We booked this back in October and it has taken FOREVER to get to finally going to Antigua.
365 beaches? Yes. Need.
I knew that Antigua (like Aruba) was one of the pricier Caribbean islands. I knew that I should prepare accordingly for a certain amount of $ to spend.
Below is a photo of the budget breakdown I keep on my Excel spreadsheet:
Let us start with the flight.
Like I said we had booked back in October, so the cost was $746.00 per person, roundtrip, with a carry-on only. For five days in a hot country? I can do that with a carry-on without even trying too hard. Very simple. Luckily we booked this flight with American Airlines and therefore had a layover in Miami because during this time Air Canada stopped their direct flights to ‘sunny destinations‘ and one of those destinations was Antigua. So we would have been screwed. My cost for the flight was $436.50 because I had some credits left over from a cancelled trip from 2020, thanks Covid.
Shortly after booking the flight, we found this beautiful AirBnB to stay in as well. The cost of hotels and resorts in Antigua isn’t too favourable, so AirBnB’s offered a nice cheaper option.
I mean, seeing what our balcony would lead to made this choice very easy. It is located in Saint Mary – at Jolly Harbour. There was 2 bedrooms, 3 beds and 2.5 bathroom. For three women? PERFECT.
Total cost was $933.71 – so per person it came to $311.23 for the 4-night stay. If any of you are interested, here is the link to it. On my follow-up recap of this trip I will let you know if it was worth it and location etc.
Of course, now we have all the testing shenanigans. Try to follow me here on how all of this went….
First test: Friday before flying at MedioneRx. Antigua requires a negative PCR test prior to your arrival. However, they do also accept rapid tests but you may end up being chosen for a ‘random’ test when you get to their airport and have to quarantine until you get your results. We weren’t taking any chances, just took the PCR. Cost = $90.00
Second test: Now, because we have a layover in the USA, their requirement is a rapid test 24-hrs before you enter the country, even for transit. Can’t do that with a PCR because results can take 24-48hrs to get back. Super right? Went to Shoppers to do that. Cost = $40.00
Third test: We did our research about the cost of PCR and Rapid Antigen tests in Antigua. For the PCR tests we were reading they cost between $200-$240USD and that the rapid were about $100USD. Therefore, to return home the testing would have cost us about $475 Canadian. Absolutely, the fuck, no. I’m not paying that.
Luckily, Switch Health finally did something of use, and made a portable LAMP test kit. This is accepted by the CDC and by the Canadian Government to use for entering the country. This kit is something we purchased before leaving Canada, and would bring it in our bags and test ourselves on the Thursday (we fly home Friday) and receive results within 45 minutes. Therefore, we could use it for both the transit through USA and to return to Canada. If you are an Aeroplan member, like I am, the total cost for the test is $168.00 and can be ordered here.
I still think $168.00 is crazy to get back home but when put against $475.00 – not so bad.
The two final things to take care of were travel insurance and spending money.
I literally bring the same amount of money to every trip, and that is $500 USD. Doesn’t matter how many days and the destination, that is my go-to. That totaled $633.00 Canadian on the exchange rate. Ew.
The two currencies on the island of Antigua are the East Caribbean Dollar AND the US dollar. I realize the XCD would have given me a better exchange from Canadian and probably on the island – but I LOATHE carrying two currencies. It is my own laziness, I refuse to do it. I rather just have USD and if I do or don’t use it all, there will always be a trip coming up where I can use the USD (literally, next month in Miami). Not so much for the other currency, as I don’t intend on returning to the Caribbean for the remainder of 2022.
Due to the chance that I might test positive abroad for Covid, I also bought myself some CoverMe travel insurance from Manulife. I have regular travel insurance through work, but I wanted just a little extra in case of Covid and quarantine being needed. This only cost $20.00 for my 5-day trip and it covers up to $200 a day for any stays I might have to pay for in Antigua as well as up to $5,000,000 in any medical costs I may incur related to Covid-19. I think for twenty bucks that is fine by me!
The grand total for this trip to Antigua is $1698.73 – and for it only being a 5-day trip that is crazy to me. But. If you want to go to fancy-pants places, and also travel during a pandemic, you’ll pay up. That is just how it is. I’m sure there might be times where the flight is cheaper and I may or may not actually spend the full $500USD, but knowing how I like to drink and eat on vacation? I probably will.
I pray as you read this post that I am actually spot-on for this budget, because again, during Covid you just don’t know what kind of expenses MAY pop up.
*Update: we fly home today (February 25th) and thank goodness no Covid so we don’t have that expense for quarantine etc. However, definitely went over the spending budget because I like eating and drinking a lot. No regrets.
Hope this helps for anyone trying to go to Antigua soon!