Everybody loves a bargain, and the search for the ultimate vacation deal has led many a hapless traveler (including this one) astray.
If you're traveling solo, you pay the consequences, and move on. But if you're planning your family's only annual holiday, the stakes rise. Naturally, every parent's definition of what constitutes a bargain resort or hotel is going to differ, but all would likely agree that when you're planning a trip with children, certain amenities can't be sacrificed, no matter how enticing the rate.
Here at Family Vacation Critic, we've gathered together 10 of our favorite family resorts that offer great deals. Each property offers something special for the kids, without breaking the bank. We haven't put a price on what constitutes a good bargain, since let's face it: $200 a night in Maine will buy you a lot more than $200 in Maui. These resorts offer great values when compared with others in the area, with rates less than those of nearby competitors, and comparable or superior amenities. When it comes to bang for buck, these properties deliver.
#1: Comfort Suites Paradise Island Resort
The Comfort Suites Paradise Island in the Bahamas is the best way to experience Atlantis Resort and Casino on a budget. Directly adjacent to Atlantis, a few extra steps could save your family several hundred dollars, if you don't mind returning to less-luxurious accommodations than those of your friends residing at Atlantis. A nice resort in its own right, the 229-room Comfort Suites has a lovely pool with a swim-up bar, free continental breakfast, an on-site restaurant for breakfast and lunch (less expensive than dining at Atlantis) and a refrigerator in every room.
What Makes It a Deal?
The major draw is that you get full access to all the facilities at Atlantis Resort and Casino, including the pools, water slides and river rides, spa, Kids Club, Dolphin Cay and Aquaventure. Yes, seriously! You can also ask for signing privileges at Atlantis restaurants (though you will not have access to Atlantis meal plans), which means you can spend the entire day there and return only to sleep.
Considered one of Disney's "value rResorts," Pop Century is admittedly a little more dated, and a little less amenity-friendly than some of the other Disney properties; but for families looking to visit Disney on a budget, it's an ideal option. Located near Epcot, this sprawling 2,880-room resort has three pools, an arcade, a playground and a large food court. (Disclaimer: Disney is the parent company of ABC News.)
What Makes It a Deal?
The rates are extremely reasonable for a Disney property. All Disney Resorts offer advantages over staying at a non-Disney property, including extra Magic Hours, which allow you to arrive early and stay late at the park on certain days, avoiding lines -- a privilege that is well worth it, especially during peak season -- and free bus transportation to all Walt Disney World Resort destinations.
#3: Club Med Yucatan