November, December, and January tend to be hectic months, with several major holidays crammed into a short period. There are family celebrations to plan, gifts to purchase, and feasts to coordinate. Certainly, there's no time to take a vacation, right?
Wrong! If you have any flexibility in your schedule, you'll want to consider planning a trip immediately after the holidays to take advantage of low travel periods and great bargains. Known in the industry as travel "dead weeks," the weeks following Thanksgiving and New Year's (first week of December, first week of January) show a major drop in travel and tend to be a great time to snag a bargain. This year, it seems you can find great deals through mid-December and throughout much of January, offering even greater flexibility. If you can extend your vacation time this year, or backload your vacation days following either holiday, you'll be able to find a deal on nearly any type of trip, from sunny getaways to ski outings and city escapes to secluded resorts.
Read on to find just a sampling of current promotions, all valid for post-holiday travel.
Gate1 Travel's 6 Day London Value Vacation offers round-trip airfare from New York (other cities available at higher rates), airline fuel surcharges, four nights' accommodations, and daily breakfast from $569 per person. Vacations following New Year's are the most affordable, with the $569 price available for departures on January 13 or 20. No booking deadline has been listed.
Go-today.com's Paris at Its Best package starts at $649 per person and includes round-trip airfare from New York (other cities available at higher prices), six nights' accommodations, daily breakfast, hotel taxes and service charges, and airline fuel surcharges. Depart near Thanksgiving (November 19 through December 10) for $699, or get the $649 low price for departures between January 11 and February 22. At press time, the booking deadline is November 19; however, go-today.com tends to renew its ongoing promotions (such as trips to Paris), so check back frequently to determine availability and most up-to-date pricing.
For those wanting a quick trip, consider Icelandair's Iceland Budget Getaway including round-trip airfare to Reykjavik from Boston or New York, two nights at either the Fosshotel Lind or the Fosshotel Baron, daily breakfast, fuel surcharges, and booking fees. Prices are $469 per person for travel from January 6 through March 31. Departures from Seattle are also available for an additional $209. Additionally, travelers can extend their stay for $45 per night.
The Sheraton Hacienda del Mar Golf Resort & Spa in Los Cabos, Mexico, has slashed rates for early winter travelers. Request the "Coolest Winter Rates" and get the discounted price of $119 per night; book by November 30 for travel before April 27. As this encompasses the bulk of peak winter season, this deal offers significant value. Visit the Sheraton website for reservations or more information.
The Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino has specials for the weeks after Thanksgiving and before Christmas. Request promotional code "MVA" and get discounted prices from $169, a savings of 30 percent off regular rates. Travel through December 20; visit the Renaissance Aruba website for more details.
St. Lucia's luxurious Ti Kaye Village Resort currently has three promotions for winter travelers. The "Last-Minute Deal," available through December 31, offers a seven-night stay for the price of five nights (any room category) and a $200 spa credit; bookings must be made by December 15. The "Early Booking Bonus" offers a seven-night stay for the price of five, plus a $310 spa credit, for oceanview rooms; a seven-night stay for the price of six, plus a $200 spa voucher, in oceanview cottages; and a $200 spa voucher with a seven-night stay in oceanview and oceanfront cottages with pools. Book by December 15 for travel between December 16 and April 15. Finally, the "Winter Special" includes a seven-night stay for the price of six (any room class) and a $200 spa credit for stays between December 16 and April 15. Rates through December 15 range from $190 to $350 per night, depending on room class; stays for December 16 through April 15 range from $280 to $490. (With the two nights' free factored in, per-night rates range from $136 to $350.) Visit the Ti Kaye Village website for more information.
Ski bunnies may want to consider Southwest Vacations' Ski Destinations Special, which includes deals to Colorado and Utah ski locales, as well as Reno/Lake Tahoe. Deals (varying by location) include a second person flies free when booking a flight-and-hotel vacation package, a complimentary night with a minimum-night stay requirement, and free lift tickets with minimum-day skiing purchases. Book by November 26 for travel through February 10 (note the week after Thanksgiving falls under blackout dates).
Pleasant Holidays has teamed up with Starwood Resorts to put its Hawaii inventory on sale. Three-night air-and-hotel vacations start at $399 on Oahu and Maui, $449 on Kauai, and $639 on the Big Island. Departures are valid from Los Angeles or San Francisco (other cities are available at higher rates); travel is valid on select dates—varying by island—through January 28.
The Don CeSar Resort in St. Petersburg, Florida, is offering a Home for the Holidays package for stays from November 20 through January 31. Book a three-night or longer stay and get 30 percent off your room rate; per-night prices (before the discount) range from $169 to $274. Request rate code "CPRL30" when making a reservation. Book by January 10, 2010.
United Vacations is sponsoring a Winter Wonder Sale, with a host of discounted vacation packages at popular locales both domestic and international. At press time, sample deals included a four-night package to Las Vegas from $349, a four-night ski trip to Breckenridge from $709, and a six-night vacation to Oahu from $1,214. Many other destinations are on sale. Book by December 13 for travel through March 31.
Have you seen a great deal for post-holiday travel? Do you know of any travel companies that are currently offering worthwhile promotions? Share your expertise by submitting a comment below!