Top Five Off-Peak Destinations for Summer 2009

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Cayman Islands, Seven Mile Beach (Photo: iStockPhoto/Jodi Jacobson)
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on May 18, 2009. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: AirTran, beach, Cayman Airways, Cayman Islands, Cheap Tickets, Costa Rica, Curacao, destination, Expedia, Ft. Myers, Jessica Labrencis, JetBlue, low season, Orbitz, San Antonio, Sanibel Island, shoulder season, Southwest, Spirit, summer, Travelocity.

Although the economy hasn't improved much since the spring edition of this article series, travelers are generally still planning to take a trip this summer. Luckily, hotels, airlines, and even the destinations themselves have announced a slew of offers. If you don't mind hot weather, you can take advantage of some equally hot deals at off-season locales. Specifically, beach destinations, in the Caribbean and at home in the U.S. are offering great savings to lure visitors to their shores. Read on for our top five picks for off-peak travel this summer.

Cayman Islands

Parents seeking an affordable family-friendly beach vacation this summer should consider the Cayman Islands. A quick 70-minute flight from Miami, the Cayman Islands lie in the Western Caribbean. English is widely spoken, so communicating with local won't be a problem.

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Plus, this year, the Cayman Islands are offering a Cayman Summer Splash promotion to encourage families to visit. This fantastic deal features free airfare for children 11 and younger on Cayman Airways flights departing from Miami, New York City, and Tampa. In addition, you'll receive one free night's stay when you book a minimum of five nights at select hotels, condos, and villas. Kids also get in free at several attractions (such as Boatswain's Beach Adventure Park and Turtle Farm), and eat free at participating restaurants. You can also save 20 percent on rental cars, or get a free day or two when you rent a car for four or seven days.

You can find other deals on the Department of Tourism's promotions page. Currently, for example, the Westin Casuarina Resort Grand Cayman is offering rates from $159 per night, and the Reef Resort is offering up to 25 percent off week-long stays. Plus, you can save on kayak and snorkel rentals throughout the summer.

Airfare to George Town, the capital of Grand Cayman, is much cheaper in the summer months than during fall. When I searched, I found savings of nearly $70.

Route Off-Peak Fare Peak Fare
Chicago (O'Hare) to Grand Cayman $314 $381
Miami to Grand Cayman $382 $411
Phoenix to Grand Cayman $453 $503
Washington, D.C. (Dulles) to Grand Cayman $312 $381

Off-peak fares are based on travel from August 5 to 12, and peak fares are based on travel from November 4 to 11. Prices were found on Expedia and include taxes and fees.

Of course, hurricanes are always a concern when visiting the Caribbean during summer. The Cayman Islands have largely been spared from hurricane devastation in recent years. For additional peace of mind, the islands' tourism department offers a Worry Free Hurricane Guarantee that will cover weather-related cancellations made prior to your arrival on the islands, and compensation if your time on the island is cut due to poor weather conditions.

The website for the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism is a great resource for planning a trip to the islands.

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