Budget Caribbean vacation?

Jane_the_RenovatorApril 16, 2008

We're planning a family vacation in early December, and I thought I'd ask the smartest people I know for tips!

4 couples

Any country in the Caribbean, Mexico, or Central America

Sun, beach, history, interesting things to go see, nightclubbing if possible

We're open: big house for all of us, all-inclusive resort, small non-luxury hotel

I keep hearing all these stories about people who saved money booking vacation villas, but, frustratingly, there is no information on how. Any ideas?

Looking forward to hearing from you!

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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

Years ago, I booked a trip via a travel agent and stayed at the link below. It was nice, and the airfare was included. You might check with several Travel Agents, letting them know what you might be interested in, and let them know that you are just starting to 'shop' around for what you want at a reasonably good price.

Have fun...I thought I had posted this earlier, but don't see it now.

Sue

Here is a link that might be useful: Crystal Palace Resort and Casino

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 12:05PM
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jmzms

Wow! Sounds like a great idea. DH and I have been to:

* Montego Bay, Jamaica - was inexpensive, but not exactly a "venture out of your resort" type of trip. Not exactly a safe place. We stayed all-inclusive at Rose Hall Wyndham for 4 days. Great water slides, lazy river, pools, etc. But I couldn't see longer than 4-5 days there.

* Aruba - can be expensive, but we used frequent flier miles for much of it. This was my favorite! Of course, it was for 10 days for our honeymoon. :-) We stayed at the Wyndham with a breakfast/beverage package. Lots of nightlife, great restaurants, things to do. Like going across the US in a few short miles - one side of the island is rocky from the waves bashing it, there's a desert area, and the other side is calm sandy beaches. Very cool. You can go much cheaper by using a timeshare/villa.

* Cancun, Mexico - super cheap and a lot of fun. Airfare might be more for you being further away. Nightlife abounds. Great food. Wal-mart if you forgot your suntan lotion or need to pick up a bottle of liquor (no kidding!). We took a couple of excursions - one to Xcaret (ecological park) and one that included the Mayan ruins, repelling and zipline.

Below is a link that might help you hunt down the elusive villa or a small house. Good luck and have fun!

Here is a link that might be useful: Caribbean vacation finder

    Bookmark   April 17, 2008 at 2:13PM
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raggiemom

What about a cruise? You get transportation to different ports, your room is paid for, free food constantly, free entertainment, bars, lounges, dancing, kid's programs, pool, etc. Plus, they wait on you hand and foot! You just pay for shopping, alcoholic drinks and cokes. Water, tea and lemonade are usually free. You can find some good deals.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 3:05PM
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neesie

My strategy is to shop for airfare first. Pick a few destinations and see if one is clearly less expensive. THEN go to websites like VRBO.COM or REDWEEK.COM or just plain google vacation rentals. Many timeshare owners post time there that they can't use and I've seen some really good rates. (I own a timeshare too and have extended my own trips by renting additonal time for less than motel/hotel rates).

Another alternative place to look is eBay! Just make sure you are looking at a RENTAL and not to buy! I have done that three times and each time had a great experience.

For the destinations that you chose you probably will use public transportation instead of renting a car. There are drawbacks concerning liability when renting a car in Mexico or the Carribean and although some people wing it, I think the public transportation (at least in Cancun) is reliable and cheap. Plus, if you will be drinking alcohol it is best to leave the driving to someone else. Have a great time.

P.S. Check out frommers travel guide books from the library once you choose your destination. Having some idea of the entertainment and sites ahead of time is a great timesaver. I usually photocopy a few pages for 10 cents to bring with instead of carrying a whole book with me on vacation.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2008 at 5:15PM
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Chemocurl zn5b/6a Indiana

I loved the public transportation (buses) in Nassau and Cancun. They were such fun and so reasonable.

In one place (can't remember now) we had to taxi it back to the motel from a restaurant, as the buses were no longer running that late. We were surprised at how reasonable it was, as we were at their mercy, and feared the worst as far as cost.

Sue

    Bookmark   May 9, 2008 at 12:55PM
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texanjana

We have been to St. John & St. Thomas USVI, Belize, Soliman Bay (Mexico), Brazil, and Cozumel (Mexico). I wouldn't say any of those places was inexpensive, although Mexico was the cheapest airfare for us since we live in Texas. I thought food would be cheaper than it was in Mexico and Brazil. My favorite is still St. John. We rented a house each time through VRBO.com, since we are a family of 5 hotel rooms are impractical. Tripadvisor.com is a great source of information.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2008 at 6:58PM
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