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Summer Travel Tips to the Caribbean Islands – CaribbeanTravelMag.com


From the best last minute deals to the top destinations—this is what 7 travel experts have to say about traveling to the Caribbean Islands this summer.

 

Rick Seaney from farecompare.com

What do you think will be the best summer deals for Caribbean island travel?

“JetBlue and others have added quite a bit of lift to the Caribbean lately. Airfare is not as good as it’s been, but typically the resorts are much cheaper than they were. There are some decent deals in the $450 to $500 range. I even saw some special deals on American to Barbados in the $280 to $300 range for a little while on a new route. You have to be a deal hound right now.”

When is the last minute for travelers looking to take a Caribbean island summer trip?

“One tip to everybody: if you just shopped one day earlier you’d save a ton of money. Last-minute deals tend to be with packaging sites, with a hotel and air together where you don’t know what either one of them costs, where price is opaque. You don’t know who’s discounting, air or resort, but typically both are.”

Where are you going this summer?

“We are looking at Atlantis. It’s a possibility. If you want Atlantis in June, you’re going to have some kids around. I’ve been to the Caribbean dozens of times and enjoy it greatly, the laid-back attitude. I’m definitely a beach goer.”

Gabe Saglie from travelzoo.com

How do you get a good travel deal for a Caribbean island trip in the summer?

“One of the best destinations for last-minute opportunities is the Caribbean islands. This year we’ve seen even in peak season some pretty good deals; that becomes much more prevalent in early summer months. One sticking point this particular summer is going to be the airfare. It’s volatile. Low-cost carriers have been releasing last-minute airfares, releasing on a Tuesday and you have a couple days to take advantage of it. Also look at some of these all-inclusive resort packages that are offering some pretty impressive bargains because of how affordable these resorts are becoming in the summer season. Look at companies specializing in Caribbean vacation packages. When we deconstruct a package, piece it together ourselves, 9 times out of 10 these packages do offer an amazing amount of value.”

Have you seen more Caribbean resorts offering air credits?

“Yes, I think it has become more prevalent than we’ve seen in the past. Airfare credit becomes an extremely effective way to offset the airfare costs. Because on the other side of airfare, resort rates are pretty darn impressive, particularly for June and July, and people can consider a vacation they may not have before.”

Do Caribbean destinations with direct flights still offer better deals?

“Yes, the frequency and convenience of direct flights is something to be said. Odds are better you’ll find an airfare bargain to the Bahamas, Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, where one flight can get you there. Others where it’s more difficult to get to will require more of an investment.”

When is the last minute to book a Caribbean summer trip?

“I’m definitely someone who doesn’t rule out that a couple days before you want to take off, bargains will exist. Odds of a Caribbean resort being available are pretty good. You may want an oceanfront suite but 2 to 3 days out may have to settle with an oceanview room. You have to cast a bit of a wider net with last minute deals. But by being flexible on options, that 11th hour front, not necessarily that one island, one resort, one particular day. A week or two out on the resort front, availability has been quite good.”

Angela Lyda from travel-ticker.com

Which Caribbean island destination do you think will have the best travel deals this June and July?

“We have seen plenty of deals for summer travel in the Dominican Republic, and we don’t expect that to change any time soon. There are several reasons that make the Dominican Republic a deal destination this summer. One being that over the last few years, the Dominican Republic has been on a building boom and a lot of new resorts have opened — both high-end properties and budget-friendly hotels. This means that there are typically plenty of open rooms year-round, especially during the off-season. And with so many rooms available, the resorts are forced to offer compelling deals to get consumers on their beaches. Additionally, the weather from mid-June to July is hotter than other times of year and this often drives tourism down. During the main summer months, temperatures range from the high 80’s to low 90’s. However, if you travel in the beginning of June, you can typically avoid the hottest times of the year, but still get the great summer savings.”

Any specific tips on finding such summer Caribbean island deals for accommodations and airfare?

“Look for package offers that bundle airfare and all-inclusive resorts. When travel partners combine airfare and hotel, they get access to exclusive rates, which allow consumers to get the most benefits for their money. And if you get a package deal that includes an all-inclusive resort, the savings are even better! Typically, these resorts include meals, drinks (including alcohol), entertainment, activities, and kids’ clubs. These properties tend to cost more, but in the end (if you compare paying a la cart for a week of meals, drinks and activities) you can save up to 50% on everything compared to hotels where you’re getting a room only.”

When is the “last minute” for such deals? One week before departure, a few days?

“Last minute varies based on destinations, but for the Caribbean I would say 15-30 days out is last minute. When booking last minute, you’ll need to be a lot more flexible with where and when to travel in order to get the best bang for your buck.”

Tom Trotta from priceline.com

Which Caribbean island destination do you think will have the best travel deals this June and July?

“The Bahamas due to their $300 Air Credit Mexico due to lingering bad press  – Cancun / Riviera Maya in the Caribbean and Cabo on the Pacific Coast. Even the Dominican Republic should have good deals this summer especially in early June and late August.”

