7 Steps to A BUDGET DREAM Punta Cana Dominican Republic Vacation, without maxing out your credit card!
OMG what a sight…We couldn’t believe our eyes honestly…Yet before we disclose what got us so amazed…We wont make out like its possible to go anywhere awesome or travel with no money coz its not…Today we wanna share with you how you too could afford a budged dream vacation to Punta Cana Dominican Republic or anywhere for that matter without loosing your home! So…
Flights — Check
Party outfits…of course
Well guess what, we booked a vacation to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic to attend our good friends & mentors Tanya Aliza and Cesar Rodriguez’s wedding…And what an epic journey it was (we will share some of this awesomeness soonest). What we always hear bandied about “Living the dream.” Honestly when you have great company in a breathtaking location, life simply seems awesome, and it is…but we jump ahead of ourselves.
In order to have a Budget Dream Punta Cana Vacation, you might like to try our amazing proven 7 steps below.
#1. Chose the Best Flight for your Budget
Unless you live in paradise, we assume you might have to drive or fly there. And in our case we had to fly…Inc. a 34 hr return journey, we loved it all!
We can tell you those flights cost a packet if it wasn’t for the travel club discount and price promise…! In fact for most international travel, flights are the highest vacation/travel expense. So either save up a pretty penny and we got you covered with our super travel/vacation money saving tips, or have that credit card ready.
We have found that its much more cost effective and easier on the wallet to travel during off peak seasons outside of children’s holidays, Easter, Christmas seasons and definitely not bang in middle of summer. Signing up for flight alerts and traveling with flexible dates will trim your costs even further. We got our flights for a total of $1015. So much cheaper if you are flying from USA.
Super Tip: Why not try and get a free flight by contacting the Airline customer services and inquire if they would accept volunteers, although with the rise of terrorist attacks this is less likely to work!
#2. Check surrounding airports!
Although Santiago Airport was closer to our destination accommodation, it cost over £200 extra per person to land there. Yet even with airport transfers we still saved £345 by choosing the alternative…
We chose Punta Cana Airport, and nothing could have prepared us for the sight! OMG moment. This airport is a fresh diversion from the usual concrete, tiled international airports. It is truly a unique experience. Having grown up in Africa, seeing the airport roof took us right back to Rural Africa.
For starters, it has an open expansive feel, a portion of the arrivals is palm frond roofed these are called “palapas” (apparently what gives it its name) – a pleasant entry to this tropical paradise. It also has the largest ‘ceiling fans’ we ever saw! And guess what, we were offered a shot of rum as soon as we cleared customs….how cool is that? Real rad right…
#3 Transportation & Airport Transfers
Now with the theme of planning a dream Punta Cana vacation on a budget, spending a fortune on transfers and transportation would be counter productive, right! And taxis can be costly depending on your destination…huh!
Yet taking a taxi or shuttle from Punta Cana airport is easy. Paul & I had already checked and compared prices online to ensure we got the best deal even with our travel club, thus our transportation to & from the airport was part of our package! But for those that don’t have access to the travel resources we do, which you can absolutely learn more about here, we highly recommend that you pre-book your transfers online before you travel!
Imagine we were quoted prices raging from $114 – $500 for a round trip taxi/shuttle from the airport to our accommodation in La Romana, Bayahibe which we will be giving you a full review on soonest! It is amazing woot!
Anyhow, guess what it cost us total though…$56 round-trip! Yup so it pays to shop around and if part of an amazing club, well the benefits keep coming!
We didn’t have to wait for a shuttle or bus to fill up with other passengers, and/or stop at other hotels. We had a sleek, air conditioned SUV to ourselves and while the driver spoke more Spanish than English, he was super polite and got us to our Resort in 45 mins flat, we gad expected a 60-90 min ride!!! 🙂
So here is how you can get a Taxi or ride from Punta Cana Airport….
The company that picked us up was “Holiday Taxis” and they are amazing! Use them on your next trip they are available worldwide! After clearing customs & immigration, grab your baggage, there was only one carousel…! Make your way past the duty free store and You will see a row of Travel companies out side on a large veranda. Find yours or check who is holding your name on a placard. If you didn’t pre-book online be ready to be bombarded by shuttle drivers but they are really polite, most speak a bit of English. Make sure to Confirm the rate with the driver before leaving.
Below are the taxi rates as of Nov 2015 from Punta Cana airport.
Remember this is to get you to a Punta Cana Vacation on a budget, and our transfers cost only $56 via Holiday Taxis!
Well ya gotta sleep right so the Accommodation..
