At long last, Memorial Day is here to ring in the summer — and if you're anything like us, the thought of climbing temperatures and sunny skies has you itching for a getaway.
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Budget Travel has scoured the market for the best vacations you can take this weekend — as of now, all of these packages still have spaces available.
DESERT RETREAT ROAD TRIP
Palm Springs, from $115 per night (Palm Springs Travelodge)
While most beach seasons are just beginning, Memorial Day marks the end of bearable temps in the desert, so hotels and operators are running specials this weekend. Palm Springs still has nonstop sunshine, and temperatures, which average 94 degrees in May, haven't yet hit their sweltering high point — plus fabulous vintage shops, acclaimed restaurants, and an enduring love for all things Mid-Century. It also makes a great base camp for exploring Joshua Tree National Park.
Book one of the 155 pet-friendly rooms, with pool or mountain views and breakfast included, at the newly renovated Palm Springs Travelodge, starting at $115 per night. Two pools (complete with "tanning bed" cabanas), a fire pit, and a heated outdoor spa are just a few of the spiffy new features.
Gateways: A recent search on Kayak.com showed great flight deals to Palm Springs: $381 from Washington, D.C. and $443 from Milwaukee on United. However, for most gateways, flying to Ontario International Airport, about an hour east of L.A. ($434 from Denver on US Airways and $358 from Chicago on Continental) and driving the hour and 15 minutes to Palm Springs is cheaper than flying direct. A car rental from Ontario Airport can run as low as $15 per day if booked through Hotwire.com.
How to book: Call Travelodge Palm Canyon Hotel (877-544-4446, palmcanyonhotel.com) and mention “Budget Travel” for 20 percent off bookings over the weekend.
WEEKLONG CARIBBEAN ESCAPE
Bahamas Cruise On Norwegian Sky, 3 Nights Miami followed by 4 nights on Cruise, $579 (Travel Themes and Dreams)
This sun-drenched itinerary offers the best of both worlds for those in the Florida Region, pairing a four-day Bahamas cruise on the Norwegian Sky (with stops in Great Stirrup Cay, Nassau, and Grand Bahama Island) with a three-night pre-cruise stay in Miami's 296-room JW Marriott, an AAA four-diamond rated property on tree-lined Brickell Avenue; port-to-hotel transfer is included.
On board the Sky, you'll find two golf driving nets, a spa specializing in Balinese treatments, and a poolside bar, claimed to be the longest of its kind at sea.
Book fast!: Leave on Friday, May 27.
Why it’s a deal: The trip components add up to $833 when booked independently, before port-to-hotel transfer, so you’re saving an impressive $254 on an in-demand weekend.
How to book: Travel Themes and Dreams (877/870-7447, travelthemesanddreams.com) and use promo code TTD24.
SUNNY HAWAII HOLIDAY
Honolulu, Air/5 Nights, $924 (United Vacations)
This five-night Oahu retreat takes travelers to the heart of Hawaii’s most visited island. The package includes airfare on United from San Francisco to Honolulu; accommodations at the high-rise, 441-room Ohana East, a two-block stroll from iconic Waikiki Beach; and airport transfers. Standard doubles come with 240 square feet of space and free Wi-Fi, and most have balconies.
The Ohana East is within walking distance of the Honolulu Zoo and the Waikiki Aquarium, and a stay at the hotel gets you a free pass on the Pink Line of the Waikiki Trolley, which runs a two-plus-mile course along the Waikiki Beach Walk (trolley tickets would normally cost you $19 per day, or $43 for a four-day pass).
Lantern Festival: Every year on Memorial Day, thousands of people gather at Magic Island at Ala Moana Beach Park to honor ancestors and loved ones who have passed away. At sundown, more than 3,000 candlelit lanterns are set afloat on the ocean, a traditional Buddhist rite originating in Japan.
Flight leaves from San Francisco. Add $11 for Los Angeles (add $11); $92 for Denver; $142 for Chicago.
Book Fast!: Leaves on Saturday, May 28.
Why it’s a deal: Airfare alone on United costs $860.
