holiday

6 ways to survive traveling during the holidays

Holiday Beach Travel Deals - CheapCaribbean.com

So you've decided to spend part of the holiday season on a Caribbean beach somewhere? Smart choice. Opting for sunshine and blue waters to combat the hustle & bustle that is this season is a great idea. But the journey to paradise can often times be a bit daunting, especially during the holidays. Let's talk about all the ways you can conquer the holiday travel beast, so you're nothing but prepared.

Pack light:

It may seem obvious to offer you a friendly reminder about to not bring everything in your wardrobe, but this is an easy tip if you're looking to cut travel times and arrive beach front ASAP. If you can manage to get everything you need into a carry on bag and bring it with you on the plane, you not only don't have to spend the extra time checking your bag pre-departure and waiting for your bag once you arrive, but you'll often times save money on the fee to check bags. Oh, but be sure to check the carry-on restrictions of the airline you'll be flying with. There are often times size and weight restrictions to be aware of. Plus, if you're heading to the beach the only real requirements should be a few bathing suits and a good pair of flip flops, of course!

Leave early:

The week of Thanksgiving kicks off a month of crowded airports and high-traffic travel, so be prepared. Whether you're a professional jetsetter and you travel all the time, or this is your first time to experience pure and utter beach bliss, always give yourself more time than you need during this season. There will most definitely be lines, delays, and possibly even cancellations. While CheapCaribbean.com promises to do everything we can to support you before & during your travel itinerary, it's always a smart idea to give yourself some extra time when arriving at the airport just in case.

Travel on off-peak days:

There's a definite science to how to you plan your vacations and days off during the travel season, and of course sometimes your schedule can be very tight. But a great way to stay on budget and perhaps snag an even better deal than you would normally get, is to travel on off-peak days. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year. So if you can plan to leave for your vacation on Thanksgiving Day or any other actual holiday, you'll most definitely save a few bucks AND avoid some of the crowds. Sounds like a plan, if you ask us!

Leave early or late in the day:

Another way to avoid crowds and long lines is to travel during off-peak hours. Look for the flight that leaves super early in the AM or is the last flight out for the day. Peak holiday travel times tend to be 10am to 6pm, so if you can manage to snag a flight before or after, you may be in better shape traffic-wise & perhaps budget-wise. Although this isn't a sure guarantee, it's something to consider when making your travel plans.

Use your resources:

A great way to stay ahead and be prepared for it all this holiday travel season is to stay informed. Utilize the resources and technology out there to keep you up-to-date on flight delays, gate changes, transportation options, etc., etc. A great resource is to look for an app from your airline on your smart phone. You can often times set up manual alerts, but you'll also get alerts as they happen. Also, apps such as Gate Guru or Flight Status are great for getting instant updates while you're at the airport.

Since you'll be in another country, apps like Free Wi-Fi Finder are a good option in that they can direct you to the closest hotspot to combat some of the data/roaming charges cellular companies often times like to hit you with when traveling internationally. You'll also want to check the Wi-Fi options at your resorts. Plenty of our preferred partners and resorts will offer free Wi-Fi or internet connectivity, once you arrive.

Relax & have fun:

And although you may not consider this a tip - we do, because, well, it's something to keep in mind. HAVE FUN! Don't let the craziness that is the holiday travel season turn you away from a good time. Know that the journey to get to the beach is just a small part of your ultimate holiday beach vacation. And there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You WILL make it through that like at airport security and you WILL make it through the three-hour flight. And once you do? It's all smooth sailing from there. Sunny skies, crystal clear waters, and ice cold frozen concoctions are calling your name.

So what are you waiting for? Have you booked your holiday beach vacation yet?

Brittany Innes is the try-anything-once spontaneous type with a knack for exploring new places and embracing her inner food-lover. She's also a big fan of college football and instagramming everything she eats, as she eats it (she's that girl).

The Beach-Themed Halloween Costumes We’ll Be Wearing

It’s the final countdown (cue Europe’s “Final Countdown” song)! To Halloween, of course. And if you’re anything like us, you’ve been racking your brain for the funniest, scariest, prettiest, or best costume around. And if you ask us, the best costumes this year come straight to you from the beach. So here are a few of our favorite beach-inspired Halloween costumes.