#4 Budget Dream Punta Cana Vacation – Accommodation:
Of course you can’t have a budget dream vacation in any destination if your accommodation is pants…! In our case we chose to book the wedding venue, which was highly discounted at amazing rates via the travel app. For 9 days we got all inclusive accommodation at the Dreams La Romana Spa and Resorts, a 5 Star piece of real estate at a total of $896 for a Premium Deluxe Room; inclusive of $200 resort credits, which essentially reduces that figure to $696! A quote on Expedia for the same location for 6 nights was at £3554 for family of 4 that could be in the region of $5k+ (no flights included here)…what! So you must agree we got a stupendous bargain.
And we cannot begin to do the resort justice in a short paragraph. We promise to give you full dibs in a blog post soonest!
But if you consider what we paid a fortune, and wish to have a budget dream vacation in Punta Cana, then we strongly suggest you shop around some good months in advance on various accommodation including hostels. Booking.com gives you some great deals out of season, for instance for 6 nights we found an offer of £454 for 2 people at Los Flamencos Apart Hotel…! That’s Self Catering but still a great price don’t you agree!
So shop around you can still grab a bargain. In UK we also have flight/hotel package deals and these can be a great saver. For purposes of this post we checked Thomson Holidays and yes you can get a budget dream Punta Cana vacation all inclusive to a 3+ star accommodation. And since we are talking budget here, then you might like to spend more time at your awesome all in resort or hotel and save a packet…so why not..
#5 Budget Dream Punta Cana Vacation – Hit The Beach
You don’t have to spend a fortune on activities/excursions to have a dream vacation anywhere to be honest! So unless you rent snorkeling equipment, book a catamaran cruise or go sailing/kayaking or a surfboard, hitting the beach in Bayahibe, Punta Cana is generally free. A number of museums, parks, and destinations in the Dominican Republic are also free. Just ask your hotel concierge to direct you to locations with free entertainment, live music, carnivals and other cultural events.
A group of us attended a night carnival in Bayahibe. We walked along the beach on moonlight, 10 mins to the village and had an absolute blast! Free entertainment, very colourful, welcoming locals, it was great fun!
#6 Budget Dream Punta Cana Vacation – Eating out?
Okay while we went all inclusive 5 star with bells and whistles, to be honest you too can get the same when you shop around. And we have already shown you an example from Booking.com. The best advice we can give on eating out is to check our post on saving for a vacation you will get some awesome tips on how to maximize your food budget on a vacation, without eating junk! Or ending up with holiday tummy yikes, ouch!
#7 Budget Dream Punta Cana Vacation – Getting Round
For a budget dream vacation in Punta Cana, you might opt like we did to spend most of your vacation in and around your hotel or accommodation. Esp. if you stay at an all-inclusive resort and don’t plan on going too far. We took long walks along the beach and the extensive hotel grounds. To be honest according to local living Punta Cana walking in Punta Cana is your best bet. Most resorts are right on the beach, so you won’t need to go too far. Otherwise, if you plan on exploring this amazing tropical paradise on a budget then According to our Hotel concierge, the Guaguas or public buses would be an option!
Taking a local bus is the cheapest option, but not recommended if in a hurry! The hotel concierge confided that the schedules are irregular, sporadic and sometimes buses are 40+ mins late! And there are no clear bus stops…just hail the bus anywhere…What! And they are packed full as its the locals means of transportation! But we were assured that public transport is perfectly safe and way cheaper than taxis. Expect to pay about RD$35 which is like £0.30 pence min for your trip, a bargain. You will travel with Dominicans, who are very friendly! Have some change ready to avoid hassle. Also expect animals like goats & chickens on board as they are transported on buses often times. 🙂 Unique experience or what!
If you are daring and like to live on the edge, you might like to try the motorcycle taxis known as motoconchos, cheapest definitely not the safest. We noticed they have no passenger let alone drive helmets and they drive like the wind– very fast…Hmm if you must, opt for a driver with a orange vest…apparently member of the local drivers union! But in our view your health comes first! Find them at some hotel entrances…(Not ours), shopping centers & street corners!
If you remember your Spanish lessons getting around can be fun, if not why not have your Translator App, we share some awesome tools to get you round in our comprehensive Go To Travel Planning Guide, take a look a it and enjoy your next trip!
Lets wrap up your Budget Dream Vacation to Punta Cana!
So the basics are covered but — wait, you may ask how about spending money? Well that’s down to you, if you go all inclusive you might not spend much at all. We came back home with 3/4 our spending money even after buying quite a few trinkets and touristy mementos that filled one of our hand luggage bags! The Dom Republic is not expensive at all esp. if you eat local (don’t forget your charcoal tablets.) In fact we spent the majority of the 1/4 on food in Transit in Atlanta USA!
So there you have it…a budget dream vacation in Punta Cana or any other location to be honest, all you need to do is Research. But we do all that for you so why not subscribe to our blog here and let us know your travel needs. If you enjoyed or got value, why not like, share and comment below on your own budget vacation experiences?
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Julie Syl & Pauli Kalungi
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