A vacation in Bermuda is a priceless experience, but wise travelers know how to manage their spending by creating a budget. A little advance planning can go a long way toward making your vacation a relaxing one, leaving you free to enjoy the gorgeous weather, picturesque scenery, and colorful culture.
Lodging, transportation, and dining are the three most obvious vacation expenses; but don't forget to budget for other costs such as souvenirs, transportation, taxes, and tips.
The peak tourist season runs from mid-March to mid-September, and prices in Bermuda reflect the increased demand for lodging. Because there are so many different types of accommodation options in Bermuda, you should have no problem finding something to fit both your travel needs and your budget. Comfortable bed and breakfasts can start around $125(USD) per night. While there is only one all-inclusive resort on the islands, upscale hotels may charge well over $400(USD) per night during the peak season. Travelers should note that these estimates do not include taxes or service fees.
Vacationers should also bear in mind that room rates generally reflect the services and amenities that a hotel offers. More expensive resorts accommodate guests with meals, activities, and a knowledgeable concierge staff, while some of the more affordable lodgings may provide only a standard room. Ask about amenities before booking your stay.
Money-conscious travelers should note that October through February is considered the off-season in Bermuda, and visitors can often find great deals on accommodations during these months. Another perk of vacationing in the off-season is that many of the most popular tourist areas are free of their peak-season congestion.
The variety of culinary options in Bermuda means that travelers can choose from meals in all price ranges. The cost of dinner at restaurants serving traditional island fare can range from $10(USD) to $25(USD) per person. Dinner at a first-class or gourmet restaurant will probably exceed $40(USD). Breakfast and lunch generally cost less than dinner. If you'd like to try some of the high-class establishments without spending a small fortune, try visiting for lunch instead of dinner.
A 15 percent service charge is usually added to hotel bills and restaurant checks. You may leave an additional tip if you received exceptional service. If no surcharge has been added, the American standard of leaving 15 percent to 20 percent of the total bill is acceptable, but feel free to tip more or less to reflect the quality of service.
A well-planned budget also includes transportation costs. Since most travelers do not limit themselves to one mode of transport, an accurate budget allows for several options. Keep in mind that there are no rental cars in Bermuda. Plan to use taxis and buses on land, and ferries and boats for water travel.
Taxis are convenient and affordable, with knowledgeable drivers and government regulated fares. Although the rates may fluctuate slightly, most cabs charge $5(USD) for the first mile and around $1.50(USD) for each mile thereafter. Remember to agree upon a currency before hiring a cab, as many will accept both U.S. and Bermudian dollars.
Buses in Bermuda are generally well-maintained and comfortable, making them another popular option for getting around. Bus fares vary by route, but should never be higher than $5(USD) per person. Travelers on a budget can take advantage of money-saving coupons and tickets that are good for both buses and ferries.
Ferries offer travelers an opportunity to enjoy the sea and sun while commuting to different regions in Bermuda. Each trip should cost no more than $4(USD). All-day passes are available, and don't forget about the coupons and tickets that are honored on both ferries and buses.
When budgeting for your stay in Bermuda, consider adding a category for "leisure transportation" such as bicycles and mopeds. These are available for daily rental starting at $15(USD) and $50(USD) respectively. You can often get a better rate by renting the bike or scooter for a full week instead of by the day.
Of course, getting around the islands isn't the only expense to include in your vacation budget. Remember to account for souvenir costs, admission prices to places like museums, and cover charges for nightspots.
Your daily spending might fluctuate greatly; a day or two of shopping will probably comprise a higher percentage of your budget than the inevitable time spent soaking up the sun on the beautiful beaches.
The capital city of Hamilton offers plenty of shopping opportunities, and you can find many unique gifts and souvenirs here. Luxury goods are often available, but local handicrafts are popular as well, particularly the rum, linens, and hand-carved crafts for which Bermuda is known. Items that are at least 35 percent locally made are exempt from export taxes, whether or not they exceed your quota as established at customs. This makes them excellent gifts for people back home.
Americans are permitted to return with $400(USD) worth of untaxed goods and one liter of alcohol per person. A tax of 10 percent is added to the value of all items exceeding the duty-free limit. Canadian citizens are allowed to return with $500(USD) in merchandise and 40 ounces of liquor as long as they have been traveling outside the country for more than seven days. Holidaymakers from Britain may return with about $260(USD) worth of merchandise and one liter of alcohol per person. All other international visitors are advised to contact their own travel commissions or embassies to determine the regulations that apply to them.
Travelers over the age of two must pay a departure tax of $35(USD) if traveling by plane or $60(USD) if traveling by cruise ship. This charge is often included in the price of the plane or cruise ship ticket; otherwise, it must be paid in cash at the airport or exit marina. Check with your travel agent to find out if this charge has already been paid.
Hotels will also assess several surcharges upon check-out, including a 7.25 percent government hospitality tax and (oftentimes) a 10 percent service fee in place of tipping for service. Not all hotel bills will include the service fee, however, and travelers should review the bill carefully to determine if additional tipping is necessary.
Careful budgeting beforehand allows travelers to enjoy their trip to Bermuda without worrying about unforeseen expenses.
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