Holiday Getaways

December 7, 2009 10:31:43 AM PST
The economy has made taking a vacation challenging for everyone, but there are some terrific travel deals for people who want to get away over the holidays. The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufmann shares some pointers on how to stretch your travel dollar and find a bargain.

EXPLORE OFF SEASON

Hilton Head Island www.hiltonheadisland.org offers a savings of 40% off during the off peak season. You can still play golf, bike ride at the beach, visit family friendly attractions even in the winter as temps are mild.

Las Vegas www.visitlasvegas.com has big discounts before New Year's with room rates on the strip as low as $31 a night with lots of bonus offers like an all you can eat, 24 hour VIP pass for $29 a Excalibur Buffet; $25 value passport at New York, New York; and buy one get a second ticket for $25 at Cirque Du Soliel.

LOOK FOR THE ADDED VALUES

Cruises are always a great deal because they include meals, accommodations, shipboard activities and stops at different ports of call. Right now cruises in December are $155 for four nights out of Fort Lauderdale and $179 for four nights out of Los Angeles. Lots of holiday deals on cruises still can be found at www.cruising.org

Great Wolf Lodges step up for the holidays with Santa themed activities, family story telling, holiday festivities and the price of water park admission included in the room rate.

FIND FAMILY FREEBIES

There is an entire page of kids ski free offerings from Colorado to Canada at www.ski.com.

Kids sail free on Disney and Costa cruises and kids always eat free at Holiday Inn hotels.

CONSIDER A STAYCATION

· Brookfield Zoo www.brookfieldzoo.org has a new Wild Lights Spectacular and Indoor Model Train Display.

· For holiday train enthusiasts, The Holiday Trains at the Morton Arboretum www.mortonarb.org and Chicago Botanical Gardens www.chicagobotanic.org are must sees. (File video: botanic garden train: 6v_botanic_trains_WLS01K42 or 10_v_botanic_trains_WLS01K55

· To celebrate family holiday fun Navy Pier and Millennium Park are loaded with activities like ice skating and caroling. (File video or IBOT)

· If you are looking to charge up your holiday battery and maybe do some shopping, Ritz Carlton-Chicago http://www.fourseasons.com/chicagorc/ has a package for $395 a night that includes a $100 spa credit and complimentary breakfast for two.

· The Park Hyatt www.parkchicago.hyatt.com has holiday packages that include tickets to the Joffrey Ballet's Nutcracker or admission to the Museum of Science and Industry to see the "Christmas Around the World" display.


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