Planning your summer trips advance will help get you the best deals — of which there are boundless choices for families this summer. Whether you are looking for the educational excursion, a beach pampering, or a city exploration, there is something for every family. And one very important thing to keep in mind when searching for the best deal is that you want to look at the overall value package — which means that finding the best deal isn’t necessarily just about finding the “cheapest room rate,” but rather finding the packages that give you the most for your money, where you will not be nickle-and-dimed for every subsequent thing you do on your vacation apart from sleep.
Here are some of Conde Nast Traveler’s favorite family summer deals that will give you the biggest bang for your buck:
1. Look to your favorite hotel chains for company-wide deals
One of the best ways to find deals for the summer is to consult your favorite hotel chains to see what company-wide deals they may be offering. This can give you the opportunity to visit any of their properties around the world for significant discounts.
Starwood hotels launches March limited-time offer sale
Go anywhere in the world and save up to 25 percent off best available rates at 810 Starwood Hotels and Resorts for stays through May 31, 2010. Whether you are dreaming about the sunny beaches in Tahiti or a city getaway, there’s a fabulous choice for every family.
- Includes brands like W, Westin, St. Regis, Sheridan and more
The Iberostar hotels and resorts
Offering a rates at 30 percent lower than last year, starting at $87 per person, they recently released the “Kids Stay Free Promotion,” available through June 15th, 2010.
- Located on some of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica
- All inclusive experience includes meals, drinks, taxes and gratuities
- Each of the properties has spacious playgrounds and children’s pool
- Lucy’s Mini-Clubs — for children ages 4-12 — offer fully supervised, age-appropriate activities
- Adults in the group will be able to enjoy a world-class spa, gourmet dining, championship golf and a wide array of water sports
2. Hot cities in the summer
Summer can also be a terrific time to check out a U.S. city you’ve always wanted to explore but never had the chance. This summer, why not explore the Alamo and take a stroll down the River Walk in San Antonio?
Omni La Mansion del Rio, San Antonio, Texas
A Conde Nast Traveler Gold List hotel, this wonderful property is offering a few great package deals this summer. Our favorite is the “City Tours Package” through Dec 31:
- Breakfast for each registered adult either at one of the restaurants or through room service (which is huge, since many hotels that offer free breakfast don’t include room service)
- Two adult tickets for the Alamo Sightseeing Tour's full day "Grand Tour" which includes seeing the Japanese Sunken Gardens, Buckhorn Saloon and Museum, El Mercado, Mission San Jose, Mission Conception, the Alamo and the riverboat tour
- Complimentary valet parking for one car per night
- Two complimentary bottles of water per room for the Alamo tour Pricing: Starting at around $200/night for two-night minimum
3. The educationalandluxurious summer family trip to Charlottesville, Virginia
When traveling with the family, it’s always great to combine some educational elements with some luxury pampering for the adults in the group. For this, we suggest Charlottesville, Virginia, where history and spectacular landscapes come together — where Thomas Jefferson country meets Virginia’s Blue Ridge mountains. Some of the most famous landmarks, including Jefferson's Monticello and the University of Virginia, are clustered here among swathes of the East Coast's most beautiful scenery, home to renowned horse races, hunts and vineyards.
Condé Nast Traveler/TODAY Family Discovery Package
This type of package would normally run over $3,000, but this deal saves you over 50 percent and it is within driving distance for many — otherwise a fairly short flight and inexpensive flight. The entire package costs about $1,100 for a family of 4, so you are really getting a huge bang for your buck.
- Three U.S. Presidents' homes are located only minutes away from Keswick Hall at Monticello (Presidential homes of Jefferson, Madison, Monroe)
- On arrival, a passport is handed to the children, a key to the property treasure hunt that follows. The prize: complimentary tickets to Thomas Jefferson's Monticello with special entry and guided tour through the educational Kid's Zone
- Continental breakfast daily
- Luxurious overnight accommodation in two Signature Rooms
- 2 spa treatments
- 2 junior cooking class admissions and dinner for four in Fossett's
- Golf or tennis lessons for 4
- Use of bikes
- Exclusive temporary membership to Keswick's private country club, including golf courses, 3 swimming pools, etc.
4. Island summer getaway
For many families, the ultimate getaway is the island beach indulgence, so we recommend looking to the Bahamas for a summer getaway, when both hotel and airfare prices are significantly lower than in the winter months.
Atlantis, the Bahamas
The ultimate fantasy-land for families — especially the kids! The sprawling mega-resort boasts 19 restaurants, 11 pools, eight waterslides, and — with more than 3,300 guestrooms and suites — a wide choice of accommodations. Attractions include:
- The largest outdoor marine habitat in the world — with over 50,000 marine life
- Dolphin Cay, a 14-acre dolphin habitat and education center
- Aquaventure, the 141-acre waterscape
- New 8,000-square-foot state-of-the-art kids' club, Atlantis Kids Adventures (AKA); Club Rush — a "No Adults" private club created for teens and 'tweens; gourmet dining to satisfy any palate and much more!
5. The ultimate adventure vacation
A great tip for getting fabulous deals on summer travel is to look to destinations that are most popular in the winter, but are equally beautiful in the summer, as you will find fantastic deals for the family.
Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Colorado
Book a “Sunshine on Sale” package between April 4-October 1 and receive a free night with a minimum length of stay, with rates as low as $93 a night. From April 4-May 31, 2010, book a two-night stay and receive the third night free, which works out to a nightly rate of $93. From June 1-30 and August 15-September 12, 2010, book a three-night stay and get the 4th Night Free, which works out to $119 a night.
- Tons of activities the whole family can enjoy, including hiking, biking (road and mountain), golfing, rafting, kayaking, fly-fishing, jeep tours, horseback riding, ice-skating (yes, outdoor ice-skating rink in summer!)
- The hotel also hosts "Fridays at the Park," a free event with live music, giveaways, “s'moregasbord”, gondola rides and more on most Friday evenings in July and August. Park Hyatt Beaver Creek is located slope-side in the Beaver Creek village, and the hotel itself is a fantastic property with great amenities such as the Allegria Spa.
- The summer is a gorgeous time of year in Beaver Creek, and rates are significantly lower than during the winter ski season
For more great travel deals and tips, visit Conde Nast Traveler online.
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