If you’re reading this post in a part of the world where winter has not yet gracefully given way to spring, you're no doubt longing to escape to a place with the precise weather you want. But what if you haven't planned a spring getaway and don't exactly have a lot of money to spend on one? Don't fret, we're here to help!
While "the travel market is stronger this year than last year and rates are higher, there are creative ways to get a better value," says Bob Diener, co-founder of Hotels.com and GetARoom.com. In the case of hotels, he says, you might find this value by taking advantage of flash sales and unpublished rates, or by seeking out properties with 14 to 21-day advance discounts. Many hotels, he adds, might offer a "third night free or a lower rate for stays of three nights or more."
How else might you save on a spring getaway? I picked Diener's brain about where to find deals this spring, as well as how families in particular might squeeze more value out of their spring travels.
1. End-of-season ski deals. There's "nothing like spring skiing," says Diener. "The weather is warmer and the rates are much lower," noting that March is the time to score a room at the Lodge & Spa at Breckenridge from $149/night.
2. Europe and Russia bargains reign through March. Airfares to across the pond will be lower through the end of March compared to other times this spring, with the best values to be found for flights bound for Moscow and London, Diener says.
3. Think ahead for festival fun. In Washington, D.C., the Cherry Blossom festival will happen March 20 through April 14; book as soon as possible for best rates there, Diener says, as well as for festival-grazing in New Orleans. He points out that beyond the Big Easy's Jazz Festival, slated for April 26–May 5, you can also catch "free concerts in Lafayette Square every Wednesday in April, May, and June, from 5 to 7:30 pm."
4. Vegas, baby. What’s Diener's top pick for a value family spring break destination? "Las Vegas. Rates on the strip [can go as] low as $21/night and there’s tons of entertainment for the entire family." The second best value, he says, is Orlando, "where you can find big suites for under $100/night."
5. Ask about kids-stay-free deals. Diener reminds parents that "many hotels and resorts allow kids to stay for free," though obviously you have to check age maximums "which vary from property to property."
And if a hotel does say it charges for kids, is it worthwhile for travelers to call and ask the property to waive the fee? "Large corporate hotels will unlikely change the policy," Diener says, "but it may sometimes work on smaller independent hotels."
MORE from ShermansTravel: