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May and June may not always be the first months that come to mind when you think ‘beach vacation’, but they should be. Because we’ve got some steep bargains for you.

During the next couple of months, popular international destinations that would normally seem like a splurge suddenly top the list of those with the greatest savings, making them double the paradise for budget travelers. So we’re helping you take the guesswork out of trip-planning with this handy little chart of the Caribbean destinations with the steepest savings:

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Dutch Sint Maarten

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Known as the culinary capital of the Caribbean, Sint Maarten offers tons of dining and nightlife experiences, along with miles of beautiful coast. Take in all the island has to offer by catching a ride on the Lambada Sunset Sail, a 90-minute catamaran cruise along Simpson and Long Bays. Tickets start at $35 for adults and $20 for children.

Sample Fare for May 9-12: Fly from New York to Sint Maarten and stay three nights at the 4-star Raintree’s Simpson Bay Resort & Marina from $490 per person.

Aruba

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Located in the heart of the Caribbean Sea, Aruba is the perfect vacation spot for travelers seeking solace from daily life. Mi Dushi’s Afternoon Snorkeling Cruise takes guests out to sea to dive into the island’s warm waters. This 3-hour exploration lets visitors get up close and personal with the tropical marine life for just $43 for adults and $27 for children.

Sample Fare for May 23-27: Fly from Chicago to Aruba and stay four nights at the 3-star Aruba Tropic Apartments from $752 per person.

St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands

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This unique island stands alone as the most mountainous in the Caribbean. Take a break from the usual beach and water activities and head up to Coral World Ocean Park’s St. Thomas Butterfly Garden to see hundreds of butterflies representing more than 25 species and six different countries. Best of all, an hour admission is a steal at just $12 per adult and $6 for kids.

Sample Fare for June 21-24: Fly from Dallas to St. Thomas and stay three nights at the 3-star Villa Marbella Suites from $645 per person.

Barbados

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With its expansive sandy beaches and bright blue waters, it’s no surprise that beautiful Barbados has one of the highest visitor repeat rates in the Caribbean. For a uniquely Barbadian experience, check out Caribbean Dynamics’ Friday Night Fish Fry in Oistins to sample the local seafood dinner and the works of local artists. Tickets start at $60 for adults and $35 for kids.

Sample Fare for June 1-5: Fly from Los Angeles to Barbados and stay four nights at the 3-star Gemini House from $717 per person.

Turks and Caicos

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Visitors are drawn to Turks and Caicos for its tranquil beaches and crystal waters. With over 65 miles of coral reef to explore, snorkeling is one of Turks and Caicos’ most popular activities. For sun-seekers, the immaculate Grace Bay Beach, considered the most famous and peaceful of all the area’s beaches, offers a quiet respite.

Sample Fare for April 26-29: Fly from San Francisco to Turks and Caicos and stay four nights at the 4-star East Bay Resort from $856 per person.

How to save: Bring on the promo code!

Now through May 15, use promo code ‘OFFSEASON16’ to save $50 on CheapTickets.com’s best package deals. Visit CheapTickets.com/OffSeasonDeals for off-season deals and packages to these destinations!

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Tagged: Beach, Caribbean, Cheap Tips, International, Last minute travel, Limited-time Offers, Off-season, Romance & honeymoon, Seasonal, Vacation packages

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Trips to the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America are pretty cheap this time of year, what with June to November being Atlantic hurricane season. If you can’t resist a great deal, you can still snag a bargain vacation and reduce your odds of getting hurricaned on. Just follow these tips.

Related: Luxury for less: How to get a cheap Mexico vacation

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1) Avoid hurricane hot spots. While there are no guarantees in life, some destinations are more hurricane-prone than others. To avoid islands outside of the so-called hurricane belt, focus on the southern Caribbean and remember your ABCs—ArubaBonaire and Curaçao are generally safer bets for avoiding a direct hit.

2) Book last-minute. Sometimes it pays to procrastinate. If your schedule is flexible, then check the extended weather forecast and book your trip when the coast is clear—literally. The CheapTickets Last-Minute Flight and Travel Deals page can help you find bargains in a hurry.

3) Get the insurance. You’re already saving a bundle by vacationing during the off-season. Do yourself a favor and buy travel insurance. Packages generally cost between 5 and 10 percent of the value of your trip; insurance on, say, a $1,500 trip would cost around$150. Make sure your policy includes “trip cancellation and interruption,” and check to see if your credit card company automatically includes insurance on trips you’ve paid for with the card.

4) Fly smart. If possible, book a direct flight and avoid checking your luggage to avoid needless hassles like missed connections and lost luggage.

5) Be an airport ace. When flights get cancelled, airports turn into an episode of Survivor. Stay one step ahead of your fellow passengers by arriving the your gate early and hanging out near the kiosk so you can hear updates and get your name on the list for food and hotel vouchers, should they be offered. Share your contact info with the gate agent, and keep your cell phone charged so you’ll be accessible to the airline and. Also download the FlightStats app so you can see when seats become available.

6) Document everything. If you find yourself stranded, hold onto your receipts for food, cab rides, hotel rooms and other expenses so you can be reimbursed by your insurance company. Use an app like TinyScan to limit the paperwork.

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Tagged: Caribbean, Cruise, Jamaica, Mexico

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If you’re looking for cheap cruises, CheapTickets is the place. With our Fall Cruise Blowout, you can save up to 75% on select cruises and get special offers, including free upgrades, free onboard spending and more.

Norwegian Cruise Line is offering free upgrades, free onboard savings and exclusive prices on some of its cruises. Its seven-night Mexican Riviera cruise, with stops in Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta and Mazatlan, starts at just $349 for October sailings, with an opportunity for up to $200 in free onboard spending.

Royal Caribbean is giving travelers free $260 onboard spending booklets when they book oceanview rooms or higher on its cruises. To take advantage of the offer, try the seven-night Deep Southern Caribbean cruise, with stops in Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten and St. Thomas. Oceanview rooms start at $599 for select fall sailings.

And CheapTickets and Celebrity Cruises are teaming up to offer travelers the opportunity to be among the first to experience Celebrity’s newest ship. The Celebrity Solstice features a manicured half-acre lawn for bocce ball, croquet and picnics with a view, as well as an adults-only pool/waterfall solarium, art galleries and more.

You can check out the Celebrity Solstice  on a unique two-night weekend cruise from Fort Lauderdale. This exclusive sailing leaves November 21, and rooms start at $349.

Cheap cruises are easy to find with CheapTickets’ Fall Cruise Blowout. But don’t wait. Many offers end September 30.

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: Cruise, FREE!, International

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AalogoWant cheap tickets to Mexico? How about a Caribbean vacation? CheapTickets and American Airlines can help.

American has Mexico and the Caribbean on sale with cheap flights to your favorite tropical destinations. Look at these sample airfares:

  • Chicago to Aruba — $292
  • Denver to Grand Cayman — $401
  • Los Angeles to Puerto Vallarta — $289
  • Washington to St. Maarten — $251
  • Charlotte to Cancun — $360

Fares are good for travel September 2 through December 10, 2008 and don’t include taxes and fees. This airfare sale runs though July 31, so plan your fall vacation now and save.

CheapTickets resources:

Tagged: Flights, FREE!, International, Limited-time Offers