The Deal Detective is SmarterTravel.com's resident bargain hunter, Kate Hamman. She's always on the lookout for new travel deals and invites you, dear reader, to submit your own questions.
My favorite time of year is upon us. With fall in the air and the holidays fast approaching, there's no better time to start planning a getaway. This week's featured deal will help you do just that.
Deal or No Deal?
Oh, have I found a deal for you! Spirit Vacations is offering a $200 instant rebate, plus up to 50 percent off, when you book a three-night or longer trip to Grand Bahama Island or Nassau. You must book by October 25, and travel by October 31 to Grand Bahama Island or by December 17 to Nassau.
Since I'm a born skeptic, I was pleasantly surprised to find that this deal really isn't too good to be true: You actually can save money and don't have to jump through hoops to do it.
I began my research on Spirit Vacations with the Grand Bahama Island offer, where I priced a package deal (including taxes) that started at $403 per person for a three-night stay in October, and included a room the Sheraton Grand Bahama Island at Our Lucaya, round-trip tickets from New York City, and airport transfers.
When I compared this price to the cost of booking each portion of the vacation separately, I found that the Spirit Vacations offer would save me $228.
Be sure to enter the promo code FPO100 to receive the $200 rebate for the Grand Bahama Island, and BAHAMAS200 for Nassau.
Question of the Week
Rechel asks, "Hi! I'm from NJ and I would like to take a few days off, probably three to four days to go to Boston and Rhode Island. It will be my first time and I'm driving alone. Can you please help me plan it? Do you know where I should go first and where to stay? Any interesting sights to see, places to eat? I'm not really into museums. I'm planning to go by the third week of October (Oct. 21 to 24). Thank you!"
Rechel, you are asking about two of my all-time favorite things: a road trip and New England in the fall. The combination is outstanding. And, taking a trip alone can be one of the most liberating and exciting things you may ever do. With that said, let's plan a vacation to accompany those emotions.
Since you want to go around the middle of October, the leaves will just be past their peak colors (as long as Mother Nature cooperates this year), so your entire drive will be filled with a colorful array of foliage.
You didn't mention where you'd like to visit in Rhode Island, so I'm going to suggest staying in Newport for the first night. The city offers many fine inns, but they're usually a tad on the expensive side. If you want to save money on lodging, you can find rooms starting at $46 per night at a chain hotel such as the Travelodge, or $125 per night at the Newport Harbor Hotel. I must warn you, though, you'll want to book as soon as possible since it will be prime leaf-peeping season.
Once you have a place to stay, I suggest taking a narrated trolley tour ($24), which covers more than 150 points of interest. For a little more, you can also tour one of the lavish historic mansions that make Newport famous. The downtown area is filled with cute shops and places to eat, and is a great spot to spend a little time.
From Newport, drive to Boston and spend the next few nights in the vicinity to allow for at least one full day of sightseeing. There are many hotels to choose from, but I'd go the B&B, route to take advantage of insider tips from the proprietors that you might not find elsewhere. Plus, you can find downtown accommodations starting at $110 per night at Abigayle's Bed and Breakfast.
Pick up a one-day Go Boston Card for $55. The price may seem a bit high, but with it you get admission to many of the city's major attractions, including a Beantown trolley tour, Freedom Trail walking tour, Charles River boat tour, and entrance to the New England Aquarium. Research what you want to see at Boston's Convention and Visitor Bureau's website.
One last word of advice: The weather may be a bit chilly to bordering on cold, so pack accordingly. But, above all, have a fantastic time getting to know two new cities.
If you readers have tips for Rechel on what to do in Boston or Rhode Island, please feel free to share below.
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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.