40 Best Bargain Vacations
The Real Deals right now
What You Need to Know to Use This Section
All of the rates and packages are accurate and available as of press time, but these trips usually sell out quickly.
Additional fees: Any service fees, security and passenger-facility charges, and visa costs generally aren't included; neither are hotel, car rental, and airport taxes. Such charges vary widely--expect $300 (and higher) for spots where visas alone cost $100 or more.
Timing: Most rates are based on midweek airfare; weekend travel can raise the price $100 or more each way. Be flexible.
Singles Rates: are per person, for two people traveling together and sharing a room. The single supplement is the fee levied for going alone.
Itinerary changes: You can often add nights: The extra-night rate is per person, double occupancy. Most operators will bundle excursions, meals, and tours for an additional cost.
Research: Hotels will be clean and safe, offering the basics for a basic price. The lowest-price ones may not be centrally located. As with any serious purchase, you should do some research. Many websites--TripAdvisor and Epinions, for example--post reviews of hotels and cruises. If you don't like what you see, upgrades to better hotels are almost always available.
Airfare: Where flights are included, we list prices from several airports ("gateways"), but we don't have space to show them all. Operators may arrange connections from other airports, but don't assume they'll always give you the best rate. It might make more sense to book your flights using frequent-flier miles or a low-cost airline. Also, check to see how many connections you'll have to make.
All-inclusives: All-inclusive resorts usually cover lodging, three meals daily, entertainment, and nonmotorized water sports. Some also include alcoholic drinks and gratuities.
The Real Deals Right Now
A New Place to Play in Vegas for $620
At exactly 12:01 a.m. on April 28, the doors finally opened to Steve Wynn's eponymous new $2.7 billion megaresort on the Las Vegas Strip--revealing 200 acres of unbridled decadence, from the 2,700 hotel rooms to the 100,000-square-foot casino to the 18-hole championship golf course (the only one on the Strip) to the mini-mall selling Manolo Blahniks and Ferraris. Get your own piece of the action with Champion Air charter flights from Dallas or Minneapolis and four nights in a resort room at the Wynn Las Vegas. When: Sunday departures June 5--Aug. 28 (except June 5 and July 24 from Minneapolis). Other Gateways: Detroit (from $670) and St. Louis (from $660), but dates vary. Details: No extra nights. Single supplement from $436. Contact: Worry-Free Vacations, 888/225-5658, worryfreevacations.com.
Arizona for $260
Air from L.A. and three nights at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Gainey Ranch, just outside Phoenix. The hotel offers 10 swimming pools, a three-story waterslide, three restaurants, eight tennis courts, a full spa, and 27 holes of golf. When: Select Sunday and Monday departures May 30--Sept. 17. Other Gateways: San Francisco ($327), Denver ($380), Chicago ($415), Boston ($463). Details: Extra nights $80. Single supplement $160. Contact: America West Vacations, 800/235-9298, americawestvacations.com.
Disney World for $379
Air from Boston, D.C., or New York and three nights at Disney's giant Pop Century Resort. When: Monday departures July 11--Aug. 22. Other Gateways: Charlotte, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh ($399). Details: Extra nights from $60. Single supplement from $170. A two-day ParkHopper pass costs $154 from Disney; three days $206. Upgrade to Disney's Caribbean Beach Resort starting at $70 more. Contact: US Airways Vacations, 800/352-8747, usairwaysvacations.com.
Fort Lauderdale for $299
Air from New York and three nights at the three-star Holiday Inn Lauderdale by the Sea, with a pool and fitness room. When: Until Nov. 30. Other Gateways: D.C. ($329); Boston, Chicago ($349); Dallas ($375); L.A. ($399); San Francisco ($429). Details: Extra nights $49. Single supplement $149. Upgrade to the four-star Sheraton Yankee Trader Hotel for $35 more. Contact: Leisure Link International, 888/801-8808, eleisurelink.com.
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