10 Affordable Family Getaways for Summer and Fall
Published: March 2009
By Jim Glab
Two family-friendly properties—the Argent, in San Francisco, and Tenaya Lodge, near the entrance to Yosemite National Park—offer a seven-night summer package at a cost of $789 per person, double, or a saving of about 37 percent. It includes two weekend nights in San Francisco, four nights at Yosemite, and a final night back in San Francisco, plus daily breakfast for parents and a Yosemite gate pass for the whole family. Up to two children can share their parents' room free; children's breakfast is $5.95. To book, call 877/322-5492 or visit www.tenayalodge.com
NEW YORK CITY
The average rate for a double room in Manhattan is well over $250. But the Avalon (888/442-8256; www.theavalonny.com), a boutique hotel on East 32nd Street off Madison Avenue, has a two-night package in a junior suite (one queen or two double beds, plus a pullout twin bed) for $450. Up to three kids can share with their parents at no additional cost; the price includes two adult CityPasses, good for admission to the Empire State Building observation deck nearby, the Intrepid Sea Air Space Museum, and more.
Short-term rentals of furnished apartments and town houses in London, available through In the English Manner (800/422-0799; www.english-manner.com), have rates this summer that average $200 a week less than last year. A two-bedroom flat in South Kensington that went for $2,315 per week last year costs $2,125 this summer, and a three-bedroom unit near Knightsbridge drops from $2,915 a week to $2,690.
Two special offers from National Car Rental (800/227-7368; www.nationalcar.com) are good through June: a nationwide weekly rate of $199 for an intermediate-sized car, or a 15 percent discount for any midsized or larger car when the booking is made through its Web site. Taxes and airport fees are extra.
Even though summer is high season in Bermuda, Kingdom Vacations (800/626-8747; www.kingdomvacations.com) charges wholesale rates and waives extra-person fees at key hotels to save hundreds of dollars for families from now through October. Starting adult prices for five-night packages: $719 per person, double, at Grotto Bay Beach Resort (kids 16 and under stay free), $835 at Sonesta Beach Resort & Spa (free for those 16 and under), and $1,069 at the Southampton Princess (children 18 and under free).
To introduce its new 6,000-square-foot water park, the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess (800/344-4758; www.fairmont.com) rolls out a Sonoran Splash package from June 22 through September 9. With a starting price of $129 a night during the week or $149 on weekends (no extra charge for children 16 and under sharing their parents' room), it provides free breakfast for kids 12 and under who eat with their parents; two-for-one ($60) admission to the hotel's supervised activities program; and poolside movies.
Wait until August 25 and a "kids stay free" policy kicks in (through December 15) at Club Med's newly renovated and expanded family village at Punta Cana (800/258-2633; www.clubmed.com). The price of a seven-night, air-inclusive package for kids is $471 from New York (originally $961), $771 from Chicago (originally $1,261), and $871 from Los Angeles (originally $1,361). Under this promotion, the resort defines "kids" as children 17 and under. All-inclusive prices per adult are $1,290 from New York, $1,590 from Chicago, and $1,690 from L.A.
Families in the Midwest will have an affordable option for reaching the attractions of central Florida beginning July 1. That's when Delta Express (800/325-5205; www.flydlx.com)—a no-frills affiliate of Delta Air Lines—introduces service to Orlando from Chicago, with introductory advance-purchase fares as low as $198 round-trip through September. On July 7, it adds Chicago—Fort Lauderdale flights, with fares starting at $258 round-trip.
Until September 10, a family package at the Westin Mission Hills Resort (800/228-3000; www.westin.com) costs $95 a night on weekdays and $129 on weekends (for a family of four). Kids get unlimited soft drink refills at poolside, and two can join the resort's Cactus Kids Club program for the price of one ($12 per hour). Moreover, children 12 and under eat free with adult meal purchases.
Rental agency Country Cottages (800/674-8883; www.villacentral.com) has money-saving packages that cover round-trip airfare on British Airways to Rome or Milan, a fully furnished villa for seven nights, and a rental car (including value-added tax and unlimited mileage). Through June 15, and again from September 7 through October, the rate for four people sharing a two-bedroom villa in Tuscany is $1,469 per person from New York or Boston (in peak season, it's $200 more each). For kids under two, the total package costs $139 in the off-season, $164 peak. Low-cost airfare add-ons are available from other U.S. cities; villas with up to four bedrooms can be booked.