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This week's Smart Deal sends you to Hawaii, although not on the recently defunct Aloha Airlines, we promise. Hotels.com (tel. 800/324-7838; www.hotels.com) is offering some packages for four nights of accommodations and roundtrip airfare to various Hawaiian islands, starting from $611 per person for late spring travel. Most of the prices advertised reflect departures in early to mid-May, so it is important to remember that your price may vary depending on when you want to go and your departure gate. There are two separate sections on the page for luxury deals, and that lists last-minute deals. The not-so-surprising lesson is that you can save nearly half by planning ahead, rather than traveling on the spur of the moment.

The lowest-quoted price is for the three-star rated Sheraton Princess Kaiulani and is based on four nights of accommodations and roundtrip airfare from Los Angeles to Oahu for travel May 8-12. The Sheraton is situated near the International Market Place and Royal Hawaiian shopping center and a half of a mile from Kapiolani Park, a 500-acre protected site. On Hawaii, the Big Island, choose from a few others such as the Royal Kona Resort, an oceanfront property near the Kailua-Kona shopping and dining district and one that has a calm-water beach cove suitable for swimming and snorkeling. The price is calculated based on travel May 1-5 from Los Angeles.

Elsewhere, Maui's Lahaina Shores Beach Resort is available for a little bit more money, $704, for the same parameters. For those who want to cook and need more space, this one is a beachfront hotel comprised of condo units. It's located about a half a mile from the Harbor and its associated shopping, dining and gallery options. You will also receive a Continental breakfast daily and an orientation to the area on the morning after you arrive. On the eastern part of Kauai, the Sands Hotel is available from $645, but for a bit more money, $665, you can book the ResortQuest Islander, a three-star property with old Hawaii-style décor, including plantation-style furnishings and lanais that allow you to take in the tropical environment.

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