5 Money-Saving Secrets for Cheap Caribbean Vacations

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Yes, right now. This is the time to take a vacation to the Caribbean on a tight budget. We asked Bob Diener, a 30-year travel guru and the man who co-founded hotels.com and getaroom.com, for the best tricks on how to save money on a Caribbean trip you'll never forget.

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Best Islands for the Money
"Airfare to the Dominican Republic is always among the lowest in the Caribbean," says Diener. "It's a case of supply [plenty of direct flights] and demand [U.S. travelers overlook airports like Puerto Plata in the DR]. The same can be said about the direct flights into Puerto Rico (check JetBlue's prices into San Juan or Aquadilla). Another great deal is Nassau. Believe it or not, folks in the Bahamas want to lure travelers who don't want to pay Atlantis prices or the cost of more distant Caribbean islands."Jon Whittle
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Post-Easter Pricing
"The hotel prices you book today should be as much as 50 percent less than they were three weeks ago," says Diener. "The demand to fly south drops immediately after Spring Break because the weather is improving up north."
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Rent Vehicles Outside of the Airport
Diener recommends not renting anything at the airport if you can avoid it: "Airports charge huge taxes on top of rental fees and you can avoid these extra fees by renting a vehicle in town."
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Shop at Local Markets
"Hotel prices can be unrealistic," says Diener. "Get on that rented moped (or vehicle of choice) and shop where the islanders shop. You’ll save a ton."
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Watch for Flash Sales
"Hundreds of these sales are running on getaroom.com. Book during the flash sale period (typically 12-72 hours) and you can save up to 60 percent on rooms," says Diener.