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Top Five Off-Peak Destinations for Summer 2010

by , SmarterTravel Staff
St. Lucia Twin Pitons (Photo: iStockphoto/Wildroze)

Summer is one of the most popular times to travel. Kids are on vacation from school, the weather is warm in many places, and the open road starts calling. Unfortunately, at most popular destinations, higher prices will greet travelers when they arrive.

The solution? Think outside the box. By seeking out off-peak locales, smart vacationers can take advantage of lower rates in June, July, August, and early September. Here are five off-season destinations that will get you excited to travel this summer.

St. Lucia

This Caribbean island is known as the "Helen of the West Indies" because it was traded back and forth between the French and British several times. The moniker also speaks to the natural beauty of the isle's mountains, rainforests, and beaches. While St. Lucia maintains a consistently pleasant climate (summer highs average 85 degrees), summer is considered the rainy season, with short showers breaking out more often than in the dry season. June through November is also hurricane season, although touchdowns are rare. This year is an especially compelling time to visit, thanks to new service from JetBlue, a slew of renovated hotels, and great off-season vacation discounts (not to mention post Bachelor buzz).

I compared peak and off-peak seven-night air-and-hotel packages to St. Lucia, and found savings of up to $584.

Departure Off-Peak Rate Peak Rate
New York $837 $1,236
Chicago $897 $1,256
Los Angeles $775 $1,359

Off-peak packages are based on travel from August 2 or 3 through 10; peak travel packages are based on travel from January 4 to 11. All fares were found using Travelocity and include all taxes and fees.

Many St. Lucia hotels have recently undergone renovations, such as Sandals Halcyon Beach's 60-room upgrade; a new yoga pavilion at East Winds Inn; and a new fine-dining restaurant and revamped restaurant and bar at The Landings.

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As for summer promotions, Jade Mountain, offers a fourth and eighth night free between July 1 and October 3. St. Lucia was also chosen as destination of the month by Spa Week, and at The BodyHoliday LeSport, packages booked by May 31 for travel through October 31 include 35 percent off all-inclusive rates, a $100 spa credit per person, a free 50-minute spa treatment per person per day, and other extras.

At The Landings, kids 12 and under stay, play, and eat free through November 24. And, guests staying four nights at Ti Kaye Resort & Spa receive daily breakfast and a $100 spa credit for travel through August 31.

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