The travel business isn't one to rest on its holiday laurels. Indeed, whether your buying season begins on Black Friday, Cyber Monday or another retail-inspired day of frenzy, travel companies will be there competing for your business. After all, wouldn't a sun-soaked beach look nice under the tree next to that shiny new iPad?
Here's a sample of what you'll find online starting on Thanksgiving until December 2:
Puerto Rico: San Juan Marriott Resort
Get 30% off the best available rate (as low as $136/night) at The San Juan Marriott. The resort is located beachfront on bustling Ashford Avenue in the Condado resort district of Puerto Rico's capital city. The resort is full service, incorporating the Stellaris Casino, and is the site of frequent performances by some of the island's best salsa bands. The promotion is for travel from Dec. 2, 2013 through April 30, 2014, Mondays-Thursdays only. Book online at www.marriottsanjuan.com and use promo code D3Q.
Cancun, Mexico: Grand Residences Riviera Cancún
Be one of the first to visit the new Grand Residences Riviera Cancún by claiming their Cyber Monday-only grand opening rate of $289 per night for a junior suite. The resort opens its doors for the first time on December 7 and is a member of the elite Leading Hotels of the World association. It's located on the beach in Puerto Morales, halfway between Cancún and charming Playa del Carmen. As part of the promotion, you'll also get resort credits starting at $100 per day to use in the five-star resort's restaurants, spa, salon and lounges. The 103 suites were designed as private residences - kitchens, separate bedrooms, terraces, butler service - and overlooks the famed Riviera Maya beaches. To book, visit www.grandresidencesrivieracancun.com.
Curacao: Santa Barbara Beach Club
Take 45% off and leave your wallet in the room at the Santa Barbara Beach Club in Curacao. The AAA Four Diamond resort's Cyber Monday discount applies to its all-inclusive packages that cover breakfast, lunch and dinner along with unlimited premium beverages, use of resort facilities and discounts on greens fees at the Pete Dye-designed oceanside golf course. The resort is also giving 35% off on its standard double-occupancy rates as well. The Santa Barbara is located on its own beach south of Willemstad, with the wide open southern tip of the island at its back door. Good for travel through December 24, 2014. Book online at www.santabarbararesortcuracao.com/caribbean_deals/Cyber_Monday/ with promo code CYBERMON.
Turks & Caicos: Ocean Club Resorts
If you move fast you'll get big discounts at the posh Ocean Club in Providenciales, Turks & Caicos. There are two Cyber Monday-only offers - the first offers 20% off all room categories plus a $200 hotel credit for travel of 5 or more nights between Jan. 3 and Feb. 7, 2014; the second gives 25% off junior suites and one- two- and three-bedroom suites plus a $200 hotel credit for stays of 5 or more nights between May 1, 2014 and Dec. 18, 2014. Providenciales (Provo) is just north of the Dominican Republic at the southern end of the Bahamas chain. Provo is known for its wide, sandy beaches, startlingly blue water and superb diving and water sports. The Ocean Club is right on Grace Bay, one of the prettiest beaches in the Caribbean. Book online at http://oceanclubresorts.com and use code CYBER.
If you're a beach lover, you'll find a lot to love here: Palm Beach is the island's premier location, just a few minutes from the capital Oranjestad and in the middle of the action. If you book on Cyber Monday you'll get three nights free with the purchase of three nights, with rates starting at $389 per night for travel between April 20, 2014 and Nov. 22, 2014. The resort includes the Stellaris Casino and large rooms with a contemporary look, an adults-only pool and swim-up bar, a Ruth's Chris Steak House and fine-dining seafood restaurant, a Mandara spa and a front-and-center location on Palm Beach. Book online at arubamarriott.com with promo code D52.
The Bahamas: Abaco Beach Resort and Boat Harbour Marina
Abaco is the iconic picture of The Bahamas: a lightly inhabited island with endless tawny beaches, impossibly blue water and a candy-cane-striped lighthouse marking the harbor at Hope Town. The Abaco Beach Resort is close to the Marsh Harbour International Airport and faces the Atlantic Ocean across the lagoon separating Great Abaco from Elbow Cay. The property spans 40 acres with accommodations, including oceanfront rooms, suites and cottages overlooking a marina. When you book on Cyber Monday, receive a free "Turtle Crawl" experience - a paddleboard expedition to visit the habitat of endangered sea turtles. The offer is valid for travel from Dec. 2, 2013 through March 31, 2014. Book by calling 877-533-4799 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Guatemala: Casa Palopó
You probably don't think of the Caribbean as a mountain destination, but you should. Lake Atitlán in central Guatemala is actually the crater of an enormous dormant volcano, with three more volcanoes lining its shores. The author Aldous Huxley thought it more picturesque than even Italy's famed Lake Como. The area surrounding the lake is home to indigenous Maya peoples and there are Maya archaeological sites, including Copan, within driving distance of the lake. The hotel has only 7 rooms, plus a small villa. It was originally a private home - Lake Atitlán has been a retreat for wealthy Guatemalans for many years - and overlooks the lake. The villages around the lake are isolated and the villagers continue the way of life they've practiced for hundreds of years; in fact, there are three separate indigenous languages spoken on the lake's shores and each village has its own mode of dress and dialect. When you book for travel May 1 - June 30, 2014 and Sept. 1 - Oct. 31, 2014, you'll get 35% off of room rates, as low as $91 per night. Book by emailing email@example.com and mention "Cyber Offer." See the hotel website www.casapalopo.com for more information.
