Recessions good time for traveling


POSTED: Friday, April 03, 2009

So the economy's in a funk, and your job is on the line — but a recession also means you'll find more travel deals in these times than in boom times.

Here's the deal: Tough times are the best times to find travel deals as hospitality businesses vie for your dollars.

Mokulele Airlines, go! and Hawaiian Airlines began offering $28 one-way interisland fares for travel in April yesterday. Tickets for Mokulele and go! must be booked by Wednesday, and by Thursday for Hawaiian.

While Hawaii tourism is in a slump, there are now specials that include free breakfasts, free groceries, room upgrades, and a third or fifth or seventh night free at both budget hotels and luxury resorts.

Aston Hotels & Resorts is promoting a Kids Stay, Play & Eat Free deal. Children 17 years and younger can stay free with parents at any ResortQuest Hawaii hotel. Children 12 years and younger get free admission to top island attractions, and free meals at family friendly restaurants when accompanied by a paying adult.

The Westin Moana Surfrider is offering a $75 dining credit plus free eats for kids ages 5 and under through American Express Vacations.

Aqua's boutique hotels are celebrating a “;Nifty to be Fifty”; package celebrating Hawaii's 50th statehood anniversary, with $50 for the first night, and $119 for additional nights.

Guests who book certain rooms at Aqua Palms & Spa get free high-speed Internet and breakfast at IHOP.

For kamaaina, Hawaii's hotels are offering unbeatable deals (for anyone with a Hawaii ID), including $75 per night at the Ohana Waikiki West, or $125 a night for the newly renovated Outrigger Reef on the Beach (valid through Dec. 21, 2009).

Here are some tips on how to get the best travel deals:

» Go when no one else is going. For Hawaii, that means the shoulder seasons of September or early June — in between the holidays and spring breaks.

» Do your research. Dozens of online travel sites are now available for browsing — from Expedia to Travelocity, Orbitz, Priceline, Kayak, Mobissimo, Cheaptickets and Lowestfare. You also can subscribe to Travelzoo's weekly list of top deals and to Hawaiian Airlines for low, unadvertised fares.

» Compare fares through or Sometimes the airline's own Web site will offer you the best deal.

» You may find last-minute deals from airlines trying to fill empty seats if you try browsing after midnight. Try seeing whether travel on weekdays or red-eye flights will cost less than weekend.

» Book airline tickets online to avoid an extra $5 to $10 in booking fees.

» Wheel and deal. Private vacation rental owners may be more willing to negotiate rates.

» Check if the prices quoted include taxes, other hidden charges or fees.

» Go to and click on “;Find Deals Now”; at the bottom of the page.


”;Here's The Deal,”; which helps consumers stretch their dollars in these tough economic times, runs every other Friday.