Fees, fees, and more fees...When push came to shove, I found out that I was too cheap to pay for an Aruban vacation after all.Apparently, I’m just too cheap to go to Aruba.

I’ve spent the past few months planning the honeymoon we never had.  We have been married for almost 7 years, and haven’t really gone on a fancy honeymoon type trip; I have spent months and months researching places to go and where to stay.  I had finally settled on going to Aruba in April 2013 and found a super awesome deal at Priceline.com.  For about $1,700.00, my husband and I could fly there for 7 nights and stay at the Holiday Inn Resort in Aruba.  We had no other choices because only the Holiday Inn was in our price range.  The pictures on their website looked beautiful, and I found mostly favorable reviews on Tripadvisor.com.

After months of planning, I finally logged on a few days ago to book and pay for our trip.  I made it all the way through to the last page of the purchase where I would enter my credit card information.  It was there in the fine print that I found that there is an extra $45/day resort charge.  WHAT?!?!?!  $45 per day for 7 days is a lot of money to us.  This really bothered me, so I decided to sleep on it until the next day.

Overnight, I made my peace with the resort fee and decided to go ahead and book our trip anyways.  Somehow, by the next day the trip had gone up an additional $300!  I found this to be seriously crazy and decided that it must not be meant for us to go to Aruba right now.  At this point, the trip was going to cost almost $2,300 and that didn’t include any food, drinks, or entertainment.

Vacation Deflation

Don’t feel too bad for us. We’re still going here.

So, we went back to the drawing board and started researching less expensive locations.  After doing a little research, we finally decided on going to the Occidental Resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.  For about $2,700, we get two round-trip flights, an all-inclusive plan including food, alcohol, snacks, and most entertainment.  We also get an upgrade to their luxury Royal Club.  I’m sure we will spend a little more than that since we want to do some excursions and there are casinos everywhere – where my husband will want to play craps for hours and hours at a time.  We are going in February and I seriously cannot wait!

I had planned on splurging on this trip, but – in the end – I just could not pull the trigger on a trip as expensive as the one to Aruba.  Vacation should be relaxing and I didn’t want to go and resent every dollar I spent.  Instead, I’m thrilled with the vacation that we chose and feel very lucky that I am able to afford to go on vacation at all.  It appears that all the hard work we’ve put into budgeting and reducing our debt is starting to pay off…and it feels good!