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11 Last-Minute Holiday Travel Deals
There's still time to land a bargain in prime destinations near and far.
From urban escapes to enchanting mountain retreats, there are still plenty of enticing offers to seize upon this holiday season. (Getty Images).
While procrastinating on booking flights and hotel rooms for the busy holiday season can be a formula for disaster, this year spur-of-the-moment travelers are in luck. With a little flexibility and proactivity, there's still time to score an affordable winter getaway. Here are last-minute vacation ideas guaranteed to show everyone a festive time this holiday season.
Bells are ringing in Philadelphia, with a European-style Christmas Village in John F. Kennedy Plaza, a huge model railroad setup in Reading Terminal Market and the classic Macy's Christmas Lights show playing eight times daily (the Wanamaker Grand Organ performs after the noon show). To entice procrastinators, 38 hotels are offering a Visit Philly Overnight Hotel Package (valid through March 19, 2017) with nightly room rates starting at $99. Hotel perks include admission and ice skate rentals for two at Blue Cross RiverRink Winterfest and a $10 Uber credit to get there.
You'll never forget your holiday stay at The Langham, Boston where the blush pink room decor comes with a selfie stick and list of top Instagram-worthy sites and attractions. Their $239 per night package also includes a "Chocolate Elevation Kit" featuring 25 chocolate treats chosen by The Langham's famous Chocolate Bar. Save a truffle for your espresso at Sip Café, the glass conservatory lit by the Christmas tree in Post Office Square across the way.
To honor the late musical legend Prince, the icon's former home and recording studio Paisley Park has recently opened to the public as a museum. Why not do a family Prince tour, using the Grand Hotel as your base? With the Grand Hotel Minneapolis Suite Life Package, priced at $1,999 nightly through Dec. 29, your family can spread out in the elaborately decorated Presidential Suite, enjoy eggnog and cookies and spend the $500 food and beverage credit for a holiday dinner at the hotel's velvet and leather SIX15 Room. Meanwhile, couples can opt for the Holiday Break room offer for $249 nightly, which includes a $50 credit.
Cape Cod, Massachusetts
There's nothing more fitting than your getting your photo taken along the storefronts of Chatham Village to inspire Norman Rockwell-style e-cards and make friends back home envious. For $199 per night, you can book a stay at the beachfront Chatham Bars Inn, and enjoy a hearty breakfast and maybe a taste of the inn's gingerbread house, a beauty made of 90 pounds of butter, 300 feet of gumballs, 800 lollipops, 6,000 jellybeans and 500 pounds of frosting. Gingerbread-making workshops and holiday meals are available.
Travelers with a sweet tooth may enjoy indulging in the Dylan's Candy Bar Standard Package at the Hotel Palomar Chicago, which costs $199 for a custom tour of Dylan's Candy Bar on Michigan Avenue, a candy shopping spree and a double room. As an added bonus, you can enjoy free mocktails and cocktails made with candy varieties in the lobby every Friday through New Year's Day.
New York City
Take your starstruck friends to New York City, and show them the footlights at Chef Michael White's Ai Fiori, where you'll enjoy breakfast with the posh Broadway Lifestyles offer at Langham Place, New York, Fifth Avenue. For $785, you can relax in a celeb-worthy room and enjoy complimentary drinks at the bar, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Theater District, and whichever Broadway show you've reserved using the $200 theater credit. For a more cost-effective stay, consider heading to the Pod 39 and Pod 51 hotels in New York, where rooms are available for $125 per night. The East 39th property is closest to window shopping at Macy's, while the East 51st Street hotel is located near Rockefeller Center. Families can book a connecting room, and take advantage of each hotel's free walking tours to find budget restaurants in the city's lesser-known neighborhoods.
Washington, District of Columbia
Avoid the high cost of staying in Washington D.C. but take advantage of free museums and dozens of holiday events by retreating to The Cambria Hotel & Suites in Rockville, Maryland, a 45-minute metro ride away. The Winter Wonderland package ($87 through March 1, 2017) includes a skate rental for two in the town square, access to the indoor pool and fitness center, free parking and 20 percent off hotel dining. The photo ops at the 80-foot Capitol Christmas tree, a stunning Colorado blue spruce outside the White House and the twinkling fir culled from a Wisconsin U-Pick farm inside the White House provide a head start on next year's holiday greeting card.
Palm Beach, Florida
The Chesterfield Palm Beach is offering a Home for the Holidays two-night package that includes Champagne upon arrival, an English breakfast, valet service and a mixology lesson. Add in glorious weather, premium high tea options, live music in the Leopard Lounge and Rolls Royce airport transfers, and the $335 nightly rate is a bargain. If you want to bring the grandkids, the property's two-bedroom suite is available at $790.
The favorable exchange rate against the U.S. dollar makes already great prices in Toronto even better. Enjoy the Distillery Historic District Christmas Market through Dec. 22, a great foodie scene and shopping malls decked out in holiday decor. Stay at the Chelsea Hotel, Toronto, where rooms start at $165 and include a keycard loaded with coupons to shop the Eaton Centre. Plus, the hotel is close to ice skating at Nathan Phillips Square and, when you're ready to warm up, you can check out the on-site heated pool with a waterslide for families and a hot tub with skyline views for adults.
If cozying up around a fireplace sounds like your ideal vacation, spend the season at a mountain resort. Steamboat Resorts by Wyndham Vacation Rentals in Steamboat, Colorado, has ski in, ski out holiday rentals at up to 30 percent off from Dec. 16 through Jan. 5, 2017, if booked by Jan. 1, 2017. Options range from studios to six-bedroom townhouses, making it easy to snag accommodations well-suited for a variety of group sizes and budgets. Meanwhile, one-bedroom units that can accommodate four at Ski Inn Condominiums start at $272 nightly and include full kitchens, Wi-Fi access and free coffee and doughnuts in the lobby. Plus, watching Santa ride down the slopes on horseback during the Dec. 18 Steamboat Holiday Festival is free. Make sure to check on lift ticket offers, because Steamboat's programming and expert snow sports schools are a hit with families.
For many, nothing beats a last-minute trip to Paris, where Christmas markets, Nativity scenes, outdoor ice rinks, carousels and deals abound. At the convenient Timhotel Paris Gare de Lyon, double rooms start at 99 euros per night. Plus, the France tourism bureau is doling out holiday cheer with special offers on a myriad of activities, restaurants and shops through the city, available on ParisInfo.com. Take a Christmas Day Seine brunch cruise on the Bateaux Parisiens for 85 euros, catch the delightful Tin Tin illustrations at the Grand Palais' Hergé show for 19 euros and skip the lines with priority admission to the Louvre for 15 euros.
About En Route
Practical advice on the art of traveling smarter with tips, tricks and intel from En Route's panel of experts.
Contributors have experience in areas ranging from family travel, adventure travel, experiential travel and budget travel to hotels, cruises and travel rewards and include Amy Whitley, Claire Volkman, Holly Johnson, Marsha Dubrow, Lyn Mettler, Sery Kim, Kyle McCarthy, Erica Lamberg, Jess Moss, Sheryl Nance-Nash, Sherry Laskin, Katie Jackson, Erin Gifford, Roger Sands, Steve Larese, Gwen Pratesi, Erin Block, Dave Parfitt, Kacey Mya, Kimberly Wilson, Susan Portnoy, Donna Tabbert Long and Kitty Bean Yancey.
Edited by Liz Weiss.
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