April 13, 2018

Island Diaries: A little rant about travelling in the Caribbean

Why oh why must Caribbean travel be so difficult?

Though I'm based in Barbados, I don't travel to neighbouring Caribbean countries very often. There are a number of reasons for this, the main ones being that regional travel is often unreasonably complicated and expensive, especially compared to international travel. Here's an example of what we're dealing with:

Caribbean Airlines is advertising a "Caribbean Explorer" Deal right now:

- US$599 to visit 3 Caribbean countries listed
- US$899 to visit 5 Caribbean countries listed

In the fine print, they mention that taxes and fees are not included in the price.

Here are two example itineraries that I was quoted, after speaking to a (very nice) travel agent on the phone for over 45 minutes:

Sample Itinerary 1:
Barbados - Antigua - May 17th
Antigua - Jamaica - May 21st
Jamaica - St.Maarten - May 23rd
St.Maarten - Barbados - May 26th

Total Price: US$981.48
That's US$382.48 in taxes on a US$599 ticket.

Sample Itinerary 2: (note the overnight layovers in Trinidad and Barbados!)
Barbados - Antigua - May 17th
Antigua - Bahamas - May 21st
(Overnight in Trinidad May 21st)
Trinidad - Bahamas - May 22nd
Bahamas - Barbados - May 25th
(Overnight in Barbados - May 25th)
Barbados - St.Maarten - May 26th
St.Maarten - Barbados - May 30th

Price: US$963.77
US$364.77 in taxes

By comparison, I can fly to the following from Barbados for the same price, a little less and a little more (See screen shots from Google Flights)

- Vancouver US$682
- London US$975
- Shanghai US$1,142

I sincerely hope that Caribbean travel becomes easier in the future, so that we can continue to foster a sense of community, appreciation and understanding with our neighbours.

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