SmarterTravel Announces Top Five Affordable Summer Getaways


BOSTON — SmarterTravel has announced the top vacation destinations for summer that won’t break the bank. Destinations looking to attract travelers are offering hard-to-pass-up-sales, from U.S. cities to more far-flung, exotic locales.

“While summer is often a peak time to travel, destinations can’t rely on the usual droves of visitors given the nature of the economy right now,” said Anne Banas, executive editor of SmarterTravel. “When it comes to travel, consumers really have the upper hand — it’s the perfect time to take advantage of deals that might not happen again for a long time.”

From the West coast of the U.S. to Australia, deals are available for nearly any budget. The Top Five Bargain Destinations for Summer 2009 include:

— Los Angeles: New air service (from Virgin America, Delta and Allegiant) provides competition, which translates into lower prices for the consumer. Sunny spots like Santa Monica are offering money-saving promotions like Sun, Sea, Save that gives travelers a third night free and free attraction passes.

— Dominican Republic: Deep discounts at resorts plus new low-cost airline routes (from JetBlue and Spirit) make the Dominican Republic a great bargain this summer. Vacation savings also abound with options such as a four-night, air-and-hotel package from $560 per person.

— National Parks: If you’re within driving distance, on a budget, and like the outdoors, a national, state or regional park is the ideal summer bargain destination. Accommodations are as cheap as you’ll find them. You may have to pack a sleeping bag, but you’ll be surrounded by free activities like hiking, bird watching and swimming. Summer room rates near Yellowstone start at $59 per night.

— Australia: There are great introductory deals on new airline V Australia (from around $620 round-trip) plus competing offers from other airlines like Qantas. There is also a cost-effective air pass for travel throughout the country, as well as air-and-hotel packages, from $999.

— Asheville, North Carolina: Asheville will be easier to get to this summer, with new service from AirTran (fares from $69 one-way) starting on June 11. With a bevy of travel deals and coupons in Asheville, staying there can be very affordable. It’s also an entry point to the Blue Ridge Parkway, one of the nation’s only national parks with free entry.