Wander Or Bust: Nassau, Bahamas

Wander or Bust is an Elite Daily travel series that follows young women all over the globe to record their journeys as they experience the thrill of the far-flung and unknown.

They'll track their budgets, where they stay, where they eat and drink, and where they took that amazing Instagram that got them ~maximum exposure.~ The internet is full of travel advice, but none from women just like you. Read on for the tips no one else gives you, and when in doubt, get on the plane.

Here's Shyema Azam's Wander Or Bust guide to Nassau, Bahamas

My Name: Shyema Azam

What I Do: Beauty Editor

Where I Live: New York, NY

Where I Went: Nassau, Bahamas

Purpose of trip: A mini-honeymoon for my husband and me to fit our busy lifestyles

How Long I Stayed: 4 days, 3 nights

Where I Got My Recommendations: A lot of internet searches!

Exchange Rate At Time Of Travel: $1 USD = 1 Bahamian dollar

What That Looks Like IRL: $50 USD = 50 Bahamian dollars

Preferred Payment Method: We carried some cash in case there were some places that didn't take credit card. Many cabs took major credit cards (note, there are no app-based ride shares!). You could also pay using US dollars, and it helped that the currency is 1:1. Most of the time we got change back in USD too, although sometimes they give change back in Bahamian dollars. They also take major credit cards almost everywhere — I tried to use my card whenever I could for points (the card I use doesn’t have any foreign transaction fees!).

Phone Bill: Nothing. My husband’s phone worked for texts internationally, and I completely shut mine off unless I was on WiFi to text.

Luggage Type: Carry on

The 10 Most Important Items I Packed:

  1. Sunscreen
  2. Waterproof fanny pack
  3. Sunglasses
  4. Flip flops
  5. Bathing suits
  6. A book
  7. Summer dresses
  8. A deep hair conditioner
  9. Lotion
  10. Hand Sanitizer

What Shoes I Brought: Flip flops and sandals

What Skincare/Beauty Essentials I Don’t Travel Without: Sunscreen, a good night cream, facial wipes, and a leave-in hair conditioner. I kept my makeup very minimal since I knew I’d be by the beach, so it was just concealer, mascara, and lip gloss.

Mode of Transport: Airplane

Price of transport: I used Expedia’s Bundle and Save feature, booking tickets for my husband and myself and the hotel room all at once, so the total was originally $1,278 (a steal in itself), but because I booked within the hour, I got an extra savings of $100, making our actual plane tickets and hotel total $1,178 for both of us!

Another benefit of booking with Expedia? We ran into a little issue at the beginning of our trip where the long lines at the airport caused hundreds of travelers (including ourselves) to miss flights. We called the airline to get on the next flight, and in minutes, Expedia had sent us an email with our updated flight change. In the past, I've had issues getting my airline and travel company to align when there's a change in the flight, but this hiccup didn't affect our itinerary at all!

Extra Costs: $32 each way from airport to the hotel

Transport Total: $1,242 (with lodging included)

Accommodation: British Colonial Hilton Nassau

Location: Right downtown

Price: We used the Bundle and Save feature on Expedia so the price of the accommodation was bundled (and therefore discounted!) with the price of our flight. And bonus: they upgraded us from a Queen to a King size bed when we got there.

Extra Costs: $150. There was a $18/per person, per night resort fee, plus taxes, cleaning and gratuities were included in the final cost.

Would I Recommend It To Someone Else: Yes, mostly for business, but we loved it for our honeymoon too! Especially since the pool/outdoor area leads right to the ocean.

Accommodation Total: $1,242 (including flights) + $150 = $1,392

Breakfast Cost: About $16 a day. We kept it light and mostly had coffee in the mornings, which ended up being about $16 total (they always include tax and tip on the bill, which made for an expensive cup of coffee!).

Lunch Cost: $50/day

Dinner Cost: $70/day

Average Total Cost: $136/day

Tip Situation: A 15% tip was included in all our bills, which was important to know because most receipts still had a section for additional tip which could be confusing.

Food Situation: We got lucky and didn’t have one disappointing meal. There were a lot of seafood and deep fried foods which had tons of flavor. They also give a very generous portion which we learned early on — and started ordering less.

Favorite Restaurant: A great spot in the heart of downtown that served modern takes on classic Bahamian dishes, with local flavors, fresh ingredients, and loads of meat and vegetarian options.

Favorite Dish: I’m still dreaming about the crispy broccoli. It’s made with pickled pepper aioli, basil, and parmesan cheese. Their fish tacos were also delicious!

Location: Prince George Wharf, right next to where many cruise ships dock. We were lucky enough to catch a gorgeous rainbow!

Price: $9.50 for the broccoli, $19.90 for the tacos.

Honorable Mentions: The local fish fry restaurants, where a lot of locals eat. Every bite of the corn fritters was to die for.

Food Total: About $560 for food for our whole trip

Nightlife Situation: We had a couple bars on our list but my husband got a little sun sick at the beginning of the trip, so we decided to skip going out to rest up for our adventurous days!

One place that looked super fun was Señor Frog’s, a bar located on the cruise ship dock. It was right around the corner of our hotel so it would have been super convenient, too! Oh well, next time.

What People Wear Out: Beachy casual all the way

Average Cost Of A Drink: About $10, I'd say

Local Drink Of Choice: Fresh fruit cocktails — yum!

Average Total Cost Of A Night Out: I would estimate about $30

Most Interesting Thing I Learned About My Destination: The locals are super friendly. Tourism is their main industry so they treat their guests really well. There are also a lot of fun markets like the Straw Market which has a lot of local-made gifts and knick knacks for sale.

Most Fun Interaction With A Local: Every driver we had was so friendly. The driver we had from the airport gave us a nice run down of the island, including things to do and see. She was also the one who suggested we visit the local fish fries, which we ending up loving!

Best Excursion I Went On: A day at a local water park. We spent a whole eight hours there and did every single ride, and even took a nap near the ocean right outside the park. It was pricy — $270 for two tickets, but worth every penny.

Excursions/Culture Total: $270

What I Spent A Lot On That Was Totally Worth It: The water park excursion

What I Spent A Lot of On That Was Totally Not Worth It: Coffee. I’m sure we could have found cheaper coffee but out of convenience we kept resorting to the shop in the hotel.

What I Spent Little Or No Money On That Was Awesome: Our little palm tree souvenir from the Straw Market. My husband and I really wanted a keepsake memory, so we found this handcrafted palm tree that we had engraved on-site with our initials and the word “olives,” which was my husband’s cute way of saying love you when we first started dating.

Favorite Hidden Gem I Found: The Rum Cakes. It’s a traditional Bahaman dessert ended up being a great gift to bring back for my friends!

Favorite View(s) I Saw: Every view of the ocean was seriously spectacular

Best Bahamas Hack: You can totally bargain at the markets. Never go for the first price they give you!

Advice For Anyone Traveling To My Destination: Aside from bars, businesses close pretty early, so it’s best to get an early start in the morning.

What I Wish I Knew Before I Went: We should have loaded up on more lotion — our skin was so dry from swimming all day and being in the ocean.

Total Trip Cost: $2,222 for two of us.

Worth It? Why? Totally worth it. After my husband and I got married, we both started new jobs and we moved, so we had little-to-no time to plan a honeymoon. We wanted something that would be a quick trip but help us completely unwind and relax. This was perfect because thanks to Expedia, we didn’t break the bank, and we also found a lot of relaxing moments on the beach. It was a perfect mix of fun and relaxation!

This post is sponsored by Expedia.