St. Kitts: Marriott Resort & Royal Beach Casino
You can pack your bags for Christmas or New Year's when you book online Cyber Monday with the St. Kitts Marriott Resort: Travel as early as December 2013 or wait and travel between May 1 - Sept. 1, 2014. Take 30% off the best rate (which will bring the rates down to about $112/night this December) and stay in the beachfront resort just south of the capital, Basseterre. In addition to the beach, casino, golf course, pools and restaurants, the resort is close to the attractions that have made St. Kitts a favorite with seasoned Caribbean travelers: the scenic railway that once carried sugar cane from the fields to the mill, the 18th-century Brimstone Hill fortress and the rain forest that cloaks the flanks of the island's dormant central volcano, Mount Liamuiga. Book online at www.stkittsmarriott.com with promo code D59.
Anguilla: Cuisinart Golf Resort & Spa
Fake out your fiancé or significant other by promising to put a CuisinArt in his/her stocking, then surprising them with a beach instead of a blender. CuisinArt is a high-end luxury resort on Anguilla, just 97 rooms rimming the scenic (and romantically named) Rendezvous Bay. Book a week to give yourself time to unwind and hit all of the highlights: the spa, bicycling, tennis, fishing, golf on a Greg Norman-designed course, and, of course, just laying on the beach. Book on Cyber Monday and get 40% off a junior suite in one of the Mediterranean-white buildings on the beach, with rates as low as $395/night. Book online at www.cuisinartresort.com.
Antigua, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, Grenadines, St. Lucia: Elite Island Resorts
With seven resorts located in some of the Caribbean's most relaxing locations, Elite Island Resorts put them all on sale for Cyber Monday. When you book online between Nov. 28 and Dec. 2 for travel through Dec. 20, 2014, you get a fifth night free with the purchase of four nights - and that's on top of discounts of up to 45% the usual rates. The resorts include:
• St. James's Club, Morgan Bay, St. Lucia
• Palm Island Resort, The Grenadines
• St. James's Club & Villas, Antigua
• The Verandah Resort & Spa, Antigua
• Galley Bay Resort & Spa, Antigua
• Long Bay Beach Club, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
The offer is subject to some blackout dates.
The resorts on offer are some of the region's most exclusive and secluded - perfect for that romantic Valentine's getaway, an anniversary or just a break from the weather or routine. Palm Island is a perennial "Top 10" pick on many lists of luxury resorts.
At The Verandah, you can book all-inclusive packages starting as low as $153.50 per night and can book packages with air to save more.
To book, visit www.eliteislandresorts.com or call 1-800-858-4618.
If you'd rather spend your time at sea, Carnival Cruise Lines is putting its Caribbean itineraries on sale. Starting from Nov. 27 through Dec. 6, you can book online at www.carnival.com and pick from these dates and others. Prices are per person; note cruise duration varies and all departures are before year's end:
• The Bahamas: Dec. 3, Dec. 11 (departs New York) from $299; Dec. 5, Dec. 9, Dec. 12 (departs Jacksonville, Fla.) from $199; Dec. 5 (departs Ft. Lauderdale) from $169; Dec. 12 (departs Orlando) from $199; Dec. 8 (departs Baltimore) from $369
• Key West & Cozumel: Dec. 2, Dec. 12 and Dec. 16 (departs Miami) from $139.
• Western Caribbean: Dec. 8, Dec. 9, Dec. 12 and Dec. 15 (departs New Orleans) from $229; Dec. 7, Dec. 12, Dec. 16 (departs Galveston, TX) from $289; Dec. 9 (departs Ft. Lauderdale) from $199; Dec. 9, Dec. 14 (departs Tampa) from $259
• Eastern Caribbean: Dec. 1, Dec. 9 (departs Miami) from $199; Dec. 14 (departs Orlando) from $409; Dec. 8 (departs Galveston) from $369
Steve Blount is the former editor of Caribbean Travel & Life, Adventure Travel and Florida Travel & Life magazines.