Family

Affordable Family Vacations

by Nicola McCormack

WHERE KIDS GO FREE

The travel industry is working harder than ever to bag your vacation dollars this summer, and there's a slew of family-targeted offers to be had worldwide. It's a sign of the times that a brand-new five-star resort in South Africa announced a kids-stay-free deal before the paint was even dry. The One&Only Cape Town—a top-notch 131-room resort that opened in April 2009 on the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront—keeps the youngsters occupied with beaches, pools, and nearby Table Mountain, plus a movie and video game lounge and a huge arts-and-crafts space. While it's not exactly budget—rates start at $540—the under-12's–gratis deal (which goes through September 2009) does bring a family trip of a lifetime to Africa into the realm of possibility. When you factor in the dollar's strength against South Africa's currency—as of this writing, $1 buys 9 rand—the deal is even sweeter.

Closer to home and easier on the wallet, the white sands and clear waters of the Cayman Islands (pictured) make for the perfect beach holiday; this is also the unlikely location for the world's second-largest skateboarding park, Black Pearl (it holds a skateboarding camp every summer). Thanks to the Cayman Summer Splash offer, kids under 12 eat, stay, and play for free from June 1 through September 7, 2009, at some of the Caymans' best hotels, restaurants, and attractions; participating properties include the Grand Cayman Marriott Beach Resort, Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman, and Westin Casuarina Resort & Spa. If you travel with Cayman Airways, your little ones fly gratis, too.

Some places never charge for youngsters, so there's no need to scrounge around for deals that might expire. Book a standard family plan at the Outrigger Waipouli Beach Resort & Spa on Kauai, for example, and kids 17 and under stay for free with their parents in an Indonesian-style condo (starting at $225) that includes a kitchen and washer/dryer. We only hope you've managed to shake off the kids by the time they're 17.

NEXT: The other magic kingdom

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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