Live large without spending big.
1. Time It Right – Travel during the low season – May through mid-December – when airfares and villa rates are as much as 40 percent lower. Stretch your dollar even further by avoiding weekend travel.
2. Choose Wisely – In general, airfares to destinations with direct flights from the United States will be cheaper than those that require connections. And in destinations where villas are usually rented with staff (Jamaica, Barbados or St. Lucia for example), you’ll enjoy the luxury of round-the-clock attention at no out-of-pocket expense.
3. Go Big – It’s all about economies of scale: the more people in your party, the lower the per-person tab. A larger home is almost always more economical, and traveling with a group means your entertainment’s built in.
4. Watch the Web – It’s not uncommon for villa companies to offer free nights or a complimentary car rental or to throw in provisions for your first night. Monitor their websites for deals, and don’t be afraid to ask for a little something extra.
5. Live Like a Local – Eat in most days and save. At the supermarket, choose homegrown produce and less-expensive domestic brands. Stock your bar with local spirits, or bring duty-free liquor with you. If you do eat out, find the inexpensive places locals eat. And don’t forget to bring your own sunscreen and insect repellent; there are hefty markups on imported toiletries too.