Spring break: Do you need one? If you're saying "yes" right now, you're in luck.
WFMY -- Spring break: Do you need one? If you're saying "yes" right now, you're in luck.
Smartertravel.com compiled a list of the top bargain destinations for spring 2014 for our news partners at USA Today.
Here's their top spots for your spring break getaway.
Forget spring training—this season, it's the city of San Antonio that's knocking it out of the park, at least when it comes to travel deals. The city's easy-to-find, easy-to-use SAVE deals offer discounts on hotel stays, activities, dining, and more. And when you combine the easy savings with well-connected air service from all over the U.S. and a ton of things to do, you've got bargain gold.
The city's SAVE (San Antonio Vacation Experience) deals include big hotels, little inns, B&Bs, and resorts. Find deals like 15 to 20 percent off rates at the Holiday Inn San Antonio Riverwalk and 25 percent off rooms at the Hotel Valencia Riverwalk, which offers rates from $114 per night.
Saving is only part of the equation in San Antonio this spring. Fiesta San Antonio runs from April 10 to 27 and the food festival Culinaria kicks off May 14. The San Antonio Zoo will open a new carousel in March to celebrate its 100th birthday, and in May, SeaWorld will debut a new 13,500-square-foot aviary full of tropical birds.
Even if marveling at the city's famous cherry-blossom trees weren't free (and a whole lot closer than Japan's spring blooms), Washington, D.C., would still be a good deal this spring. Current airfare sales, new service on the horizon, hotel discounts, and a bevy of free activities make D.C. more affordable this coming season.
By the end of the year, JetBlue will likely have 12 more slot pairs at DCA, allowing it to connect Washington, D.C., to more cities. And that means something to bargain travelers: In a recent MIT study, JetBlue was named the airline that most dramatically lowered fares when it began new service. JetBlue is also slated to take permanent ownership of eight slot pairs it has been operating at DCA on a temporary basis. If you're looking to book now for spring travel, you'll likely be able to find a sale fare. American, Delta, Frontier, and Southwest have all had recent domestic sales, and while the ones we've been watching have expired, there will likely be another wave of spring-travel sales.
You shouldn't have to look far for hotel discounts either. Destination DC lists current low rates and promotions, including 20 percent off rates for booking early at the Beacon Hotel and Corporate Quarters or 25 percent off three or more nights at the Embassy Row Hotel. And don't forget that all of the museums in the D.C. Smithsonian system as well as the National Gallery of Art are free to visit, as are the city's monuments.
U.S. Virgin Islands
Caribbean splendor without a passport is just part of the value equation offered by the U.S. Virgin Islands this spring. Deals on vacation packages as well as hotel discounts and bonuses bring real savings to a trip to paradise this coming season.
St. Croix's Find Your Bliss promotion, available for travel through May 15, offers a mix of resort credits and activity, restaurant, and shopping certificates worth up to $500. What's particularly nice about this deal is that the savings options are targeted to different interests, including divers, couples, and culinary travelers. Boutique hotels on all three islands are offering $100 in dining and activities certificates through its Intimate Treasures promotion. And at The Westin St. John Resort, room refurbishments will continue through June, and that means lower rates for visitors willing to endure a bit of daytime construction noise.
Culture doesn't usually come cheap, but in Vienna, there are a surprising number of free festivals, museums, and events this spring. And since spring airfare to Europe is reasonable compared to summer's sky-high prices, this could be just the excuse you've been looking for.
Vienna is neither Europe's most nor least expensive destination to fly into. But if you're looking for rock-bottom prices, you might consider flying into an airport known for cheaper transatlantic airfares (think Prague, Berlin, or Frankfurt) and then making Vienna a stop on a longer itinerary. If train travel is part of the larger plan, take advantage of Eurail's Global Pass Free Days Promotion, which offers two additional days with a 15-day pass, three free days with a 21-day pass, or five bonus days with a one-month pass. To take advantage of the free days, you need to book by March 28, but you can travel anytime within six months of purchase.
Free activities in Vienna this spring include Easter markets, which run throughout April and include music, food, and handicrafts. There's also free open-air live opera in April, May, and June on screens in front of the Opera House.
Cherry blossoms and festivals make spring the best season to visit Japan. And this year, spring brings more service, cheaper airfare, and a double-miles deal to boot.
Starting on March 30, Japan Airlines will double its flights between New York JFK and Tokyo Narita, bringing the total number of weekly flights to 14. The airline is also making it easier for visitors to see more of Japan: Overseas passengers on Oneworld member airlines can take advantage of discounted domestic airfare to 30 cities in Japan. The Visit Japan Fare allows visitors to book up to five segments at about $100 per flight. And as of press time, both Delta and United are running Asia sales that include fares to Japan, offering more ways to get there for less.