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Top five off-peak destinations for summer 2007

SmarterTravel

Everyone knows that summer isn’t the best time of year to take an inexpensive getaway. But you can find deep discounts by traveling to destinations that are off-peak in June, July, and August, meaning less expensive airfare and accommodations.

While temperatures tend to be hot in many off-peak summer destinations, there are plenty of ways to stay cool. Besides, what’s a little heat when you’re saving as much as 50 percent over travel during the peak season? This year’s picks include mountains, beaches, and deserts in the U.S., Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and even the Middle East.

Aruba

Though I generally hesitate to recommend any Caribbean destination in summer because of hurricane season, Aruba is an exception. The island is part of the ABC islands (with Bonaire and Curacao) that lie outside the hurricane belt, and is therefore spared from most summertime storms. Aruba remains off-peak in summer, however, so you’ll enjoy cheaper prices and less-crowded beaches.

Of course visitors come to Aruba primarily to lounge on its white-sand beaches and play in its crystal-blue waters. But, this year, from June 27 through July 2, the Aruba Hi-Winds windsurfing and kiteboarding competition takes place off the beaches at Fisherman’s Hut in Hadicurari. It’s one of the most popular amateur competitions in the Caribbean, and is worth checking out if you happen to be visiting at that time.

JetBlue began serving Aruba from JFK last year, and recently added Boston service as well. The new Boston-to-Aruba route begins on June 30, with fares from $149 each way. For savings on-island, Aruba.com features a specials page with discounts on attractions, accommodations, and restaurants.

When comparing peak and off-peak Aruba vacation packages, I found savings of up to $415 by traveling this summer.

Package Provider Off-peak rate Peak rate
Airfare from Houston (Bush), five nights at the Tamarijn Aruba All Inclusive CheapTickets $2,073 (July 12 to 17, 2007) $2,318 (February 7 to 12, 2008)
Airfare from New York (JFK), seven nights at the Mill Resort & Suites Travelocity $1,128 (July 18 to 25, 2007) $1,543 (January 16 to 23, 2008)
Airfare from Orlando, eight nights at the Holiday Inn SunSpree Resort & Casino Hotwire $1,710 (August 15 to 23, 2007) $1,834 (January 7 to 15, 2008)
Airfare from San Francisco, three nights at the Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino Expedia $1,206 (August 7 to 10, 2007) $1,278 (December 11 to 14, 2007)

Prices are per person and include all taxes and fees.

Read our Aruba Travel Guide for more information.

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