Any specific tips on finding such summer Caribbean deals for accommodations and airfare?

“On Priceline we have our “Best Package Rates” in packages which customers pick the hotel but the hotel assigns the room type and category in exchange for lower prices that have to be packaged with Air”. Some hotels only make these available for two travelers while others allow up to 4 adults in one room. Our package searches ask for the number of travelers so if these rates display for a triple or quad search, we’ve already filtered the results for this rule and you can book with confidence that your room will have two double or larger beds. Priceline also has a long term agreement with American Airlines so customers are assured of seeing them in our selection as they have been going up and down on our competitor’s sites and in legal disputes with some of our competitor’s GDS owners. Delta has also pulled their flights off of some mid-sized travel agencies. The majority of vacations purchased on Priceline to the Caribbean are include “Tour Airfares” which must be packaged with hotels and are cheaper than if you bought the Air separate from your hotel. These are not called out on our site but they are the majority of our sales to the Caribbean.”

When is the “last minute” for such deals? One week before departure, one day?

“After Easter some of the best deals are available with long advanced purchase windows. But more are made available inside of two weeks and if availability remains can even be purchased up to the afternoon of the day of arrival (assuming you can make your flight on time)!”

Alexander Basek from IgoUgo.com

Which Caribbean destination do you think will have the best travel deals this June and July?

“This year I would target Caribbean destinations where there is a lot of inventory. The more hotels, the better your chances of finding a deal. There have been a lot of discounts in Puerto Rico during the high season so I’d look for some offers there. JetBlue is adding intra-Caribbean capacity (between San Juan and St. Maarten) and although it doesn’t start until November, it may cause fares to drop in anticipation of their arrival, both in terms of a destination and as a connecting point to other parts of the Caribbean. I’d also look at Nevis, where the Four Seasons has reopened and is considerably less expensive than comparable properties on other islands—they have a three for the price of two offer, for example.”

Any specific tips on finding such summer Caribbean deals for accommodations and airfare?

“Six weeks out is still the best time to start looking for anything that might be a deal on hotels and plane tickets. I’d also look at areas you’re interested in now, to establish a base price that it costs in the high season. Then you can know just how good a deal the June and July offers are.”

When is the “last minute” for such deals? One week before departure, one day?

“Generally speaking, 10 days—because of the 10 day weather forecast—is a great time to do last minute shopping for hotels. Hotels know that’s when a lot of guests wait to make their plans and try to entice those last minute shoppers with good offers.  Airfare, be ready to pull the trigger three weeks out. If possible, click through to see how many seats are available to get a sense of whether the fare may drop because the plane is empty.”

Robert Birge from kayak.com

Which Caribbean island destination do you think will have the best travel deals this June and July?

“KAYAK’s Explore feature would show you which areas in the Caribbean will have the best deals in June and July. Explore lets users enter a starting location, a month they’d like to travel, and any stipulations (such as budget) or activities (such as a beach or golf destination). Users are then presented with all of the locations worldwide that adhere to their preferences. For your purposes, you can zoom in to see more options and prices of flights in the Caribbean region.”

When is the “last minute” for such deals? One week before departure, one day?

“We consider anything within a 2 week departure date of the time we send a deal email alert to be “’last-minute.’”

Bacalaitos or Saltfish Fritters


As far as Caribbean appetizer recipes go, these “Saltfish” fritters are found in some form all over the Caribbean.  here’s my personal recipe on this island classic. People in the Latin Caribbean islands call salted cod “Bacalao.” Codfish salted out of necessity as a preservative. Today salted cod or “salfish” is a Caribbean favorite – you can find saltfish with or without the bone. Soaking is recommended overnight to lessen the salt content. Another option is to boil the pieces of saltfish 2-3 times to remove the salt, you may even add sugar to desalinate the cod.

Ingredients

  • 1/4 lb. Bacalao or Saltfish (Cod fish)
  • 3/4 cup Flour
  • 1/2 tsp. Baking Powder
  • 1/3 tsp. Salt
  • 3/4 cup Water
  • 1 clove of Garlic
  • 1 envelope of Goya Sazón
  • Sprinkle of Pepper
  • Vegetable oil

Directions

  1. Place the pieces of cod into a pot, cover with water and boil until the salt content of the fish is to your content.
  2. Drain, debone (if necessary), wash and shred.
  3. In a bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder.
  4. Make a little well in the center. Pour the water slowly and mix to make a thick like sauce.
  5. Add the pepper and sazón and stir well.
  6. In a mortar, crush the garlic and  add to the mix.
  7. Add the shredded cod and mix well.
  8. In a frying pan, pre-heat lots of vegetable oil.
  9. Fry the bacalaitos (fritters) on high heat by dropping big spoonfuls in hot oil.
  10. Turn as needed.
  11. Fritters are done when they are golden.
  12. Drain in paper towels and let them cool before biting into them.

Travel Deals: Hilton Caribbean



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*Valid for stays from May 27 through September 5, 2011. No cancellations or changes allowed. Seven-day advance purchase required with full prepayment.
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