Life

Making Turks and Caicos affordable

JOE BELANGER, QMI Agency

Tourists cut costs by visiting the Graceway Gourmet grocery store on Grace Bay of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The prices are steep, but still less than the many fine dining restaurants found in the area. The grocery store also has a deli where inexpensive meals can be bought, including delicious pizza, as well as a wide selection of wines, spirits and beer to take back to your hotel. JOE BELANGER/QMI Agency

Tourists cut costs by visiting the Graceway Gourmet grocery store on Grace Bay of Providenciales in the Turks and Caicos Islands. The prices are steep, but still less than the many fine dining restaurants found in the area. The grocery store also has a deli where inexpensive meals can be bought, including delicious pizza, as well as a wide selection of wines, spirits and beer to take back to your hotel. JOE BELANGER/QMI Agency

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Research, research and more research: The most important thing in finding an affordable trip anywhere is to start researching online early, visiting a few discount vacation websites and getting a feel for the prices and seasons for flights and hotels.

Flexibility: It's best if you can book vacations with little advance notice and have the fortitude to book a destination only days before departure. A last-minute booking often delivers great value.

Travel agents: Don't be afraid to tap the expert knowledge of a travel agent. Yes, it might cost a few bucks, but their expertise and knowledge is usually worth it.

Location, location, location: A central hotel location is crucial since taxis are expensive. A taxi ride starts at $10. Walking is cheaper and healthier.

Eats and drinks: Check out the local restaurants and bars online, read the menus and prices and find those that fit your budget and which ones offer live entertainment, drink specials, or dancing. We found good restaurants where meals (with leftovers for lunch) and drinks cost $50-$70, including tip. For lunch and even dinner, we made visits to the gourmet grocery store nearby that has a great deli with inexpensive meals, such as a delicious, $21 pizza that provided two meals to two people.

Read the reviews: Traveller reviews of Grace Bay offer all kinds of tips about where to eat and what to do, including the location of reefs right off the beach within walking distance. Traveller reviews can help you avoid a nightmare vacation, but can also be misleading, inaccurate, unfair, or outdated, so be careful.

Tourist magazines: Check out two helpful magazines, Where When How (www.WhereWhenHow.com) and its sister publication, Providenciales Dining Guide, for up-to-date information about the island's restaurants, bars and nightlife.

Local experts: Talk to the people who live on the island, native or expats from Canada, and find out where they eat and play affordably.

joe.belanger@sunmedia.ca


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