Six places you never thought you could afford

If you want to see the city and the surrounding areas, the real deal is with Gate1 Travel, where you can book a 12 Day Affordable Thailand package starting at $1,439 per person. The offer includes round-trip airfare from Los Angeles; fuel surcharges; 10 nights' first-class accommodations in Bangkok, Phitsanulok, Chiang Rai, and Chiang Mai; entrance fees; tours; daily breakfast and one dinner; all transfers; motor coach transportation; and an English-speaking tour manager.

For further information on what to do or see, visit Thailand's tourism website.

Ireland

You may not initially equate Ireland with expensive travel, but summer flights across the Pond have cost a pretty farthing in previous years. This year, however, you can find low fares that will have you dancing a jig in no time. Not to mention that the euro is the lowest it has been in ages, meaning automatic savings when converting currencies.

Aer Lingus has summer flights starting at $488 per person round-trip from New York City. This sale expires on April 20, but Aer Lingus has extended or offered similar sales recently, so keep an eye out for future deals with this airline. Look for sales through different carriers, such as American Airlines, which has discounts on flights to Dublin from Chicago for travel through June 25. Book by May 1.

Go-today.com is making it even more affordable to see the Emerald Isle when you book their Fly and Drive vacation package by April 29. The package starts at $389 per person for travel from April 30 through May 15 and includes round-trip airfare from New York City to Dublin, a seven-day car rental, plus local tax and airfare surcharges, and unlimited mileage. You'll have to book hotels separately, but you can always save a bit extra by staying in a B&B. Most cost less than a hotel, offer a glimpse into the local culture, and come with a full breakfast.

Here are our editors' top picks for ways to save in Ireland after you land.

Alaska

With so few months of warm and sunny weather, it's not surprising that Alaska becomes a prime spot for tourists during the summer. Typically, however, the rise in visitors also means a rise in prices, but this year as the state celebrates the 50th anniversary of its statehood, you can find a slew of deals to make your visit worthwhile.

For instance, you can save more than 60% on an Alaskan cruise, such as Norwegian's seven-night Alaska and Sawyer Glacier cruise starting at $349 per person for an interior room during the summer months. The cruise departs from Vancouver, with stops in Juneau, Ketchikan, and Skagway. This is only one of the many options of cruises that will allow you to see the natural beauty of the Klondike state from the comfort of a floating vessel. Holland America is also honoring the state's 50th by offering 50% off of cruises and cruise tours, such as the 12-day Discovery Cruise and Denali Adventure cruise tour, which starts at $1,229 per person for travel in July and August.

Other specials and discounts, including 50% off second-night stays at resorts and hotels, free train rides for those turning 50 this year, and discounts on hotel rates, can be found on the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau 50 Anniversary page. You can also discover what events are taking place and 50 different ways to explore the state while making your plans.

The Alaska Tourism Board has also released statewide specials, including discounts on packages and tours (two-for-one Princess Rail tickets in May and June), hotels, transportation, and activities. Plus, you will also find a plethora of anniversary deals here as well.

Read previous columns

SmarterTravel.com features expert travel advice and unbiased coverage of travel deals.

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