enjoy paradise — and that factor is cost. Leaving your home country with kids requires you to pay for passports for everyone and forces you to buy plane tickets because you can’t drive across the ocean. This means thousands more in costs for some families, costs they wouldn’t have to cover if they chose a beach destination within a day’s drive.
But, families might reconsider the Caribbean if they knew the type of value that they can get for their investment — even after adding in the cost of airfare. The reality is, the Caribbean can offer a lot of bang for your buck as a destination for family travel.
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Imagine yourself on a beautiful beach in a tropical setting—a place like Curacao, Jamaica, or the Bahamas where you can get away from it all without a care in the world—and you don’t have to cook or clean, either.
The Caribbean is bursting with all-inclusive properties that include meals, drinks, and entertainment for the whole family in one nightly rate. When everything is covered, all you have to do is show up and enjoy a week of food and fun without lifting a finger. Believe it or not, many all-inclusive resorts even offer supervised kid’s clubs that will watch your kids for free.
How much will you pay for that privilege? You might be surprised. All-inclusive properties can also cost considerably less than you think. Take Divi Little Bay on the island of St. Maarten — an all-inclusive resort geared to families. In November of this year, rates for a family of four with two kids ages 7 and 9 start at just $169 per night! And remember, that includes all your meals, your drinks, complimentary activities for kids, and an outrageously beautiful beach.
At the Holiday Inn Resort in Jamaica, all-inclusive rates start at $187 per night this winter for a family of four with two kids ages 12 and under. This property features an expansive beach with areas for privacy, a supervised kid’s club, and a private island that sits just offshore and blocks the waves, creating a giant Caribbean bathtub for kids.
While prices are all over the map, you could easily book a five-night all-inclusive hotel stay in many Caribbean destinations for less than $1,000 total. Traditional resorts are available as well, but they tend to cost the same as or more than all-inclusive properties without the added benefit of having your food and fun covered.
Getting There Doesn’t Have to Cost an Arm and a Leg
However, there’s still the question of how to pay for airfare, but this is yet another area where there are a few workarounds. Not only can you opt to fly a discount carrier like Southwest Airlines or JetBlue for your Caribbean family vacation, but you can also shop around for a vacation package that includes both airfare and your hotel.
CheapCaribbean.com is a great resource when it comes to finding these deals since they offer exactly what one would think — cheap Caribbean vacation packages. This website frequently offers five- or six-night vacation packages including airfare from select airports for $700 per person or less to destinations like Riviera Maya, Mexico, Jamaica, Barbados, and Antigua.
But, even without a vacation package involved, flights to the Caribbean may cost less than you think. Southwest Airlines frequently offers sale fares to various Caribbean destinations like Aruba, Cancun, and Grand Cayman for as little as $100 per person, one-way. And other discount airlines like Spirit and JetBlue offer frequent sales to the Caribbean as well.
The Grand Total
At the end of the day, it’s very feasible to book a vacation to the Caribbean for less than $2,000 for a family of four. This figure includes five nights at an all-inclusive property that costs less than $200 per night (including taxes and fees) plus round-trip airfare that doesn’t exceed $250 per person. However, you should note that you may have some additional costs to cover including transportation to and from the airport and tips at your resort.
You may pay more or less depending on the property you book, the time of year you travel, and the airfare options out of your home airport. With that being said, here are some of the best ways to save on the Caribbean getaway of your dreams:
- Shop for deals. Look for discount vacation packages on websites like CheapCaribbean.com and Expedia.com.
- Choose your destination wisely. Try not to get your heart set on a pricier Caribbean destination like Grand Cayman or Turks and Caicos. Your money will go further in spots like Ochos Rios or Montego Bay, Jamaica, the Riviera Maya coast of Mexico, or the Dominican Republic.
- Travel off-peak. Avoid traveling during school breaks and around holidays. The cheapest time to travel to the Caribbean is late spring, summer, and fall, although fall is also hurricane season.
- Consider discount airlines. Try Southwest Airlines especially for flights to the Caribbean since they offer low fares and two free checked bags per person.
- Be patient and book early. An amazing deal may not present itself right away, so make sure to give yourself time to conduct an appropriate search. Also start shopping early so you can book the second you find a deal you’re excited about.