Lower gasoline prices mean road trips are back this Memorial Day
Americans are ready for a break, and they're being enticed out of their homes by big travel discounts, according to AAA.
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The cruise industry in particular is offering bargains in an apparent effort to fill their ships. "You could go to Alaska on a seven-day cruise at fares starting at $399 per person," Darbelnet said.Skip to next paragraph
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Carnival Cruise Lines has "pack and go" last-minute deals that have extremely low prices. An inside room for a four-day trip to Key West and Nassau, for example, can be purchased for $179, or $44.75 a day. That includes food. "It is unheard of," says Betsy Sell, AAA's managing director of travel services.
While the cruise prices are geared to procrastinators, resorts in some cases are trying to entice consumers to book early to get discounts. That's the case at the Resort at Squaw Creek at Lake Tahoe in California, which is offering a two-night package that includes an option for free golf or spa activities for a couple or a children's program that has an emphasis on mountain adventure. It has to be booked by June 11 but can be used through Oct. 10.
"Business is definitely down from summers past," says Marc Sapoznik, marketing and public relations manager at the resort.
Many resorts are trying to lure customers with special promotions. Ms. Sell points to a Disney World promotion that offers free food for customers staying five nights.
In the San Diego North area, meanwhile, the Lodge at Torrey Pines is throwing in a free 40-minute biplane ride for two. The Woodfin Suite Hotel will give customers two free tickets to SeaWorld. And for the more adventurous, the Grande Colonial is offering a bike tour of La Jolla and a chance to snorkel with sharks.
Some resorts are reviving programs that helped them last summer when gasoline prices were high. That's the case at the Wild Dunes Resort in Palms, S.C., which is offering 20 to 40 percent off depending on the length of the stay. For bookings at least 30 days in advance, add a $100 dining credit, which is new this year.
Other resorts are trying to make it easier for families with children. The Sea Pines Resort on Hilton Head Island is offering free food for children under the age of 12, plus free golf for the kids. And in case the family wants to remember its less expensive vacation, it gets a complimentary family portrait on the beach – normally worth $160.