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Michael Bennett is the former Senior Producer of the Travel Channels west coast operations and is currently a travel writer for Savoy and Black Enterprise Magazine. Michael is the host of Globetrotting on BET's BET on Jazz Network. For travel question write to


Ok, the February book has finally come to an end. You've worked 18-hour days for the past month trying to produce that Emmy award winning story in that quarterly battle for ratings supremacy. The stress and strain of bringing your "A" game every night has taken its toll on your emotions, not to mention what living with a tyrant has been like for your family this past month.

Now it's time to get away for a few days, but with the May book a mere two-months away and the kids still in school, getting away won't be easy. It's a dilemma broadcast journalists face every year about this time. One way to solve the problem is by taking advantage of vacation packages offered by the airlines.

Most domestic carriers and several international airlines offer packages through their affiliate vacation branches that combine air and hotel, hotel and rental car or all three. These deals are usually advertised as ski, golf, spa or amusement park vacation packages and can be found easily by logging on to your favorite airline's website.

For example, Southwest Airlines offers vacation packages online through their subsidiary Southwest Airlines Vacations at HYPERLINK
"" . Southwest is currently offering two and three-night ski packages to Lake Tahoe, Utah and New Mexico.

America West Vacations at HYPERLINK "" is offering spring training packages from
several US cities to Arizona. If you're a baseball aficionado this would be
a great way to follow some of your favorite teams from the Anaheim Angels to
the San Francisco Giants. Ten major league baseball teams spend six weeks in
the Phoenix/Tucson area preparing for the upcoming season.

Delta Airlines, through HYPERLINK "" has great deals to Hawaii. Delta's monthly specials
include a stay at the Sonesta Beach Resort in Bermuda or Crestview Place in
Winter Park, Colorado.

The advantage of booking an airline package deal is convenience. You know
you're working with a reputable company that can ill afford negative
publicity from a bad vacation experience. Before booking these or any other
vacation packages, make absolutely sure you know what type of hotel
accommodations come with deal. If you're looking for 5-star hotels forget
it. You might find a few more expensive deals with 5-star accommodations,
but most are in the 3 or 4-star category.

Also, if you plan to take a package deal overseas, the star-ratings we rely
on to gauge the type of hotel we might be staying at, doesn't apply----so
check ahead.

And lastly, many of the hotels aren't in the middle of all the tourist
activity. For example, if you head to Hawaii and want to stay on the beach,
find out exactly where the hotel is in proximity to the ocean. You might be
in for a short walk or cab ride. The same scenario holds true for some ski
and golf packages.