Don't Miss These Summer Travel Sales!
Tour packages, hotels, cruises, and train travel are all on sale this summer. Here's what you need to know.
• Room rates start at just $99 a night this summer thanks to the Stay & Play Longer package, part of the Hilton Worldwide Caribbean Summer Sale happening now thru Aug. 31st. You'll get a fourth night free, a $100 resort credit per room per stay, and best of all, kids stay free. Participating hotels and resorts includeHilton Barbados Resort; British Colonial Hilton Nassau; Hilton Curaçao; Caribe Hilton, San Juan; Condado Lagoon Villas at Caribe Hilton; Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort; The Condado Plaza Hilton; Embassy Suites Dorado del Mar Beach Resort; Embassy Suites San Juan Hotel & Casino; El San Juan Resort & Casino, A Hilton Hotel; El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort; Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort; Hilton Santo Domingo; Embassy Suites by Hilton Santo Domingo; Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre; and Hilton Cartagena.
• Marriott Hotels & Resorts want you to Celebrate Summer! Book your stay at one of 34 participating properties on the east coast, west coast, Hawaii, or in the central U.S. by Sept. 7th and enjoy room rates from $129 a night and up to $100 in resort credit per night that can be used towards dining, golf, spa services, and other on-property perks. Valid on stays thru Sept. 30th.
• The Ka’anapali Beach Hotel in Maui is offering a special package this summer that gives you three nights' accommodations in a courtyard/pool view room, buffett breakfast for two at the hotel's Tiki Terrace Restaurant on the morning of your choice, daily rental car from Budget Rent A Car, and dinner for two at the Tiki Terrace Restaurant on the evening of your choice, from $757 per stay (based on single/double occupancy), a savings of 20 percent per person. Please refer to the Simply Simple package, valid now thru Jan. 4, 2016.
• Planning to check out Orlando's legendary theme parks this summer? Save by staying at the Hilton Orlando, where family-friendly rooms start at $109 a night and give you access to special kid-friendly glow-in-the-dark games and other poolside activities now thru Labor Day.
• You can save 65 percent on standard rates this summer at the Marigot Beach Club in St. Lucia. The Caramel Kiss Package starts at $99 a night and includes a spa treatment for two (caramel sugar scrub, chocolate facial, and caramel kiss pedicure), and daily breakfast. Valid from Aug. 1-31, 2015.
• Don't miss the Experience El Yunque package from the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino that gives you 30 percent off overnight accommodations at the resort, a half-day guided excursion to nearby El Yunque National Forest for two, two bottles of water, snacks, and late checkout, from $279 a night.
• The W Scottsdale in Scottsdale, Arizona, is offering special rates from $179 a night, a savings of 73 percent off regular high season rates. You'll get overnight accommodations at this luxe hotel, a W Scottsdale tote bag, sunblock and sunglasses, and a pitcher of Vitamin W, the hotel's signature cocktail, to celebrate. Refer to promo code VITAMINW when booking this deal online or call 877/822-0000 to book by phone.
• Get ready for great views and savings in Arizona this summer. Room rates at the newly renovated Hilton Sedona Resort at Bell Rock, located along the 7.5-mile Red Rock Scenic Byway, start at $168 a night.
• Visitors to Greater Williamsburg, Virginia, can take advantage of several specials this summer. Offers include accommodations at the Best Western Historic Area with breakfast and two passes to Busch Gardens Williamsburg from $99.99 a night (available now thru Sept. 7th), and savings on stays of at least two nights at the Days Hotel Busch Gardens Area from $69.99 a night including complimentary daily breakfast (valid now thru Oct. 31st), among others.
• Get to know Baltimore with the Best of Baltimore package by Hampton Inn & Suites Baltimore Inner Harbor. You'll get overnight accommodations, complimentary WiFi and daily breakfast, and a 'Baltimore's Best' goodie bag that includes local treats. The best part: 10 percent of the money earned from this package will be donated to the local food bank at St. Gregory's Church. Valid on stays now thru Sept. 6th.
• You can save 20 percent when you stay at Generator's London and Paris Hostels now thru Aug. 31st. With rates starting at $86 for a private room for two, or from about $26 per person for a dorm-style bed, you'll be saving big and staying in the heart of the action. Whichever location you choose, you're in for a treat: Generator Hostels are designed to look more like boutique hotels and offer a variety of fun activities—from pub crawls to game and movie nights—to help you get to know your fellow travelers.
• Intrepid Travel is offering a special 10 percent discount on all of their family-style tours when you book by July 31st (valid on travel thru July 31, 2016). Check the latest deals page often, and don't miss Intrepid Travel's last minute deals page for further discounts of up to 25 percent off last-minute getaways.
• G Adventures has several specials this summer, including 15 percent off select trips to Colombia, the Galápagos Islands, Europe, India, Japan, the Middle East, Morocco, Peru, the Himalayas, Southeast Asia, East Africa, South Africa, Australia, South Korea, China, Costa Rica, and South American cruises when you book by July 31st. Check this page to see their current promotions.
• Attention 18-35 year-olds: Contiki is offering 10 percent off European tours that are ten days or more when you book by July 8th—use promo code EUROPEMAGIC to save up to $554 per person (valid on travel thru Mar. 31, 2016). Keep an eye on their Last Minute Deals page if you're looking to have an unforgettable adventure for less.
