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How to find a last-minute travel bargain

July 26, 2010 9:47:09 AM PDT
The tight economy has changed people's travel habits. Last-minute travel is up 20 to 30 percent this year, due in part to the great deals that can be found.

Going to a warm climate in July or August may not sound inviting, but when you look at the prices being offered, it could be enough to change your mind.

Caribbean resorts and cruise lines are slashing prices.

"Hotels and cruise lines, they know that they have these rooms and berths available, and they have to make them go or else they're going to go empty," said Sean O'Neill, senior editor of Budget Travel. "So you can really take advantage, if you're flexible, for a last-minute trip."

You can save a whopping 20 to 40 percent on hotels, and even more if you stay in a vacation rental. States like Florida and California are flooded with homes to rent for the week or weekend.

A great resource is HomeAway.com and OwnersDirect.com.

And taking a cruise with the family is no longer a budget buster.

"With two weeks notice, you can have a $100 a day per person cruise in the Bahamas on Carnival," O'Neill said. "So if you're flexible, you get all your meals included, your family can feel safe, the kids can run around and be in touch with you by walkie-talkie. You can relax, and it's a great family vacation to have. Some incredible cruise bargains right now."

A website to guide you through the cruise deals is Moments-Notice.com.

Traveling internationally may be a bit trickier, but deals can still be found. Check out Vayama.com, and for overall spur of the moment trips, try LastMinute.com and LastMinuteTravel.com.


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