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Caribbean Island Vacations - Pretrip Planning

What you need to know before you go

The time of year you travel to the Caribbean can be the single deciding factor of how much fun you have.

While the busiest (and priciest) time of year is December to April, it's also the driest and offers the most moderate temperatures. Shoulder season (AprilBougainvillea Beach ResortBougainvillea Beach Resort to June and September to December) and low season (June to September) can mean more space on the beach and less expensive accommodations, but you'll also have to put up with stifling heat, unbearable humidity and hurricanes.

If you want to be part of a thriving nightlife and don't mind paying for it, get your passport ready for high-season fun. If you don't mind a little rain on your beach blanket but can't stand crowds or high prices, its shoulder and low season travel for you.

Get the best deal

More than anything else, accommodations will be your biggest expense.

St. Lucia, Antigua, and Grand Cayman tend to be nosebleed expensive, while Trinidad & Tobago and Barbados fall within a more reasonable range. Of course there are variations within each island - Barbados, for example, offers some spectacular money-is-no-object-villas, and St. Lucia is a long, long way from over-developed.

Before you set your heart on a destination, make sure there are at least a few offerings that fall within your Caribbean ShoppingCaribbean Shoppingbudget and use these tips to help you narrow further:

  • Factor in the extras: The resort or cruise you decide on may be all-inclusive, but if you head off on your own for the day you'll have to feed yourself and find adequate transportation.
  • Uncover hidden costs: Local hotel taxes, departure taxes and hotel service charges (which can be as high as 25%) add up fast.
  • Got some Caribbean vacation planning tips? We'd love to hear them.

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