Before you get swept away in the sea of possibilities that await you on Trinidad and Tobago, it's a good idea to plan your budget. If you have at least a general idea of what you are spending, you will reduce the number of surprise expenses and will be able to relax more completely once you arrive on these lovely sister islands.
Having an educated estimate of your expenses is an important part of getting the most from your vacation. The majority of your budget will be the costs of accommodations and transportation, but remember to budget for smaller expenses, such as meals, sightseeing tours, souvenirs, and taxes, which can add up and become significant in the end.
The cost of your accommodations will depend on the time of year you visit the islands, the type of lodging you choose, and the location of your accommodations. Vacationers have several options when choosing a hotel, from small guesthouses, eco-lodges and inns to luxurious all-inclusive megaresorts. When deciding on accommodations, you should choose a place that best reflects your budget and your vacation style.
Trinidad and Tobago's beautiful rainforests and natural sites make the islands great places for campers and nature lovers. Travelers wanting to spend time enjoying the natural beauty of the island will find that camping grounds and eco-lodgings are highly affordable, starting as low as $25(USD). Vacationers who want to spend the least amount on accommodations but don't necessarily want to spend time in the great outdoors can also find inexpensive rooms starting at approximately $20(USD) per night. For more exquisite lodgings that offer lavish amenities, tourists can pay more for luxury rooms, which can cost approximately $300(USD) or more per night. Many hotels and resorts provide all-inclusive packages that allow vacationers to pay for many aspects of their stay with one bill, which can be convenient and cost-effective for many travelers. A stay in an all-inclusive hotel or resort starts at about $250(USD). Keep in mind that these prices don't include government taxes and any services charges.
The time of year you travel will also influence vacation costs, particularly what you pay for accommodations. During the high tourist season, which is from December to April, prices are considerably higher in the Caribbean. If you want to save significant amounts of money, consider traveling during the off season, when fewer tourists visit the islands and hotel and resort prices drop.
Worldwide culinary influences have produced a dynamic local cuisine, making dining a top priority for most visitors. Meals are a basic necessity, so be sure to budget generously for dining during your vacation. Restaurants, however, are ample, which means you can dine on a flexible budget on Trinidad and Tobago. In fact, dining on the islands is very affordable compared to some vacation destinations in the Caribbean.
The most inexpensive meals come from street vendors, which sell local delicacies like tasty Doubles, a fried, curried chickpea sandwich that is a popular choice among vegetarians. Most of the restaurants on the island are very casual, and their prices are very affordable. Travelers can pay as little as $1(USD) for a tasty meal. Dishes at more upscale restaurants cost a little bit more, and travelers can expect to pay around $40(USD) per meal.
Gratuity should be a part of your budget. Tipping is not required on Trinidad and Tobago, but generally vacationers tip 10 to 15 percent for good service. Many people in the service industry rely heavily on tips and gratuities as a majority of their income. Tipping is a good way to reward a service well done.
How you get around once you arrive on Trinidad or Tobago is also going to have to be part of your budget. Some methods of transportation are more costly than others. There are many ways to see the islands, from public transportation to ferries. Choose whichever method fits your lifestyle.
At $2(TT), or approximately $0.32(USD), per ticket, minibuses are one of the cheapest ways to tour both Trinidad and Tobago. Taxis are another popular form of inexpensive transportation around the islands. They may cost a little more than riding the bus, but taxis allow you to see Trinidad and Tobago on your own terms. Cab fare varies depending on your destination, but generally starts at approximately $5(USD).
Rental cars are the most expensive way to get around the islands, but many vacationers feel the independence of driving themselves is well worth the cost. The cost of renting a car depends on the vehicle and the rental company you choose, but rates usually start at approximately $70(USD).
Travelers may want to travel between Trinidad and Tobago, and inter-island ferry service is available during the week and on Sundays. Ferries generally take approximately five hours one way, and costs start at $50(TT) or about $8.04(USD) per ticket. Children under 12 ride for half price.
There may be other incidental costs for daily spending such as museum admissions or night club covers and drinks that vacationers may want to consider when budgeting. Although you may not be able to budget every cost of your daily spending, estimating will allow you to approximate how much you will need.
Vacationers will find some of the largest bazaars in the Caribbean located on the two islands, which sell international items from Ireland, Scandinavia, and Japan, to name a few. Handmade crafts are also popular, and many people enjoy exploring the fun shops for souvenirs.
While you may find good deals on merchandise while on Trinidad and Tobago, vacationers should keep in mind that their purchases may incur taxes when returning through customs. Travelers should check with their home country's customs office to find out which items are duty-free and which are taxed.
All travelers visiting Trinidad and Tobago under the age of 60 are subject to a departure tax of $100(TT), which is about $16(USD), when leaving the country. This tax goes to the country's government and is used to meet the development costs of the country. Often this cost is included with the cost of your plane ticket, but check with your airline to be sure.
Hotels apply a 15 percent value added tax to all final hotel bills, and most implement a 10 percent service charge as well. Vacationers should check ahead of time to see whether these fees are included with the costs of their room. Planning a budget for your vacation is a helpful way to get the most out of your trip to Trinidad and Tobago and to avoid many unexpected surprises.
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