Just because July 4th has come and gone doesn't mean it's too late to get a deal on a summer vacation. For the first time in a long time, this year, when it comes to vacation planning, to the latecomer will go the spoils in terms of deals and discounts.
The most important thing is to choose your destination wisely. Some places are bigger bargains than others.
--Go where summer is the off-season. Sure, places like Phoenix and Las Vegas are scorching hot during the summer. And sure, the Caribbean is prone to hurricanes. But if you are ready to brave the weather, you will find yourself staying in plush surroundings for up to 50 percent off (more if you are going to Las Vegas). Plus, hurricanes are no sure thing and pools and air conditioning offer respite from desert rays.
--Go where tourism is king....and the king is AWOL. Tops in this category is Mexico. Thanks to all of the bad spring publicity about the swine flu, which never hit Mexico's resort areas, no one booked summer trips to Mazatlan, Cancun, and Acapulco.
Empty rooms abounding, Mexico is hot to attract tourists this summer with bargain packages and cheap airfares. Hawaii is another place where you'll find some discounting going on--with hotels throwing in free nights, etc.
--Go where the dollar is strong. Yes, you will still have to pay the airfare (this is where those frequent flyer points that have been accumulating come in handy), but once you get to places like Iceland, Australia, or England, you'll find the dollar resembling a post-workout Charles Atlas. Last summer at this time, $1 US bought 77 Icelandic krona. Now, it buys 127 krona. Last summer at this time, $1 US bought $1.03 Australian. Now it buys $1.25. Finally, last summer at this time, $1 US bought half a British pound (that's why all those Brits were flocking to New York and shopping last summer--remember?). Now, the dollar buys .61 pounds, a 20% increase.
--Check the web site of the destination you are planning to visit for special deals, packages and discounts. Oftentimes, a city's visitor bureau will offer a single admission pass to all area attractions or will provide a discounted public transportation pass for out-of-towners.