Big deals often come in small packages. Three nights' air-plus-hotel in Las Vegas for $200 or a complete Cancun vacation from $369 are common sightings in the travel bargain realm. While these destinations are tried and true, and perfect for when you don't want to spend much at all, sometimes you want to go further afield to expand your horizons. And this spring and summer, you can do just that, while paying far less than you'd expect. In fact, far off places sometimes can be surprisingly cheaper than a standard trip to London or Paris.
For a variety of reasons, including off-season promotions and special events, a few truly exotic locales (think the Tahitian Islands or South Africa) are offering great deals on vacations that just might be more within reach than you'd ever thought possible.
Every spring, during Tahiti's low season, Air Tahiti Nui launches a value-packed sale to the islands. And I say what better way to spend $1,200, considering you'd get to travel half way around the world. Not to mention the benefit of finally learning how to say Moorea (pronounced Mo-oh-ray-ah).
The airline's May Madness deal is available for travel between April 20 and June 15. Round-trip fares to Papeete start at $1,226 (including fuel surcharges but not taxes) and apply to 91 departure cities. What's most unusual about the sale is that the base price is available from departures on both coasts from the likes of Los Angeles and New York, as well as from smaller cities like Nashville. Tickets must be booked by April 9. Those departing from L.A. can also take advantage of special fares to destinations like Papeete, Moorea, and Bora Bora from $891 round-trip on low season travel dates through December 31.
Other current deals include Tahiti Tourism's offer for five nights in Moorea from $1,499, which comes with round-trip airfare from Los Angeles, one night in Papeete, four nights in Moorea, round-trip inter-island ferry, breakfast, a spa credit worth $170, and transfers (valid for travel in April and May). The site has also posted a slew of Tahiti vacation deals starting at $1,249 from various providers.
For comparison's sake, if you were thinking of a French-speaking vacation anyway (Tahiti is part of French Polynesia, after all), consider that spring flights alone to Paris were going for about $800 to $1,110 at press time. Based on that, far off Tahiti is looking more and more like a great value.
As the popularity of Australia and New Zealand continues to grow, so does the ease of getting there. Last year, new airline V Australia and additional routes from other carriers came to market, creating a price competition frenzy. And fares have remained low.