Bargain Hunting?

Experts share the travel-deal possibilities for summer

Thinking that there must be some good in the bad economy, we polled the experts for great deals on summer vacations. But because travel deals are subject to change (scroll the fine print here) and because our deadlines prevent up-to-the-minute updates, we have to communicate the possibilities in generalities about when, where and why to go. But this report should give you a pretty good idea of what’s being offered.

By Sea

Kevin Allen, owner and cruise travel specialist of Cruise Holidays of Summerlin (982-0268), suggested the following destinations:

• Alaska. Look for end-of-season deals. Example: Roundtrip from Seattle, aboard Holland America, seven nights leaving in late August, ocean view with window, prices start at $699 (that’s the same price you’d pay for an interior cabin).

• Europe. Take advantage of repositioning cruises (i.e., ships relocating at the end of season). For example, Holland America offers a 20-day cruise that visits Italy, Spain and Portugal before heading to the Caribbean. Prices start at $1,899.

• Hawaii. Start booking holiday cruises now. Specials include three nights with rental car starting at $500.

By Air

We checked in with, a flight search engine that pulls information from top online travel agencies and airlines, to highlight the best airfares available. Justin Drake, PR specialist for the company, chimed in with the best low roundtrip airfares out of Las Vegas starting in late June/early July: to Burbank, Calif., $125; San Francisco, $139; Los Angeles, $143; Denver, starting at $151; Vancouver, starting at $223; Seattle, starting at $261.

The experts at have announced the destinations offering the best value for the summer, including … Las Vegas. Because the lifespan of the site’s deals are only seven to 10 days, we opted to publish recent examples as a frame of reference:

• Six-night Australia and New Zealand package, $999 including air and hotel.

• Resort savings of up to 50 percent in Orlando, as the city tries to make up for its seasonal depletion of convention business.

• “Shoulder” season (between high and low times) in the Bahamas, so great rates abound.

• Slashed rates in Las Vegas. Because the heat tends to repel tourists, resorts not only offer deals but tend to throw in freebies such as casino credits and spa discounts. It’s a great time to play tourist in your own city and take advantage of all those lush swimming pools. And think of the airfare you’d save!

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The major film studios have never understood the Las Vegas market. To people who work 40-plus hours a week to sell the Vegas image, perception is reality—and yet Hollywood keeps giving us movies set in deserts and the tropics. If we wanted to think about blistering heat, we’d stand outside the casino and save $10. Fortunately, a handful of cold-weather movies do exist. Rent them tonight and imagine what a cool breeze feels like.