Since January 2013, Alison has been writing a monthly “Travel Deals” column for the San Diego Union-Tribune. The column aims to help readers stretch the dollars they spend on travel – so that they can ultimately do more traveling. 

“Travel Deals” runs in print on the first Sunday of each month in the newspaper’s Travel Section; it appears online a few days earlier.  Watch for it – and be rewarded by getting first crack at the month’s most tantalizing travel bargains.

In the meantime, check out these recent columns: 

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The Hilton Waikoloa Village on Hawaii’s Big Island has an all-inclusive deal for Union-Tribune readers. / Hilton Waikoloa Village

Deals: Big Island, Vermont Spa, Tahoe, Oregon

Hilton Waikoloa Village on the sunny Kohala Coast of Hawaii’s Big Island is extending a rare all-inclusive deal for Union-Tribune Travel Deals readers. Book April 7-14 for stays starting April 14 through Dec. 19. You’ll get daily breakfasts and dinners (including luau dining), plus unlimited beer, wine and cocktails through your stay, along with accommodations in the resort’s Ocean Tower, access to three pools and the resort’s lagoon beach, a prime spot for snorkeling. You’ll get to participate in cultural classes such as lei making, hula dancing and ukulele playing, as well as daily fitness classes. The 62-acre oceanfront resort has a full-service spa and two championship golf courses. With this deal, rates start at … Continue reading

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Guests enjoy the Friday night Fireworks show at Hilton Hawaiian Village. Courtesy photo

Deals: Waikiki, Disneyland, wine country

Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach is offering half off all suites for stays from March 13 through Dec. 19 — but you’ll have to book between 11 a.m. (PST) on March 6 and 8 p.m. on March 13. It means guests will pay just $223 a night for a junior suite, which includes a roomy relaxation area and a balcony or lanai. One-bedroom corner suites in the Tapa Tower, normally $610 a night, will go for $305 nightly; you’ll get a separate bedroom with an ocean/resort view, plus a large parlor and a pair of balconies. Celebrating a special occasion? Consider splurging on one of the resort’s specialty suites: For half the usual $1,810, get a night in the 14th floor Presidential Suite in the Ali’i Tower, best known as the King Suite, because it’s where Elvis … Continue reading

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Get your second night free at Santa Cruz’s West Cliff Inn. Courtesy photo

Stay in SLO, Collect $100

San Luis Obispo is giving away $100 cash to visitors who stay two consecutive nights before the end of March. Here’s how to get your C-note: Book two nights at any of the 38 participating hotels in the city ( Options range from the $60-a-night Motel 6 to the $300-plus-per-night SLO Brew Lofts. Email your room confirmation to You’ll get back a promotion confirmation email. Once in San Luis, take that confirmation email, plus your hotel booking confirmation and your room key to the SLO Chamber of Commerce Visitors Center, 895 Monterey St.. That’s where you’ll collect … Continue reading

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Avalon glitters at night. Courtesy photo

It’s Deal Season: Catalina, Rosarito, San Diego Cruises

Crowds are gone and deals abound on Catalina Island, making this first quarter of the new year a great time to visit. Savvy travelers can now get roundtrip boat transportation and accommodations in Avalon for less than they’d pay for a high-season hotel alone. Through March 28, Catalina Express is offering boat/accommodations packages at 16 Avalon hotels. Rates start at continue reading…


Get your second night free at Sonoma’s Kenwood Inn & Spa

Save Big: Sonoma, Tahoe, Portland, NYC

The Big Apple for less than $100 a night? Yes! New York City will celebrate its annual Hotel Week Jan. 4-14. Go to to find out just how low your favorite hotel is willing to go. If that doesn’t hit your sweet spot, know that the city’s Pod Hotels are offering rooms for two, in January and February, starting at $79 a night. The “WinterWow” deal is available at Pod 39 (145 E. 39th St.), Pod 51 (230 E. 51st St.) and Pod Brooklyn (247 Metropolitan Ave.). Rooms at Pod Times Square (400 W. 42nd St.) will start at … Continue reading

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A Cyber Monday deal from Timber Cove Resort on the Sonoma Coast offers 40 percent off room rates.

Four-day Window Worth the Wait

The best weekend of the year for travel deals shoppers is fast approaching. Here’s a small sampling of offers that’ll open for booking between Black Friday (Nov. 23) and Cyber Monday (Nov. 26). Most deals are valid for travel at least through February.

1. Get 40 percent off at the 46-room Timber Cove Resort, which spans 25 bluff-top acres in Jenner, along the Sonoma Coast. The deal must be booked on Cyber Monday, for stays through 2019; use the code … Continue reading


Monterey Plaza Hotel & Spa has a discount just for U-T Travel Deals readers. Photo/Paul Dyer

Deals for Pacific Northwest, Acapulco, Vietnam

Celebrate fall in the Pacific Northwest. Escape to Olympia, Washington’s state capital, to enjoy an old-time change of seasons. For as little as $79 a night, the “Falling for Oly” package includes accommodations for two at Hotel RL (by Red Lion), a pair of ales at Top Rung Brewing and your choice of either two passes for fun and games at a nearby corn maze ($40 value, available until Oct. 31) or a $20 dining credit valid at the hotel’s restaurant through November. The hotel is set on 12 wooded acres near the heart of Olympia. There’s no resort fee, and parking and Wi-Fi are free. Go to … Continue reading

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Children hike on a forested trail in Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in Oregon. (National Park Service)

Federal rec areas give 4th-graders a pass

It’s back to school season, and for fourth-graders, getting an education is already paying off. All fourth-graders nationwide (including home-schooled youngsters) can get free admission for themselves, their families and friends, at more than 2,000 federal recreation areas — including all national parks, forests, wildlife refuges and marine sanctuaries. Students can go to and complete an ultra-simple educational activity to print a personalized pass. (You’ll need to print your pass; electronic copies are not accepted. Printed passes can be exchanged at certain parks, including Cabrillo National Monument, for a plastic annual pass to use again and again through August 2019.) Fourth-grade educators can go to the same website to download a class activity and print passes for their students. (Educators include teachers, camp ...Continue reading