How The Tax Stimulus Can Stimulate Your Travel Plans

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Sure you should contribute to your emergency fund and start paying off debt, but your stimulus check could also be used for some much needed rest and relaxation. The travel industry is suddenly abuzz with deals that cost, you guessed it, just less that $600. What a perfect fit for (most of) America's newly acquired (potential) vacation budget.

“Right now your best bets are to go to Mexico, Jamaica, or something on the Caribbean where the dollar is worth more,” says Maureen Carreno, director of leisure sales at Flamingo Travel Group based in Philadelphia. For $600, Carreno says, you could buy a three night all-inclusive package in the Caribbean. “You’ll probably have to add a few bucks to it, but what price can you put on a memory?” Go for the all-inclusive package and you forego the option to try the region’s restaurants, but you’ll also spend the least amount of dough. “You don’t have to worry about putting money out of your pocket for entertainment and food," says Carreno. "You may spend less going away that you would to stay home.”

Why not go on vacation and let The Fed pick up the tab? Here’s how:

Cruise to Relaxation
Holland America (CCL) is offering a seven night round-trip cruise starting in Tampa, Fl and docking in Belize, Guatemala and Mexico. Conveniently, $599 lands you in an ocean front room, including all meals, entertainment and activities. If you don’t have seven days, or want to save some of your stimulus check, consider a three night Baja cruise departing from Los Angeles. An ocean view room is only $269 and this package is also all-inclusive.

Hola Mexico!
Cheapcarribean.com is making Puerto Vallarta a go to destination with a $499, five night package. The price is all-inclusive, which means in addition to five nights at Las Palmas by The Sea and round-trip airfare, all of your meals and drinks are covered. Or venture to the Gold Coast and visit Mazatlan through Expedia.com (EXPE) where $517 will buy airfare and four nights at the El Cid Beach Hotel where you can soak up some rays at one of their eight swimming pools and white sandy beaches.

Down East Maine
Why not stay close in the U.S. and start stimulating a more local economy? Spend four days and three nights in Portland, exploring boutique museums, wading through tide pools and noshing on lobster rolls on Maine’s rocky coastline. Book through American Express (AXP) and travel for less than $350 per person including hotel and car rental from New York.

Rocky Mountains High
Fly into Denver and head to the great outdoors to get a dose of fresh mountain air. If you want to bike, hike, run or just tour the Coors (TAP) Brewery, this is a one stop shop for relaxation. Less than $400 per person through American Express Travel buys three nights lodging, as well as airfare.

Vegas, baby!
Cash your tax refund or stimulus check at The Venetian or The Palazzo and receive an extra 25% in slot credits. Book your travel arrangements through Orbitz (OWW) by May 18 to save $50 on one of several three-night packages, including three-nights at New York-New York Hotel & Casino (MGM) and airfare, for $301 per person (price based from LAX).
Thanks Uncle Sam!

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