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Where can my wife & I go Sept 17-21 for $3000 budget?

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Jul 17th, 2012, 03:51 PM
  #1
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Where can my wife & I go Sept 17-21 for $3000 budget?

We live 5 minutes from DFW International Airport so we would prefer a location with a direct flight. I am surprising her with an anniversary getaway in the Carribean leaving Monday Sept 17 and returning that Friday the 21st. Id like to spend around $3000-ish for airfare and accommodations (not including food/drink/etc) and would even consider an All-Inclusive.

So what is the nicest place we could go that still has availability this week in the Caribbean on this budget? Wife likes the beach, I like the beach/pool and a nice night dining is a plus.

Any suggestions?

Ive looked at The Veranda in T&C, Capjaluca, and a few other places but they are all booked up for that week fyi. Looking for a really nice, really romantic place with availability.
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Jul 17th, 2012, 03:52 PM
  #2
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Oh and one other thing- we went to Atlantis in March and loved it. Somewhat nickle and dimed to death, but other than that, really liked it.
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Jul 17th, 2012, 04:36 PM
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You should not have too much difficulty finding a resort that has availability for the week you want to go. It is Low Seaon so those resorts which are open will usually have plenty of rooms available. Also, you'll find some of the lowest room rates of the year so your budget will go fairly far.

Now, where should you go? With only 5 days you should look at destinations you can reach non-stop from DFW rather than take connecting flights in order to cut down on travel time. Look at Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, Grand Cayman, St. Thomas or Jamaica ( there may be other islands you can get to non-stop). Non-stop flights will be cheaper to get to than destination which require connecting flights giving you more money for a better hotel/resort.

Once you find your island and know your airfare costs tou'll know how much you can spend on your hotel so picking a resort on the island will be pretty easy. You should be able to have a very nice vacation with that budget in September.
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Jul 17th, 2012, 04:54 PM
  #4
KVR
 
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American Airlines usually has non-stop flights to almost any Island in the Caribbean from DFW if you look right. You do not have to go through Miami. They just want you to. I live in West Texas and we typically use Continential (now United) and go through Houston. DWF sux with connections as does AA.

We tend to do the AI's in Mexico and Jamaica. Look at the Secrets, Iberostars, Royal Playa del Carmen and the Eldorado resorts in Mexico.

Look at the Couples resorts and the Jewell Dunns River resort in Jamaica.

If you don't have to have AI, then stick with Turks & Caicos. There are other resorts there within that budget, just not AI. Rent a car so you can get to everything. Grand Cayman is a good option also. No AI's there on 7 Mile Beach except the Marriott has an AI plan.

St. Thomas has the Wyndham and Marrriot resorts which also have an AI plan. However, in comparison to the Veranda, Capjaluca, and Atlantis. I don't think those accomendations come close, but neither does the prices.

I think anything farther, you'll need more than 5 nights.
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Jul 17th, 2012, 05:49 PM
  #5
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Oh, wanted to add, since September is prime hurricane season, no matter what destination you chose, get the insurance.
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Jul 17th, 2012, 06:22 PM
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KVR - unfortunately American Airlines no longer has non-stop flights to "almost any island in the Caribbean from DFW". To reach the majority of islands using AA you have to connect in Miami or in some instances San Juan. For instance you can't fly AA non-stop from DFW to St. Martin, Antigua, Grenada, St. Kitts, Nevis, St. Barts, Anguilla, St. Croix, any of the BVI's, St. Vincent or any of the Grenadines, Grenada, Martinique, Guadalupe, Curacao, Bonaire, and I'm pretty sure not Barbados or any of the Turks & Caicos either.
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Jul 17th, 2012, 07:19 PM
  #7
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I said almost, not all. I think since AA has declared banrupcty some of their routes and non-stop flights have changed. Just another reason why I prefer Continential/United over AA. I avoid AA and Miami if I can, but unforntually, Continential/United doesn't go to as many Islands as AA does.

We were looking at Barbados for December and yes, AA did have a non-stop flight from DFW. In 2006, we flew non-stop AA to T & C.

We flew Continential to Aruba and then Insel air to Curacao becasue AA was going to make us overnight in Miami.
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Jul 18th, 2012, 04:07 AM
  #8
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"Non-stop flights will be cheaper to get to than destination which require connecting flights giving you more money for a better hotel/resort."

When we have booked our vacations, non-stop flights are always the most expensive. The more connections in the route, the less expensive the fare.

I heard on the news and have been reading on-line that starting sometime in 2015, Southwest Airlines will start service to Mexico and selected Caribbean Islands from Houston Hobby. A day I can not wait to get here.
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Jul 18th, 2012, 07:34 AM
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KVR - when in December are you flying DFW to Barbados non-stop on AA? I did a search on AA and could only find connecting flights (mostly through MIA) for December. By the way, AA no longer goes non-stop to the T&C from DFW, you have to connect in MIA.

AA has drastically reduced the number of Caribbean destinations it serves non-stop from DFW so I'll stand by what I said earlier. You can pretty much only get to the bigger major islands non-stop from DFW and that equates to "some" not "almost all".

Agree there is some disparity in airfares. You are correct that many times non-stop fares to a specific destination can be more expensive when compared to going to that same destination using connecting flights. I, however, was suggesting to OP that he consider going to a destination he can reach non-stop rather than to an island that requires a connecting flight. For example,flying non-stop to say San Juan, the Dominican Republic or Jamaica (all non-stop destinations) will normally be significantly cheaper than flying to places like Tortola, Anquilla, or Nevis (to name a few) via San Juan or another "major" island. For instance, DFW to Anguilla is well over $1,000 PP/RT in early August while on the same dates DFW to San Juan is about $450 PP/RT.

