I’m back! Sadly but surely, I’m back. My husband and I just returned from an extremely relaxing vacation in the Dominican Republic. We spent a week on the beach in Punta Cana, and couldn’t be more upset to be back in the daily grind. But that’s the draw isn’t it? Working every day so we can vacation a few times a year. And for us, its a “few” because we haven’t made the plunge into parenthood yet (the more we do these tropical vacays, the harder it is going to be).This was our first trip to the DR and we LOVED it. We will definitely be back (although we say that every time we go to a tropical island). I love the white sand beaches and the crystal clear blue water. I love the hot temperatures and the cold drinks. And mostly I like the bacon in the breakfast buffet.
People ask us all the time how we can afford to take these trips, so I thought I’d share a little of the wealth. This trip cost us $1800 for two. Flights, hotel, and all we could eat and drink. Not to mention, it was a little more for us because apparently flying from San Francisco is just that much more expensive. Trips to the Caribbean seem to be the cheapest out of Florida (obviously), but also out of Chicago. In one of those areas? I’m jealous.
So here are a few of my tips for travel:
1. Check out trip websites like Cheapcaribbean – my personal favorite (and what we used for this trip). They have good deals ALL THE TIME, and are always changing. If you think you find one you like, keep checking back to see if the price lowers. You’ll get a good idea of the lowest price just by checking back. I typically choose to travel All-Inclusive (meaning your airfare, hotel, and all you can eat and drink for one price). You can search for these deals only on this website, making it easier to travel. Keep in mind you will find the cheapest deals from large airports, so if one is within driving distance, better fill up the tank.
2. After you get an estimate of what the All-Inclusive trip will cost, check websites like Expedia or Cheaptickets to see if you can find cheaper airfare. If you can, you can book the hotel separately and save even more money! Just a note: I’ve seen plenty of articles or posts that claim you will save so much money if you buy a flight on this or that day, this far out from your trip, or that close to it. I think it’s all bogus. I’ve purchased flights every day of the week, whenever it’s cheapest. It varies every day.
3. Don’t listen to every review you’ll read, but read A LOT of them. I’ve seen someone give a hotel 1 star simply because they didn’t provide him with a washcloth. Now, for me, this is a no-brainer. You’re in a foreign country and things aren’t always the same. However, if this is an end-all for you, then move on to the next option. You can almost always figure out which reviews are believable and which ones are dramatic. I ALWAYS check Tripadvisor after I find a resort I’m interested in just to see if it’s a good value. For us, this trip was perfect for what we paid.4. Unless this is a must-have for you, don’t ever “add-on.” For example, the two most recent trips we’ve taken have been booked through Cheapcaribbean. Neither time did we upgrade to the Beach View rooms, because it wasn’t a must-have for us. Definitely a plus, but our trip didn’t depend on it. So both times, upon check-in, I asked if they had any beach view rooms available (thinking I’d pay the small upcharge at the desk IF it was relatively inexpensive), and BOTH times we got the beach view room for free. If they have it available, they’ll usually give it to you. IF you’re nice. Always be nice when you’re checking in. It goes a long way.
5. Or 4b if you’re picky. The ONLY thing I ever add-on is a shuttle from the airport to the hotel. But before you do that, check Tripadvisor, or simply type it into Google to see if it’s worth it. For this trip, it cost just as much as getting a taxi would, and with a taxi we didn’t have to wait at the airport for anyone else. We landed in Punta Cana and we were eating lunch at the resort within one hour. Taxi’s are always the most convenient, but not always the cheapest.
6. Get ready for travel! Book your trip and relax. Once you’ve paid for the All-Inclusive, you don’t HAVE to take out your wallet again. We had the trip paid for before we even left, leaving us feeling great about our finances for the month!Any other travel tips you can share?