Black Friday Travel Deals I Want Right Now!

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BOOK TODAY | OK. You just woke up and you’ve got the worst case of FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) you’ve ever had. It’s Black Friday! Now, while some people swear that retailers jack up their prices before Black Friday only to lower them for all the crazy shoppers today—well, who can argue with them. That’s why I’m just going to give you a couple gems that I want to take myself. No muss, no fuss, just practical deals that are both brag-worthy and great for getting your family out of the house and on vacation. Lets get started!

VIRGIN AMERICA | Virgin America might run regular sales, but Cora’s Nana Susan just nabbed some $49 OW seats from SFO-LAS. That’s right, Vegas in January, Baby! But it’s a site-wide sale so run on over to VirginAmerica.com to grab your $49 Main Cabin or $109 Main Cabin Select seats. Oh, you only fly first class? No problem. They’re offering 3X the points for those fancy pants seats. Go wild. Get your Virgin America Black Friday Deal right now. Book by 5 p.m. today and fly by March  4, 2015,

HOTEL TONIGHT | $7 rooms. Let me say that again—SEVEN DOLLAR ROOMS. Since we’re in the Bay Area this weekend I tried looking for San Francisco. But all I got was an error message that said “Oh No We an’t reach our servers”. Bummer, eh? But, that’s to be expected on a day like today. And it shouldn’t deter you from trying in your area. Note: This was 8:57 a.m. Pacific Time. I’ll be trying all day long, believe you me. Oh, in case you haven’t heard of Hotel Tonight? They are an app. You can find more info and get a download button, here.

MAMMOTH MOUNTAIN | Buy one, get one early season lift tickets. I love this deal. I’ve been dying to try Mammoth Mountain. And it’s closer to Southern California than Tahoe so maybe we have a shot at going this year. So, what’s that catch? You need to buy a ticket for two consecutive days of skiing. But they’ll mark down the second day of skiing so essentially you buy the first day and they give you the second for free. Valid Nov. 30 – Dec. 11. I tested the dates for Dec. 6 and the cost of an adult ticket was marked down from $171 to $86 with the sale. Kids tickets were marked down from $70 to $35. Boom! Find this Mammoth Mountain Black Friday deal, here

ATLANTIS RESORT | I hope my husband is reading this! Atlantis Resort has a Black Friday – Cyber Monday deal with up to 60% off nightly rates + Kids Eat Free for Travel Dec. 1-17. I tested dates Dec. 2-5, 2014 and Beach Tower rooms started at $119/night. When I checked Spring Break Dates in April these rooms were more than $300/night. We’ve previously stayed at the Royal Towers which are close to the kids’ pool and the Atlantis Kids Adventure program and those rooms were going for only $212/night. Come on, let Christmas come early. Atlantis Resort is SO much fun!

PARADISE POINT | Here’s another resort we love. Paradise Point in San Diego. Their Black Friday – Cyber Monday deal has rooms up to 45% off for travel through April 2015. It’s right next door to Sea World, has a wonderful pool for kids, tons of beach activities whether you like Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Kayaking or Sailing. I thought I’d check the day after Christmas and a room that night was only $117/night with Bayside suites starting at $285/before taxes and fees. You don’t even want to know what these rooms are over the summer. Go enjoy them now.

TANQUE VERDE RANCH | 50% off All Inclusive Rates with rooms starting at $380/night.. Hello! If you book today, you can get 50% off all-inclusive rates at this super fun Arizona ranch for travel Dec. 1 – June 19, 2015. The all-inclusive packages include meals, supervised kids programs (4-11), all horseback and trail riding lessons, breakfast rides and BBQ cookouts, fishing, guided hike and nature programs, and last but not least mountain biking, bingo and other family activities. Don’t you want to go?! I do. But when I went to book, there were several blocks of dates that were not available. I don’t know if that’s because it’s a busy time for them or people already nabbed them before I could. So, you’ll need to be flexible with your dates. Plus, play around online. I found some All Inclusive rates cheaper than the Black Friday deal for travel Jan. 13-15 so there could be some kinks in the system. If there is any doubt – call to make sure you get the deal that you want.

CARLSBAD: Big savings for Omni La Costa Resort & Spa on Living Social

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BOOK BY SEPT. 19 | Talk about uncovering a gem of a deal! I found the luxe Omni La Costa Resort & Spa in Carlsbad offering a hot discount through Living Social. Now, I live in Carlsbad and the Omni La Costa definitely counts as a local’s getaway for Southern Californians. The property recently went through a $50 million renovation so if you haven’t seen it lately, you’d be seeing it in top form. I go just for the spa. They have a spacious spa with an excellent outside lounge and pool area where you can relax all day. With the kind of year round warm weather that Carlsbad has, this means you can enjoy the outdoor amenities about any month you want.