• JourneYou is offering a special package during the Buenos Aires Tango Festival, held this year from Aug. 12-25. The tour, happening Aug. 21-26, includes five nights' accommodations at the tango-themed Tanguero Hotel in the heart of the city, airport transfers, a guided city tour of Buenos Aires, guided wine tour and tasting, a night of milonga "a lo guapo," a tango show at Café de los Angelitos, daily breakfast, and one dinner, from $1,190 per person.
• You can save up to $479 per person thanks to this last-minute European cruise sale by MSC Cruises. Save $50 per person on interior rooms, $100 per person on ocean view rooms, $150 per person on balcony rooms, and $200 per person on Aurea Suites and MSC Yacht Club rooms. Book your cruise by July 31st and use promo code AIRCREDT.
•Rail Europe is helping families save on train travel with some great deals on their rail passes. This year, up to two children ages 4-11 can travel for free with an adult on the Eurail Global, Eurail Select, Regional Eurail, and select single-country Eurail passes. Families traveling in Switzerland with children under 16, for example, can book a Swiss Travel Pass and save with the Swiss Family Card (kids ages 6-15 can travel free with a parent or guardian-the card itself is free, just request it when you book your pass). The German Rail Pass also offers free travel for up to two children between the ages of 6-11 with each paying adult.
OTHER GREAT SPECIALS
• You can save $250 instantly this summer when you book an air-inclusive vacation to Nassau Paradise Island in the Bahamas for at least four nights. Book your beach getaway by July 8th for travel by Dec. 18th. Blackout dates do apply between Nov. 22nd and 27th. Click the link above for more details.
This Weekend: A new park in Washington State
Cama Beach State Park on Camano Island, about a 90-minute drive from Seattle, will open this Saturday. The 433-acre area is the first state park in Washington in more than a decade. The entire project took 18 years and $35 million; the land was once used for logging and was a fishing resort for about 50 years. In addition to typical activities—picnicking, hiking, and fishing— the newest attraction the park is offering is overnight accommodations in 31 restored cabins along the waterfront. The experience is straight out of 1930s, at the height of the resort's popularity. Think small, quaint porches, rocking chairs, and handmade quilts. The park opening has caused such a stir that the cabins are booked through October. The opening will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 21, and is free to the public. The park is located at 1880 S. West Camano Drive, Camano Island. For information or reservations, call 360/387-1550.
This Weekend: Montreal Jazz Festival kicks off
It wouldn't be summer without jazz festivals, and Montreal’s is one of the best and biggest. More than 3,000 musicians—among them, Ravi Coltrane, Leonard Cohen, and Steely Dan—will perform at the 29th annual festival, from June 26 to July 6. There are hundreds of free outdoor shows on 10 stages, and more than 150 shows lined up for the indoor concert series (tickets range from $12 to $140). The festival, held in downtown Montreal, is dedicated this year to the late Oscar Peterson, a jazz piano legend. There are two debuts of note: Woody Allen, with his New Orleans Jazz Band, and Aretha Franklin, whose shows are sold out. Interested in going? There are still hotel packages available. PREVIOUSLY: Montreal Locals Share Travel Tips My Montreal is Better Than Yours
Gear: For summer, a new family-friendly backpack
On a recent visit to the Briggs & Riley Travelware showroom, the Family Backpack caught my eye. The backpack, which hits stores this week, is tailored to parents on the go. It has a front compartment for a portable DVD player, a separate organizer for a cell phone or iPod, an outer side strap for a sippy cup or water bottle, and a side pocket with waterproof lining. A band in the back allows you to slip the entire bag over the handle of any carry-on rolling suitcase. The main compartment features a sleek insulated lunch bag that rests on a collapsible shelf and is held in place by Velcro. The shelf makes it easy to stuff diapers, books, and other items around the lunch bag, but you can also fold it up when you want to maximize the backpack’s interior. At $199, the Family Backpack isn’t cheap, but it is cheaper—and can get more day-to-day use—than the company’s current bestseller, the 22-inch Baseline rolling carry-on. Last year, I visited Mrs. Grossman’s Sticker Factory in Petaluma, Calif., with my then 5-year-old niece. I remember trying to hold my niece’s hand while juggling our picnic lunch and her sweatshirt. A backpack like this would’ve helped to streamline the chaos. If you have any gear recommendations, share them by posting a comment below.
From the top: Statue of Liberty's crown may reopen
The National Park Service is considering reopening the Statue of Liberty's crown to the public, according to documents released by Rep. Anthony Weiner, of New York. Although the base, pedestal, and lower observation deck reopened to the public in the fall of 2004, the crown has remained closed since 9/11. The crown's current configuration makes it impossible to evacuate the area in the case of emergency. The NPS has asked companies for bids on fixing the crown so that it complies with building and fire codes. This move has a lot to do with declining tourism. Weiner, who organized a congressional hearing on the issue last fall, pointed out that there's been a big downturn in visitor numbers: 3.6 million people visited the Statue of Liberty in 2000, but six years later, that number had gone down to 2.5 million. Of course, while not being able to reach the top probably did cause some travelers to skip Lady Liberty, the increased security and related hassles involved in getting there probably have more to do with the downturn. And that's not likely to be going away. MORE ON NEW YORK CITY 50 Reasons You Love New York City