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There are plenty of truths to travel, but today I’ll focus on just two. First, traveling to a warm, sand-fringed island can help a bad day, week, month, or even year seem inconsequential. Second, traveling anywhere that requires a passport undoubtedly causes headaches – just how big the headache varies widely on your destination. The good news for U.S. citizens, however, is that there are plenty of islands within reach that boast an international vibe, yet don’t require a passport. Below, I’ll share a few of my favorites for those itching to burn a few vacation days without dealing with immigration lines. Read more
As temperatures drop and skies darken earlier each night, it’s easy to fantasize of warm nights on a secluded beach with a Technicolor sunset on the horizon, a fruity drink beading condensation close by. But an aspect that doesn’t typically make it into the reverie is the joy of flying to your destination in one shot, without layovers or transfers. For fliers of Southwest Airlines, the trip from fantasy to reality has become a bit more streamlined.
The airline has begun offering nonstop flights to Key West, Fla., the southernmost stop on the continental U.S. route. The news is welcome for passengers who prefer spending the entirety of their expedition in one seat. Fliers to the Keys typically touch down in South Florida to switch to a smaller plane for the journey’s final push. These “puddle jumper” flights are provided by most major airlines, with only a handful giving direct flights.
Sail away on a 6-night getaway to top destinations in Southern Florida and the Western Caribbean, including quirky Key West, gorgeous Grand Cayman, and fun-in-the-sun Jamaica. The spacious, 2,974-passenger Carnival Freedom embarks on February 19 from Fort Lauderdale, with discounted rates – reflecting savings of up to 73 percent – starting at just $409 for inside cabins, and $519 for ocean-view upgrades, when booking through CruisesOnly.com. Expect onboard diversions like a kids’ club, spa, fitness center, casino, mini-golf, and much more to easily fill up the two days spent at sea.
THE VALUE: This high-season sailing during a peak holiday break represents a rare 73 percent savings off of the brochure rates of $1,519/person, working out to as little as $409 per passenger, or $68/night. What’s more, book through CruisesOnly.com and get a complimentary upgrade, too.
THE CATCH: We’ve seen airfare to Florida during this peak holiday break spike considerably, so be sure to factor in the cost of your flight before booking the sailing to ensure overall value.
THE DETAILS: Visit www.cruisesonly.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find the lowest rates on flights, hotels, vacation packages, and more travel deals. For general trip-planning information, see our Caribbean Cruises 101.
Take to the warm, tranquil waters of the Caribbean this winter aboard the Carnival Freedom as it sails for six nights from Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Choose the January 22, 2012 departure and book a balcony cabin for just $529 per person! The Freedom calls to port in some of the Caribbean’s most popular destinations, including a stop in Florida’s own back yard, Key West. The ship then heads south to Georgetown, Grand Cayman and Ocho Rios, Jamaica before returning home. While at sea, guests will enjoy four restaurants, four pools, a casino and 22 lounges for adults at night, and a teen club with an arcade and dance club for the kids. Other sailing dates are available at an additional cost.
THE VALUE: The balcony cabin comes out to just $88 per person, per night!
THE CATCH: Gratuities and taxes not included.
THE DETAILS: To book your balcony cabin on the Carnival Freedom, visit www.cruisesonly.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Take a look at our Caribbean Travel Guide to plan your time in port!
Don’t live in Florida? Find low rates on flights to Fort Lauderdale using our Travel Search price comparison tool.
If lobster is one of the your favorite foods (and you enjoy sharing it with someone special) mark your summer travel calendars for these four very different opportunities – from romantic to rowdy – to indulge in all the tender, buttery crustaceans you can eat.
Lobster Lovers Itinerary from Absolute Belize: Belize, a friendly, sunny Central American country, marks the beginning of its annual lobster season each June (Belize lobsters are shown above at left) with the weeklong San Pedro Lobsterfest (www.sanpedrolobsterfest.com) on Ambergris Caye.
The holidays don’t always fulfill the role of a relaxing break, and if that’s the predicament you find yourself in, Norwegian Cruise Lines has the perfect escape waiting in the new year. On January 8, the Norwegian Sun departs from Port Canaveral, Florida for a five-night, round-trip cruise in the Western Caribbean, with cabins starting at just $269! With this 47 percent discount off rack-rates you’ll breathe-easy, enjoying amenities like nine restaurants, a spa, casino, cigar bar, and a 24/7 fitness center, while calling to port in the outstretched, white-sand beaches of Cozumel, Mexico and later, the palm lined streets of historic Key West, Florida.
THE VALUE: Inside cabins on this sailing are at an 47 percent discount and balcony cabins start at $419, a 73 percent discount!