DEAL: Living Social has rooms at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa starting at $179/night.

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SAN DIEGO: Legoland California—5 Days for the Price of 1!

Legoland_KeeleCora1BOOK NOW | There couldn’t be a better time to visit Legoland. The weather in Carlsbad is in the low 80s—Summer is buzzing with fun and plenty of reasons to get the kids out of the house. At the top of the list of reasons to visit Legoland is the new Lego Chima Water Park. From Eglor’s Build a Boat and Build a Raft River to Splash Out and the Twin Chasers, you’re surrounded by fun ways to cool off. Travelzoo is offering an irresistible Legoland deal where you can get five days of Legoland for the price of one. It’s perfect for traveling families and locals entertaining out of town guests.

DEAL | ”5 Days for Less Than the Price of 1 Day Resort Hopper” pass is $99 for adults and $89 for children ages 3-12.

DATES | Valid for any regular operating day through October 26.

TESTED | One regular day of Legoland + Sea Life + Water Park ticket costs $76 for adults and $66 for children (ages 3-12) if you buy the tickets online at the Legoland website, (If you buy them at the gate it’s $109 and $99). The Legoland website also offers five days worth of entry for $107 for adults and $97 for kids. So, why should you buy the Travelzoo deal? Because you’re saving even more money than if you go through Legoland.  If you buy the Travelzoo voucher, you get the same  ”5 Days for Less Than the Price of 1 Day Resort Hopper” for $99 for adults and $89 for kids. So, for a family of four (two adults, two kids)—that’s a savings of $32. Better than nothing. NOTE: Don’t forget, it costs to park, too. Cars: $15, Campers and RVs: $20, Motorcycles $5, and Preferred Parking $25.

TIP |  Don’t forget to have your kids bring a minifigure to trade. (or you can buy them at the gift shops). If you see an employee with a minifigure on their Legoland employee badge, just ask them if they’ll trade. See the “Know Before You Go” page.

Don’t forget to tell us if you are able to take advantage of this deal and have fun at Legoland with the kids!

SAN DIEGO: 25% Off Welk Resort Bed & Breakfast Escape

Welk Resort San Diego Pool

“A one and a two . . . ” It’s tough to count the many reasons to plan a trip to San Diego, but the most motivating might be the 25% discount being offered now at Welk Resort San Diego. Name sound familiar? It should. Bandleader Lawrence Welk, the man famous for creating “champagne music” also created a warm, sunny vacation spot worth toasting.

Located on 450 acres just north of San Diego, the Welk Resort is close to the San Diego Zoo’s Safari Park, LEGOLAND, and the beach – a plus if you decide to leave. The newly-renovated resort has five separate recreation centers (think basketball, volleyball and more), eight pools, two watersides, and a list of resort activities like weekly Dive-In Family Movie Nights. Be sure and get the latest Activities Guide when you check in.

DEAL: The Bed & Breakfast Escape Package includes:

  • Stay in Villas On the Greens Deluxe with fireplace and Jacuzzi.
  • Breakfast for two at the Canyon Grille restaurant.
  • In-room gift basket upon arrival.

DATES: Ongoing

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4 Restaurants Kids Eat Free in Carlsbad, Oceanside & Carmel Valley

TinLeafKidsAdmit it—going out to eat tastes better when you don’t have to pay for the kids’ meals. Don’t be shy, you can say that you’ve driven out of your way, or eaten at a restaurant you would’ve been happy to skip, just to save a few bucks on dinner. Taking advantage of kids-eat-free opportunities makes complete sense when the chances are high that your kids might only eat half of their meal anyway.

North County San Diego has lots of activities for families. Carlsbad has Legoland, Escondido has Safari Park. And there’s the little known indoor playgrounds like Playwerx, Kidsville, and Pariland. So, how’s a family supposed to save money? By eating at restaurants that don’t charge for feeding your kids. It’s almost like going to grandma’s.

Here are some restaurants in Carlsbad, Oceanside and Carmel Valley where we’ve scored free kids meals in the past or at least called them to make sure the offer is good. Note: All of the kids eat free offers mentioned below are available with the purchase of an adult meal.

