It may come as no surprise that Bermuda is an expensive island. However, I was completely baffled as to how expensive everything is until my husband and I honeymooned there. From being located out in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean (though not in the Caribbean like many believe) to not having any fresh bodies of water on the island, imported goods become expensive, especially in support of their tourism.
Luxury vacations are fabulous and all, but if you are a budget-traveling millennial like me, the task of trying to save money in an expensive city, country, or territory can be daunting. However, that does not mean that you have to skip out on a beautiful destination, like Bermuda. Here are some suggested “budgeting survival tips” on how to save money when visiting Bermuda (and can be applied when visiting any other expensive destination):
Rent an AirBNB instead of booking a resort
We could not find a resort costing less than $250 USD/night per person and decided to narrow down to either finding an AirBNB or find a cruise deal from Boston. We both had our hearts set on finding a place to stay on the island for our first time there and decided to lean towards renting from AirBNB. We were fortunate enough to find a cozy one bedroom apartment for less than, close to a grocery store, public transportation stops, and only 15 minutes away from the capital, Hamilton! The apartment even had access to a pool!
Use their public transportation/bus system
As much fun as it would be to rent scooters or a Twizy (Bermuda’s tiny electric cars), they came with a crazy price tag. We were also unaware of how far in advance you need to reserve a Twizy prior to your trip (many people recommend at least a month to 6 weeks out from your trip). Therefore, we opted to take the bus all throughout the island. To book a 7 day bus pass cost us approximately $60 USD per person for an unlimited amount of rides within those 7 days. The only downside is that most buses finish their routes by 6-7pm and we had to take a taxi during the nights we went out to Hamilton. But overall it was not a bad deal to get around the island!
Buy groceries to save on dining out for every meal
The first couple of days we ended up going to a restaurant for either lunch or dinner and quickly found it to be expensive for the two of us (we had a difficult time finding a restaurant where the bill cost less than $60 USD for the two of us). While we did choose to go out and explore some of the restaurants throughout our trip, we also bought groceries to make breakfasts and some dinners at our AirBNB rental, as well as prepackaged sandwiches for picnic lunches.
BYOB or skip the drinks
Since it was our honeymoon, we did splurge quite a bit on drinks. But no matter where you travel to, having a drink with every meal gets expensive quickly. We found buying beer and dark n’ stormy cans to be a more affordable option (after we got our rum swizzle fix). Towards the end of our vacation, we opted out on drinking all together for the last few days to save some money.
Save on “luxury” beach expenses
Even though it’s free to visit most of the beaches in Bermuda, it can be easy to rack up the spending between food, drinks, and chairs and umbrella rentals. Our first beach excursion in Bermuda, we chose to have the full tourist experience at Horseshoe Bay Beach and had rum swizzles at the beach! We were also fortunate enough to come across another couple who let us have their rental chairs and umbrella for free! Otherwise, renting chairs and umbrella cost at least $20-30 USD for the day. For the rest of our days in Bermuda, we chose to pack a picnic lunch, skip the drinks, and avoided renting umbrellas and beach chairs.
Find free and affordable activities to do and places to explore
The great thing about Bermuda is there are plenty of things to do for free or on the cheap! One of my favorite free things to do in any new city is to wander and capture the street art! You can learn quite a bit about a new place on how the locals artistically express themselves. We even walked by some artists in action of painting a new mural!
By spending a good portion walking throughout the island, we also discovered Bermuda’s Gothic and quirky Unfinished Church, which I first read about from Atlas Obscura. Located in the north east part of the island in St George, this church had been severely damaged by a storm in the 1800’s and lost it’s funding to be refinished. While the interior is now closed to visitors, due to safety concerns, the exterior can still be visited.
Of course you don’t have to let money interfere with your adventure and prevent you from enjoying your vacation to the fullest. We used these budget tactics to our discretion. But regardless of budget, there are ways to visit and enjoy these pricier destinations!