You can still snag some family discounts and outright international bargains for traveling this summer -- as long as you stick to Hawaiian, Caribbean, and Mexican beaches.
The all-inclusive Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa (tel. 866/978-6226; www.cbayresort.com) on the south coast of tropical St. Lucia is offering a Recession Relief Package where kids under the age of 18 stay, eat, and play for free. Confirm a reservation before May 31, 2008 and stay anytime before December 31, 2008. All-inclusive rates start at $594 for four days and three nights for a family of four staying in one room (a discount of approximately 72% off the regular price of $2,100). While staying at Coconut Bay Beach Resort & Spa you'll get full breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks daily, unlimited drinks and alcoholic beverages, a fully supervised children's center with daily schedule of activities, daily entertainment program, the island's largest water park, three swimming pools, a full-service oceanfront spa airport transfers from St. Lucia's Hewanorra International Airport, all hotel taxes and gratuities and one round of paintball for the entire family. Oh, and did I mention the best part? Your accommodation price also includes two 30-minute massages. Summer flights to St Lucia start from $523 including all taxes from Miami, $603 out of New York-Newark, $687 from Chicago, and $739 from Dallas.
Pleasant Holidays (tel. 800/448-3333; www.pleasantholidays.com) has launched a "Kids Fly For $110 To Hawaii This Summer" promotion. Travel to Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and Hawaii's Big Island and your children's flights are only $110 from Los Angeles or San Francisco. This comes at a perfect time, especially considering the recent demise of Aloha Air. For a family of two adults and two children, this special represents savings of up to $980 which is unheard of during the peak summer vacation season. Reservations must be made by May 26, 2008 for travel from Los Angeles or San Francisco between June 15 and August 31, 2008. To qualify, the child must be 17 years or younger and must travel with one full-paying adult on the same flight itinerary. There is a round-trip purchase and minimum five-night hotel stay required. Five-night vacations for a family of four, per person, including round-trip airfare from Los Angeles or San Francisco and hotel accommodations begin at $479 to Hawaii's Big Island; $495 to Kauai; $499 to Oahu; and $525 to Maui (staying at "kids stay free" hotels). Pleasant Holidays is also featuring special rates at Starwood Hawaii properties, with added values including free nights, reduced rates, dining credits, daily buffet breakfast and more, starting at $589 per person for a family of four to Oahu. Rates include a fuel surcharge of $110 and Hawaii ticket tax but other airport and airline taxes are additional.
Stay at one of eight different Occidental Grand and Allegro (tel. 800/858-2258; www.occidentalhotels.com) all-inclusive resorts throughout Mexico, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic this summer and save up to 40% off regular rates. Experience the beach breeze at Allegro Playa Dorada in the Dominican Republic or zip line through the rainforest in Guanacaste, Costa Rica while paying less with rates that start as low as $56 per person, per night if you book by May 30, 2008 for travel until August 31, 2008. Take the family along with children aged three to 12 vacationing for free at all Allegro resorts through December 19, 2008. The all-inclusive rates feature unlimited meals, snacks and drinks, scuba classes, snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, windsurfing, horseback riding and dance classes, a supervised Kids Club, daily entertainment and activities plus access to the sauna, whirlpool and steam room at the spa.
Sample prices include:
- Allegro Playacar, Mexico from $102 until June 27
- Allegro Playa Dorada, Dominican Republic from $56 until August 31
- Allegro Nuevo Vallarta, Mexico from $75 until August 31
- Allegro Papagayo, Costa Rica from $87 until August 31
- Occidental Grand Punta Cana, Dominican Republic from $89 until June 27
- Occidental Grand Xcaret, Mexico from $122 until August 31
- Occidental Grand Cozumel, Mexico from $133 until August 31
- Occidental Grand Papagayo, Costa Rica from $165 until June 28
Apple Vacations (tel. 800/517-2000; www.applevacations.com) has a seven-night Punta Cana, Dominican Republic getaway including airfare and staying at The Sunscape all-inclusive resort priced from $799 per person plus taxes for travel from July to December 2008 ($30 more for departures in June, 2008) representing a savings of up to $600 per person. Up to two children under 12 stay, play, and eat for free when accompanied by paying adults sharing the same room. Your vacation includes roundtrip airfare; hotel accommodations; airport/hotel transfers; meals and drinks at your choice of six restaurants; tennis courts and swimming pools; a full service health club and spa; entertainment and tips. The trip is priced from $799 from Philadelphia, $839 from Los Angeles or Dallas, $849 from New York or $859 from Boston. Three and four-night packages are also available.
Rather that staying at a resort, try a Caribbean villa instead and actually save. Rentalo.com (tel. 877/710-5914; www.rentalo.com) offers a wide selection of family-friendly villa options, some large enough to accommodate your entire extended family or a couple of smaller families traveling together. Here are a few enticing ideas that are well within the budget for family summer travel:
- Villa del Sol -- Cofresi, Dominican Republic (13 miles from the Puerto Plata airport) - This four bedrooms, three bathroom home sleeps eight and more importantly includes the services of a cook/maid/housekeeper, who will prepare meals and teach the kids some Spanish. The palm-lined beach is a mere 100 yards away and from now until August 31, the price is only $770 a week for four people, plus $15 per person per night for additional people, plus 13% tax,
- Hacienda Margarita, Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico -- A four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bath luxurious home sleeps 10 and is located in a gated community with a swimming pool and tennis courts. With views of the Caribbean Sea, it is a short distance to the beach or to El Yunque Rain Forest. Rent from July 1 to November 30, 2008 for $1,200 per week.
- Chez Nous Villa, Montego Bay, Jamaica -- A three bedroom home located in the Ironshore villa community near the airport, beaches, golf courses, restaurants and nightlife. A staff of two is included, as is a beautiful swimming pool and fruit-tree filled garden. The price for six people is $900 a week from May to November.
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