Budget Valentine's Day Getaways

You are probably still reeling from the Christmas holidays and finally getting back into a routine, but now you realize Valentine's Day is right around the corner and you haven't planned a thing. Now what?

Why not treat your sweetheart and yourself to a little romantic getaway. It doesn't have to cost a lot to make a big impact. Right now, there are plenty of airfare and hotel deals out there, so it's a bit impossible not to find the perfect vacation to surprise your significant other with.

To make it a little easier to hone in on a great and affordable getaway, here are five destinations that are big on the budget list, but still score you huge points in the romance department:

Mexico – Say "hola" to white sandy beaches, crystal-clear water and savings galore. All-inclusive resorts are where it's at in Mexico, as they are flooding the market with rock-bottom package deals with even more bonuses to get you packing your bags. If you can't leave the little (or big) ones at home, look for one of the many resorts that offers a kids stay, play and eat free incentive. This way you'll only have to pay for their airfare and any additional sightseeing you do. Besides that, all your dining, drinks, some entertainment and activities are included, so you're all paid-up before you even leave home.

The Caribbean – More all-inclusive resorts are clamoring for your vacation bucks (and even a lot of non-inclusives). Take a trip to the Dominican Republic, Bahamas, Jamaica and more for great prices on packages. If you have a desire to see more than just the beach, look for cruise specials. There are so many for the Caribbean, you surely will find something that will fit your trip style and your budget. Book a cabin from just $200 per person and see how many incentives you can rack up for your last-minute planning. Cruise lines are offering everything from cabin upgrades to airfare credits to get you on board.

Las Vegas – While not traditionally thought of as a romantic getaway, Sin City has a lot to offer couples – even those that don't gamble. With a long list of free activities (visiting the lions at MGM, watching shows like Sirens of TI, fountains of Bellagio and Fall of Atlantis, marveling at Fremont Street Experience and wandering the streets of Paris and New York or the botanical gardens of Bellagio), it's easy to keep within a budget. Save money by doing many of these and then fill in your itinerary with romantic dinners and fun shows that you can get discounts on by using codes provided at Broadway Box.

Orlando – If your significant other is a lover of Disney or theme parks in general, then Orlando is a fantastic getaway. With many airfare sales happening now and hotels offering some low prices on regular rooms and suites for families, you really can't overspend on getting and staying there. Look to AAA or your local credit union for reduced park tickets, then make reservations for meals to save time by not waiting around for a table when you could be on a ride or at a show. Utilize the free hotel shuttles to the parks and save even more.

New Orleans – The French Quarter and surrounding city has so much to offer for the traveler wishing to get away with spending less. Get a cheap city tour by taking the streetcar for just a little over a dollar, see New Orleans from a whole different angle with a free ride on the ferry and back or pick up a Power Pass to save big on tourist attractions and food and pack a lot into whatever time you'll be spending in The Big Easy. Take your valentine on a walk through the city to admire the amazing and eclectic architecture, stop for a coffee and some delicious beignets, and let the good times roll.

You can make any destination romantic with the right planning. Your better half will be thrilled you made so much effort and put such thought into your gift and wonder how you pulled it all together. Even if the vacation was planned last minute, they never have to know. Of course, you may face high expectations next Valentine's Day.


About the Author

Shereen Rayle is author of the blog Shereen Travels Cheap and a book of the same name that will be published in late 2011. For years she has been planning her own vacations using the Internet to extend her limited budget as far as possible and shares the tips and tricks she has learned, along with useful sites like FareCompare.com, to help others get the most out of their travel dollars. And to further inspire budget travelers everywhere, she finds terrific travel bargains and posts them each day on her Facebook page.

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