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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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


An aerial view of the lagoon at Hilton Hawaiian Village on Waikiki Beach.  Hilton Hawaiian Village Photo

Half-price suites at Hilton Hawaiian Village

Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu is offering San Diegans a half-price suite sale. Rates start at $236.50 for a junior suite in the Tapa or Diamond Head towers. (Those suites, which include a roomy relaxation area and an outdoor lanai with comfortable seating, usually start at $473 per night.) Or splurge on the resort’s coveted two-bedroom Rainbow Tower Presidential Suite for $1,142 per night — a rare 50 percent discount on the regular rate. Half-off suites can be booked between 10 a.m. Aug. 5 and 8 p.m. Aug. 10. The deal is valid for stays anytime between Aug. 12 and March 31, 2019. Be forewarned: There’s a $40 daily resort fee, and parking will add another $43 per day to your tab. Hilton Hawaiian Village has... Continue reading

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A refurbished Airstream trailer at Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground in Buellton. Exclusive discounts for U-T readers.

Your Choice: Vintage Airstream, glamorous tent

Want to try something a little different? Maybe a stay in a refurbished Airstream trailer? Or a cozy night in a glammed up safari tent? Flying Flags RV Resort & Campground in Buellton offers it all — and Travel Deals readers can get a 20 percent discount on Sunday through Thursday night stays through mid-May 2019. Consider a vintage escape in a fully equipped Airstream trailer, starting at about $130 a night this summer (with our discount). For another $15 or so, opt for a glamorous safari tent with a king-size bed, a sofa, mini fridge and private patio. The campground includes pools, hot tubs, a fitness center, playgrounds, laundry facilities, a cafe ... Continue reading