If you’ve waited until now to plan your holiday travel, you might actually be in luck. Last-minute travelers tend to get great deals and perks like bonus points, air credits and free rental cars from airlines, hotels and companies looking to get the squeeze the most business out of what will by all accounts be a lousy season.
NBC Travel Editor Peter Greenberg offers up the best deals he has found this season:
1. ALL-INCLUSIVE PACKAGES
Mexico’s luxury all-inclusives are getting into the bargain game. Tesoro Ixtapa’s all-inclusive resort is offering a two-for-the-price-of-one sale through December 22, 2008. Until December 18, the rate is about $120 per night in an all-inclusive room (that’s food, entertainment and alcohol). Rates between December 19-22 come in around $144; December 23-26 is about $112; and December 27-January 1 is about $119.
Tesoro Los Cabos all-inclusive resort “Crash Pad” promo also has rooms that start at $60 per night through February 28, 2009. Just type in promo code CRASH when booking to see the available rooms.
2. WINTER GETAWAYS
3. FAMILY TRIPS
Kids Stay, Play and Eat Free in Antigua, with air credit: The Verandah Resort & Spa and St. James’s Club & Villas, two eco-friendly, upscale family resorts, grant parents’ vacation wishes with a new holiday “Kids Stay, Play and Eat Free” program. This program allows up to two children to stay and dine free per room when sharing the same accommodations with their parents, with a maximum of two adults and two children per room. Rates start at $635 based on double occupancy. All food, beverages, room accommodations, activities, non-motorized water sports, taxes and gratuities are included and air credit of $2,000 is available Dec. 23, 2008 – Jan. 3, 2009.
4. SUPER-CHEAP UNLIKELY DESTINATIONS
There are some deep discounts happening in New Orleans, which is typically not crowded this year of year. The holiday season rates start as low as:
$49 at the St. Peter Guest House
$99 at The W New Orleans
$109 at The Omni Royal Orleans
Visitors can also check out some of the city's restaurants by partaking in the annual tradition of Reveillon (an old French holiday dining tradition). Have a five-course meal at Brennan's starting at $85, or four courses at Antoine's for just $46.
Free or next-to free things to do in NoLa include:
-Concerts in the 200-year-old St. Louis Cathedral from musicians including Irvin Mayfield and Ellis Marsalis
-Free cooking demonstrations from local chefs;
-Historical characters roam the French Quarter and offer impromptu performances
-The 62-year old tradition of caroling in Jackson Square by candlelight, etc.
-Visit Celebration in the Oaks - just named by USA Today as one of eight great places to catch up with Santa - for just $6 per person, children under 3 are free.