There are thousands of exciting destinations in the United States. Some are big, bright metropolitan areas and some are hidden gems nestled within wide open spaces. Whether you are native-born American or an international visitor, there are a lot of quirky, heartwarming, sometimes scary, but altogether compelling things to learn from vacationing here.
But planning a cohesive trip that hits all the high points, and nets you the best deals in the process, can be seriously challenging. One of the best ways to enjoy a rounded experience on your vacation is to bundle your flight and hotel together and then grab a travel package that saves you a bundle on attractions.
Destination: New York City
Ah, the Big Apple. The history, the arts, the food. People like to say that New York City is the place to see and do everything, which includes some really fun annual events – from fashion shows to dog shows, from ComicCon to the marathon. This makes NYC a fantastic vacation any time of year.
Unless you book through an agency, “all-inclusive” in NYC typically means “free breakfast and wifi.” But there are other ways to save big on the stuff you want to do.
One way to see as many attractions as you want is to pick up a New York Pass. You can buy them in 1, 2, 3, 5, 7 or 10 day increments and download your pass right to your phone. They’ll mail it to you, if you prefer. Then you can visit 100+ NYC attractions and pay absolutely nothing at the gate. Prices start at $132 for adults and $99 for children.
Destination: Las Vegas
If you want to be up all night and sleep all day, there’s no better place than Las Vegas. Gigantic hotel casinos line the strip and offer so much more than gambling. From shopping to shows to fine dining, you may not have to leave your hotel at all. But you’ll want to get off the strip sometimes to experience other fascinating attractions like the Pinball Hall of Fame, the Mob Museum, and the stunning Red Rock Canyon.
All-inclusive resorts in Vegas are rare, but you can save money on attractions with the Las Vegas Pass. Available in 2, 3, and 5 day increments, prices start at $259 per person. Your pass allows you unlimited free entry to 60+ destinations as well as entry to sold out tours and premium seating at the best shows.
Hawaii is just about everything you could want in a getaway. It’s warm and sunny, replete with gorgeous beaches, and brimming with cultural heritage. Oh, and there are no shortage of souvenir stands to browse, either. Once in Honolulu, it is relatively easy to hop a smaller plane and explore the other islands as well.
In Honolulu, you can easily book an all-inclusive stay at a gorgeous resort. Just a few of the options include the Halekulani Hotel, Waikiki Beachcomber, and Club Wyndham Royal Garden at Waikiki.
For attractions, pick up a Go Oahu card, available for 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 days. The best part is that you can stretch those days out over two weeks; they do not have to be consecutive. Choose the all-inclusive version that provides free access to over 40 attractions, or build your own pass with just the attractions you want. The prices for the all-inclusive pass start at $79 for adults and $72 for children.
If theme parks are your bag, you can hardly beat Orlando, which features three parks by Universal (Universal Studios, Islands of Adventure, and Volcano Bay) and six by Disney (Magic Kingdom Park, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom, Blizzard Beach, and Typhoon Lagoon). But we’re not done yet. You can also visit LegoLand and Sea World on this trip.
All-inclusive at Orlando resorts typically means an extra daily fee that grants access to theme park transportation and daily activities run by the staff. Sometimes you will get discounts at the resort’s various stores and restaurants.
The Go Orlando pass can help you save a bundle on attractions, though. Choose from 2, 3, or 5 day all-inclusive, passes good for 3 or 5 attractions to be visited within a 30-day period, or the Build-Your-Own pass, also good for 30 days. A 2-day all-inclusive pass is $164 for adults and $144 for children.
If you are flexible and fancy-free, consider booking a true surprise trip. Multiple companies are now offering packages to destinations unknown to you until you show up at the airport. Plug in your travel dates, budget, and general likes and dislikes and the company will do all the planning for you. You typically receive your itinerary in the days before your trip or in an envelope to open at the airport.
Prior to your day of departure you will receive information on what to pack, the weather forecast for your destination, any luggage restrictions, and of course, when to head to the airport or train station.
Surprise trips generally start at about $400 per traveler but can go way higher. Your budget is guaranteed to cover travel and accommodation, with any extra going toward attractions. Therefore, the higher your per-person budget, the more actual experiences will be planned for you. Be sure to bring enough extra money for food and souvenirs.
To get started, check out Pack Up + Go, Magical Mystery Tours, or Surprise Me Trips.
You’ve got to be getting excited by now! Whether you package your travel and hotel and pick up an attractions pass at your destination, or show up at the airport with no idea where you’re heading, it just makes sense to bundle as much of your travel expense as you can. Doing so saves a ton of money over booking everything separately and takes a lot of the stress out of planning as well.
And one thing is for sure – everybody needs to get away once in awhile. Don’t feel guilty about investing in your family’s happiness. With one life to live, now is the time.