Book an affordable all-inclusive getaway to Mexico through Apple Vacations (tel. 800/517-2000; www.applevacations.com), and you'll be treated to seven nights in Puerto Aventuras, just south of Playa del Carmen in Mexico's Riviera Maya. With a week to explore, you're not far from the ruins of Tulum, Xcaret eco-adventure park, and the enormous natural aquarium park Xel-Ha, where you can swim with dolphins.
Expect warm weather (80s, easily) in September, but don't be surprised if you have short bouts of intense rain, only to have the sun come out again.
The resort features nine restaurants and five pools, and even though it's large, the 400-plus rooms are housed in smaller buildings. This way, you have a more intimate feeling to your stay. All rooms come with either a balcony or terrace. Laze about by the pool, join a game of beach volleyball, or go snorkeling, sailing, bicycling, tennis, kayaking, or windsurfing -- it's all included.
Why is this a deal? The airfare for an early September arrival costs $485 on Sun Country Airlines, the carrier specified by Apple Vacations. The room itself would cost $966 for seven nights; with taxes, it comes to $1,072 or $536 per person. If you book this trip independently, expect to shell out at least $1,021 per person. Instead, the package with Apple Vacations saves you a solid $201 per person.
Trip Type: Air-inclusive; independent
What the Quoted Price Gets You: Round-trip airfare between Dallas-Ft. Worth and Cancun; round-trip hotel-airport transfers; seven nights in a standard room at the Catalonia Riviera Maya Resort and Spa in Puerto Aventuras; all meals, beverages (including alcohol), and the use of non-motorized sporting equipment; airline fuel surcharges; government taxes and fees; hotel taxes and fees; and the services of an in-resort Apple Vacations representative
What Else You'll Have to Pay: If the thought of traveling during hurricane season makes you nervous, Apple Vacations offers something called its AVOK plan (add $69 per person). It's nonrefundable, but it allows you to cancel or change your vacation for any reason up until the flight check-in is closed (about one hour before scheduled departure time), except for "no-shows" and "no show"-related cancellations. If you don't want to bother with that, senior marketing manager Ali Gerakaris at Apple Vacations says the company "follows the policies established by its hotel and airline partners, which are usually determined after evaluating the potential course of the hurricane."
When: Select Thursday departures Sept. 9-30
Book By: July 5, 2012
Single Supplement: $220
Other Departures: Chicago (from $950); Philadelphia (from $1,040); Los Angeles (from $1,190)
Other Details: You may also book this trip for three nights from $570; four nights from $630 -- from the same departure gateway of Dallas-Ft. Worth.
All prices are per person and, if lodging is a component of the package, based upon two people traveling together (unless otherwise noted). The prices listed are general starting rates; see "What Else You'll Have to Pay" for details about associated taxes and fees. Base-prices, taxes, and fees can vary based on point of departure and time of travel. Blackout dates may apply. Trip add-ons like sightseeing tours and meal plans may also increase the price. Check with the tour operator for additional gateways. The single supplement is the extra cost that a solo traveler would pay to book the deal.