Best Kept Travel Secrets
for Weekend Getaways and Vacays

By Marianne Schwab | Best Travel Deals Tips Blog

Listen to Marianne Schwab's Interview
with Daybreak USA for USA Radio Network
on How To Get Travel Deals

1. The best travel deals are found in the off season. Most people make the mistake of only planning a vacation in the summer or on holidays like Christmas and Spring Break and they pay top dollar to travel during a peak season. They simply don’t know that the best travel deals are found in the “off season” or “shoulder season.” August is one of the worst times of the year to vacation because that’s when everyone seems to take time off, but September through mid-December along with New Year's Day through May (excluding Spring Break) are great times to plan a vacation for two reasons: Not only will you get better deals since the kids are back in school and hotels need to fill rooms, but you’ll also find your favorite destinations are far less crowded. For example, I’ve been to the Tower of London twice and I’ve heard people have had to wait in line for five hours to see the crowned jewels in the summer months, but I’ve never waited more than five minutes because I travel to London in the off season.

2. All suite hotels and time share rentals are the latest trend in saving money on accommodations. I travel with my niece and nephew a lot during the summer and all suite hotels are the way to go when you’re traveling with your family. The added space means you can shut the door at night when the kids go to bed early and the adults can stay up to watch TV. Most all suite hotels also include hot breakfasts in the price plus the suites have a full kitchen so its easy to prepare meals to go while you’re traveling. You can eat healthier and save money on food that is always a big part of the travel budget. The one thing you really need to look out for on the all suite hotels is that you’re really getting a suite and not just a studio apartment. Look at photos online to verify that you’re getting a suite.

[Photo: Sheraton Desert Oasis Villas - Living Room.]

Also, only 10% of people who purchase time shares actually use them so now there is a huge surplus of Time Share Rentals that you can book online. I rented a timeshare through Sheraton for a week in Scottsdale last year at a fraction of the price of a luxury hotel room suite. I had a one bedroom condo with a working fireplace, two balconies and a kitchenette for $100 per night including tax. You can find time share rentals at my Rovia website available through

[Photo: Sheraton Desert Oasis Villas - Kitchenette.]

3. Take advantage of new ways to save when you get to your destination. One of the latest saving trends is purchasing discounted spa treatments, dinners and attractions before you go on vacation or a weekend getaway from places like Living Social and Groupon. I purchased a hot air balloon ride at Sunrise Balloons in Temecula, California for me and my niece and nephew that was 50% off.

[Photo: Sunrise Balloons with My Niece & Nephew.]

Both companies have lots of great deals but I do caution you to do your due diligence and verify that you’re getting the deal they advertise. Find out what it would cost you on their regular price since I’ve seen deals that say it’s 50% off and they may only be 10% off. You can get great deals but make sure the deal is real.

Also, if you’re going to a major city, check out Go City Cards that are available in many cities and vacation destinations in the U.S. including Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New York City, San Diego, Oahu, Orlando, and Miami. You pay just one price for up to 40 attractions (depending on the city you're visiting) and you get to create your own experience, tailoring your activities based on what you like to do, while also enjoying tremendous savings. We purchased Go City Cards for San Diego last year and saved hundreds of dollars on admission to Legoland, San Diego Zoo, and much more during our three day trip there. The Go City Card is valid for 14 days from first use and your days do NOT need to be used consecutively.

4. The best last minute travel deals are easy to find online. One thing you need to know is that deals on last minute airfares are not easy to come by so I always recommend you purchase your airfare at least three weeks ahead of flying and sometimes, several months ahead of your trip to get the best deal on airfare. Online is always going to be your best resource for last minute deals and online auctions like Priceline and Hotwire that do not disclose vendors until after your bid is accepted have some great deals if you don’t mind booking travel like that. For other last minute deals, it pays to get connected and subscribe so that the deals will end up on your radar. For example, if you subscribe to the Travelzoo Top 20 deals, they will drop 20 great travel deals in your email box every Wednesday like $799 per person for a week in Ireland staying in castles (and it includes airfare). Their deals are all verified as being real deals, but the trick is not to wait, but to book them quickly or you might lose out on the deal. Also, Twitter has many companies to follow that you can find on your Twitter feed like @farecomparedeals and @flyfromLAX (where I’m located).

5. Road trips make a great last minute weekend getaway. Don’t overlook the obvious. A road trip is the easiest weekend getaway and for many Americans, a great location is no more than a three hour drive away. There are no airport hassles, you can pack more in your suitcase and even take your pillow. All you need is a great hotel deal and a local deal (through Groupon or Living Social) and you have a great weekend getaway for a fraction of the price of getting on a plane.

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About Marianne Schwab
TV Travel Show Producer

For over twenty years, TV Travel Show Producer, Marianne Schwab, has been collecting money saving travel tips as a travel producer for high profile television programs. She has flown all over the world and produced live television productions on location from Caesar's Palace on the Vegas Strip to the beautiful island of Oahu. Read more