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Affordable luxuries for tropical getaways

There are two ways to beat the cold this winter--turn the thermostat up or get away on a tropical holiday. We prefer the latter.
/ Source: Forbes

There are two ways to beat the cold this winter--turn the thermostat up or get away on a tropical holiday.

We prefer the latter.

Not only does it help us save a few bucks on the gas bill, but we can put that money toward equipping ourselves for the beach. The best part is that you can do so in style for relatively little--and given the cost of most beach resorts during the high season, every little bit helps.

So, welcome to another installment of's ongoing series of Affordable Luxuries, where nothing we recommend costs more than $200--and sometimes quite a lot less even if it looks like it cost a lot more. Who says you can't live high and pay low? Not us.

For example, while airfare and room rates may easily soar into four figures, once you arrive at the Halekulani Hotel in Honolulu, you can still indulge yourself in the low threes by getting a hot stone massage, called a "Polynesian Nonu," at the SpaHalekulani. Enjoy 75 minutes of relaxation and a treat to soothe the feet after a long work week--not to mention a flight that seems nearly as long--for $180.

Back out on the beach, make a splash with Boden's board shorts for $58. For women, there is Cosabella's line of sexy bikinis and swimwear, starting at around $60 for a set.

Sunny days require lots of protection, remember that sunscreens don't always protect the skin from the harmful affects of UV rays, most only prevent sunburn. Look for a sun block in an SPF 15 or higher and check for ingredients like titanium dioxide to ensure ultimate protection. Colorescience introduces their line of powder SPF called All Clear that is made for all ages, odor free and protects instantly, so there is no more waiting to head out in the sun. For those who want a bronzed look, the formula also comes in Almost Clear, which leaves a soft tan look to the skin. Get your powder SPF for only $65 and protect your skin all day.

No vacation is complete without a few runs on the water skis, so get your own at $149.99 with O'Brien's Celebrity Combos. They have dual density bindings for comfort and a dual tunnel bottom shape for performance--making them great for the novice or the pro.

At the end of the day, slip on soft Charles Tyrwhitt boat shoes, which only cost $145, and watch the sun go down. A luxury trip at not so luxurious prices, just the way we like it. If only the rest of the vacation was so reasonably priced.