Should you visit Barbados during the off-season?
Places like Barbados and other countries in the Caribbean are often considered to be luxury (read: extortionate) destinations for travellers from the UK and Europe. However, there are ways to get the price down, particularly nowadays with such a lot of flight and accommodation packages available. Even with the packages though, your dream holiday could still cost more than it needs to. So bring on off-season travel!
When is the off-season?
Before you can plan any off-season travel, you need to know which months are ‘on’ and ‘off’. In Barbados, peak season is December to April and the low season is June to November. The reason for June to November being the off-season is, of course, because this coincides with hurricane season. But watch out for July and August – because school holidays fall in these two months, airlines will be charging peak prices and there will be more demand for hotels.
Which leaves… September, October and November as prime travel months. I totally understand that the idea of travelling anywhere in the Caribbean during hurricane season is off-putting to a lot of people… which is why it’s such a great travel strategy! I’ve always really enjoyed my trips to Barbados that I’ve taken at this time of year for a number of reasons:
- Fewer people. This has to be my top reason to travel out of season as I can be a bit of a people-phobe. Although I have a job that requires me to be pretty social (or maybe because of this), I place an extremely high value on my personal space. Especially when I’m spending my own money to be somewhere! When I was in Barbados last month, the only other guests in the hotel were some military personnel helping disaster relief efforts, airline crew and a few travel-savvy couples. Hello fast service, easy-to-get reservations in nice restaurants and first-choice of the best sun-loungers on the beach.
- Cheaper hotel prices. Coming in a close second to no people around. When hotels in Barbados are in-demand, they really can be astronomically expensive. I’ve seen a difference of up to £150-£200 a night in some hotels from September to April, which I’m just not prepared to pay for a slightly-above-average hotel. Although I love Barbados, I do sometimes get the impression that some of the hotels don’t try that hard and get away with it because of the beautiful beaches.
- More reasonable flights. Barbados is worth the 8-hour flight, but transatlantic flights don’t often come cheap. Especially in the on-season and during school holidays. You can fly direct with British Airways or Virgin Atlantic, and in the off-season, Economy flights can be as cheap as around £600 return.
But what about hurricanes?
Now you may be thinking that’s all very well, but what about the weather? No-one wants to be swept away by a monster hurricane. The reality is that there is always going to be a risk booking a holiday to the Caribbean at this time of year – that’s why you can score such a bargain, remember!
Barbados tends to sit just outside of the hurricane belt as it’s actually very far south in the Caribbean. This basically means if you plan your holiday there, your chances of being hit by a hurricane are significantly lower than other Caribbean islands located further north (e.g. Antigua).
In terms of the weather you will be likely to get, I would say the outlook is pretty good. Although my not-so-trusty weather app on my phone was insisting Barbados would have what looked like constant rain when I visited last month, that turned out to be wrong. A rain forecast in Barbados is more like scattered showers than a torrential downpour. There wasn’t constant sun and clear skies, but the temperature is consistently above 30 in the day year-round and there definitely was enough sun for sunbathing (for me anyway!).
The rainy season
The main downside for me about travelling to Barbados during the Autumn months is the fact that it is the rainy season. For me, this means inevitably getting eaten alive by the resident mosquitoes. Having said that, I managed to keep the worst of the bites at bay with a winning combination of 50% deet repellent and antihistamines. We also did get hit by a tropical storm one evening, but this passed within a couple of hours whilst we were getting ready to go out.
If you do go on holiday to Barbados in the off-season, you won’t find that the island is completely deserted – when we went to Oistin’s Fish Fry it was still pretty packed – but there is significantly lower demand meaning you can score some great deals. And there’s no need to worry about there not being as much to do – most places (restaurants, activities etc.) stay open throughout the year.
If you’re considering travelling to Barbados, check out my country guide for more travel tips and tricks!