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Saturday, June 28, 2014

Where To Save Money on Summer Travel

People are always asking me, “Laura, where can I travel in the summer that won’t cost me an arm and a leg?” I reply with a body of answers, none of which involve the oxymoronic word staycation.

My advice:

1. Head to places where summer is the off-season (like Scottsdale or Dallas)
2. Head to places where it’s hurricane season (notably the Caribbean, Florida, or parts of Mexico)
3. Head to places the dollar has some bite (Vietnam, Thailand, Greece)

Let’s investigate further.

As we all know, it’s hot as the dickens in Arizona in July and August, even accounting for the dry air. When the thermometer is north of 100 degrees, it’s sticky, no matter how arid the air. That said, if you are looking for a real steal on a luxury hotel room, the Scottsdale area is the place to go. To wit:

The Four Seasons Resort Scottsdale at Troon North has summer rates starting at $169 versus $459 in the high season.

The Westin Kierland Resort & Spa in Scottsdale has a new package called Aloha Summer. It features a  “buy one, get one free” surfing ride on the resort's wave simulator and a $50 per night dining credit. The package starts at $149 per room versus the regular room-only rate of $400 nightly.

The Lodge at Ventana Canyon is an all-suite property with two golf courses, 12 lighted tennis courts (because you will want to play at night) and a spa. Book the “Beat the Heat” deal, where every additional night you add to an existing reservation is priced at the temperature of the day. The price includes the $24 daily resort fee and the $20 resort credit.  Pray for a record cold snap.

Southwestern cities in general are good places to find hot deals. Business travel slows, so hotels in sweltering metropolises like Phoenix and Dallas often reduce room rates. For those visiting the Big D, check out the historic Warwick Melrose Hotel. It’s celebrating its 90th birthday this year with $90 room rates on select dates. A classic king room, which normally goes for $499 or so, will only set you back 90 bucks most nights in July and August. Whoa, cowboy!

In addition to the hotel deals, summer flights are usually plentiful and cheap to these types of destinations, which largely rely on business and convention travel during the rest of the year.

Next Up: Braving Hurricanes

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