Home

Home Travel Tips Travel Deals Destinations Trip Reviews Forums Blog
The IndependentTraveler.com Blog

Hawaiian Sunset Every Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Save up to 40 percent on bed and breakfast rates at Hilton Hotels and Resorts in destinations around the world. Your level of savings depends on where you travel:

-Save 20 percent in North and South America

-Save 40 percent in Africa, Europe and the Middle East

-Save 25 percent in Asia, Australia and the South Pacific

Hilton’s B&B rates include a hot breakfast buffet for two people in addition to accommodations. (Kids ages 5 and younger eat free with an accompanying adult.) We checked prices for a one-night weekend stay in July at Hilton New York and found discounted B&B rates starting at $247.20 per night; this beats the hotel’s best available rates at $259 a night, which don’t include breakfast. Clearly this deal is a good choice even for travelers who don’t want to line up for scrambled eggs and potatoes at the hotel buffet.

The Catch: Get ready to commit. A full, nonrefundable payment is required at time of booking. Additionally, a two-week advance purchase is required.

The Competition: This summer, AAA members can get free breakfasts and a 10 percent discount on nightly rates at Hyatt Hotels in the U.S., Canada and the Caribbean. And we found another breakfast deal that’s worth a mention: BedandBreakfast.com is running a promotion that features $25 off summer stays at B&B’s around the world, where rates, naturally, include the most important meal of the day.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Hotel Deals.

– written by Caroline Costello

On the Beach with a Kindle Every Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal:
Hotels.com’s “Summer Giftaway” sale features steep discounts on hotel stays in addition to a few enticing bonus gifts for travelers — including complimentary e-readers. Save up to 45 percent on accommodations around the world, plus receive extras like a $25 gas card or a free Kindle with select bookings. Kindle e-readers normally cost $139 (that’s the going rate on Amazon.com).

The Catch: To get the Kindle, you must book a stay of at least three consecutive nights at a participating property, and spend a minimum of $450 (a price that won’t be difficult to reach, really, with a three-night stay). For the gas card, you’ll have to book a minimum two-night stay at select hotels.

Don’t expect the front-desk receptionist to pull out a Kindle and hand it to you when you arrive at your hotel. Yes, that would be ideal. Especially since you could use the thing on your trip. But, as is the case with most free-gift offers from travel providers, you’ll receive your bonus in the mail weeks after your completed stay. Look for the $25 gas card or Kindle to show up in your mailbox within 14 days of your return date.

The Competition: We haven’t found any other travel deals featuring complimentary e-readers (please, correct us if we’re wrong). But you can grab a free gift card from InterContinental Hotels Group, which is offering $75 prepaid MasterCards with summer stays of at least two weekend nights at participating properties around the world. Additionally, Wyndham Resorts is giving away $100 American Express cards for guests who stay five nights or longer.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Hotel Deals.

Editor’s Note: IndependentTraveler.com is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, an operating company of Expedia, Inc. Expedia, Inc. also owns Hotels.com.

– written by Caroline Costello

Summer Vacation Every Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Stay at any InterContinental Hotels Group property this summer and receive a free $75 prepaid gift card. To qualify, you must book a stay of two consecutive weekend nights or longer (Friday, Saturday or Sunday) from May 16 through August 31. The sheer variety of hotels on offer here is jaw-dropping. This deal is valid at more than 4,400 Holiday Inn, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts, Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, and Candlewood Suites properties around the world.

The Catch: This is a rebate promotion, so if you don’t bother to keep your receipt and mail a form after your vacation, you’ll miss out. Travelers must mail a rebate form plus their hotel receipt by September 30 to receive their prepaid card, which will arrive in the mail six to eight weeks later.

There’s one more thing. You’ll have to hold your horses for a few hours, as the rebate won’t be available online until Wednesday, May 11.

The Competition: BedandBreakfast.com is running a summer B&B promotion, offering $25 discounts at almost 2,000 B&B’s around the world. Of course, $25 is no $75. But BedandBreakfast.com’s wide range of eligible properties, which numbers in the thousands, isn’t something to sneeze at.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Hotel Deals.

– written by Caroline Costello

Miami BeachEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Save 25 percent on your summer stay at dozens of hotels across the Sunshine State. Travel between May 15 and September 30, and receive up to a quarter off the cost of your booking at participating JW Marriott, Renaissance, and Marriott hotels and resorts in Florida.

You’ll find a full list of participating properties on the Marriott Web site, which includes a bevy of beachfront resorts in locations like Miami, West Palm Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, Orlando, Key Largo and Tampa that are eligible for the 25 percent discount. This is a fantastic offer for anyone seeking a pre-cruise stay for a sailing out of Florida, as a number of eligible hotels are located near cruise ports.

The Catch: Each hotel only has a limited number of rooms available for this promotion, which makes sense considering Marriott is advertising this deal under the title, “Get It While It’s Hot.” You’ll want to book early for best availability.

