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If you live in an area where winter gets real, you know there’s nothing more satisfying than escaping the cold!

Although winter destinations are typically more expensive due to the holidays, avoiding tourist traps and peak season countries are the best way to live it up on a beach and soak in some sun for a few days. Here are a few of my favorite beach getaways for the end of the year that won’t break the bank!

Caribbean Mexico

Riviera Maya

Mexico is perhaps my favorite beach getaway destination. Mainly because the prices from Houston are so cheap around this time of the year! You can also expect to find flights less than $300 roundtrip from several cities like New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago. All-Inclusive resorts are always my go to in Mexico. In places like Riviera Maya, Tulum, and Isla Mujeres (all close to Cancun airport), an all-inclusive stay can help keep you under a $600 budget easily! Imagine traveling on a budget and coming back with money, umm hell yes!

Hawaii

Who cares if the volcanoes are erupting?! Just kidding…a little. Hawaii is truly a sight to see and winter might be one of the best times of the year to do that! Kauai is a beautiful archipelago in Hawaii and is best known for its lush rainforest and dramatic cliffs, just like the movies! Flights from Houston and other cities can be found for $350-$400, which is a pretty good deal compared to their peak season. Don’t worry about the weather either, November and December only get up to 17 days of rain a month…*Did you know that Hawaii’s nickname is the Rainbow state? I’ve experienced that first hand a few years ago visiting Honolulu. It rained so hard my first day, when the rain stopped I saw the brightest rainbow I’ve ever seen! That was also the only day of rain during my trip.

Dominican Republic

Who can deny the DR? The culture, the food, the beach! Punta Cana or Puerto Plato are still reasonably cheap in the winter from certain cities. Although you may pay into the $500s for a flight, this destination makes up for it in resort prices. Here you can find 4 star resorts for as low as $100 a night!

Ready to getaway? Schedule your travel quote here for only $20*. Packages as low as $481 per person, $200 deposit! (*Amount will be applied to travel if you choose to book a vacation package)

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How to get there: Fly United from Houston for under $200 roundtrip

Where to stay: Royal Decameron All-Inclusive Resort

Pros: All-inclusive, cost friendly, beachfront property, spa, extremely friendly staff, adult only area, nightly shows, daily activities

Cons: basic property features (boutique like resort), cannot swim in water, food is subpar

How to Book:

Directly on hotel website here

Book flight deals for end of April and May here

I turned 27 this month and spent it in the one and only place I could imagine bringing in a new year of life…the beach!

Since budget travel is my “thing” I set an amount that I would spend and came up with a birthday experience in Cabo San Lucas! I actually paid the most for my flight which was $375 when I booked but if you’re planning to go in March or April you can snag a flight for less than $200 (this is not a drill…book now here, but hurry back for the rest of the deets). My total trip to Cabo came out to less than $650 including the airport transportation…cheap right?!

I booked my stay at the Royal Decameron All-Inclusive Resort in Los Cabos for $80 a night! Yes you are reading this right. I couldn’t believe the price myself when I found it. I even called the hotel nearly every day to confirm my reservation because I just knew that was a mistake, but it wasn’t. The resort didn’t even hold any crazy high incidental fees on my card!

The place has a hipster vibe with strangely placed nude art pieces on each wall in main lobby. When I arrived I was greeted with a warm smile and a brightly colored, but strong welcome drink! Although I arrived a couple of hours before check in, I was able to have my luggage taken to my room immediately and raced to the beach…

The room was simple but extremely clean and the balcony view overlooked the courtyard where I had front seat views to the nightly shows. There are 2 restaurants on the resort, one is a buffet style spot that served a themed breakfast and dinner daily. The second restaurant is a cute beach front diner that served lunch and dinner. I opted for the beachfront restaurant first and had the chicken fajitas, ceviche, and nachos (why not right it’s free…ball out)! Washed that down with a rum punch and found the cutest papasan on the beach in the sun. After a lovely 2 hour power nap/sun bathing session I headed back to the room to shower and get ready for dinner at the buffet restaurant.

Dinner wasn’t bad at all. The theme this night was international and they were serving up fresh Paella as a choice which immediately took me back to Spain! Speaking of, if you haven’t checked out my recent article feature on the Flight Deal you can here…but hurry back!

After dinner I went back to the room to get situated in my seat on the balcony for the show. It was an interactive contest show that was so fun to watch. They put a group of women against a group of men to see who could score the most points in a music trivia game, beer drinking contest, and a pass the ball with your mouth game (imagine a group of strangers playing this one)!

The next day I woke up early for the birthday massage that I booked the previous day… $50 gets you an awesome massage right on the beach at this resort by the way. After my massage I sat on the beach for a few hours reflecting and expressing my gratitude to God for simply allowing me to grow and God replied to my gratitude with a beautiful bronze tan! All in all, spending my birthday on the Royal Decameron resort was amazing. I tried my two left feet at salsa lessons which I’m happy to say I’ll be looking for a dancing partner back home!

Are you planning to visit Cabo, need help finding a specific date? Visit travelgirlmagic.com/services to start your vacation planning today!

