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-priced 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.
Florida Keys for $435
Air from New Orleans to Miami or Key West and three nights on Islamorada at the Cheeca Lodge & Spa, with a golf course, two pools, and a private beach. When: Monday--Thursday departures July 5--Sept. 30. Other Gateways: New York ($455), Kansas City ($465), Chicago ($479), L.A. ($555). Details: Extra nights $56. Single supplement $196. The resort is 72 miles south of Miami or 90 miles northeast of Key West; add a round-trip car rental starting at $128. Contact: Leisure Link International, 888/801-8808, eleisurelink.com.
Los Angeles for $164
Southwest Airlines flights from Las Vegas, Phoenix, or Tucson, and two nights at Beverly Garland's Holiday Inn, with free shuttle service to Universal Studios Hollywood, one mile away. When: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday departures July 2--Sept. 10. Other Gateways: Austin, Oklahoma City (from $284); Chicago, Philadelphia (from $314). Details: Extra nights from $45. Single supplement from $95. Contact: Southwest Airlines Vacations, 800/423-5683, swavacations.com.
New Orleans for $260
American Airlines flights from Dallas and three nights at the Fairmont New Orleans, a block from the French Quarter. When: Monday--Thursday departures July 4--Sept. 5 ($260) and Sept. 6--Oct. 21 ($375). Other Gateways: L.A. ($383/$498); Chicago ($400/$515); Boston, New York ($409/$524). Details: Extra nights from $60. Single supplement from $105. Contact: AmericanAirlines Vacations, 800/321-2121, aavacations.com.
Oahu for $570
Delta Airlines flights from L.A., transfers, and five nights at the Ohana Maile Sky Court, near the Royal Hawaiian Shopping Center and within walking distance of Waikiki Beach. When: Daily departures until Nov. 11. Other Gateways: Denver ($801), New York ($830), Chicago ($845). Details: Extra nights $67. Single supplement from $199. Land-only price is $204 until Dec. 16. Contact: Pleasant Holidays, 800/448-3333, pleasantholidays.com.
Palm Springs for $309
American Airlines flights from Chicago to Palm Springs and three nights at the Doral Desert Princess Resort, with a large pool, full spa, 10 tennis courts, and 27 holes of championship golf. When: Daily departures until Sept. 30. Other Gateways: Dallas ($328), Boston ($387), New York ($426). Details: Extra nights from $41. The rate for a single starts at $255 (single room). Contact: AmericanAirlines Vacations, 800/321-2121, aavacations.com.