The Competition: Hotels.com is currently running a promotion on beach hotels, with discounts of up to 30 percent at select properties. The beach-themed bargain features a bunch of discounted properties in Florida (as well as other surf-and-sand destinations like the Caribbean, Hawaii and Mexico), but travel dates are limited. You must book a stay for travel through the end of May to take advantage of the 30 percent discount.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Hotel Deals.

– written by Caroline Costello

Flamingos in the CaribbeanEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Travelocity’s Easter sale features an array of impressive discounts on hotel stays and vacation packages for travel April through August. Choose from a selection of cut-rate hotel and package options in popular vacation destinations across the globe, including Mexico, the Caribbean, New York, California, Latin America, Hawaii and Florida. Receive as much as 65 percent off the price of your stay, plus get extra savings like free-nights and resort credits, depending on which property you choose.

One of the things we love about this deal is its sheer variety. We found discounted rates for all-inclusive Caribbean resorts, rustic national park hotels, big-city high-rise properties, and even Disney World and Disneyland accommodations featured in this sale. Nightly rates start at $42 (for a Travelodge hotel in Riviera Beach, Florida). For each property, travelers have the option of saving on hotel-only stays, or adding airfare and getting discounted prices for a vacation package. It’s great to have options!

The Catch: Depending on which hotel you’re looking at, various minimum-night stay requirements might apply. Many of the properties we looked at had a three-night minimum-stay requirement for the discount, but be sure to check when booking.

The Competition: Hotels.com is running a similar Easter sale, with discounts of up to 40 percent at select properties around the world. But the Hotels.com sale doesn’t feature marked down vacation packages, and travel dates are limited to select days in April.

Editor’s Note: IndependentTraveler.com is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Group, an operating company of Expedia, Inc., which also owns Hotels.com.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Vacation Package Deals.

– written by Caroline Costello

Sheraton Sand Key ResortEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Travelers with summer vacation on the brain should take note of this timely package deal, which features an array of warm-weather discounts at Starwood Resorts properties in the U.S. Purchase an air-inclusive Southwest Vacations package of three or more nights at select Starwood Resorts and receive up to $100 off the price of your trip, a free night’s stay, a free room upgrade and more money-saving perks.

This offer is valid at resorts in a variety of U.S. destinations, from breezy beachfront lodging in Florida to golf resorts in the sunny Southwest. Already-low nightly rates include roundtrip airfare from select U.S. cities, but keep in mind that discounts and prices vary by property. For example, at the Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater, guests can receive a free night’s stay and a $50 resort credit in addition to up to $100 off the price of their package, with nightly rates starting at $144. Whereas at the Westin Mission Hills Resort & Spa, you can snag a free night’s stay, free breakfast, free meals for kids and golf discounts — plus, of course, that $100 discount — with rates as low as $108 per night.

The Catch: To save the most, you’ve got to stay awhile. To receive $100 off your package price, your trip must be five nights or longer. Book a stay of four nights and receive $80 off the price of your vacation, or book a stay of three nights and save $60.

The Competition: It’s not hard to find discounted packages on the Web, so Southwest Vacations has some healthy competition, well, just about everywhere. One comparable offer we unearthed is this Wyndham Resorts deal, which features free nights plus a $100 American Express gift card at destinations in the U.S., the Caribbean and Mexico. Prices are a bit steeper than Southwest Vacations’ rates, but Wyndham’s selection of eligible resorts in domestic and international locales gives budget-minded travelers a wider range of options.

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Vacation Package Deals.

– written by Caroline Costello

Wyndham Rio Mar Beach ResortEvery Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: Book a stay of five or more nights at a participating Wyndham Resort and get your fifth night’s stay for free. Plus, receive a complimentary $100 American Express Reward Card, which can be used wherever American Express is accepted.

This offer is valid at select resorts in the U.S., the Caribbean and Mexico for travel through the end of the year. You’ll get the biggest bang for your buck by booking this deal at one of Wyndham’s all-inclusive properties, where nightly rates range from about $250 to $500 and cover meals, drinks (even alcoholic ones) and activities. We checked rates for a five-night summer stay at the Viva Wyndham Fortuna Beach in the Bahamas and spotted savings of as much as $524 (the cost of one night’s stay in a deluxe room) in addition to the on-the-house $100 American Express card.

The Catch: Don’t bank on using your American Express card on a glass bottom boat tour or scuba diving lessons while on vacation. Your card will be shipped to your home address six to eight weeks after your completed stay. And keep in mind that when you book, you won’t see immediate savings, as your free night’s stay will be deducted when you check out.

The Competition: We’ve unearthed juicy discounts at several other brand-name hotel chains. Hilton Worldwide Resorts is offering a 30 percent mark-down at select international and domestic properties for stays booked three months in advance. Additionally, Starwood Hotels is running a “Better Tomorrows” promotion that features 40 percent off every second night’s stay at select resorts in North and South America. (Stay two nights and receive 40 percent off one night’s stay, stay four nights and get 40 percent off two nights, etc.)