Sending good vibes,

Chels

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  1. Read time: 2.5 minutes
  • Destination: Madrid, Malaga, Marbella, Mijas, and Torremolinos, Spain
  • Budget: $1500 per person
  • Actual Amount Spent: $978 per person

A good friend of mines from London wanted to take a trip somewhere in Europe before moving to America in December, so in August I planned for us to take a trip to Spain. I found a super cheap last minute flight that I just couldn’t pass up, $450 round trip to be exact! Flexible trips are the best to plan in my opinion because you get the best deal and there’s an element of surprise not knowing where you’ll end up after your search. Although it took me 3 flights (I flew American domestically and Iberia Airlines internationally), and a long layover to get there it was well worth it! My outbound journey was IAH >MIA>MAD>AUD, but returning was much easier and more fun! My friend snagged us last minute tickets in first class on a high speed train, a first for both of us! So we took the train from Malaga after 4 days to spend our last day in Madrid, making my inbound journey MAD>MIA>IAH…much better!

I set off for Spain on a Sunday and arrived that Monday. My friend’s flight was booked perfectly and we met at the airport in Malaga, Spain at the same time!

We stayed in the semi all-inclusive beach front hotel Sol House 4 days for $180 per person, in a small town called Torremolinos. I really made that up but when I say semi all-inclusive it just means the hotel included free breakfast and dinner, no lunch or free alcohol. It worked out great because we were always out on the town for lunch and the alcohol was always cheap (like $3 for a glass of wine cheap)! I must say for all my American readers, a lot of hotels in Europe regardless of the country serves British cuisine. I’ll just say this, their breakfast staple is beans, eggs, and sausage (you have been warned). However, the best part about this hotel you ask…Coronado beach! One of the best beaches in Spain was our backyard for the next 5 days! *Bonus: So I met one of my cousins for the first time in Spain! It was amazing and not a coincidence that we happened to be in the same country at the same time. I learned so much from her and really got further confirmation during this trip that I am literally walking in my purpose.

During our time in Torremolinos we were able to visit the beautiful cities of Malaga, Mijas, and Marbella. Each city was a scenic $3 bus ride away!

In Malaga we ate Asian fusion and drunk tea at the foot of a beautiful cathedral, and caught a breathtaking traditional Flamenco show. I have to say this form of dance is one of my favorites, it’s so full of passion!

Mijas was a quaint little white town off the coast of Spain, we took a €10 horseback ride around the town and walked down a few of the streets to get these beautiful pics!

Marbella was another cute white town in the mountains. There was an old castle there that the locals have seemed to build through to adjust to modern times.

On our last day in Madrid we caught a great deal walking down through Torremolinos Marina. There were many companies offering boat rides (all for pretty cheap), but this particular one in the middle of the marina caught our attention with the cutest little catamaran. So for €10 a piece my friend and I got to take a beautiful ride around the sea!

We spent our last evening at the hotel pool and finished off a bottle of Baileys before packing to hit the road again. The next morning we were off on our first class adventure to the Malaga High Speed Train Station!

This was my first, first class seat on anything! I could definitely get used to the service you get in first class. I also prefer the train over the plane now for many reasons, but most of all because of the extra space (I’m a little leggy).

 

We made it to Madrid just in time to catch the sunset! We toured pretty much the entire central parts of Madrid on the rail system (€8 for 10 trips). We took a cab twice, once to get to the shisha aka hookah spot (where we got free shisha with the purchase of 2 cheap drinks like under €10)…that number seems to be a trend but that’s pretty much how our spending went! 

All in all Spain was an amazing trip. I got to relax on one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve seen thus far, met my new favorite cousin, toured the cutest white towns that would make you want to stay, had some great wine (every night), saw a traditional flamenco show that stole my heart, took my first high speed train ride in first class, and did it all with a friend! Couldn’t have asked for a better trip.

Signing off and sending good vibes,

Chels

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Start the new year with a Caribbean getaway! You can get this deal now through United Airlines, but trust me it won’t last long.

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Happy Travels ✈️

Chels

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Cancun, Mexico is truly a gem! Pair that with an all-inclusive 4-star resort for less than $800 and you have the recipe for an unforgettable vacation!

Let’s Get Into It!

I visited Cancun October 22-25th for a girl’s trip celebrating my friend’s 30th birthday. We booked our flights and hotel 2 weeks out and paid only $175 for the flight and $541 total for the hotel per person bringing us to $716! Keep reading to catch these deets!

When To Go

We visited Cancun during October, which is considered off season, but price-wise it was perfect timing! For two days of the trip there was light rain, which only lasted a couple of hours each time so it didn’t ruin the day. Even through the rain we sat and ate outdoors, it was still beautiful!

What To Eat

Staying at an all-inclusive resort is heaven for a foodie (like myself  *cough cough). The Hyatt Ziva Cancun has 17 (yes 17) Restaurants and Bars, including Japanese, Italian, and French. Moongate, the Japanese hibachi restaurant, was by far my favorite! They also have an all you can stomach candy store where they made cotton candy and ice cream in front of you, a coffee bistro, and 24 hour room service! Not to mention beachside food and drink service. A-MA-ZING!

How To Get There

Although the resort had private transportation service that could be arranged directly (for more than a small fee), we opted for a much cheaper alternative. We used Canada Transfers for our roundtrip private transportation, which only cost $30 roundtrip per person and came with a private SUV and a bottle of champagne! I strongly recommend this company mainly because they were so willing to accommodate our last minute requests.

How To Book:

Flights to Cancun (CUN) from Houston (IAH) are now $160!
*Travel is valid on select days in January through April*
The best way to book the resort would be on Expedia to get the extra protection in case of emergencies!
*The resort is much cheaper during off season*
Book Here

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