How to book: Contact United Vacations (888/854-3899, unitedvacations.com/budgettravel) and use promo code BUDGETAPR11.
LUXE LIFE IN VEGAS
Las Vegas, Air/3 Nights, from $422 (Delta Vacations)
This package includes airfare on Delta from Salt Lake City, and accommodations at the five-star Wynn Las Vegas Resort — complete with swanky spa, poolside blackjack and craps tables. The 640 square-foot deluxe rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views of either the Wynn's championship 18-hole golf course, or the Vegas Strip.
You can venture out to catch Memorial weekend headliners like Chelsea Handler (at Caesar's Palace May 28; tickets from $50) or Bill Cosby (performing at Treasure Island May 27; tickets from $60).
Leave on: Sunday
Why it’s a deal: Airfare alone costs $246; a three-night stay is worth about $285 per person. With this package, you’ll save $109 — a real Vegas value!
How to book: Use promo code BUDGETGG11 at deltavacations.com/budgettravel.
CRUISE THROUGH ALASKA’S GLACIERS
Alaskan Cruise on the Sapphire Princess, 7 Nights, From $562 (American Discount Cruises)
This package includes seven nights' accommodations in an inside cabin during a round-trip sail aboard the Sapphire Princess (afternoon tea service, and a nightclub 15 decks above the water), leaving from Seattle and taking in a tour of Alaska's Inside Passage (where average temperatures are in the pleasant high-fifties in late May), stopping in Ketchikan, Tracy Arm, Juneau, and Skagway in Alaska and Victoria in British Columbia.
See if you can spot the whales, sea lions, and Alaskan eagles in the fjord-like waterways of the state's wildlife-rich southeastern corner.
A recent search on Kayak.com showed great flight deals to Seattle: $320 from San Diego on Alaska Airlines, $320 from Dallas on American Airlines. $350 from Denver on US Airways, and $407 from Boston on AirTran.
Leave on: May 29. Be sure to book today (May 26).
Why it’s a deal: Booking this package saves you $187 on cruise fare alone.
How to book: Contact American Discount Cruises (866/214-7447, americandiscountcruises.com).
CLASSIC LONDON WEEKEND
London, Air/3 Nights, from $999 (British Airways)
Head across The Pond for a three-night stay in the heart of London. Package includes roundtrip airfare on British Airways and accommodations — with daily breakfast — in a studio apartment in London's distinguished Dolphin House. The open-plan spaces feature a bedroom, en suite bath, lounge (with flat-screen cable TV, DVD player), and kitchen with a microwave, refrigerator, dining area, dishware, and utensils.
The hotel, completed in 1937, has hosted a long list of dignitaries, and is located near Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the famed Tate Britain in Pimlico, a garden-filled neighborhood near Westminster that Winston Churchill once called home. Plus, with temperatures averaging in the mid-60s, it's the perfect time for a walk along the Thames — just across the street from your hotel.
Leave on: May 28
Why it's a deal: Flights on British Airways run $1,118, and accommodations run $365 — booked independently, this trip would run at least $1,483.
How to book: Visit www.ba.com/todaysdeal.
DISNEY ONE-STOP SHOP
OUR DEAL—Disney World, from $804 per adult and $435 per child (Delta Vacations)
This four-day family-friendly package bundles flight, hotel, and park passes, valid through the peak summer season. Includes round-trip airfare from Detroit; four nights at the Coronado Springs Resort at Walt Disney World; one 4-day Disney “Magic Your Way” pass per person, which provides access to one park per day; ground transportation; and fuel surcharges. Additional nights are only $35 per person.
Gateways: Detroit; New York (add $44); Cincinnati (add $164); Atlanta (add $101); Minneapolis-St. Paul (add $109). SS $360; $231 for additional nights.
Leave on: May 29
Why it’s a deal: Priced independently, the airfare, hotel accommodations, and park passes cost $861, so BT readers save $57 with this package.
How to book: Contact Delta Vacations (800/800-1504, deltavacations.com/budgettravel) and use promo code BUDGETMAY11.
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