Cheap Winter Vacation

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Nov 16th, 2008, 09:00 AM
  #1
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Cheap Winter Vacation

Three girlfriends and I are looking to make a weekend (or even Fri-Mon) vacation this winter with the idea that it might be cheaper because it's winter. Can anyone help on destination tips?

Right now, we're looking at the Dominican Republic because hotels are cheap, but the flights seems to be fluctuating and oscillate between cheap and expensive, and I'm a little worried about booking before we've all had time to put in for vacations at work. I think we're receptive to any warm destination, not necessarily resort/beach places.

Details:
We don't want to spend more than $5-600 total for the weekend - we're not looking to do much more than relax beachside or something similar. English-speaking locals would be ideal, but between the four of us, we can manage Spanish & French as well.

Please help?
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Nov 16th, 2008, 10:42 AM
  #2
 
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Actually, winter is the most expensive time for Caribbean destinations. High season in most of the Caribbean is from mid-December to mid-April. If you can go before or after then, you will find lower rates. Christmas/New Year will be the most expensive and most crowded times, with times around other holidays (i.e., MLK weekend, Valentine's Day, Presidents' Day (a week long February break for some schools), and Easter) being expensive. Within high season, you may find some bargains after the New Year week but before mid-February.

The Dominican Republic is one of the most reasonable islands, but whether you can do it within your budget depends on airfare, which is going to eat up most of your budget. Try looking for package deals for airfare and hotel.

You didn't mention where you are traveling from, but at least from my area (DC), airfares to more popular destinations and gateways (e.g., San Juan, PR; Cancun, MX; St Martin) tend to be a little less expensive. Also, some of the smaller, less developed and touristy islands are cheaper for food and hotels, but they are more difficult and more expensive to get to, so they probably would not be good choices given your short trip and limited budget.

Maybe look at options in the mainland US, since you should be able to find cheaper airfares. I've been to Florida a few times in February and early March, but it is not always warm enough for the beach, and hotels also are more expensive then. I think that anyplace that is warm when most of the US/Canada is cold is going to be more expensive.
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Nov 16th, 2008, 05:36 PM
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Wow. I didn't know that. All of us are not too far from college life, so for us, vacations had always been constrained to when school allowed, so from the prices a friend was seeing (from Kayak), we just assumed that things were cheap now and thought about a vacation.

We'll be flying out from NYC (so any one of the three or so airports in that area), and from there, it always seemed like flights were very expensive (CA, FL, etc. - I used to do winter vacations in FL and I agree that it's not always warm enough to just be at the beach and do nothing).

Thank you for your help, though. I don't suppose you (or anyone else) may have ideas for non-beachy destinations? I thought maybe suggestion Las Vegas? Does anyone know if that's a good alternative since flight specials to there tends to run fairly often?

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Nov 17th, 2008, 06:39 AM
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Agreeing with the comments above. Caribbean and Mexico beach resorts are considered "high season" in the winter because that's when everyone wants to get away from the cold up north.

Dominican Republic comes in cheap because of the type of developement and resorts that have built up. I'm guessing Punta Cana is where you're seeing the deals?
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Nov 17th, 2008, 07:05 AM
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Vegas is a good alternative in the fact that it's definitely cheaper. But how "warm" do you want to be? In December, the max temps in Vegas are in the high 50s. And pools will not be open.

You might actually get a better deal if you're willing to look at packages versus buying your hotel and air separately.
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Nov 17th, 2008, 03:26 PM
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I would agree that Vegas is a good alternative. I am assuming you mean 5-600 each. There are frequent flight specials but these are often in conjunction with a particular hotel. You can save a bit of money by staying a bit off the strip or in the older area of Vegas instead of the hotels on the strip, though Circus Circus has some pretty good deals sometimes too. There are lots of free or almost free things to experience on the strip like the pirate show. To really experience Vegas though you'll want to spend some money. That is what Vegas is built around, entertainment. Guess it depends what you are into, there is gambling, dance clubs, great restarants and lots of different shows, though many of them involve topless women. Vegas isn't really for relaxing though, so it might not be what you are looking for.
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Nov 20th, 2008, 07:09 AM
  #7
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suze - we are seeing Punta Cana as an option, but a friend told me that she didn't enjoy it that much.

beanweb24 - even with packages, some of them get a little expensive . I was looking at some huge sales for Cancun yesterday, and 3 nights still ran about $600+ per person (and we were aiming more toward 4 nights). We might suck it up and do something like a package to Cancun, but because this isn't so much a vacation as a weekend getaway type thing, we were hoping to stay below the $600 mark. Too much to hope for, I guess.
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Nov 20th, 2008, 11:14 AM
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That's probably why they are selling packages cheap (many people have not enjoyed the resorts at Punta Cana).
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Nov 24th, 2008, 07:19 AM
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There are some great deals on cruises right now. A three day cruise can be found for less than $300 if you can get a decent flight, you're there.
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Nov 28th, 2008, 06:13 PM
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Is a three-day cruise worth it? I'm interested in cruises but have always been told that it's a good "vacation thing" - in other words, the 7-day or more cruises are the way to go and anything below is not worth the experience. I've always listened to this advice (though now that I think about it, this means I won't be taking a cruise until I retire or work at some place long enough to be allowed that much vacation time each year). In short, a 3-day is really a viable option?

And I'd like to thank everyone who tuned in and helped out. Accordingly, after talking to the friends, we've decided that moving the vacation 2 mos later to late April is a better and cheaper option (unless we randomly find a good price on something). It won't be as nice as a getaway to a warm place in the dead of winter, but considering that none of us want to take a good chunk of our vacation days before the year is 1/4 of the way through, we thought April was a cheaper compromise. I'd welcome suggestions for this date, though that does put us off-topic.
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Nov 29th, 2008, 06:17 PM
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I would absolutely consider a 3-day cruise! I've never been on a cruise mostly because I am worried I would get seasick or claustrophobic. Everyone assures me that won't happen, but I'd rather try it out for 3 days than be stuck (if it turns out I'm not happy) for 7 or 10 days.
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