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Spring into vacation!

My boyfriend and I are going on a trip to beautiful Puerto Plata in the Dominican Republic this April and I'm so excited! It inspired me to share my travel tips with you to take a break from partying...or party more - your choice! Budget Set a realistic budget. Decide if you'd rather sacrifice length of stay to splurge on the bells and whistles, or settle with the basics in order to use more of your budget towards a longer stay or extreme adventure. Check out sites like Groupon Getaways and Skyauction.com for great travel deals.

Location Do you want pure rest and relaxation, daytime adventures, nightlife, entertainment, a taste of history, or maybe all of the above? Cruises usually provide an all-inclusive mix of constant entertainment and gorgeous destinations. Or, focus on one destination.

If you'd like to go somewhere outside of the US, save at least a month to get a new passport if it's required. Keep language barriers in mind to avoid stress during the trip. There are lots of translation apps for your phone which can come in handy for situations where you need to speak the native language.

Housing If you have a friend who lives in an area you'd like to travel to, consider asking them if they'd open up their home to you for a week. Or, book a hotel as a package deal with your flight for savings. You could even consider swapping houses with a family through Homeexchange.com or renting a home through Homeaway.com.

In my case, my mom has an Atlantic City timeshare and we're exchanging her leftover points to stay at the gorgeous BlueBay Villas Doradas. If you have any friends or family who have a timeshare, this could be an option for a luxurious experience, especially if they don't plan to use it this year and will otherwise lose their week or points.

Flights Flying on a weekday usually helps your wallet. Also, if there are two airports within driving distance of your final destination, check out costs for flying into and out of both. In our case, we're flying into a slightly more remote airport so we can take in the sights via taxi to the resort. But we're flying out of a closer airport so we won't be rushing on the last day. Also, Tuesday morning is the best time to book a flight as that's when the airlines run their sales. Use Kayak.com to set a price alert and be notified when your flight gets less expensive.

Activities Check the website of the location where you'll be staying for nearby activities or search Google to get costs and plan an itinerary. You can also ask the desk clerk/concierge for ideas about where the locals go when you arrive, or even ask the locals themselves.

Where are YOU going this year? How did you maximize your time and budget?

Image courtesy of TripAdvisor.com

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