Just as there are tricks of the trade, there are tips and tricks for saving money on frugal but fabulous vacations. With cold weather upon us, a Caribbean vacation sounds mighty fine to some. For those who have lived almost their entire lives in those snowy spots, I am sure you can appreciate the ‘snowbirds’ who fly down to the tropics for the winter and come back in spring. As vacations go, if you can plan in advance and remain flexible, you can enjoy a fabulous vacation on a frugal budget.

Try a cruise on for size

Caribbean cruises are some of the finest cruises I’ve ever thoroughly enjoyed. The people are friendly, the weather is usually perfect, and the fun and food are endless. Price deals on these cruises are usually ridiculously rock bottom if you plan to travel alone and/or don’t mind rooming with others; or if by planning ahead, you book extremely early.

For as little as $70.00 to $100 a day, you can enjoy the Caribbean this winter. Good deals on cruises can be found from the Carnival Cruise Line; stepping up in price from there are the Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and a further step up would be Celebrity Cruise Lines. All the cruise lines offer extremely low prices on advance booking and four person cabins.

Keep your eye on the skies

…or at least on the prices of the airlines that fly them. Price wars aren’t as popular as they used to be, but keeping an eye out for advertised specials is always the smart way to get the best deal. South West Airlines is probably one of the only airlines that don’t charge for baggage and their fares are reasonably competitive as well. Once again, booking in advance is recommended not only for availability but for better fares as well.

And if air fares go down, there is every reason to assume that all inclusive packages will go down in price as well. The Caribbean market including Nassau and the Bahamas is relatively competitive and frequently lower prices can be found to the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico as well. Knowing that the winter months are why people love to go to the Caribbean, most airways try to offer deals and winter on flights to and from Florida and the Caribbean. Currently online are roundtrip flights from Miami to the Caribbean and back as low as $115.

All-inclusive includes it all

Well it’s within reason. But an all inclusive package is frequently the frugal way to go. The Caribbean is host to package vacationers galore; in fact around 70% of the visitors are there as part of a package vacation deal. CheapCaribbean.com; Expedia.com; Allinclusiveoutlet.com; Cheaptickets.com; Hotwire.com; Momentsnotice.com and endless others are offering crazy rates on all inclusive packages every day.

Don’t book beyond your means

You will be hard pressed to find an island in the Caribbean that goes for frugal rates so don’t go all crazy and book something that the rich and famous would consider their playground. They’re not all priced equally so don’t assume so; be sure to check around. The frugal traveler frequently takes in the sights and sounds of the Dominican Republic to save money yet still have a luxurious stay.

Keep an eye on the American dollar value because at present, your American dollar should still spend well in Santa Domingo, Puerto Plata or Punta Cana. St. Maarten and the Bahamas are also fabulously frugal winter vacation getaways. Actual accommodation types vary in price and luxury. Smaller guesthouses and inns offer better prices than do the villas and deluxe resorts. And though all inclusive is usually the way to go, if you don’t plan on spending most of your time at the resort drinking and eating a lot, you may wish to venture out on your own and explore by booking less inclusively.

December is by far the busiest time for the Caribbean Craze. College’s spring break (of course) in March and the week of President’s Day are right behind. The nicest price and climate together will land you sometime in January. If possible, plan your winter wonderland stay in the Caribbean for the very first month of the New Year. Have a very frugal and fabulous time in the sun and have fun!