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Top Five Bargain Destinations for Spring 2010

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Jamaica pool and ocean (Photo: iStockphoto/Kamo)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on February 13, 2010. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: beach, Christine Sarkis, destination, Gatlinburg, Hawaii, island, Jamaica, Panama City Beach, spring, Toronto.

Been in travel hibernation lately? These spring bargains are just the thing to rouse you from your slumber. Our top picks represent closer-to-home destinations where providers understand vacationers may be getting back out on the road, but still aren't willing to spend a lot.

Whether you're looking to replenish your vitamin D supply with a beach vacation, get outdoors, or jump into the bustle of an urban escape, these destinations deliver. This spring, the name of the game is affordability, and these hot spots know how to play.

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I've monitored trends, industry news, and sale patterns to point you in the direction of places that offer the best bargain value for the coming season. Below you'll find examples of deals presently available for spring trips. Like all deals, these are sure to expire; however, a little research on your part can yield similar results when you're ready to book.

Jamaica

While the majority of the Caribbean has struggled to attract vacationers during the slow economy, Jamaica hit on the magic formula of increased air service and affordable prices to keep a steady stream of visitors sun kissed and happy. The trend should continue this spring, as AirTran and JetBlue introduce new service, and hotels around the island entice visitors with lower rates.

Low-cost carriers are boosting the direct links from East Coast cities to Jamaica. JetBlue introduced Jamaica flights from New York City last May with great success, and has been expanding service ever since. New routes between Boston and Montego Bay started in January, and between Orlando and Montego Bay in February. On February 11, Air Tran launched new service between Montego Bay and Atlanta, Baltimore/Washington, and Orlando. Legacy lines are increasing service as well: In December, US Airways introduced a nonstop route between Phoenix and Montego Bay, and has expanded seasonal service from Boston through mid-April.

In addition to US Airways' new service, the airline has released sale fares to Montego Bay from the Western U.S., with round-trip prices like $310 from Los Angeles or $384 from Seattle for travel through late May. Delta is also running a spring sale that includes flights to Jamaica, though the booking deadline is February 15. Air Jamaica has discounted rates for spring travel booked by February 18 or 28 (depending on your route), with round-trip fares such as $138 from Orlando or $238 from New York City.

Pleasant Holidays has posted three-night, air-and-hotel packages to Jamaica from $495 per person for stays in April and May. CheapCaribbean also has discounted vacation packages for spring dates. Sandals Resorts is offering $250 spa credits on seven-night stays booked before February 15, and other hotels around the island are running sales or offering added value to spring stays.

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