Travel isn't getting any cheaper, but there are ways to save money without sacrificing quality.
Hotel rates are rising in major cities around the world, foreign currencies linger at all-time highs, and airfares are edging up due to higher fuel costs. Snatching good deals means being more flexible about dates, destinations and lodging options. Here are some strategies for enjoying first-class vacations at economy prices.
Skiing After Easter
Spring skiing has many advantages, including warmer weather, smaller crowds, lighter gear and steep discounts. Skiing conditions, of course, are more unpredictable at this time of year, when some days are more suitable for sunbathing than hitting the slopes.
Although some regions are traditionally better suited for late-season skiing, this year's snowfall was abundant nationwide. In California's Alpine Meadows, for example, it was almost double the norm.
Idaho's Sun Valley also received deep snowfalls this season -- about 180 inches by mid-February. Many resorts already announced they will extend their closing dates.
In other words, this is the spring to take advantage of bargain skiing.After March 27, Sun Valley Lodge, a staple among skiers since 1936, will offer a special Spring Ski Package for $74 per person (double occupancy). This rate includes a one-day ski pass and can be booked for multiple days. The offer will continue through the end of the ski season, which is usually in mid-April. In high season, a similar room at the Valley Lodge costs $250, and a lift ticket goes for $79 per person.
Also in Sun Valley, Premier Resorts is offering several packages, including four nights in a two-bedroom, two-bath Elkhorn condominium and three days of skiing for $375 per person (min. quad occupancy).
A trip to the Caribbean is relaxing any time of year, and decidedly cheaper in the summer. Many resorts offer discounts and incentives such as free nights and activities. Airfares from the U.S. also start to decrease after April.