Aruba is “One Happy Island” but that doesn’t always mean it’s affordable. For years I pondered how I would afford to go or if one day I would arrive at some spectacular all-inclusive deal on the Internet. The gorgeous island is worth the cost for its’ beaches, palm trees, parties, activities, everything Aruba has to offer, and seeing Aruba on a budget is possible, with these tips.
Why spend more, when you can spend less?
Note: The US dollar is equivalent to the Arubian dollar.
1. Skip the All-Inclusive deal
I have kept close eye on the prices for these types of deals in the past, the cost is more than what you would actually spend if you paid for everything separately. The cost turns out to be about 50-60% for the hotel and the other remaining percent for the “all-inclusive” meals and beverages. Would you really drink and eat away about $500+ worth? Remember, this cost is per person. If you go with even one other person, together the cost would be on average $1,000 together on the included meals and drinks. That’s a bit much don’t you think?
2. Research booking flights and hotels separately
Hotels are a pricey portion of an Aruba trip. Usually, hotels bundled with flights are the way to go. However, double check if a hotel in Aruba itself is on sale and you could save yourself a huge cost! Sometimes travel search engines offer hotels on 30-50% off and include breakfast in the deal.
Flights – similar concept. The average flight cost to Aruba from the USA is $500-$600. Check for sales through search engines and airlines and if you can snag flights for less than $500, you saved yourself money. If you can apply miles or points to the cost, that will help you out as well.
3. Aruba on a Budget – Multiple Areas and Things to Do Outside the Resort
I’ve covered costs for getting to Aruba and accommodations, but realistically, let’s talk about where you’ll be spending your time. There’s many beaches that flow into each other on the coast and strips of hotels that come along with them. All the beaches in Aruba are public and free! Even if you love your hotel/resort, you have the opportunity to walk to other beaches and beach bars for free. You will see so many people doing so and hence, you will experience “more” of Aruba than staying within your resort. This brings me back to the first point of not doing the all-inclusive option – you can spend time in numerous other beaches, beach bars, restaurants, and hotels. You can spread out where you eat your meals and have multiple options of cuisines and of course drinks…
4. One Happy Island = Multiple Happy Hours
The secondary meaning of “One Happy Island” is that there’s happy hours everywhere, 2-3 times per day! The deal is usually 2 for 1’s or $2-$3 beers. Win, win! Now you can really consume on a budget and again, not at the same resort bars everyday. You can venture around from one happy hour to another.
5. Shop at the local stores
The hotels are on the beach right next to or on J.E. Irausquin Blvd. Besides, the hotel shops, there are plenty of stores on this main road that you can walk to and pay cheaper prices. This goes for everything – souvenirs, clothing, accessories, and of course – food and drinks. You can purchase items to make yourself in the hotel or to snack on. The alcohol is surprisingly cheap too, so why not stock up on a bottle for two for less than $50 and you can buy yourself all the mixers you want to go along with it.
6. Prebook tours
If you’re going to Aruba and you know you want to a specific tour (s), book them online through the tour agencies before you arrive. Most websites have online specials and you won’t have to worry about reserving a spot when you arrive. If you’re traveling with a group, ask for group rates.
7. Travel during “Low” Season
Aruba has perfect weather all year round. So what does “low” season mean? Low season for Aruba is when the prices are not as high for hotels and it runs throughout May until about November. December prices are higher due to the holidays. January through April, the hotel prices soar due to the people flying down from the winter. You might see prices inflate as much up to 50% during January through April. Try to stick traveling during the other months. September and October are a good time to go because of the hurricane season occurring in the northern Caribbean Sea. Aruba is out of the hurricane belt zone but may experience more cloudy/hazy days during those two months. Also, families usually don’t vacation then due to children starting school those two months.
I hope this info helps in making your future trip to Aruba possible and more financially efficient! You can do it without a hefty pricetag attached!