Of course it's always difficult to cover every available option in the short replies one makes on a travel forum so we all "speak" in generalities. And, in that regard KVR always given excellent information.
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Jul 18th, 2012, 08:07 AM
  #10
KVR
 
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Thanks RoamsAround. I apologize if I sound agrumentative sometimes. I should have said most of the popular/more populated destinations instead.

I was talking with one of the Barbados destination experts on TA when we were trying to pin our plans down. I found that American's DFW-BGI service operates Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The return operates the following morning. There aren't many of them and their flights dictate when you can leave and when you can return. We only wanted to stay 6 nights, so that meant we got the one way flight either coming or going, but not both. If we stayed longer and leave and return when they dictate, then we get the one way flight both ways. Also, it depends in the time of year as not all flights are offered all of the time. I have to search and change my dates around to find them, which is why I went to TA and just asked them, so I could find it.

We are not going to Barbados this year as we had planned. I spent $5,000 in home repairs this year, so it will have to wait until next year. We decided to return to Mexico in December again.

I found this for August on Expedia:

Almond Casuarina Beach Resort All Inclusive
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Standard Room


flight + hotel
$2,617
per person
includes taxes and fees
BOOK NOW

American Airlines Icon
DFW 1:40 PM BGI 8:35 PM Nonstop 5h 55m

Show Flight Details
Seat Preview
Baggage Fee Information


American Airlines Icon
BGI 11:00 AM DFW 4:00 PM Nonstop 6h 0m

Show Flight Details
Seat Preview
Baggage Fee Information

You just have to search and search and play with the dates to find them, but they are out there. It's possible that they have changed their flight schedule for December. I have found that when I find a schedule and price, to go ahead and book it as it might not be there tomorrow.

I wished I lived in Dallas again as much as we travel. Coming from MAF we pay $300 - $400 more for packages.
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Jul 18th, 2012, 08:20 AM
  #11
 
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KVR - thanks for the Barbados info. I searched but didn't find non-stops but then again trying to find ones when they only do it certain days is always a challenge. Years ago, way before the internet there was a book called the Official Airline Guide. You could easily find any flight on any airline simply by going to the departing airport and then picking your destination city. There you'd find every flight on every airline on any day of the week to that destination. It was all so simple then.

Anyway, we have been thinking about Barbados so the info you gave is very helpful.

We fly out of DFW often (AA is our preferred airline) and prices to many destinations are not always the bargains they once were.
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Jul 18th, 2012, 11:05 AM
  #12
 
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Cap Jaluca is closing in September for renovations but Veranda in T&C seems like they have plenty of availability, and even some specials going on. If that is where you want to go, you may want to look at it again.
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Jul 18th, 2012, 11:12 AM
  #13
 
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Almond Casuarina would not be my choice for an anniversary, Almond Beach Club which is adults only has a better location & is a smaller property (although it is does not really have a beach of it's own, if you go left out of hotel you are on Sandy Lane's beach). Food in Grand Cayman 7 mile beach is expensive and the beach is not as great as Negril's 7 mile beach or Barbados west coast beaches. AI is not necessary in Negril and it can be an inexpensive destination.
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Jul 18th, 2012, 02:02 PM
  #14
KVR
 
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The Almond Casuarina was just an example of a non-stop flight from DFW to Barbados. I was definatly NOT recommending that hotel. If I was going to recommend an AI in Barbados, it would Be Mango Bay or Turtle Beach.

I have to disagree. 7 Mile Beach in Grand Cayman is much nicer than 7 Mile Beach in Negril. IMHO.

I actually prefer AI in Negril. Restaurants are not easy to get to without a cab unless staying in Negril or the Cliffs. That is probably while Bloody Bay Beach area is lined with AI resorts. It's all a matter of location, location, location.
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Jul 20th, 2012, 05:08 AM
  #15
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What about sandals royal plantation? Any opinions?
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Jul 20th, 2012, 05:19 AM
  #16
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What's the best resort AI at Jamaica and Puerto Rico?
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Jul 20th, 2012, 08:14 AM
  #17
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"What about sandals royal plantation? Any opinions?"

I am not a Sandals fan after staying at the Royal Bahamian in Nassau and The Grande in St. Lucia. I feel they are over priced for what you get. The more popular Sandals in Jamaica is the Whitehouse. About an hour outside of Negril. However, it's very isolated.

"What's the best resort AI at Jamaica"

IMHO Jewell Dunns River in Ocho Rios

Secrets or Iberostar in Montego Bay

Couples get very good reviews, but they are not as lux.

"What's the best resort AI Puerto Rico"

There are no true AI's in PR. There are a couple of hotels that offer a meal plan.
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Jul 21st, 2012, 04:48 AM
  #18
 
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Almond Casuarina and Turtle Beach are next to each other. It's location I am not keen on, if you don't care about swimming in the sea then either hotel is fine. If you want calm west coast beaches then Mango Bay & other hotels along that coast would be better.
My stay in Negril was on 7 mile beach and if staying on that beach then AI is not necessary as there are many places to eat along the beach. Some restaurants on the Cliffs area of Negril provide transportation, although only 1 way does help the budget. Bloody Bay which is north of 7 mile beach is a different story and may well be more suitable to AI if there is nothing in the immediate vicinty.

In the AA timetable I can see hardly any flights to the Caribbean, if you can get to SJU easily, maybe take a flight to Anguilla otherwise it looks to be Jamaica or PR. The timetable shows a weekly Saturday flight to BGI from DFW.
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