THE CATCH: Those of us outside of Florida will have to plan accordingly.
THE DETAILS: To book your cabin, visit www.cruisesonly.com.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Use our Travel Search price comparison tool to find low rates on flights to Orlando, Florida (an hour from Port Canaveral).
An impressive value on the high seas, the Celebrity Mercury hosts nine days of tropical revelry with a southern twist, starting from an unheard-of $549 per person, with up to $75 credit. Departing Baltimore on December 11, the vessel first docks in – surprise – glamorous Charleston, S.C., before sailing to Florida’s beautiful reef in Key West. Then, after treating passengers to a perfect Bahamas beach day in Nassau, the Mercury sidles up to its final port, private island and snorkeling mecca, CocoCay.
THE VALUE: Upgrade to an ocean view cabin for just $50 more.
THE CATCH: Baltimore winter is no stranger to below-zero temperatures, so pack some layers along with those board shorts.
THE DETAILS: Visit www.cruisedeals.com to book.
WE’VE GOT MORE: Check out more Bahamas and Bermuda cruises.
Read our Bahamas Travel Guide.
Use our Travel Search comparison tool to find a flight deal to Baltimore.
FOUND A BETTER DEAL? Tell us.
AirTran Airways has launched a three-day sale on one-way flights between cities nationwide as well as the Caribbean with prices starting as low as $44! Fly to beautiful fun-filled destinations like Key West, New Orleans, Portland, San Francisco, Miami, Denver, New York City, Montego Bay, Las Vegas, and many more. Whether you’re looking to visit family and friends, soak-up some sun, experience the non-stop nightlife, or simply relax, these low fares can get you there. Flights must be booked by May 13 for travel through November 17. Round-trip purchase is not required.
Sample One-Way Fares (Taxes Not Included):
• Orlando?Nassau, Bahamas: $44
• Atlanta?Jacksonville: $49
• Baltimore?Portland: $69
• Pittsburgh?New Orleans: $82
• Philadelphia?West Palm Beach: $89
• Columbus?Atlantic City: $89
• Dallas?New York City: $92
• Chicago?Washington, D.C.: $96
• Wichita?Miami: $99
• Milwaukee?Las Vegas: $109
To book your flight visit www.airtran.com
Less about tequila-fueled foam parties and Guys Gone Wild antics—although plenty of that can be found in the straight northernly section of Duval Street—Gay Spring Break in Key West is a leisurely affair, more suited to umbrella drinks and breezy evenings amid the begonias than sweaty humping at Señor Frogs. (Wait till you get back to your bungalow for that.) It’s a charm only the Conch Republic could pull off: an all-ages season-long patchwork of events including daytime ocean sports such as jet-skiing and snorkeling around the world’s third largest barrier reef, nighttime pool parties and drag shows, plus the odd tea dance in between. According to the Key West Business Guild, organizers of the 4-year-old promotion, diversity is key both in clientele and entertainment/activity offerings, emphasizing community as well as co-eds. Everybody deserves a little sub-tropical sunshine. The event officially ends April 18 but deals can be found extending into early summer. For even more sand dollars in your pocket, channel youthful impulsivity and act now: AirTran’s mega sale, with fares as low as $84 one way, ends today (April 2) at 11:59pm EST. If you’d rather wait, say till Pridefest (June 9-13), seven-day-a-week service starts May 27. Read more
Little Palm Island, Florida
The Deal Save at least 40 percent on certain dates in July and August. Stay Little Palm Island Resort & Spa is a fine 5-acre island hideaway, just a boat or seaplane ride away from Little Torch Key. The resort’s 30 bungalows and suites are decked out in British colonial grandeur with outdoor showers, clawfoot tubs, verandas offering ocean views, and separate his and her bathrooms in the Presidential suites. Details Pay $595/night for bungalows (regularly $990 or more) on July 13, 14, 29, 30, 31, and August 1, 12, 13, 17, 26, and 27. Book It 800/343-8567 (code ShermansTravel); littlepalmisland.com.
Key West, Florida
The Deal Receive 20 percent off and savor a few free meals. Stay The Hyatt Key West Resort and Spa has 118 renovated rooms with balconies. Go parasailing, jet-skiing, or scuba diving. Or board a sunset cruise right from the resort’s dock. Details Reserve a room for 20 percent below the regular rate, and enjoy a free entrée with every one purchased at the resort’s seafood grill. Without the discount, rooms start at $255/night in the summer. The offer is good July 6 to September 30. Book by August 31. Book It 800/554-9288 (code SHRMN); keywest.hyatt.comnd.com.
From the Summer 2009 issue of Sherman’s Travel magazine.
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