A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that hurricane season ends Nov. 1. Although peak hurricane activity traditionally occurs from mid-August through October, the season does not end until Nov. 30, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Going Our Way: A cheap but good Caribbean resort can be hard to find
Friday, July 23, 2010; 3:09 PM
Who: Maggie Smith, 21, of Great Falls and three or four girlfriends
Where: All-inclusive Caribbean resort
Why: College senior trip
When: Five days in mid-October
Budget: $500 to $700 per person, "the cheaper the better!!"
This is our last get-together before we head our separate ways our last hurrah!!! :) We really just want to spend time together and have a really nice, relaxing vacation!"
Gulp. Five days in the Caribbean for $500 a person? Here at Going Our Way Central we have a few budget tricks up our sleeve, but even we have to admit that it's darn near impossible to find a decent all-inclusive at that price.
But Maggie Smith of Great Falls and her college pals really need a break before they head out into the worldand we were totally won over by all their emoticons and exclamation points!! Plus, who knows whether they'll even be able to find jobs in this economy? :(
We had to find them a trip they could afford.
After hours of scrolling through discount sites, island guides and all-inclusive outlets, we can report that our initial skepticism was justified: Maggie and her friends cannot do their fall fling for $500 apiece - at least not in the kinds of places their parents would approve of. But we did find a number of acceptable options in the $650-$700 range, including airfare.
To get that price, though, we had to abandon all thoughts of low-key island charm and focus on major tourism destinations that specialize in mega-resorts: Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico's Cancun and Riviera Maya, Jamaica and the Bahamas. And even most of those touristy spots were over our students' budget. In the end, we found the most affordable spots in Mexico.
Here are a few options we found through searches on Apple Vacations (www.applevacations.com), CheapCaribbean.com (www.cheapcaribbean.com ) and Expedia ( www.expedia.com ). Other sites with cheap package deals include Liberty Travel ( www.libertytravel.com ), Travelzoo ( www.travelzoo.com ), Travelocity ( www.travelocity.com ), Hotwire ( www.hotwire.com ) and Orbitz (www.orbitz.com ).