Your Little Mermaid

Beach Halloween Costume - Mermaid - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo Credit by Etsy.com

If the aspirations of your daughter’s Halloween adventures involve looking incredibly adorable and like an angel of the sea, then how can you not opt for this custom-made mermaid costume? The outfit comes with all you need, but pictures you’ll use to blackmail her with as she gets older or show at her wedding are NOT included. Make sure to snap those yourself!

DIY Scuba Diver

Photo Credit by Parenting.com

Maybe this is the costume for the kiddo that loves to explore (read: get into everything). If this is case, why not give them a costume that represents that? This DIY Scuba Diver costume from parenting.com is a creative take on a simple idea, and we’re big fans. Using household items, you’ll transfer your little guy or gal into a sea explorer who vows to see the entire ocean floor. And who knows, maybe it’s a glimpse into their future just in case they pick up the real hobby of diving when they get older (much, much older).

Chiquita Banana

Beach Themed Halloween Costumes - Chiquita Banana - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo Credit by Pinterest

Okay…whether you’re looking for the perfect group costume or simply want to stand out on your own, this Chiquita Banana costume is near-genius (not to mention easy). Whip out that sunny, tropical tunic you have (you know, that one you wore on summer vacay this year) a hand full of bananas, a headband to secure it all too and voilà – the most vibrant costume of the pack. Oh, and don’t forget to rock pretty much every bangle you own and the most obnoxious earrings in your jewelry box to truly complete your look.

Day of the Dead

Photo Credit by CeciStyle Magazine

Photo Credit by CeciStyle Magazine

For something that pays tribute to the heritage and culture of Mexico, one of our most popular beach vacation destinations, consider a Dia de los Muertos (or Day of the Dead) costume. The true meaning behind the face paint and mask comes from paying tribute to those that have passed on October 31st and November 1st (All Saints Day), and is a way to celebrate the lives of loved ones who are no longer present.

Dia De Los Muertos Make Up Tutorial - Halloween - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo Credit by CeciStyle Magazine

We can’t deny that the masks are beautiful and also relatively easy to do on your own. This makes for a great last minute DIY costume, while still participating in a sacred Mexican tradition. We love this make up tutorial from CesiStyle Magazine and can’t wait to give it a shot ourselves.

Parrot Head/Beach Bum

Quite possibly the easiest costume on this list, show up to your Halloween party as a resident beach bum. It’s the perfect way to grab a few laughs and still be comfortable. Take that tropical printed shirt you have in the closet and pair it with a lei or seashell necklace, and you’re on your way to looking like you belong with your toes in the sand. Take it one stop further with a (fake) sunburn using some red make up. Make sure to leave space around your eyes where your sunglasses would have been. We also encourage you to drink margaritas all night and constantly request “Cheeseburger in Paradise” when someone asks for music recommendations.

Halloween Costume Ideas  - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo Credit by Costume Pop

Ah, and here’s another spin on this costume. Go for the typical tourist look by adding some sunscreen to your nose, a large and obnoxious camera around your neck, and any other accessories that really sell you’re following a strict itinerary and only have a few minutes before heading off to the next excursion.

So when you end up being the most creatively dressed this year, we only ask a few things. 1) a huge SHOUT OUT if you win any sort of prize or title in a costume contest (find us on twitter & Instagram at @cheapcaribbean). 2) Because you’ll be in such a state of wanderlust, take a look at all the spectacular beach deals that await at CheapCaribbean.com. Oh, and we’ll all either of these to happen if you don’t win that costume contest. Already have your costume planned out? Let us know what you’re dressing up as in the comments below.

Brittany Innes is the try-anything-once spontaneous type with a knack for exploring new places and embracing her inner food-lover. She's also a big fan of college football and instagramming everything she eats, as she eats it (she's that girl).

CheapCaribbean.com Wishes You Happy Holidays!

As we all finish up last minute shopping and prepare for some good old-fashioned quality time with our loved ones, it’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Here at CheapCaribbean.com, we can all be guilty of getting wrapped up in the day-to-day, but this week we want to take a moment to reflect on the past year and wish our devoted fans & followers a very merry holiday season.

