The Deal Detective is SmarterTravel.com's resident bargain hunter, Kate Hamman. She's always on the lookout for new travel deals and invites you, dear reader, to submit your own questions.
Julie writes, "My best friends and I are turning 30 next year, and would love to plan an exciting adventurous vacation. We live in the southeast US and would like to go in February or March. Our budget is no more than $700 per person. Also, we would share a room. Please help!"
My brain almost short circuits when I start thinking about places where you can celebrate. There are so many destinations that would be perfect for a birthday bash, such as spots in the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, and Canada. I'm going to focus on places that are a particularly good deal during this time. Traveling in February or March can help save cash because these months are considered off-season for several popular destinations.
Adventure can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. I'm assuming that you're saying you'd like to experience something out of the ordinary. But, just to be on the safe side—you know what they say about assuming—I'm going to also recommend a destination that not only provides an unusual experience, but offers heart-racing activities.
A vacation provider like go-today.com offers a range of different packages, including fly-and-drive, city getaways, and guided tours to places all over the world. I priced a package to Budapest in February starting at $609 per person (without taxes and fees), which includes round-trip airfare from New York City (different departure cities are available at a higher price), six-night accommodations, daily continental breakfast, airport fuel surcharges, and hotel taxes. Once you have transportation and lodging booked, you can start the fun process of planning what to do when you get there through the city's tourism website. Budapest may not be known for its adenaline-inducing activities, but the city is filled with more low-key and cultural things to do like cycling through the city, warming up in Europe's largest thermal baths complex, crawling through passages on a cave tour, or taking a scenic chair lift up the Buda Hills.
If you want something a bit more daredevil, Costa Rica may be just the ticket to celebrate your birthdays in style. Here, you can zip-line through trees, walk through a forest in the clouds, try your hand at whitewater rafting, or take a nature tour. Plus, you can enjoy the local culture and entertainment of the city at night. I priced packages to San Jose in February starting at $448 per person (with taxes and fees) through Expedia. The deal includes round-trip airfare from Miami (other departure cities are available at a higher price) and four-night accommodations.
It's still a bit early to find deals for February, but it's a great time to start looking, especially if you want to find a bundled package (which may be the best route for your budget). If you come across a particularly attractive deal, be sure to compare prices to make sure you're getting the most out of your money. Also, it pays to read other traveler's reviews of hotels on our sister site, TripAdvisor, before booking.
Wherever you decide to go or how you end up celebrating, I wish you and your friends the happiest of birthdays and the best of luck in finding the cheapest of deals.
As for my other readers: Do you have a suggestion for Julie on where to welcome in the new decade? Have you been somewhere that might be more fitting? Tell us what you think by filling out the form below.
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