Honestly, travelling when you have loads of money to spend is easy peasy. You just book your business class with whatever airline, your five star hotel/resort, and Bob is your uncle. I find it quite hard when you have a budget, limited time, don’t want/cannot spend with unnecessary stuff and… have a child to entertain!
It’s hard, it’s challenging, but not impossible. And it doesn’t need to be bad either. Since even, I have always travelled on a budget. Economy class, 3 stars hotels, simple restaurants. Until I actually went for the first time on business class, I had never realised what I was missing. Once you do have a taste of the life of the rich things can be a bit frustrating – until you compare the price of a business ticket to an economy class one, and with your bank account/salary. Is it worth it? Not for us.
Anyway, so our trip to Barbados was pretty much on a budget – as budget as a trip to the Caribbean can be – and, although it could have been even cheaper, there are some boundaries one must respect when travelling with a child, at least in our case. Actually, I must say that since we got married, we “upgraded” our trips a little: no more very early flights for weekend trips and hostels sharing bedroom and bathroom with strangers. We had our share of that (but highly recommended if you are young and adventurous).
It was a random choice. I googled “what’s the best island in the Caribbean (to go with family/kids)?” and lots of links included Barbados. Then I read that it was one of the islands least affected by hurricanes and other natural disasters. Then I read that it was a big, developed island, good to go with Laura – we didn’t want to go to a complete desert and without infra-estructure with a child and struggle if needed a hospital or something like that. And I thought: how can you go wrong with the Caribbean?
Barbados: after the trip
A friend from work is from Grenada and she had that disappointed look in her face when I said Barbados. When I explained the above, she said “ok, makes sense”. But deep inside she thought it wasn’t the best of choices and said that Grenada or St. Lucia would had been better options. The trip was nice, the weather was amazing, the temperature of the water is unbelievably great, but I rather think that there is more to the Caribbean than just Barbados. Or maybe our expectations were too high? It is a nice place to be, there’s a lot to see, but I was hoping to return saying “geez, this is way better than any place I’ve been to so far”.
I mentioned this before, but here it goes again:
We went via Virgin Atlantic – I originally checked Virgin Holidays (it was cheaper than Thomas Cook and others for the same period), but then checking prices separately, we managed to get better deals booking everything individually. Three return tickets to Bridgetown cost around £1,400 (Laura pays 75% of the fare).
We stayed at the Coral Mist Hotel that we booked via clever hotels. The hotel is located in Worthing, south of the island. Whilst on Virgin Holidays website the package was over £900, we paid just over £700 for the 7 days. I thought we were getting a simpler room, but no, everything is self catering at this hotel. So same room, more than £200 cheaper. There is another hotel, Blue Orchids Beach, that shares the space with Coral Mist. It actually seems to be the same hotel, but it has an independent reception and swimming pool, but guests from both can use all facilities. The beach is easier to access via Coral Mist, but it doesn’t make much of a difference.
We rented a car for the full period via rentalcars.com. A compact car, basic, cost us just under £190 for the period. It is a very small car, but was enough for us. But just because we had only one big luggage and the rest were backpacks! Two big luggages and they wouldn’t fit in. Or two children… it would be a squeeze, at least for the first and last day of the trip. The other thing about this car was that the doors wouldn’t lock automatically, you can to properly lock each door. Anyway, budget trip, remember?
The last thing was travel insurance. Since we don’t travel that much, we never worried about it. But the same friend from work said I should get one, because I was pregnant, etc, etc. I booked it on Friday just before our trip! I went for insure and go, which was the first option I looked into and it was just under £80 for the three of us, including natural disaster coverage. We didn’t have to use it, but just… our flight back could have been cancelled and the insurance would have covered hotels, etc. We are now insured via hubby’s work, so we don’t have to worry about these things next time.
Other than that, our overall expenses in the island for the 7 days were around £350, since we ate several times at the hotel and we didn’t go for any expensive day trips. So overall, the trip cost us around £2,700. This is roughly what we would have paid for flights + accommodation + transfers with Virgin Holidays. And between you and me, having a car with us was a life saviour; I’ll explain more in other posts.