CheapCaribbean.com Wishes You Happy Holidays

2013 has brought plenty of challenges and it’s fair share of success. And as we recently celebrated 13 wonderful years, we want to thank each and every one of you who’ve helped to make this year the best yet. We can only hope that 2014 will bring continued success. We hope to grow our technology and capabilities so that we can continue to strive to be the beach experts and bring the best in Caribbean & Mexico travel to our customers.

We hope that you’ll spend the next few days with the ones you love reflecting on your past year, as well as have the best holiday ever. And after the presents are unwrapped and the hype of the holiday wears off, we hope that you’ll continue to come to us with all of your beach vacation needs. From your friends at CheapCaribbean.com, we wish you a happy holiday and Happy New Year. Cheers to many more!

Best Holiday & New Years Eve Beach Celebrations

There’s no denying that the last few days of 2013 are going to be full of parties, celebrations & quality time with the people you love. If you’re one of the lucky ones who are getting to celebrate your favorite holiday at the beach, you’ll need to know what fun parties & celebrations are happening and how to participate. Here’s what’s happening for the holidays in the Caribbean & Mexico. 

Party Bahamian Style at Junkanoo

For those of you planning to live the island life in the Bahamas this season, you’re in luck. The Bahamas celebrate Junkanoo on December 26th and it’s one of the biggest cultural celebrations these islands see all year long. It just wouldn’t be Christmas at the beach without an iconic Junkanoo celebration.

Junkanoo Holiday Celebration - Bahamas - CheapCaribbean.com

Photo credit: Cathy K.

If you’re in the neighborhood, you’ll want to venture to Bay Street in Nassau during the early morning hours of the day after Christmas (which is known as Boxing Day in the U.S.) and prepare yourself for an experience you’ll never forget. All night long there’s a Junkanoo parade that moves through the streets of downtown Nassau and features traditional Junkanoo dance troupes with bright, colorful costumes, music, crowds and plenty of celebratory fun. After you’ve danced with your fellow Bahamians all night long, there’s a Junkanoo procession where judges award cash prizes for the best music, best costume and best overall group presentation. As you can see, this is one event you want to make sure you don’t miss out on.

New Years Celebrations at the Beach

The Caribbean & Mexico is known for plenty of sizzling nightlife. And this doesn’t exclude New Years Eve. You can guarantee that hot spots like Punta Cana & San Juan will be crawling with exclusive New Years Eve parties that everyone will be dying to get into. Here are a few of our favorite parties you might want to take advantage of:

  • Illusions, New Years Eve Celebration: Perhaps one of the most anticipated NYE events in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino hosts a New Years celebration called “Illusions,” and it’s sure to promise a good time. The event features all-inclusive bars with premium spirits, 4 main areas with different ambiances and the best line up on entertainment. This year there’s a long list of world-renowned DJs, including DJ Garcia, DVJ King Arthur and DJ Roger M. Get your tickets here.

Puerto Rico New Years Party - Sheraton Puerto Rico - CheapCaribbean.com

  • Bubbles NYE 2014, Club Brava: Located inside El San Juan Resort & Casino, this hot spot is known for throwing some of the most iconic parties. And with an occasion like NYE, nothing will be spared. Enjoy a chic atmosphere with a guest DJ spinning jams with the party lasting well into the 1st day of 2014. Get tickets & information here.
  • La Concha, A Renaissance Resort: This NYE event is perfect for the group that’s looking to kick back and relax as they take in the last few hours of 2013. You can expect hopping music, a fun light show fully equipped with fireworks and a group of your fellow hotel patrons looking to cheers to an exciting year ahead. And while the tunes may be playing into the wee hours of the morning, you can expect that when you wake up on January 1st the hotel will be put back together and ready for you to take on another day in paradise.

  • David Guetta and Calvin Harris Concert: If you’re spending any of the holidays in Punta Cana, you’ll want to make sure you’ve got the concert of a lifetime on your calendar. DJs David Guetta and Calvin Harris will take the stage and perform beachside at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Punta Cana on December 30.
  • Steve Aoki, featured at The City, Cancun: It’s no surprise Cancun is known to have some of the hottest nightclubs in Mexico and come New Years Eve the parties just won’t stop. Hot spot, The City in Cancun’s downtown area will feature world-renowned DJ/Producer, Steve Aoki on December 31st. He’s known to throw some amazing parties with plenty of champagne and tons of cake. You’ll definitely want to attend.