Tin Leaf Fresh Kitchen | Located in the mall behind the La Costa Cineopolis, this is my favorite lunch spot for grabbing a fantastic salad. They also happen to create  healthy and delicious comfort food including entrees with salmon, tri tip steak, meat loaf and more. Friendly service, outdoor patio seating, benches with pillows and yummy french fries. Yes, they also have a few craft beers, wine and irresistible desserts. Picture above was taken at Tin Leaf. Tip: Kids eat free on Sundays 4pm-close. 1 free little chef’s meal with each adult entree purchase (10 & under). Dine in only.

Luna Grill | Our go-to place when we’re on a diet. Terrific Mediterranean food including kabobs, greek salads, and wraps. They also service beer and wine and cupcakes — even mini cupcakes for the kiddos. We go to the Carlsbad location with friends where you can reserve the big table in the back. Tip: Kids 10 and under eat free in Carlsbad on Sunday 4pm-close and on Tuesdays at Carmel Valley 4pm-close.

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SAN DIEGO: 50% OFF MUSEUMS IN FEBRUARY

Excited Kids -Courtesy Reuben H. Fleet Science Center

Get out your calendar, call some friends and make a play date! February is Museum Month in San Diego. That means there will be 40+ museums offering admission at 50% off the normal ticket prices. Here’s the catch—you need to pick up your Museum Month pass (free) at a Macy’s near you.

I love this time of year because it gives me extra incentive to try museums we’ve never been to. Or even to take my 5-year-old daughter to museums that I haven’t been to since I was a kid! The Reuben H. Fleet Science Center is at the top of my to-do list with Carlsbad’s Museum of Making Music and the San Diego Natural History Museum right be hind it.

If you want to get more info on the individual participating museums, head over to SanDiego.org. You can find details on what the museums have to offer, photos, ticket prices and more. But don’t forget to go to a Macy’s and grab your pass.

Have fun and let us know which San Diego Museum is your favorite!

DEL MAR: $194 Cinepolis Movie Date Night Package at Hotel Indigo

Hotel Indigo Del Mar San Diego King RoomIf you’ve never been to a Cinepolis movie theatre you don’t know what you’re missing. I mean it. Picture it—big leather armchairs that recline to a sleeping position. Stadium-style rows with food and beverage service direct to your seat. Armrests that move up so two people can cuddle up as if they were on a couch at home. Wait, there’s more. Some of the theaters  at Cinepolis are for ages 21 and up. That means the wonderful wait staff will bring you a cocktail, craft beer, glass of wine or even a bottle of champagne and let you drink it at your seat. Pair that with a great movie and it’s pure cinematic bliss. Seriously, it’s my favorite date night. And now, Hotel Indigo, the contemporary boutique hotel in Del Mar with ocean views,  has had the brilliant idea of creating a hotel package around Cineopolis. It’s called Date Night. (In case my husband is reading this blog post – John, this package would be a perfect Valentine’s Day present…)

DEAL: The Date Night package includes overnight stay with a handful of room options, two tickets to Cineopolis ($39), a bottle of champagne waiting in your room upon arrival, two breakfast certificates for the restaurant or delivered to your room and an indulgent 1p.m. check out. Rates start at $194.

DATES: Throughout the month of February, 2014

Hotel Indigo Del Mar Pool Exterior TwilightTESTED: Since I’m a San Diego North County local and frequent Cineopolis regularly – I happen to know that the Del Mar Cinepolis is a lot less crowded during the week. Parking can get really competitive on the weekend so I tested the Date Night package for the Tuesday after Valentine’s Day (Feb 18-19). Sure enough, the package was there. I found a 12.5% tax but no resort fee and parking is free as well. The package came to $218.25 after taxes.

TIPS: You have lots of great menu options at Cineopolis from sliders and flatbread to salads and wraps. But trust me, you don’t want to order a salad. Why? It’s very hard to eat in the dark. There are some great restaurants in the same shopping center as the Cinepolis Del Mar so treat yourself to dinner at Devanti Enoteca or Searsucker.

Have fun and let me know what movie you saw.

SAN DIEGO: $129 Parade of Lights Package at the Sheraton Hotel & Marina

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, Dec. 9, 2012 at 5:30 p.m. Photo Courtesy: Dale Frost

San Diego Bay Parade of Lights, Photo Courtesy: Dale Frost

BOOK BY DEC. 13, 2013 | The San Diego Bay Marina comes alive with holiday cheer the whole month of December. And the Sheraton San Diego Hotel and Marina offers front row seats to the annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights December 8 and 15. For two weekends in a row you can get  the ‘Parade of Lights Package’ and watch the decorated boats as they parade on the San Diego Bay from Shelter Island past Harbor Island, the Embarcadero, Seaport Village and Ferry Landing in Coronado.

