Are you feeling like tourists are enjoying Jamaica’s beauty more than you are? It doesn’t have to be the case. Okay fine, maybe you can’t afford all-inclusive hotels right now but there is so much more you can do. Here are some ways you can see Jamaica on a budget:
- Take public transportation- Yes it’s not ideal but it gets you where you need to go. You can go to Port Antonio for less than $1000JMD round trip from Kingston. You can also go to a beach in St.Thomas for $700JMD round trip from Kingston. The downside is that you can’t really make pit stops but if you aren’t going too far then it’s perfect. You can also take the bus to one destination, take a pit stop and go ahead and hop another one to get to your original destination. It’s best to take these buses early in the morning and try to find out when the last bus is leaving so you don’t get stuck.
2. Rent a car or find a friend with a car- If you and a small group of friends want to go somewhere, it may make sense to rent a car or ask one of them to use their car and everyone pitches in for gas money. It would be a little more expensive than public transportation. However, you will be able to go to places where public transportation doesn’t run well. You can cover more spots for the day. You will be able to make pit stops. You also don’t need to rush home in the night because your ride is secure.
3. Rent a bus– Renting a bus usually works out to be pretty cheap as long as no one flakes on the trip last minute. This is best if you want to take a trip with about 8 or more people. Usually, when renting a bus, the company sends its own driver and they give you a flat price. All you have to do is divide the amount by the number of people coming and you’re all set. The more people you invite the cheaper the trip will be. In addition to that, you’re usually allowed to make plenty of pitstops which is great when you want to stop and take pictures at the side of the road.
4. Find a job that allows you to travel- Finding a job that allows you to travel can be the perfect solution to seeing the island. Usually, the company pays for just about everything. Technically they’re paying you to travel. Many jobs allow this luxury outside being a travel blogger or vlogger. I visited all 14 parishes this year, mostly because of work and I was working in a lab as a scientist of some sort. If you have the opportunity to take a job that affords you the ability to travel, take it, you won’t regret it.
5. Go to cheap or free places- There are plenty of places in Jamaica that don’t cost an arm and a leg but usually, you’ll have to do some research. In terms of beaches, you can find some free or very cheap beaches all over Jamaica. Boston beach is a nice one and it only cost $200JMD to enter. Winnifred Beach in Portland is beautiful and clean and how much you pay depends on you. They only ask for a contribution. Bourbon beach in Negril is free.
6. Be prepared when traveling to tourist areas- Of course, you don’t have to travel to areas where the tourists frequent a lot such as Ochi and Negril in order to see the beauty of the island or have a nice time. However, if you do find yourself in one of those popular towns, be prepared to shell out more money and cut costs where you can. You can reduce the money you’ll spend by bringing food. You’re not a foreigner, you know what rice and peas taste like, bring your own, instead of paying $800JMD for a box lunch. I know some places don’t allow you to bring food inside but do your research and see what’s worth it and what isn’t. If you want to stay for a couple days in one of these tourist hot spots, consider a bed and breakfast or an Air BnB. Avoid these hotels during peak tourist season unless you want to empty your pocket.
7. Be on the lookout for deals- I’m sure you can find some deals on Brawta Living that will save you a pretty penny. You can just browse the site and plan your trip around the deals. The deals are typically for 2 or more people. You can stay in luxury hotels for a fraction of the price. Sometimes they have deals for smaller resorts and I think it’s worth it if you just want somewhere to stay cheaply while you explore the rest of the parish. You can also find deals on restaurants and accommodation on Gustazo.com I’ve personally not used them yet but I know I will one day.
8. Follow local travel bloggers- There are a number of Jamaica travel bloggers who focus on budget traveling. My favourite is Rochelle from Adventures from Elle. Check her out if you want to learn how to explore Jamaica on a budget.