This week, I've found an amazing deal that makes a trip to French Polynesia much more affordable. Yes, Tahiti may seem out of reach for many travelers, particularly families, but this new deal from Air Tahiti Nui may make it possible if you have a substantial budget.
For $1,998 per adult, the Family Fun deal includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles (including the airline's fuel surcharge but not taxes and fees) and five nights' accommodations at the five-star Le Meridian Tahiti, plus an airport meet-and-greet and hotel transfers. What makes this deal compelling for families is that it includes free airfare, hotel, and meals for children 11 and younger. One child per paying adult is eligible for the freebies.
The price is based on departures on Wednesdays or Fridays from November 1, 2008, through May 31, 2009. Tahiti sounds like a far-away, exotic destination—too far to bring kids—but in reality, it's less than eight hours nonstop from LAX.
Of course, this offer is a great deal for travelers departing from Los Angeles, but if you can snag a cheap flight to Los Angeles from your closest departure city, it may be a deal for you, too. It's definitely worth investigating because kids-fly-free deals can't be beat, particularly in this case, when airfare to Tahiti is normally quite expensive.
Question of the Week
Reader Zartan asked this question: "Here's one for you. I don't have any more vacation time left for the summer, but I'd love to take my family to the island of Nantucket for a week this fall or winter, either staying at a reasonably priced inn or B&B, or (ideally) renting a house in a scenic location. When does the off-season officially start and is there still anything to do on the island after the summer visitors leave? We're not 'beach' people so the cooler weather doesn't bother me, but we are still active and would like to do more than sit around the whole time! Suggestions?"
Fall is an ideal time to visit Nantucket. Visitors drop off after Labor Day, leaving the island to the locals and intrepid visitors like you and your family. While many properties shutter their windows after summer's end, rooms are available year-round. Lots of Nantucket vacation rentals are listed on VRBO.com (Vacation Rental by Owner) and on the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce's website. Not every property is open year-round, but some are, so it's worth browsing the listings if you have your heart set on a vacation rental. Year-round rentals are marked by "YR" on the Chamber of Commerce website.
Should you prefer to stay in a hotel, Nantucket Island Resorts is offering a fall promotion. Starting September 1, reduced rates are available Sundays through Thursdays at several properties, and a restaurant gift certificate is included as well. The shoulder-season rates are applicable to stays at The Wauwinet, White Elephant, Jared Coffin House, or The Cottages at the Boat Basin.
There's plenty to do on Nantucket even in the off-season, so you won't be left sitting around. Special events such as Nantucket Restaurant Week, September 29 through October 5, and the Nantucket Conservation Foundation's Cranberry Festival on October 11 are worth checking out.
If you're a history buff, you might enjoy learning about Nantucket's past at the Whaling Museum. You can also take a tour of the island's historic sites run by the Nantucket Historical Association, including the island's oldest house, a Greek Revival mansion, and a Quaker Meetinghouse dating back to the 1830s.
Fall weather is typically pleasant enough to take advantage of Nantucket's natural beauty. No trip to Nantucket is complete without a bike ride around the island, and Easy Rider Bicycle Rentals, Island Bike Company, and Young's Bicycle Shop rent bikes through fall. Plus, there are trails around the island perfect for peaceful nature walks.
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All prices, dates, and booking details listed here were valid at the time of publication. Some information may have changed since that time.