Find these bargains and more money-saving offers in our Hotel Deals.

–written by Caroline Costello

couple hammock beach romance vacation travelSo it’s Valentine’s Day. Did you get the Hallmark card yet? The roses? The conversation hearts? The free booze on Southwest Airlines?

Yes, according to a Tweet from the airline, Southwest is giving away free “adult drinks” on all flights. Ostensibly, it’s meant to promote the airline’s tweaks to its Rapid Rewards loyalty program, but it’s timed nicely to coincide with all the lonely hearts flitting around the country today. If you miss it, not to worry: The airline is repeating the promotion on St. Patrick’s Day (hmmm …).

If you’d rather save some money than suck down a gratis gin and tonic at 30,000 feet, Spirit Airlines is offering $50 off round-trip flights with a special holiday deal. But move fast: You have to book by 11:59 p.m. ET today and fly from February 17 through March 4. Isn’t it romantic?

If you prefer the sea to the air, several cruise lines are offering special enticements for those who book over the next few days. In a sale starting today, for instance, Azamara Club Cruises is offering a bonanza of extras (a $500 onboard credit, Champagne, strawberries) for passengers booking an outside or higher-category cabin on select European itineraries. Check out the details on this and several other promotions at our sister site, Cruise Critic.

If you’re as sick of this cold winter as the rest of us, Mexico may be beckoning. Book today and you can get 50 percent off rooms at the JW Marriott Cancun Resort or the CasaMagna Marriott Cancun Resort. You have to reserve by 11:59 tonight and use the promo code L9Z. Rates start at just $100 a night for travel through December 12, 2011.

Don’t leave home without our Seven Secrets for a More Romantic Trip.

– written by John Deiner

milestone hotel It’s not a royal wedding without some kind of commemorative plate set. Or a vinyl Kate Middleton doll (the Franklin Mint is working on one, enticing collectors with the glitter of limited availability — only 5,000 will be made). Keep an eye out for souvenir royal wedding condoms too, which are already for sale in England.

Luxury hotels certainly aren’t above cashing in on the big event along with nearly everyone else in the British Isles. The Milestone Hotel, a posh five-star London property overlooking Kensington Palace, is offering a four-night Royal Occasion package that includes a set of fine English bone china commemorative plates and mugs, crafted by Royal Worcester. Package prices start at 2,418 pounds (that’s about $3,894 as of this posting) for two people staying in a superior queen room between April 24 and May 3. Here’s what’s included:

- Four nights’ accommodations

- Daily English breakfast

- A royal Champagne afternoon tea

- A seven-course meal prepared by the hotel’s chef

- Two tickets to Kensington Palace

- Luxury car transfers from London Heathrow Airport

- And, most importantly, that commemorative plate set

Add-ons range from a Champagne sabrage (that’s when a bottle of Champagne is ceremoniously opened with a knife or a sword) to an elegant picnic in Hyde Park. I’m no luxury traveler, but any package that includes a guy hacking at a Champagne bottle with a sword is something to consider. Plus, the painful price of nearly $3,900 isn’t quite as paralyzing once you realize the package covers two people staying for four nights in one of the most expensive cities in the world.

Excuse me while I try to think of a clever way to scare up four grand. In the meantime, tell us: Would you book a luxury package in London for the royal wedding — or will you just stick with a few commemorative plates and some souvenir condoms?


–written by Caroline Costello

romantic beach couple Every Tuesday, we’ll feature the best travel bargain we’ve seen all week right here, on our blog. Be the first to find out which deals make the cut by subscribing to our blog (top right) or signing up for our weekly deals newsletter.

The Deal: This Hotels.com promotion features discounts of up to 60 percent at hundreds of hotels in destinations around the world, for travel from February 10 through February 21. Plus, at select properties, Hotels.com is throwing in extra savings like complimentary movie passes, free nights and other perks. We like this offer because it covers travel during coveted Valentine’s Day weekend — the perfect time for a few romantic nights in a big-city hotel or a whirlwind Caribbean getaway.

This deal includes bargain rates for stays at all-inclusive resorts in addition to hotels. Prices at the beachfront Holiday Inn Sunspree Resort in Montego Bay, Jamaica have been slashed by 60 percent, with nightly rates starting at $204 per person (including meals, activities, entertainment and accommodations in charming guestrooms with balconies overlooking the ocean).

The Catch: Discounts vary by property — by a lot. For example, at the Courtyard Marriott on Fifth Avenue in New York City, book a weekend stay and you’ll receive, er, two free movie passes. There’s nothing wrong with a free flick, but it’s no 60 percent discount.

The Competition: Travelocity is currently running a spring hotel sale with discounts of up to 30 percent at urban properties in domestic and international destinations (valid travel dates include stays over Valentine’s Day weekend).

Editor’s Note: IndependentTraveler.com is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Group, an operating company of Expedia, Inc., which also owns Hotels.com.


– written by Caroline Costello