Detailed budgeting (7 day, pick a season, airfare, boat, taxi, food) for your holiday in the BVI is mostly an exercise dependent on you making some critical decisions. It’s useful to look at the major categories that will end up in your budget, looking at the largest pieces first.
- Usually the largest cost for a charter trip is the cost of the boat itself.
- The next largest expense is usually for transportation to and from the BVI. As with all airfares, timing of when you make your reservations is important to saving money here. There also will be some fairly minor expenses associated with clearing customs.
- If you are doing a bareboat charter, provisioning and other food expenses will be significant (however, recall that this expense offsets whatever your normal food expenses would be during the same period).
- If you are staying in a hotel or other lodging before and or after your trip, be sure to budget for that.
- You should also budget for on island transportation (taxis, etc.). Because distances are short, we found the taxi fares reasonable—although you may be terrified the first time you experience driving on the left side of the road (which is very narrow) in a left-hand drive car.
- You will also have ancillary expenses associated with your charter such as fuel costs, mooring costs, water costs (free from your charter company and some fueling locations—otherwise water is an expense). Mooring balls typically cost between $25 and $35 per night; you will generally want to attach to a mooring ball for peace of mind. In total, you should allocate about $100 a day to this category.
- Hint: inevitably in a group trip, individuals end up paying for group expenses. For example, the cost of fueling, the cost of a group dinner, etc. rather than doing a paper accounting of these expenses and trying to settle them later, we found it works really well to have each of us contribute equal amounts to a “kitty” in advance and then pay for these shared expenses directly from the kitty. Whenever the kitty runs low, we each contribute an additional equal amount. That way there are no hurt feelings as to whether someone has paid too much or too little.
As mentioned above, the actual level of these expenses can vary greatly depending on some key decisions that you and your travel group need to make.
- When do you want to go? Air transportation and, most importantly, the price of the charter itself will vary greatly depending whether you are going on season shoulder season or off-season. Most of the charter services provide an online price list showing their special deals and variability by season that make it easy to estimate the cost of a boat. You should note that some special deals for the off-season are posted with fairly short notice.
- Where do you want to eat? The cost to allocate to meals is also highly variable depending on the extent to which you want to eat at restaurants versus on your boat. For restaurants, we found the expenses are approximately the same as in the U.S., so you can use that as a basis for restaurant meals. Shopping in the BVI for food to prepare onboard is generally somewhat more expensive than in the U.S.; plan on adding 25% to a U.S. budget. Having your boat provisioned is somewhere between the two; closer to the cost of eating at a restaurant than self-provisioning. You can find provisioning price lists online and through your charter service that make it easy to know exactly how much you will spend on provisioning provided by a third-party.