While rain pours down and autumn blankets the East Coast and Mid-Atlantic States, looking for an inexpensive island getaway becomes more occupation than daydream. Close, affordable, diverse, filled with sandy white beaches and all-inclusive resorts, the Dominican Republic delivers.

Getting there is easy. Jet Blue (tel. 800-JETBLUE; has non-stop service from New York's JFK Airport. If you book seven days in advance and travel before December 14, 2005, it's $79 to Santiago, Dominican Republic and $92 for the return trip.

For air and land deals, Vacmart (tel. 800/288-1435; has several trips to Punta Cana on the Dominican Republic's east coast. A three-night package with accommodations at the Grand Paradise Bavaro starts at approximately $459 including round-trip air out of Miami. With a wide variety of water sports, bars and restaurants on the property and a host of land sports, the Grand Paradise Bavaro looks out onto the Caribbean Sea. A three-night trip out of Baltimore starts at $599; $699 out of Dallas; and $649 out of Chicago. Vacmart offers the same deal for five- and seven-nights from a host of different gateways. To pick the hotel of your choice, see the Vacmart Punta Cana offerings, as several other deals are available to the area with accommodations at hotels ranging from small and romantic to family resorts. For the above trip, you need to book by October 31, 2005, with travel good through November 30, 2005. For this package, the price is based on double occupancy and includes all drinks and meals.

For trips to Santa Domingo on the Dominican Republic's Southern shore, Apple Vacations ( has several different types of trips to choose from. The site's search engine allows you to choose your departure dates and cities after selecting a resort. For example, selecting Atlanta as a departure city and desiring a vacation from November 5 - 10, 2005, the engine yielded an air-and-hotel combo flying on American Airlines from $688 per person. Accommodations are at the Barcelo Capella Beach Resort, a large beachfront hotel with 500 rooms located 45 minutes from the hustle and bustle of downtown Santa Domingo. The hotel has two pools, one with a swim-up bar and is close to a casino for the gamble in you. Plenty of water and land sports are also available on premises for an additional cost, including horseback riding and sailing.

Apple Vacations also has last-minute and discounted specials. Just select your destination and see what's being offered this month. From Baltimore, we found a seven-night vacation special to Punta Cana reduced to $849 per person from $1,059 per person. The trip departs on November 14 and 28, 2005. Accommodations are at the Iberostar Punta Cana, a full service seaside resort where meals, drinks and all hotel activities are included in the price of the package. Expect to pay about $63 to $115 for airport security fees and departure taxes for your Apple package. See the "Specials" link on the top of the page to begin your search for discounted travel options.

For a three-night air/land special to Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic, E-leisurelink (tel. 888/801-8808; is offering a special price of $569 for an all-inclusive vacation out of Miami. Accommodations are at the Breezes Puerto Plata Beach and Spa Resort, a beachfront resort set on 62 acres complete with just about every activity a hotel can offer. Other United States departure cities are available including New York for $685, Boston for $715, and Los Angeles for $925. This package includes airfare, accommodations, transfers to and from the airport in the Dominican Republic, non-motorized water sports, meals and drinks, and hotel taxes and service charges. Travel for this package is good through December 14, 2005. You must book by November 30, 2005. As with all the packages mentioned in this article, air security fees and departure taxes are not included.

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