DEAL:  The Parade of Lights Package includes a Deluxe Bay Room with a Parade of Lights view plus complimentary self-parking. Room rates start at $199 (first weekend) or $129 (second weekend). Package rates vary between the two weekends based on the demand or current available rates.

DATES:  Book by Dec. 13 for travel on Dec. 6-9, 2013 & Dec. 13-16, 2013.

TESTED:  I tested the deal and found that the second weekend had the cheaper rates. I found a Deluxe Bay Tower room on Dec. 15 with either a King Bed or two Double Beds for $129/night or $145.22  including taxes. The package also includes complimentary self parking ($22).  I couldn’t find the package available for Dec. 7-9 on the hotel website or on Expedia.

Have fun watching the parade and let us know if you get a great view from your room.

SAN DIEGO: Estancia in La Jolla only $145 incl. drinks & valet

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BOOK BY NOV. 20, 2013 | Oooh, I really like Estancia. When we moved back to Carlsbad after a year in London, we needed to wait few weeks before moving back into our house and got to spend nine days at Estancia. At first I thought, why would I stay at a hotel in La Jolla that didn’t have a view of the ocean?! But when we got there, I knew exactly why. Estancia is an oasis all it’s own. A Spanish-style hotel with beautiful grounds perfect for relaxing in. The spa and pool area – especially! Valets were both handsome and friendly. Service was first rate. So I get excited every time I see a deal at Estancia, and I like this one even more because it includes their pricey valet charge!

DEAL: Travelzoo is boasting a sale on rooms at Estancia with a voucher deal for $145/night in an upgraded room including weekends. Make sure you buy one voucher per night if you want to stay multiple days. The deal also includes a beer flight for two guests at Mustangs & Burros (indoor and outdoor patio bar and restaurant with fireplaces) and valet parking (reg. $55). Once you buy the vouchers you’ll need to call the hotel directly at 877-437-8262 to make a reservation for your desired travel dates.

DATES: Nov. 10 – Feb. 13. Blackout dates apply.  Not available on: Nov. 12; Jan. 22-26; Feb. 4-6.

TESTED: I checked out their website and compared prices with rooms the weekend of Dec. 13-15 for $209/night for a Deluxe King room plus $25 per day/per car for valet parking.  The total came to $508.80 *before* parking. If you have a AAA card rooms started at $168/night that weekend. NOTE: A resort fee of $17 per night is not included in the voucher. They had other packages available (and rates were a smidge the days before Thanksgiving) but I found the Travelzoo voucher to have the best value.

TIP: Travelzoo is running a ridiculously good Spa deal at Estancia, too! Get a 50-minute massage with two add ons (a hydrating foot treatment (reg. $25) and Moroccan oil hair mask (reg. $25) plus a mimosa too! Read the fine print before purchasing.

SAN DIEGO: $100 Macy’s Gift Card at Westin Gaslamp

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There’s nothing like a big fat gift card offer to get you to book a stay at a hotel. And $100 is plenty of incentive. Earlier this year we stayed at the Westin San Diego Gaslamp as part of a Starwood promotion and enjoyed some of the benefits of being downtown. But what I missed was the shopping! Now that we’re heading into Fall, and lets face it, is just the shopping ramp up for the holidays, the Westin Gaslamp is wooing me back. They have several deals on their “Offers” page, but I like this one.

DEAL: Get a free $100 Macy’s Gift Card for each night’s stay at the Westin Gaslamp. Rates start at $229 per night with promo code “LWX”. The offer is good for stays through December 31, 2013.

TESTED: For the weekend of December 13-15 the lowest rate on the Westin website was $179 for a Traditional Room. But for the same dates and room, the Macy’s Gift Card package was $249 a night. Then I tried to find a cheaper date to stay. I did find a nightly rate of $229 per night with this “LWX” package November 29-December 1, 2013, but the lowest standard rate was $149. So, there’s a little value in there, but there a bunch of packages to choose from.  Have a look at their other packages to see if you’d rather have their “See the San Diego Sights” package that starts at $189 and includes trolley tickets and valet parking ($36) or “California Resident Rates” that take 20% off their best available rates.

Whether your get the Macy’s Gift Card or not, the Westin is in the best location for shopping at Westfield Horton Plaza. Here’s a directory of all the shops you have to choose from.

Have fun and let us know if you score a great package from the San Diego Westin Gaslamp.