Sunday, December 7, 2008

Top Travel Deals for Holidays and New Year

As bad as the economic headlines are, just one-quarter of us are dropping holiday travel plans -- according more than 1,400 people surveyed by the the travel planning website Kayak. And those people might be tempted by all the deals and bargains to help you save green -- as in green dollars.

Hotels, resorts and destination cities are getting pretty creative, too, with their travel deals. And some of them extend into the new year:

Virginia -- Ooh, baby, it's cold outside, and the colder it is, the less you'll pay for a room. Participaing hotels in Fairfax County -- just outside Washington, D. C. -- are freezing their room rates on weekends through December 27, 2008, to match the temperature outside. A room rate of $27 will certainly warm my heart, even if 27 degrees is freezing my body parts. Or whatever the temperature is at noon on Saturday at Dulles International Airport. Make your reservation at least 72 hours in advance, and no, the deal does not extend to January and the inauguration celebration events for Barack Obama.

Las Vegas -- Through January 30, 2009, you can get 30 percent off your bill at the MGM Grand or the Signature at MGM Grand just by paying with your MasterCard®. The discount applies to dining, entertainment and spa purchases at both resorts when they are charged to your hotel bill. Room rates start at $89 at MGM Grand and $149 for suites at The Signature. Just don't gamble away your savings in the casinos!

Delta and Hilton -- Are you a member of either -- or both -- of their frequent flyer, frequent guest programs? Delta SkyMiles and Hilton HHonors? If not, hurry up and join so you can get six times the miles with the airline program with each stay of two nights or more at a participating Hilton hotel worldwide, through February 28, 2009. Act fast, because this 6x bonus won't last long.

Intercontinental Hotels -- Sometimes, souvenir shopping is the difference between carry-on that' s still free and checking a bag for the flight home for whatever your airline is charging this week, anywhere from $20 to $50. If you are staying at a participating InterContinental Hotel through January 2, 2009, they'll ship home -- free -- one box per room, up to 30 pounds, via standard shipping service, to anywhere within the continental U.S. Just show up with your loot at the hotel's business center with the goodies and proof of purchase and leave the rest to them. Of course, if you want to ship home holiday gifts from that family visit, you'll have to ask Aunt Sylvia for the receipt, which could be dicey, if your Aunt Sylvia is like mine.

Ah, yes, many ways to save green when you travel this holiday season.