Budget Travel: Nassau
With all of the snow blanketing New England, millions of people are feeling the pull toward warmer climates. It’s become so ridiculous that the city of Ithaca recently encouraged tourists to go to Florida instead of coming to visit their quiet and quaint New York town. But even if you find the time to get away, how can you do so without breaking the bank? Luckily there are several ways to travel to warmer climates on a budget. Between Kayak.com and Airbnb, traveling abroad has become increasingly easy.
I personally have the challenge of travelling to the Bahamas on a graduate-school salary of babysitting and freelance writing. So if I can do it, you can to! We’ve created a 5 day trip model all within the modest budget of $1,500 and while you might not find yourself in the lap of luxury, sipping cocktails prepared by half-nude humans (male or female depending on your preference), you’ll still find yourself having a truly relaxing time.
Finding the right means of travel ($450)
First thing’s first, find an excellent deal! Travelling in the offseason or on weekdays is always a great way to get around the steepest airline prices. For amazing deals from the east coast to the Bahamas check out Kayak.com or Jetblue. Currently, you can book a ticket from Boston to Nassau for about $350 (ROUND TRIP!). That leaves $1,150 for accommodations—we’re off to a good start. Once you’re on the island, getting around is pretty simple and cheap. Because the island is so small, a cab ride will never take more than a few minutes. However, for an even less-expensive option, you can take the bus (easy and straightforward) for about $5 round trip.
Finding the right hotel ($350)
Staying in the Bahamas can start to wear on your wallet. Many hotels, while nice, are located in downtown Nassau, making beach-front property a hot commodity. Luckily, if you’re willing to stay a little further outside of the hustle and bustle, you can afford a lot more for a lot less. An entire apartment, on a private beach on Airbnb ranges from $119-$150/night. With taxes and fees let’s round up—a 5 day stay will cost around $700. Keep in mind, many of these private apartments allow up to 4 guests with no extra cost. If you’re travelling with your loved-one or friends, a beach bungalow becomes very affordable! For the sake of this article, let’s assume you’re paying half! That leaves us with $800.
Finding the right food (and drink) ($300)
Nassau is home to several 5-star restaurants. However, if you’re willing to experiment with local flavors and keep things simple, you can still partake in delicious and unique food. If you are staying somewhere with a kitchen, it’s best to make a trip to your local market or grocery store; eating a “homemade” breakfast and lunch will give you plenty of booty to splurge on a delicious dinner. Places like the Arawak Cay are known for their cheap, delicious, and local seafood—you can feast on conch and chips for about $20. And although water is often the cheapest option, let’s be honest—you’re in the Bahamas. Beer and wine can be pricey on the islands but if you purchase local beers like Kalik (my personal favorite) or rum, really any type of rum, your belly and your wallet will be much happier.
Finding the right fun ($400)
If you’re the type of person that can spend days reading and doing crosswords on the beach then congratulations—you’re vacation has taken care of itself. There are no private beaches in Nassau therefore there are no fees for access. Some beaches are a little more secluded than others. If you’re looking for hustle and bustle check out Cable Beach but if you’re in the mood for something more private, Love Beach can’t be beat.
Once you’re sufficiently sunburned check out Goodfellow’s farm and farm stand. An organic farm nestled on the island’s west end, the food is amazing and local and you can feel free to wander around and interact with their animals—including several Macaw parrots. Downtown Nassau has a good deal of shopping but is crowded with cruise shippers. And for pricey drinks but an energetic atmosphere, spend a night at the Coral Towers Casino.