The Real Deal: Round-trip airfare, four nights' accommodations, all meals and drinks, and transfers, from $729 per person — plus taxes of about $99.
When: Jan. 6-Feb. 1, 2008.
Gateways: Miami; add $89 for New York City, $169 for Hartford, $185 for Boston, $209 for Baltimore, $249 for Philadelphia, $335 for Atlanta, $389 for Chicago, $415 for Houston, $549 for L.A.
The fine print: Hotel taxes, airport-hotel transfers, and all meals and drinks are included. Airport taxes are an additional $99 per person. Based on travel Monday through Friday; weekend surcharges range from $25 to $75 per person each way. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $499. Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.
Book by: Jan. 17, 2008.
Contact: Leisure Link International, 888/801-8808, eleisurelink.com.
Why it's a deal: The lowest round-trip fare we found on a recent Kayak search for travel between Miami and Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, in early January is $422 (American Airlines). For about an additional $300, this package covers the four-night stay along with meals, drinks, and transfers.
Trip details: The package includes round-trip airfare to Puerto Plata on a major carrier — most likely American Airlines — and four nights at the all-inclusive Sun Village Resort & Spa, which means that all meals and drinks (alcoholic and nonalcoholic) are covered. The 300-room beachfront resort is located in Cofresí, a small but increasingly developed beach community on the D.R.'s northern coast near Puerto Plata.
As an all-inclusive resort, Sun Village offers, at no extra charge, numerous activities and nonmotorized water sports, including volleyball, kayaking, golfing, snorkeling, surfing, fishing, tennis, sailing, aerobics, rafting, parasailing, windsurfing, and boating. There are seven pools, five restaurants, and eight bars, as well as a 3-year-old next-door neighbor: Ocean World Adventure Park, Casino and Marina, home to tropical birds, dolphins, sea lions, and sharks. You can extend your stay at the resort for $125 per person per night.
The Dominican Republic is twice the size of Vermont and is located about 50 miles west of Puerto Rico. Prices on the island are roughly a third lower than in Puerto Rico and many other Caribbean destinations — and it's the only Caribbean island where you can go white-water rafting. For more highlights, visit the Dominican Republic's official tourism Web site.
One note of caution: Cofresí, on the northern coast, gets more rain than southern destinations like Punta Cana. In January, for example, there's an average rainfall of seven inches, and temperatures are typically in the low 70s Fahrenheit. Before you go, check the local weather at BudgetTravel.com.