Best Winter Travel Deals
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Rule of thumb: Look for bundled air and hotel packages for the deepest discounts.
Why here?: In October 2008, occupancy in Hawaii dropped to 63 percent of available rooms—the lowest level since just after 9/11. The state's economy depends on tourist dollars to stay afloat, so all sorts of deals are popping up to lure travelers to the Aloha State.
Best bang for your buck: Online travel retailers like Expedia, Orbitz, and Travelocity sell packages that include flights, accommodations, and sometimes even car rental. Hotels prefer to discount this way because then you don't know by exactly how much they're lowering their nightly room rate. This means you can reserve a five-night stay at Oahu's four-star Turtle Bay Resort (Forgetting Sarah Marshall was shot there, and Lost is filmed among the property's banyan trees), including round-trip flights from Los Angeles on Hawaiian Airlines, for just $778 per person through Orbitz. Rooms normally start at $230, and airfare in January is usually around $400, so with the package you'll be saving about $400 a couple. Travelocity has four nights at the ResortQuest Waimea Plantation Cottages on Kauai and round-trip air from L.A. for $703 per person. You can also book packages directly from a hotel chain's website. A mid-January weeklong stay at the Hilton Hawaiian Village and roundtrip flights from San Francisco on United Airlines, for example, costs $2,048 for a couple when booked on hilton.com but more than $2,300 when booked separately.