Saving in Summer
Published: May 2009
By Jim Glab
12 Affordable Summer Escapes
HAWAII The Orchid at Mauna Lani, a member of Starwood Hotels' Luxury Collection on the Big Island, offers a family package through December 19 at a starting rate of $475 per night (800/845-9905; www.orchidmaunalani.com). That buys two rooms—one for you, one for the kids—and also coversparticipation in the resort's supervised kids' program, and dinner for up to two children each night. A minimum three-night stay is required.
CHICAGO Starting in early May, admission to several top family attractions is available at a discount of 50 percent or more through the new Chicago City Pass (www.citypass.net). The pass, valid for nine days, costs$30.50 for adults and $22.75 for kids ages 3-11 and gets you into the Art Institute, Sears Tower Sky Deck, Museum of Science & Industry, AdlerPlanetarium, and more.
CRUISE Interested in a family-friendly sailing?Try the new seven-day Caribbean package offered by Disney Cruise Line (800/951-3532; www.disney.go.com/disneycruise). The Disney Magic sails to St. Thomas, St. Maarten, and Disney's private island.From August 12 through December 30, prices range from $829 to $1,569 per adult, based on two people sharing a cabin. Kids ages 3-17 sharing their parents' cabin pay$449- $749; children under three sail for $119.
YOSEMITE From June 25 through Labor Day, accommodations at Tenaya Lodge at Yosemite (888/514-2167; www.tenayalodge.com) cost $195 a night, double, Sunday through Thursday, with a three-nightminimum stay. Children can share their parents' room at no extra cost. The resort is about two miles from the Highway 41 entrance to Yosemite National Park.
LONDON/PARIS With United Vacations, you'll save 17 percent on family packages to London and Paris from April through June 15 (800/328-6877; www.unitedvacations.com). Prices to London for a family of four (including two kids 11 or younger) start at $2,364 from New York; $2,959 from Chicago; and $3,184 from Los Angeles. The rate covers airfare, three nights in a hotel, three-day museum passes, TravelCards for London public transit, and a sightseeing tour. Prices to Paris are $2,814; $3,094; and $3,464.
FLORIDA At the Sawgrass Marriott Resort in Vedra Beach, the Summer Family Fun Getaway plan starts at just $125 a night from July to mid-September (800/457-4653; www.marriotthotels.com), and includes accommodations for the family in a shared room, a free kid's meal with each adult purchase, reduced rates for a supervised children's activity program, and discount coupons for 20 attractions in the Jacksonville/St. Augustine area.
ST. BART'S A private villa that seems out of your league in winter may be affordable now, and the West Indies Management Co. (800/932-3222; www.wimco.com) has lots of them in St. Bart's, from one to six bedrooms, most with private pools. Two-bedroom villa rates start at about $2,000 for seven nights from mid-April through mid-December.
ROCKY MOUNTAINS Marriott Vacation Club International has low off-season rates from April 9 to September 24 at its mountain resorts in Breckenridge and Vail, Colorado, and Park City, Utah (800/845-5729; www.marriott.com). Rooms start at $95 per night in Breckenridge, $75 in Vail, and $100 in Park City.One- and two-bedroom units are also available.
SWITZERLAND Rail Europe offers a variety of discount passes. The Swiss Family Card allows children under 16 to ride the train free with their parents (888/382-7245; www.raileurope.com). Two adults traveling together get a price break as well with the Saverpass. The Flexipass, good for four days of travel in a month, costs $234 per person first-class or $156 second-class, versus individual adult fares of $276/$184.
ST. CROIX The new Divi Carina Bay Resort (800/554-2008; www.divicarina.com), on St. Croix's Grapetree Beach, has off-season rates that start at $175 a night, double, from April 15 to December 15. Children up to age 16 share parents' rooms free; those 4-12 can participate in the resort'skids' program.
EUROPE KD River Cruises of Europe (800/346-6525; www.rivercruises.com) lets children under 14 sail free in July and August when they share a cabin with an adult. Starting cruise rates for adults, per person, double occupancy: $980 for a four-night Rhine cruise between Basel, Switzerland, and Amsterdam; $1,000 for various seven-day tripson the Danube.
CALIFORNIA The Walt Disney Travel Co. (800/854-3104; www.disneyland.com) offers a four-night Disneyland package for the price of three nights, on bookings made by May 16 for arrivals through May 21. Kidsages 2-11 can also fly free (one per adult) on participating airlines, including Alaska, United, and America West, and they can share a hotel room with parents at no extra charge. The air-inclusive package price for one adult and one child, based on adult double occupancy, starts at $369 from San Francisco, $469 from Seattle, and $589 from Denver.