Samantha Brown shares tips for summer travel deals
Recently, we sat down with Travel Channel host Samantha Brown to ask her expert tips on getting more for your money by finding summer travel deals. “Everyone is so mindful of their budget these days,” she said. “It’s gotten to the point of canceling travel, and that is so disheartening. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this business, it’s that travel is a necessity, not a luxury. It’s good for our bodies and our minds.”
So how do you stretch your dollars on vacation?
"Big cities like Chicago and New York can be great because a lot of them have free street fairs and festivals in the summer," said Brown. "Many of their hotels also cater to the business crowd. Come the end of the workweek, they are looking to fill empty rooms and will offer some good weekend deals."
But Brown's favorite piece of advice is "think in terms of opposites."
"Everyone wants to plan a beach vacation, but ski resorts and mountain cities aren't as popular because most people visit for snow activities. Hotels at these destinations tend to have some of the best summer travel deals."
That got us thinking: What kind of off-season summer hotel deals could we dig up? The answer: lots. From cool mountain escapes to beachside chic, here are some of our favorite summer travel specials.
Park City, Utah
In January, Hollywood's elite crowd swamps this Utah mountain retreat for the Sundance Film Festival, but you can take advantage of its celebrity-worthy amenities for almost half the price. Hotels along historic Main Street, like The Sky Lodge, offer package deals that let you live the high life without the price tag. The resort's Saddle Up package is $560 and includes suite accommodations, breakfast for two and a guided horseback ride through Uinta mountain trails with picnic lunch and transportation.
Greater Palm Springs, California
If you're within driving distance of this Southern California getaway, consider a summer sojourn at any of the Retreat Palm Springs participating hotels and you'll get an incentive to offset driving costs. Rancho Las Palmas Resort & Spa has rooms starting at just $149 per night. Home to Splashtopia, a fantastic water feature with lazy river, slides and sandy beach, Rancho Las Palmas is a great spot for a family summer vacation. Book the REFUEL package for a $25 gas card.
Cochise County, Arizona
Cochise County in southeastern Arizona is often overlooked during the summer because people assume going north to spots like Flagstaff is the only way to keep cool – but that's so not true. In fact, much of the county is at 3,400 feet minimum, which makes for a nice cool weather escape. The mile-high city of Bisbee is a favorite among the creative crowd who love shopping for funky art and antiques along the main drag. Quaint bed-and-breakfasts like the Letson Loft Hotel have rooms starting at $115.
U.S. Virgin Islands
This summer, U.S. Virgin Islands' boutique hotels are running the Intimate Treasures program that includes $100 in savings with coupons for dining, attractions and activities. Book at any of the participating hotels on St. Croix, St. John or St. Thomas, and you'll also get an eco-friendly gift bag with goodies like a bottle of rum! The Tamarind Reef Resort & Spa, a boutique hotel on St. Croix with 38 beachfront rooms, has rates starting at just $200 per night.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Book a stay at any of the 13 luxury hotels participating in the Vacation Like a VIP program and receive a room upgrade, $100 resort credit, $25 American Express gift card and a savings card for local attractions. Room rates at the recently renovated Pillars Hotel, a chic property that overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway, start at $214 this summer. Chef Youssef Hammi, whose mentors include famous New York chef Michel Bourgignon of L'Absinthe, runs the onsite restaurant, and the hotel is within walking distance of the beach.