There’s a prevailing idea that the entire Caribbean is only a playground for the rich- but nothing could be further from the truth. Today, the Big Blue Collective will be showing you that the Turks and Caicos is an excellent travel destination for everyone, including budget travellers, and how to make the most of a budget-conscious holiday in the TCI.
Know your seasons
The Turks and Caicos, like all popular holiday destinations, has peak and off-peak seasons. This doesn’t have as much to do with the weather-which is pretty glorious all year long, although the summer season sees a little extra rain here and there- as it does with the ebb and flow of visitors to the island. Naturally, prices are at their lowest during the off-peak season, and this is the perfect time for the budget-conscious traveller to swoop in and enjoy. You will probably want to eye the main islands of Provo and Grand Turk for best results, as the smaller islands are less populated and so have less scope for you to sniff out a great deal. That’s no hardship, though, as these vibrant islands have so much to offer everyone.
In the TCI, the off-peak season is sometimes referred to as the ‘hurricane’ season, as it’s the time of year they are most likely to occur. However, the Turks and Caicos are more sheltered than other islands, and hurricanes (while possible) occur only rarely and seldom without any warning. Very rarely, you may have to have some flexibility on your travel dates, but these interruptions tend to come with plenty of warning. The general weather at the off-peak time of year (the summer and autumn seasons) is gorgeously hot, more so even then during peak season.
Scoring a great deal from your airline
As the TCI is an island destination, flights can take up a decent portion of your overall budget, so it’s always a good idea to start looking for deals here. The Turks and Caicos are serviced by a range of airports from the US mainland so it’s pretty easy for some careful searching to net you a great deal on travel. Flights to the TCI have increased in recent years, which has generated a pleasant drop in prices with the extra availability, and you shouldn’t be afraid to consider flying from a smaller airport (we recommend Fort Lauderdale) rather than a larger one, as this will often save costs too.
Sign up to a few of the best-known booking sites and even directly with your favourite airlines, so you’ll always be poised to snag a super deal the moment it flashes through your inbox. Subscribers typically get first dibs on the best deals! If you can afford to be a little flexible on your travel dates so much the better. It’s highly likely you can find a full return trip for under $300 pre-tax.
Make sure to choose your booking site carefully, however, as you don’t want to get stuck with rigid, inflexible policies should you need to alter anything about your travel plan. Typically airlines are very gracious about assisting with changes driven by any potential of hurricanes or inclement weather during the rainy season.
How to find budget accommodation in the TCI
Your next largest cost will, of course, be a place to stay in the Turks and Caicos. It’s usually best to contact villas and resorts directly if you want to score the best deals. Of course, that doesn’t mean you can’t do a little internet-sleuthing first too! It’s always good to have an approximate idea of their usual fees. However, by dealing directly with them, you’ll often net some savings because there are no other listing fees to pay.
One of the best things about the Turks and Caicos is that nowhere is really that far from a beach. Even accommodation advertised as ‘in-land’ will typically only be a block or two from gorgeous views of the beach and sea, and these will be priced attractively low compared to those with beachfront access. If you are renting a car (which we recommend you do) then nowhere will be too difficult to access. Otherwise, simply pay a little attention to the location to make sure you can access everything you need easily. You also have the option to explore ‘homestay’ or apartment rentals to keep costs low. If budget is particularly tight, lodgings towards the west half of Provo can often be found for a steal, but are the furthest from typical amenities.
Getting around the TCI on a budget.
The TCI is a small and intimate place. Bar the western outskirts of Provo, most places on the island are a ten-minute drive (maximum) for anywhere you will want to explore. Taxis can be a pricey proposition, however, as it’s common to charge per distance and passenger on the islands. Jitneys, which are the most common transport for permanent islanders, are a touch hairy for the average tourist, and the fares can add up too. This makes a hire car the best option for most travellers. With the 2 large car hire firms on the island offering a unique car class, comprised of small, older but strictly checked and perfectly safe cars, you can access rental cars cheaply and easily- for less than the cost of scooter hire!
Bicycles can be a great alternative on resorts and for the wilder areas of the island- but you may find the local driving skills a little discouraging if you plan to hit the main roads on a cycle. It’s also a little hot to spend all day in the saddle. Off of Provo, however, the situation is different, and walking and riding will offer a serviceable, cheaper alternative to car rental on the smaller islands.
Keeping other costs low on the TCI
With all the savings you’ve already made, you hopefully have a fun budget open to you. Even better, many of the best places to visit on the islands are free to enter, and so are the fantastic beaches! The offshore snorkelling sites are also free to access, though you may want to put some money aside for a boat trip a little further out, where some supremely gorgeous sites can be found.
For watersports like diving, boat cruises and kitesurfing, booking a package deal will help you keep your budget tight without sacrificing a second of fun. Many resorts also offer day-passes to allow you to use the facilities even if you aren’t staying there. Food costs can be kept tame by cooking some of your own meals (though spare a little cash to enjoy the fantastic island fare in the bars and grills too), and you are also free to bring some food from home with you, as there are no restrictions.
Visiting the Turks and Caicos on a budget is more than feasible with a little smart planning. The Big Blue Collective is always happy to answer questions about our beautiful island home, as well as help you create a scintillating wind-and-watersports package to suit your budget, so feel free to reach out if you have any questions.