Getaway tips and summer trips


Time is running out but there is still time to plan your summer getaway. If your travel plans are flexible, you can find a vacation deal that offers tons of extra value. Here are four of my favorite tips and summer trips.

Time for a point check-up

The best kind of travel is free travel. If you are spending money through debit or credit cards, you should be earning points you can redeem for flights, hotels and more. Now is a good time to revisit all of your credit-card and banking reward programs. How many points have you already earned? Point programs change constantly, so it is good to do a point check-up once a year. I say use them or lose them. It is easier than ever to book free hotel rooms and airfare online. If you are not already signed up for a credit-card, debit-card or banking reward program, go into your local bank branch and ask about the many different ways to earn points. Call the bank that issued your credit card as well and find out about its programs. Your points really can add up quickly. Several credit cards affiliated with airlines will give you enough points for a free flight simply by opening up a credit card. Check out your airline loyalty account too. I recently booked a round-trip, business-class ticket to Hawaii on US Airways for 65,000 miles and a hotel room in Ft. Lauderdale at the Hilton Marina for less than 25,000 points.

Europe last minute with R Family Vacations

R Family Vacations now offers group cruises, single vacations and Club Med charters. There is still time to sail from Italy to the Greek Islands. The trip runs Aug. 6-13 and is around $1,500 per person on Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jade. This is an R Family Group cruise, not a full-ship charter, so you will find this cruise to be more affordable than the all-gay or all-lesbian big-ship charters. R Family Founder Gregg Kaminsky will personally lead this trip, which will depart from Venice and visit the islands of Murano and Burano and Corfu located in the Ionian Sea. In Greece, R Family will visit Santorini, Mykonos and Katákolon. For more information, visit

Midweek in Atlantic City

It is not a surprise that in the summer months, a trip to the beach can be expensive. Among the best deals at the beach in the high summer months is in Atlantic City. The Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa has deals Monday-Wednesday for $149 a night. On weekends, Borgata rooms can soar to more than $400. The hip and fashionable Chelsea sits on the beach and you can snag a mid-week room for about $125 a night. Of course, all the big-name entertainment acts are performing on weekends, but most casinos have lots of nightlife options, including comedy clubs and the new Prohibition nightclub at Resorts Casino. Travel Zoo

Looking for a great getaway now at an incredible price? Check out the weekly Philadelphia area and national and international deals at With over 23-million subscribers, Travel Zoo is among the largest publishers of deals on the Internet, so companies compete to offer you the best deal on a wide range of travel options. Every week, more than 2,000 companies from around the world list offers for hotels, cars and all-inclusive vacation packages. It is free to sign up for weekly e-mail blasts and you can always check out the website for great deals. You might be surprised at the many kinds of vacations you can afford right now.

Jeff Guaracino is a vice president for the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation and author of “Gay and Lesbian Tourism: The Essential Guide for Marketing.” He has learned how to find the best deals and travel resources for the community. If you’re traveling locally, check out and friend