When vacationers aren't relaxing on Aruba's popular beaches, chances are they're spending money. Travelers may, therefore, want to consider creating a budget before taking off for an unforgettable vacation. The following considerations can help everything run smoothly.
While it may seem more difficult to come across comfortable and budget-conscious accommodations (they're certainly not Aruba's specialty) travelers can find lodging for nearly any budget. Visitors can expect to spend $60 to $80 as an approximate low price on lodging per night, depending on location and season. If you want your hotel to be more luxurious, however, you can expect to pay upwards of $300 per night.
All-inclusives are available in Aruba, but these types of resorts, as well as the larger "mega" resorts, generally are not aimed at family-style crowds. Those accommodating larger groups or looking for more affordable lodging may find rental properties a better option. However, if you don't mind spending a little more per night, you will certainly find that the extra expense is worth the pampering and comfort offered at most of Aruba's hotels.
Hotel costs will likely be the largest expenditure you'll make on your vacation, so shop around to make sure you find the right one. When finalizing your Aruba budget, make sure you have accounted for room taxes as well, which may or may not be included in the hotel's quoted price.
Each day on Aruba you'll probably have a list of activities to do, places you'd like to see, and perhaps even a few restaurants to try. This is another often-overlooked part of vacation spending. For those who wonder how much they'll be spending, creating a basic daily budget will help determine how much you'll need for your entire vacation.
Like any place, meal prices run the gamut from as low as $5 to as much as you're willing to spend. Expect to spend approximately $10 per person for an average meal, if it is not included in costs at an all-inclusive resort. This, of course, depends on which restaurant you visit, and what you purchase from the menu. While you may spend very little on meals one day, you may spend more on another. Of course, taxes and tips are also extra considerations. Aruba budget-conscious travelers with access to kitchen and cooking facilities may save a little by cooking themselves.
Be aware of the costs involved with any activities you choose and entrance fees for places such as museums and historic sites. This will vary by place and by day, however, even being aware that there are entrance fees and other costs can help you budget more effectively.
Of course, getting to restaurants, sites, and activities will also cost money. Because of the reliability of the bus system, many of Aruba's visitors cut costs by using bus services. A round-trip ticket costs only $2(USD) from beach hotels to Oranjestad. For speedier service, taxis are also reliable and affordable; however, the minimum fare for a taxi ride is $4, though travelers can cross much of the island for less than $20. The most expensive, and often least popular, form of transportation are rental cars. They are almost unnecessary unless you are planning to strike out on your own in island exploration.
There are several taxes and service charges to keep in mind when planning your budget. Most of them show up at the end of your vacation, but planning for them ahead of time will help as you manage your Aruba budget. Hotel rooms are taxed at a government rate of 6 percent per night. However, this isn't the only hotel tax. There is occasionally another 10 percent to 15 percent tax on rooms as well. Some resorts may charge an energy surcharge. To be sure what you will be paying, contact the front desk of the hotel in which you stay, because you'll want to know what price will show up on your final bill. Porters and maids should be tipped about $2 per bag and per day respectively.
Most of Aruba's restaurants will include a 10 percent to 15 percent service charge in the bill. If this is done, you won't need to pay anything more unless you'd like to tip the server directly. It is customary to add a 15 percent to 20 percent tip if no service charge is included. Taxi drivers are also tipped at approximately 15 percent.
Make sure you earmark $36 for Aruba's airport departure tax. It is most often included in ticket prices, but it is best to contact your airline to be sure that it has been or to plan for how it will be paid.
Last but certainly not least among budgetary concerns is shopping. No matter how much you intend to bring back from the island, you'll need to keep customs regulations in mind as you plan your Aruba budget. However, shoppers shouldn't shy away from the great number of souvenirs at the island's many shops.
When planning a trip to Aruba, budgeting before you leave can save a lot of trouble later. Keep an eye on what you're spending, stay within your means, and relaxing in the tropical trade winds will truly be carefree.
Help us improve! We welcome your corrections and suggestions.