Off-peak Caribbean Travel: Summer means getting away for less
By Erin Keaveney
Known for perfect weather conditions and tropical ambiance, the Caribbean is a popular travel destination that sees tourist activity heat up in the winter months. But who says it can't be a great summer getaway as well?
The Caribbean offers a perfect summer escape for any vacationers, whether it's the newlyweds honeymooning after their summer wedding, or families with young children taking advantage of the school break. Since the peak travel time for the Caribbean is December through April, the summer months offer a host of benefits for travelers seeking an off-peak getaway.
Big fun, small budget
When booking Caribbean hotel accommodations and travel plans, tourists are bound to save big when taking trips to the from June through August. Resort occupancy rates drop drastically in the Caribbean starting in May after the last of the spring break crowd has gone home, forcing them to slash prices in order to keep guest quarters filled. Travelers report saving an average of 20 to 50 percent off accommodations during peak travel times when shacking up for a summer stay in the Caribbean.
Though air travel has stayed consistently expensive over the past few years no matter what months passengers travel, there are ways to save on airfare to the Caribbean in the summer. Try booking an unconventionally timed vacation (say, Wednesday to Tuesday), as mid-week travel is generally reduced. Traditionally, airlines have viewed Monday afternoon through Thursday morning as off-peak travel times in the summer, so book during these times for the best savings.
Since most people travel on the weekends, keep an eye out for discounted room rates and airfare deals during the week, especially when taking an abbreviated Caribbean vacation or planning a short stay that could be planned for a mid-week timeframe.
But what about the weather?
Tourists are often wary of traveling to the Caribbean during the summer, citing hurricane season as a major drawback. The official hurricane season runs from June to November, but is most active from August to October. A trip planned during the true summer months of June, July and August are fairly safe bets, as September is the peak month of hurricane season.
While you can't fully rely on mother nature to cooperate with your vacation plans, planning travel during the hurricane season in the Caribbean could actually be a money-saver. In addition to the off-peak timing, some resorts have literal rain checks, instituting policies that offer upgrades or return trip discounts for severe inclement weather during hurricane season. Additionally, travelers might look into buying trip insurance to safeguard their Caribbean vacation from being a rain-soaked disaster.
To avoid potential hurricanes when traveling to the Caribbean in the summer months, avoid destinations that fall in the hurricane belt by choosing islands south of that area. The ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) are a good bet for excellent weather conditions no matter what time of year including the summertime, with the water temperature staying within one or two degrees of the winter thermometer readings.
A truly vacated vacation
Another bonus to summer Caribbean travel? Fewer crowds. With the threat of hurricane season and the local weather staying nice, would-be tourists tend to stay close to home in the summer creating the perfect Caribbean setting for families seeking a quiet, tropical respite or honeymooners looking for a secluded, romantic escape.
Besides the beaches being virtually empty, tourists will delight in the summer desertion of other facets of their Caribbean vacation. Dinner reservations aren't needed, and spa appointments are similarly easy to come by. Sunbathers looking to relax by the pool are also in for a treat, as the dreaded vacation ritual of staking out lounge chairs at ungodly hours becomes obsolete in the summer months.
The absence of throngs of tourists that swarm the Caribbean in the winter might indicate a dead atmosphere, but tourists can rest assured that the local culture is lively and buzzing with activity in the summer. Many local happenings tend to pick up in the summer on Caribbean islands, including music festivals and sporting events. For example, Antigua's popular summer festival, Carnival, takes place in late July and early August, offering tourists a unique experience that winter travelers miss out on.
Erin Keaveney writes articles about travel in the Caribbean for the Marriott Resorts.
Hotels & Resorts
More Articles by Erin Keaveney
More Travel Articles
Views expressed in the article are those of the author and are not necessarily the opinions of CaribbeanChoice, its staff or members.