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Winter is still months away but if waking up to the frosty darkness, hectically scavenging for pricey holiday gifts, and skipping the gym to curl up on the couch contribute to the downer days of winter you need to plan now!  SAD (seasonal affective disorder) burdens its victims differently, but most biologically lack the bright light provided by the sunshine. Allow your body’s circadian rhythm to bounce back on track by traveling to a happy, tropical paradise, where the sun radiates before you roll out of bed!

Kinder to your wallet and blissful for your body, here are six prime destinations for sun-lovers and beach enthusiasts desperate for a holiday without breaking the bank:

1.) Belize

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Daydreams of resting on sugar-soft sand, Pina Colada in hand and aqua blue water lapping between your toes become reality on the beaches of Belize. A coerce of the Maya Mountains, Belize Barrier Reef and jungles snuggled between Guatemala and Mexico conspires an ideal island for well, anybody.

One on a budget may certainly spend carefree days here, since sunbathing and hiking cost nothing, street food, beer and rum are affordable, a bus ride is a buck and hitchhiking is the norm. However, the eager to splurge may indulge in unforgettable activities like windsurfing, sailing, and a selection of fine dining. Therefore, slouch out from the stark blanket to book a trip to the sunny, 80-degree-year-round islands of ease!

 

2.) Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

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When the weather at home is frightful, an island of the Caribbean with an abundance of history, such as the first church and street of the “New World”, cobblestone streets dating back centuries, and a fort that Christopher Columbus’ crew built, offers an exciting place to unwind. History buffs, beach lovers, baseball gurus and fruit fanatics let loose on this Spanish speaking island without their change diminishing. Inexpensive flights and all-inclusive resorts with money-saving perks allow penny-pinchers to escape the winter bite while keeping their budget in par. Without the stress of finances alongside vitamin-packed meals of tropical fruits, beans and plantains, a trip to the Dominican Republic shall cure the dreariest winter blues!

 

3.) Cancun, Mexico

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The wintertime in Cancun lingers short of the sweltering, sky-high summer temperatures, creating a peaceful time of year to explore Cancun without a threat of storms. Although these months mark the peak influx of tourists, which increases the cost of flights and hotels, save a few dollars by practicing haggling, shopping at the fresh market for cheap food to cook in your hotel room, hopping on a bus for one dollar, and enjoying a local beer or rum for under a meager three US dollars. Steer clear of touristy shops and tap water, and embrace the sunbeams to nourish your depleted soul!

 

4.) Costa Rica

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Escape the lifeless winter by perusing into the summer season of Costa Rica. A few extra precious hours of sunshine, steeper waves driven by the Arctic storms and the perfect elopement from mundane days, contribute to the busy season for tourism. Every restaurant, shop and hotel remains open late, and dinner reservations may be competitive. However, a winter trip to Costa Rica doesn’t need to cost an arm and a leg. Restaurants identify with US’ prices, the local bus is nearly complimentary, hiking and beaches are free, and fresh market food is nutritious and affordable. Doesn’t a snow-free departure to vibrant Costa Rica sound worthy of a slight sum of spending money?

 

5.) Orlando, Florida

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The 70 degree off-season of Florida translates to cheaper flights and hotels for a handful of Florida hotspots, including Orlando. Between the bombarded Christmas time and bustling spring breaks, the stagnant winter months provide thinner crowds to meander the theme park and decreased prices. What better time is there to enjoy this place?