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We travel bloggers adore making lists of where our readers should go in the new year. But let’s face it, every list, whether it has destinations or groceries on it, is subjective. Which is why, to lend a veneer of objectivity to this list of top family vacation picks for 2012, I consulted the three best-traveled people I know. Read more
With white sand, clear turquoise water, and uninhabited islets, the Cook Islands are paradise come to life. Unfortunately, the isolation of these peaceful islands can make airfare prohibitively expensive, often costing over $2,000 per person to fly from Los Angeles.
This great deal offers a round-trip flight from Los Angeles to the Cook Islands, for just $998 per person for travel now through August 28.
Flights land on Rarotonga, the largest of the Cook Islands’ 15. Stay here to explore beautiful beaches, exotic jungles, and mountains, or hop around between the diverse islands. Divers and snorkelers will be in heaven in the Cook Islands, home to one of the world’s largest coral lagoons. Others will love exploring the islands’ fun nightlife, coffee plantations, and black pearl fields. Book by June 10 to get this deal.
THE VALUE: Save over $1,000 per person compared to typical airfares.
THE CATCH: Taxes and fees of up to $58 per person are not included.
THE DETAILS: Click here to book online.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search to find the best hotels in the Cook Islands.
The Luxury The 20-night South Pacific Islands in Style package from Swain Tours takes you on an in-depth journey through Australia, New Zealand, and the Cook Islands. From Sydney city life to the secluded Lizard Island on the Great Barrier Reef, from a West Auckland winery tour to a wilderness safari, you’ll experience all the South Pacific has to offer – while bedding down each night in the region’s top luxury hotels.
Air New Zealand has announced the pending debut of its “Skycouch” option, which will allow passengers to fold out a row of three economy seats into one flat surface. The airline’s fleet of Boeing 777-300 operating between Auckland and Los Angeles or London will be equipped with 22 Skycouch units, beginning in April 2011. The company plans to make its “cuddle class” an option on all long-haul aircrafts by early 2012. For a couple traveling, buying the middle seat will cost an extra $1,400 per person, but the total cost for the trio of seats (averaging about $7,600), is substantially less than the cost of one lie-flat business class seat (nearly $10,000).
Even with newfangled GPS gadgetry out there in increasing numbers, a good, old-fashioned map remains a staple for any self-respecting adventure traveler.
To that end, the National Geographic Society, the gold-standard source for maps for nearly a century, recently announced plans to expand its AdventureMaps line. The expansion will bring travelers a slew of new options for finding their way in increasingly popular adventure destinations such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ireland, Mexico, New Zealand, South Africa and Thailand. Countries and cities in Africa, the Middle East, South America, Asia, and Europe are also on deck for a total of 60 new destinations by the end of 2012, and 30 more by summer of next year.
Last spring was the time to visit Europe with fares reaching all time lows (under $300 round-trip), but so far 2010 hasn’t followed suit. Instead, rock-bottom rates have been cropping up to Fiji, New Zealand, and Australia from as little as $380 each way, making this year the best time to book that exotic trip you’ve been talking about for ages.
Adventure tour operator, Travelscene has paired up with Qantas Airways to offer low fares to Sydney, Brisbane, or Melbourne from just $380 each way from Los Angeles and San Francisco. Even after taxes and fees are factored in, round-trip flights can be had for just $937. Travel is valid from May 1 through June 8, and July 24 through September 21, but must be booked by February 15.
If you’d rather jet off to secluded Fiji, Air Pacific is offering a fare sale to Nadi from Los Angeles from $951 round-trip – including taxes and fees. Or, experience the diverse landscape of New Zealand with fares to Auckland from Los Angeles from $1,048. These rates can be found on select dates through November 30, but our editors found the lowest rates in March, July, and August. Tickets must be purchased by March 31.
Please note: You’ll have an easier time locating these fares if your dates are flexible. We’d recommend using the Orbitz flexible date search (select option three).
For anyone that has ever dreamed of visiting stunning New Zealand, now is the time to make it happen. Qantas Airways has partnered with Tourism New Zealand to make visiting in 2010 remarkably affordable. The airline is reducing fares by as much as 40 percent, bringing prices to Auckland down to a do-able $798 round-trip from Los Angeles and San Francisco, or $998 from New York. Even after taxes are factored in, you can still fly for less than $1,100 (other airlines are charging upwards of $2,000 or more). These low fares are available from May 1 through June 8, and July 24 through September 21, but must be booked by January 26.
For more information, or to book a ticket, visit www.qantas.com.
Dreaming of a faraway trip to the land Down Under? Summer is a great time to visit Australia – and more gems in the neighboring South Pacific – if you want to save a bundle. This exciting 7-night itinerary gets you a taste of an exciting Australian city, as well as a jaunt to New Zealand. Begin your trip with a 4-night stay in Australia’s Cairns, gateway city to the Great Barrier Reef. Located just one block from the Esplanade, the four-star Hotel Cairns offers upscale guestrooms within easy walking distance of fine shops and restaurants. Enjoy a full-day cruise to explore the vast underwater reefs just off the coast, and take advantage of the included 24-hour Smart Car rental to explore the region’s remarkable rainforests. Next, you’ll fly straight to Auckland, New Zealand’s largest and most cosmopolitan city. Spend three nights at the four-star Skycity Hotel and you’ll have ample time to explore the area’s gorgeous beaches. Priced from just $1,061, this affordable itinerary covers round-trip airfare from Los Angeles via Air New Zealand, flight from Cairns to Auckland, and all transfers. Normally priced at $2,372 per person, you’ll save 56 percent off rack rates if you book by June 30.
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