SAVING ON U.S. TRAVEL
How to stretch our dollar
The Canadian dollar is still down, but you’re determined to take a holiday to one of the more popular U.S. destinations this summer. It’s not easy, but there are ways to save money on a trip to iconic U.S. destinations. Here’s a look at some options.
New York City: You can almost always find deals in New York City on weekends, especially if you look at hotels in areas that rely heavily on business people. The south end of Manhattan is increasingly popular with tourists, but you can still get good deals at hotels near Wall Street and be close to a number of subway lines that can whisk you uptown, or over to trendy Brooklyn, in minutes. Grab a banana from a street vendor for 50 cents and a coffee and pastry from an independent shop and you’ll have breakfast for around $5. Street food at lunch is quite reasonably priced, too. New York City is filled with tons of free things to do, everything from walks in Central Park to the Staten Island Ferry, with awesome Statue of Liberty and city views. The city’s tourism website (nycgo.com/free) also has information on free museums and free TV show tapings.
Florida: There are lots of deals to be found this time of year, as the snowbirds have retreated north and the kids aren’t yet out of school. The St. PetersburgClearwater area is filled with fabulous and reasonably priced places to stay. Downtown St. Pete and downtown Tampa have become hotbeds for foodies, too. Florida’s Historic Coast offers accommodations for less than $100, with plenty of mid-week, extended stay or vacation pack- ages posted every day at FloridasHistoricCoast.com. Orlando Tourism has an online ticket store (tickets.visitorlando.com/ store/) where you can save on entry fees to Universal, Disney and other theme parks. Discover The Palm Beaches, north of Miami, has a year-round pass that offers savings to as many as four family attractions in the area, including Lion Country Safari and the South Florida Science Center and Aquarium: palmbeachfl.com/ discover-pass.
Las Vegas: This city has been undergoing a tremendous transformation, with MGM International (mgmresorts.com) just opening a new park that leads to the recently opened T-Mobile Arena, where they hope to have an NHL team soon. The passing parade on The Strip has always been a great way to enjoy free entertainment, as is the fountain show at the Bellagio. You can also often find free entertainment from talented singers and musicians at various hotel and casino lobbies and bar areas. If you have a car, entrance to sensational Red Rock Canyon park is just $7.
Chicago: The city’s 35-acre Lincoln Park Zoo is free, with everything from African lions and furry alpacas to red pandas and reptiles. Taking goofy photos at the city’s now famous Bean sculpture — technically called Cloud Gate — is also free. There are plenty of fun and inexpensive places to eat, including the Billy Goat Tavern, which inspired the famous Saturday Night Live “Cheezborger, cheezborger” skits. Chicago is one of many cities where you can buy a CityPASS (citypass.com) and save a bundle on a series of attractions.
Myrtle Beach: This is consistently one of the more affordable U.S. destinations, with a familyfriendly vibe. Hotels tend to be fairly priced, even right on the beach. You can find hotel deals for spring at the city’s official website (visitmyrtlebeach.com/ hotels/deals/spring). Golf here tends to be more affordable than in big population centres and there are tons of beautiful courses, including Pine Lakes and Tidewater Golf Club. Hitting the beach won’t cost you a dime, unless you need a new plastic pail and shovels for the kids.