So as you can see the Caribbean & Mexico are going to be lively over the next few weeks. For those of you that are booked and ready to go, share where you’ll be staying in the comments below. And for those that are dying to be beachside at one of these events, make sure to shop our last minute deals. Happy Holidays! 

 

CheapCaribbean.com’s Holiday Guide to Giving the Perfect Gift

Holiday shopping season is officially on! If you’re anything like us, you’ve been racking your brain to find the right present to wow your favorite people. Finding the perfect gift is part of the fun, but who are we kidding - we want our gift to be the best! And maybe this year some very lucky people on your shopping list will get the gift of a lifetime! Because nothing’s better than a surprise vacation, right?

The gift of travel is more than just a trip. It’s an unforgettable experience that will have the recipient giddy with excitement, even after the vacay is over. So whether you’re taking part in the trip or gifting to some special and deserving people, we’ve got the ideas to guide you along the way.

For the Hopeless Romantic:

For someone that’s always on the go, unwrapping a quiet getaway is a gift they’ll cherish. A secluded spot on the beach, a frothy drink and an ocean view seriously make for the perfect romantic getaway. One of our favorite resorts is Couples Isle Tower in Jamaica.

Romantic Vacation Package: Couples Tower Isle from CheapCaribbean.com

The couples only all-inclusive resort has major glamour appeal complete with a vintage diving board and an old Hollywood feel. But best of all, it has:

  • its own private island that you can only reach by boat.

  • an incredible spa that’s been voted the best in the Caribbean several years in a row.

  • a quiet beach, perfect for relaxation and privacy.

For the Perfect Family Getaway:

And, if you plan to surprise the whole family with a tropical trip, you’ll want to settle down in the sand somewhere at a resort that offers supervised activities for the little ones, family events for the whole group and of course, child care so you can take the night off, a treat you and your sweetheart deserve. Maybe somewhere like Dreams Punta Cana will suit your fancy.

Best Family Gift: Dreams Punta Cana - CheapCaribbean.com

The all-inclusive resort in the Dominican Republic offers Unlimited Luxury® from its front door. It’s also got:

  • an Explorer’s Club with a pirate ship waterslide and even a weekly campout adventure!

  • a Core Zone for teens with video games, batting cages, archery and bonfires on the beach.

  • 10 bars, gourmet restaurants, cocktail-making lessons and a world-class spa.

The Perfect Gift for all the Thrill-Seekers:

For adventure seekers, a gift that connects nature, some enchanting scenery and the promise of a thrill will do the trick. What’s better than pairing a gorgeous backdrop with fun-filled days planned ahead? One cozy place to consider is El Establo.

Best Gift for a Thrill-Seeker: El Establo Costa Rica - CheapCaribbean.com

The mountain hotel is hillside in a quaint area called Monteverde in Costa Rica. It’s got the best features, including:

  • its own private, tree-top canopy tour and mountain biking trail.

  • a great location close to the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve and Arenal Volcano.

  • gorgeous mountain-top views from cottage-like guest rooms.

Calling all Party Animals:

But if you’re looking for a party, the place to be is ME Cancun. Can you imagine finding out that your friends have booked the group for a beachfront New Year’s Eve party in Cancun? Check out that pool!

Best Party Gift: ME Cancun - CheapCaribbean.com

The swanky Me Cancun by Melia is hip, trendy and always lively with:

  • special guest DJs, live performances and bottle service at The Beach Club and Rose Bar.

  • the perfect location on white sand and a South Beach vibe in the heart of Cancun.

  • adults-only pools, a 24/7 fitness center and guest rooms so impressive they even blew MTV’s cast of The Real World Cancun away.

So as you can see, the options are pretty much endless when you're shopping for the perfect gift for anyone on your holiday shopping list. If you're looking for even more options, be sure to check out our full gift guide here. And be sure to tell us what you're buying for the loved ones in your life in the comments section below!