Destination: Barbados

Budget Barbados: Five Free Island Activities

Budget Barbados: Five Free Island Activities Photo by Eva Holland
Photo of North Point by Eva Holland

I’ll admit, Barbados is hardly known as a shoestringer’s paradise—this isn’t $5, $25 or even $100 per day territory.

But still, after a couple of extended visits here, I’ve learned that it’s not all pricey cocktails, rooms with a view and chartered yachts, either. There are affordable accommodation options and wallet-friendly meals to be found—and, best of all, some of the island’s most memorable spots are free, or close to it.

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A First-Hand Look at Some Desperation Deals

A First-Hand Look at Some Desperation Deals Photo by exfordy via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by exfordy via Flickr (Creative Commons)

There’s been a lot of talk about tourism numbers contracting during the economic crisis, and plenty of observers—our own Rolf Potts included—have pointed out that for the budget traveler, with the travel industry running scared and handing out deals left and right, there’s no better time to hit the road than right now.

Still, until I arrived in Barbados this week and started making some bookings for a visit to Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent, I didn’t fully understand the extent of the bargains out there.

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Morning Links: Bible Park, Pizza Vending Machines and More

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Emergency Rations: Lessons From a 16-Hour Amtrak Ride

Emergency Rations: Lessons From a 16-Hour Amtrak Ride Photo by salimfadhley via Flickr (Creative Commons)
Photo by salimfadhley via Flickr (Creative Commons)

I have this theory about successful budget transit: that the key to surviving a cross-country Greyhound ride, or a bargain-basement flight with three changes (all in small regional airports without so much as a Starbucks, naturally) is to never, ever be caught without a snack. After all, the only thing worse than being forced to buy, and eat, that simultaneously-stale-and-soggy packaged tuna sandwich at the truck stop is not having the option of eating anything at all. Right?

I first started packing what I think of as my “emergency rations” on a trip to India several years ago. The granola bars I’d stuffed into every corner of my backpack were handy on long train rides—and after I (inevitably) got sick, they became invaluable, my sole source of nutrition until I could stand to contemplate curry again. That success led to more advanced efforts: I can still remember the looks I got from other passengers when I boarded a Halifax-Montreal overnight train with an enormous Tupperware full of cold stir fry under my arm. But my habit of packing lunch didn’t evolve into a full-blown theory until one fateful Amtrak ride, from New York to Montreal, around this time last year.

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