Travelzoo picks five best destinations for 2013 travel deals

To my cluttered brain, there’s something orderly and satisfying about end-of-the-year travel lists, whether they recap the past 12 months or look forward to the next.  So it’s not surprising that Travelzoo’s latest “WOW Deal Destinations for 2013” caught my eye, especially since I’ve already visited four of five of the choices and wouldn’t hesitate to return.

Based on a combination of industry projections, recent trends and consumer buzz, deal spotters for, an online travel-seller, picked five spots — Alaska, Colombia, Ireland, New Zealand and Niagara Falls — where they project Americans could get the most bang for their travel buck  in 2013. They credit more airline routes and revitalized competition among airlines, hotels, cruise lines and tour operators for the deals.

Here’s a rundown:

New itineraries that increase the capacity of major cruise lines are propelling the discounts, according to Darlene Carenza, Travelzoo’s director of cruise content. She adds that more ships and departure dates bring better deals for cruisers:  “We project further savings for travelers when operators bundle tours with land packages, such as hotel accommodation.”

Why go now:

2013-2014 will be the best chance to see increased aurora activity, according to scientific predictions.

New Zealand:
Air New Zealand will increase the number of flights from San Francisco in April, and Hawaiian Airlines plans to start flying Hawaii-New Zealand in March; the New Zealand dollar is on a slow decline ($80 US cents/1 NZ Dollar), which will make your dollar go further once you get there.

Why go now:
Fans are checking out the on-set film locations for the hot new movie, “The Hobbit”

Niagara Falls:
Hotels in Niagara Falls have embraced new online supply channels, and the resulting frenzy to offer the best online deal has meant huge savings for travelers this year.. In recent months, Travelzoo has run nearly 20 Niagara getaways, and most of these deals have included perks such as restaurant and spa credits that essentially have made the room rate free. Travelzoo believes 2013 will be another “banner year” for hotel discounts.
Why go now:
In addition to its stellar natural attraction, Niagara Falls offers a wide range of experiences, from wine country, casinos and fine dining to water parks and family amusements.


New routes from major air carriers; new properties from major hotel chains such as Marriott and Hilton

Why go now:

Very cheap once you’re there. A cup of coffee, for example, costs less than $1.

The Ireland Tourism Board is actively encouraging hotels and tour operators to offer aggressive deals as part of its 2013 marketing plan; more routes from major European airlines; lower VAT (from 13.5% to 9%) so it is now cheaper to enjoy hotels, restaurants, museums, etc.

Why go now:

It’s cheaper to fly to Dublin or Shannon than most other European destinations.

For more information on these destinations and to search available deals, check




Susan R. Pollack
Globetrotting journalist and former Detroit News staff writer Susan R. Pollack has covered travel since 1985, visiting scores of countries on five continents, 49 states, six Canadian provinces and hundreds of cities, islands and outposts along the way. From Alaska, the Galapagos and New Zealand to South Africa, Thailand and Wales, she has suffered the occasional lost luggage, jetlag and Montezuma’s revenge but still delights in sharing travel adventures with readers. In addition to The Detroit News, her award-winning stories and photos have appeared in major newspapers including the Dallas News, Toronto Star, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Chicago Sun Times; and magazines including Delta Sky, Midwest Living, Long Weekends, Experience Michigan, Jetsetter, Home & Away, Hour Detroit, Prevue Meetings and Group Tour. She has contributed to several books including "Rand McNally 2008 Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide," and is the copy editor for She also has written for websites including and