The phrase "budget vaction" is enough to strike fear in a traveler's heart. But an affordable holiday in Barbados doesn't have to sacrifice comfort, fun or even a little luxury.
Everyone has their favorite website for vacation bargains, but check in at JetBlue Getaways for special offers and discounts in addition to the company's Getaways Best Price Guarantee, which promises the lowest available prices. JetBlue flies daily non-stop to Barbados from JFK. Best of all, the big comfy seats throughout the plane means the journey is less torturous, and you feel like you're being treated, not cheated. Fares are from $345 round-trip, plus taxes. For more info: 800-538-2583, www.jetblue.com/vacations
Stay at a budget-conscious resort like Almond, but buy a day pass for the swanky Crane Residential Resort. You might be foregoing the legendary Crane's gorgeous rooms, but you can enjoy its restaurants, private beach, beautiful grounds and manicured pools. Add a spa treat, too. For more info: 800-097-1794, www.thecrane.com
Go dancing under the stars
Oistins' Friday Night Fish Fry is a cheap dinner with free dancing. Fish straight off the boat are cooked up and served at picnic-style tables. There's the usual sweet Barbados rum punch, local Bank's beer and rum shot shacks, too. A fish platter and a beer costs about $15. There's music all around and pop-up dance floors. (Stay in well-lit areas, though.) Over at the big stage, anyone can prove their dancing skills -- you'd better be exceptionally good, though.
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Choose an all-inclusive resort and cut out the nasty post-vacation credit card bill. Going all-inclusive means that you know how much you're going to spend upfront: meals and drinks, even alcohol, are included, along with accommodations. There's usually nightly entertainment, too. Almond Resorts has three Barbados properties, each with onsite restaurants, pools and a beach just steps away. Guests can take the complimentary shuttle bus to sister resorts and use the facilities at each at no extra charge. For more info: 800-755-6663, www.almondresorts.com