Dream Vacations

I want to get away…for cheap

Atlantis Deal from expedia.com

Now that winter’s about half way over, I’m beginning to think about warm places I would love to go to get away from it all.  Classes have started, the homework is piling up, and the stress of interning three days a week (for free) plus finding some time to work for actual money is making my life crazy. Also graduation is less than 4 months away.  Meaning I’m less than 4 months from being a broke, most likely career-less, graduate.  Basically, I just wish I could get away.  Take a relaxing trip. Somewhere. Anywhere.

So, of course, instead of editing my resume, searching for jobs, or writing that paper, I’ll sit online and stare at expedia.com , checking the prices for different hotels in different locations.  Like always, I’m drawn to the same old places.  The Caribbean, Florida, etc.  Nothing too exciting.

I’m looking for some place on the beach, with multiple pools, decent rooms, and good food. And then I find it.  I click on “Vacation Packages” and this ad for Atlantis ( a HUGE resort in the Bahamas) appears.  “4th night free?! $400 off airfare?!” I think to myself.  Immediately, my brain starts processing this information.  Well, I can’t go during school. I mean I have senioritis and all, but I don’t think anyone would come with me.  And I care enough about my grades to not skip class.  Spring break is already booked. That leaves after graduation.

Fortunately, the deal has “special reduced rates” through June 23rd. I begin looking at prices.  Since we’d fly out of Boston we would just have to use a coupon code “BAH300” to receive $300 off.  Not too bad.  That deal is good for anywhere in the Bahamas, I believe, as long as you book through Expedia by March 3rd and Travel by June 23rd, 2010.  The total price came out around $850 per person for five nights and under $700 per person for 4 nights when you include the coupon staying in the Beach Tower.

Atlantis Summer 2006: Me and Greg

That’s pretty good, considering Atlantis is still by far my favorite hotel I’ve ever stayed at.  I love the pools, the lazy river, the beach, the restaurants, and just the whole resort in general.  It’s been 3.5 years since I’ve been there, and I’d love to go again.  Especially since they’ve expanded so much in the past couple of years.  And, they’ve done a great job with branding because now whenever I think of relaxing, beach vacation I think about Atlantis.

So I really want to take a trip after graduation.  Now I have the motivation to start saving money.  And I just have to decide between Atlantis, which is more expensive, and Las Vegas, which is much cheaper.  Also, I’ve been to Atlantis before, and I’ve never been to Vegas. Or, there’s always a cruise.  Decisions. Decisions.  Anyone have any opinions?

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To Cruise or To Cancun (again)? That is the question.

from expedia.com

from expedia.com

So, it’s only July, but I’m already thinking about where I’m going to go during this winter break. Not that I have anywhere near enough money to pay for an elaborate vacation. My friends that I went to Cancun with last year really want to go back because it was so much fun. And I agree, it was a good time; I loved the beach, clubs, and laid-back party atmosphere, but why not try something different?

I think a cruise would be the perfect solution.  I’ve never been on one; they’re pretty inexpensive; you get to see multiple islands; and food is included. Can’t get too much better than that.  Plus most cruises leave out of some place in Florida, and domestic flights are way cheaper than international ones. Even if you’re only flying to some place like Cancun or the Bahamas.

The hard part about finding a cruise, though, is that the cruise chooses your travel days for you, unlike staying in a hotel where you get to choose the days.  If I had it my way, any money wasn’t a problem, I would somehow be able to squeeze in a cruise, a trip to Cancun, and time at home for Christmas during my three-week-long winter break, but I don’t think that’s possible.

Over the past couple of day’s I’ve been looking at different cruises on expedia.com, trying to find the best deal on the best travel days.  The last day of finals is December 21st, so going on any trip before Christmas won’t work, and spending Christmas away from home is out of the question, so I’m left with the first week and a half of January.

I begin my search looking at the least expensive cruises, and work my way up. Of course, the cheapest cruises are 3 or 4 night Bahamas cruises (the cheapest of all being a $189 3-night Carnival cruise to the Bahamas), but if I’m going to spend the money, I might as well go all out.

I spot some 4 night Western Caribbean cruises, that stop in Key West and Cozumel for only slightly over $200, but I keep scrolling.  I’ve already been to Mexico; I need something new.

These are the best ones I found were:

7 night Carnival Western Caribbean out of Miami that stops in Cozumel, Jamaica, and the Cayman Islands for $379

7 night Carnival Bahamas out of Miami that stops in the Bahamas, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and the Turks & Caicos for $539.  This one might be a good compromise.  Not too expensive and stops in some nice ports.

7 night Carnival Caribbean out of San Juan that goes EVERYWHERE (St. Thomas, Dominica, Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Kitts)  for the small price of $579. I’ve never been to any of those islands, and they seem more exclusive than just the Bahamas or Mexico.  Unfortunately a flight to Puerto Rico is probably $100 more than a flight to Florida. This cruise still would be one of my favorite options because it stops at so many islands.

7 night Noregian Eastern Caribbean out of Miami that stops in the Dominican Republic, St. Thomas, the British Virigin Islands, and the Bahamas for $629.

7 night Holland America Southern Caribbean out of Fort Lauderdale that stops in the Bahamas, Aruba, and the Netheraland Antilles for $599

7 night Holland America Eastern Caribbean out of Fourt Lauderdale that stops in the Turks and Caicos, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, and the Bahamas for $599.

Or…$750 for 7 nights in Cancun, staying at Oasis Cancun, the all-inclusive party resort I stayed in last January.  Add in the flight and the price of the trip reaches about $1000, and that doesn’t even include spending money.  The more expensive cruises also end up being around $1000 when a flight is added in, so either way I’m going to be spending a lot of money.  The question is whether I want to spend my money going to the same beautiful, fun destination that I went to last year, or if I want to visit a bunch of new, beautiful, fun locations.   I’m not sure as of right now, but I’ll probably end up going on the cruise.  Hopefully I don’t get seasick.

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