Sometimes you just need some more distance between you and your island vacation to keep the kids away. While not exactly a quick jaunt from the East Coast hubs and still a bit underserved on the West, Hawaii's getting a bit cozier with both thanks to new service. Hawaiian Airlines ( HA) starts nonstop service from New York's JFK on June 4 and just partnered with JetBlue ( JBLU) to create a few more route options, according to SmarterTravel. United ( UAL) unveils yet another nonstop option June 7 when it begins service from Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C. If that's just a bit too close to summer for travelers' comfort, they'll be getting a big boost out west April 10 when Alaska ( ALK) Airlines begins flights to Honolulu from Oakland and San Jose. Such additions are extremely welcome for Hawaiian tourism after the loss of Aloha and ATA airlines in 2008, as evidenced by three-night air-and-hotel specials to Honolulu from Oakland starting at $575 this spring.
Here's the bad news: Fort Lauderdale is Orbitz's fourth-most popular spring destination. Airfare averages $333, while a room will set you back roughly $148 per night. The good news: No undergraduate worth the sand they'll be sleeping on this spring break would ever consider Fort Lauderdale a place to party. Sure, grandma will tell some young undergrad how wild it used to be, but Fort Lauderdale's not even the kind of place that can keep a dueling piano bar in business anymore. No, this is where parents go for a nice, relaxing day of family friendly fun at the beach. Maybe they catch a taco, hoagie or nice Italian dinner afterward. Maybe they sneak out to a blues bar or beach pub once the kids are asleep. Mostly, however, they just enjoy the fact that ground zero for all the Jersey Shore-worthy bass bumping and drunken grinding is miles down the coast.
The Caribbean is usually awash with young, rowdy tourists this time of year, but they're not going to be teeing up in Aruba anytime soon. This seems like a coin toss for wary travelers all too aware that the renovated Hyatt and Radisson resorts, expanded nonstop AirTran ( LUV) and JetBlue service from the East Coast and generally laid-back atmosphere attracts plenty of visitors young and old. Aruba just had its big, rowdy season, though. It's called Carnival, and it wound down to a colorful, booze-soaked close last month. American Express Travel and Hyatt love it for the family friendly resorts full of screaming kids and the golf courses devoid of college-age chuckleheads making well-worn Caddyshack references. Right now -- with the exception of Carubbian Nights on Thursdays when the streets shut down -- it's just plain peaceful in Aruba. Don't overthink it.
The Pacific Northwest spent the winter getting slammed by weather usually reserved for frigid Midwest states and Nor'easter-inundated coastal towns. If any place is ready to embrace visitors willing to bring some spring with them, it's British Columbia. The flower gardens will just be blooming in Victoria, where a package at Accent Inns Victoria with a room and access to Butchart Gardens goes for $140 a night. In Vancouver, meanwhile, the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival from April 5-28 offers visitors maps of all the best tree walks and a seat for the annual haiku invitationals. The city makes it easier to stop and smell the blossoms by offering a third-night-free hotel promotion. As SmarterTravel found, the province is teeming with activities including the Mountain Spring Festival in Panorama Mountain Village (April 6-9), the spring Night Market in Richmond and the BC Open Gold Panning Championships in Cherryville (May 18-20). It also comes fairly cheap at the time, as prebought lift-ticket rates at B.C. slopes drop by 30% or more and a three-night package at the Echo Valley Ranch & Spa that goes for nearly $1,500 in July can be had for $925 through April.
So maybe Germany doesn't exactly have "spring break" written all over it, but Berlin's become one insanely cool town while you were picturing it behind some sort of cinder block wall. The highly stylized Hotel Mani, which looks like a set from the German version of Portlandia, is offering rooms for roughly $105 a night in April, but that rate jumps to $121 a night in May and upward of $130 by June. It's a similar case elsewhere in Germany, where SmarterTravel says round-trip flights between San Francisco and Frankfurt illustrates range from $989 all-in for a May flight to $1,549 for a flight in July. Air-and-hotel vacation packages were no different, as the low price for a six-day Munich package in early June from Go-today was $1,299 but soared to $1,849 for July. Need reasons to go? Air Berlin launches nonstop service from Los Angeles in May, while the new Berlin Brandenburg Airport opens in June. What will you do once you get there? Well, there's always the artwork and events surrounding the Berlin Bienniale For Contemporary Art, which starts April 27.
Is it a bit gloomy and rainy in the spring here? Sure, but no more so than for much of the rest of the year. Fortunately, airfares and routes here are getting a bit sunnier. This week, Alaska kicked off service from Kansas City, Mo. On June 3, AirTran launches service from Baltimore, and on the same day, its owner Southwest begins flights from Houston. Amtrak, meanwhile, is trying to make an argument for the romance of the rails with 15% off round-trip tickets to Seattle from any point on its Cascades (Eugene-Seattle-Vancouver), Coast Starlight (Los Angeles-Seattle), and Empire Builder (Chicago-Seattle) routes. The offer is available for travel through April 29 when booked by April 22. As luck would have it, guests are going to have plenty to do once they arrive. Sure, visitors can say hi to the otters at the aquarium, get really small doughnuts or huge fish fillets at Pike Place Market and drink espresso until they shake like molecules, but the Seattle Art Museum humbly suggests checking out its upcoming Gaugin exhibit through April 29 and partaking in the multiple hotel packages tied to it. If that's a bit too highbrow, King Tut makes one of his final appearances in the U.S. starting May 24 at the Pacific Science Center.
Listen, you let Portugal worry about its sovereign debt and position in the European Union. You just sit back, relax and enjoy the affordability. SmarterTravel places the average cost of a hotel room in Portugal at about $100 a night, but says room rates can dip as low as $66 in places such as Albuferia. One of the most effective ways of ensuring a sweet price is to stay in pousadas -- inns tucked away in manors, monasteries and castles. Pousadas de Portugal offers accommodations for $95 a night, free nights and packages that include massages, meals and horseback rides. Worried about the price of getting there? Don't be. Portugal's TAP Airlines is offering round-trip fares from New York, including all taxes and fees, from $723 for early spring travel. -- Written by Jason Notte in Boston. >To contact the writer of this article, click here: Jason Notte. >To follow the writer on Twitter, go to http://twitter.com/notteham. >To submit a news tip, send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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