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Great Escapes: How to get tropical without breaking the bank

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For trips that are more than just a car ride away, how, when and through whom you book are all essentials to finding a great deal. If you are considering splurging and getting way out of town this spring or summer to somewhere filled with sunshine and endless margaritas, the first trick is to begin looking now. The farther out you book, the better.

If you are going with a package deal, some websites can provide refunds if the price of your trip drops before you make it to paradise. is one such site. According to their "How It Works" section, if the price of the room you have booked drops at any point, your money will automatically be refunded. Additionally, if a room upgrade becomes available for less that what you originally paid, you will also be alerted.

Orbitz also offers a price assurance feature which states that if after booking any portion of your trip, from flight to rental car, you are able to find it cheaper somewhere else, you will receive the difference however, it will be in Orbucks, rather than real money. The perk to this site is that you also get $50 additional in Orbucks if you do find a cheaper option elsewhere.

Even if you are diligent in booking your trip, I have found that the easiest way to find yourself overspending on a budget is once you have arrived at your location. You've done a lot of work to get there, you've earned your vacation and you splurge a little bit, and then a lot-o-bit, and then you come home and have a very unhappy what-have-I-done moment.

One of the best ways to avoid that stomach-churning realization that you are suddenly quite broke, is to book all-inclusive. You are less likely to over-spend and it makes for less stress once you have touched down at the tropical location of your choice.

Last year, myself, my boyfriend and two of my friends went to the Dominican Republic, stayed at an all-inclusive beach-side resort which overall, we were happy with, and did it for roughly $800 per person. We booked through Cheap Caribbean and had a good, but not great, experience with the booking. There were some issues with the payment which brings us to one of the most important points when booking a vacation: Check and double check the details.

Make sure that you have confirmation on everything, and have it in writing. If you are unsure as to whether something is set in stone, check, call, send an email and call again. One of the worst scenarios a budget traveler can come across is finding out last minute that something is not in place. Correcting those issues can lead to last minute, very expensive bookings.

So when booking a large-scale getaway on a budget remember to book early, book all-inclusive and follow up on every booking to help guarantee a smooth and affordable trip.


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