Score Last Minute Summer Vacation Deals

1. Check city tourism sites.

Many major cities look­ing to drum up busi­ness in the slug­gish late sum­mer sea­son post dis­count hotel deals and pack­ages for tourists, as well as for locals look­ing for an excuse to take a “stay­ca­tion.” For exam­ple, the Choose Chicago site lists dozens of hotel deals through­out the sea­son, along with cur­rent deals for tours, attrac­tions, din­ing, shop­ping, and nightlife. Browse web­sites owned by the city’s tourism board or visitor’s bureau for trip ideas and tips on local deals. Sites like these can be a great resource for putting together your own budget-friendly travel itinerary.

2. Shop the secret sales.

Will­ing to take a chance? Travel sites like Trav­e­loc­ity post Top Secret Hotels, where you can snag unpub­lished dis­counts. The catch is that you don’t know which hotel you’re book­ing until you com­plete the check­out process. Trav­e­loc­ity promises that the hotels par­tic­i­pat­ing in this pro­mo­tion are all 3+ star hotels and will grant a dis­count of up to 55 per­cent off stan­dard rates. You’ll also know what the rate is upfront and the book­ing is guar­an­teed to be the low­est price at that hotel for 24 hours after you book. Sim­i­lar sites might list ameni­ties and even a photo or two of the mys­tery hotel. You’ll learn what the hotel is after you’ve made and paid for the reservation.

3. Book at the last minute.

If you have a few days or a week off work for your sum­mer vaca­tion, be flex­i­ble with your travel dates so you can secure a last-minute pack­age. Third-party sites, includ­ing Expe­dia and Hotwire, post last-minute deals daily and some can even be for same-day travel. For exam­ple, week­end rates for the Crowne Plaza Miami Inter­na­tional Hotel posted for just $97 per night for upcom­ing week­end travel on Expedia’s last-minute travel sec­tion. Hotwire adver­tises last-minute hotel deals in the Caribbean start­ing at $69 per night. Keep your eyes peeled for some great bar­gains on hotel rooms and travel pack­ages to save money and enjoy a low-cost sum­mer vacation.

4. Travel over mid­week dates.

If you’re look­ing for the low­est hotel and air­fare prices dur­ing the late sum­mer months—and espe­cially to a coastal des­ti­na­tion or to a city that’s in its peak season—plan on trav­el­ing dur­ing the mid­dle of the week. Hotel rates increase sig­nif­i­cantly over the week­end and even more so as we approach Labor Day Week­end. Plan your trip a cou­ple of weeks before Labor Day to avoid heavy crowds and choose travel dates that take you in and out of the des­ti­na­tion in the mid­dle of the week.

5. Go abroad.

The late sum­mer months are the per­fect time to travel to Europe or Aus­tralia. If you’re ready for a more adven­tur­ous retreat, set your sights on an over­seas des­ti­na­tion so you can secure some great rates for hotels and air­fare. Do some research to find out which for­eign cities are cur­rently in their off-peak travel sea­son so you can get the low­est pos­si­ble rates on that travel package.

6. Search for local deals.

Play like a local to find dis­counts on area activ­i­ties, restau­rants, spas, and even hotels on daily deal sites like Groupon and Liv­ing­So­cial. You’ll need to sub­scribe to dif­fer­ent cities of inter­est to see these deals. You could save up to 75 per­cent or more on a good por­tion of your travel costs and end up sav­ing even more if you’re head­ing to an off-peak travel des­ti­na­tion this sum­mer. Do your research to find out which cities listed on these daily deal sites are in their shoul­der sea­son or low sea­son, and plan accordingly.


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