Summer doesn't mean the end of vacation deals


Finding that bargain trip might be harder this year compared to previous, but there's some good news: It's not impossible.

The demand for travel is taking off: the recession forced many families to stay closer to home, but now people are ready for their dream vacations.

"It is going to be expensive," said travel writer Chris McGinnis. "Air fares are up 10 to 20 percent compared to last year. Hotel rates are up about 5 percent."

Chris McGinnis is a travel writer and director of a San Francisco-based travel consulting group. McGinnis suggests not letting higher prices depress you -- bargain hunters just need to develop a strategy.

"What you need to do is fish around for a really good deal and let that deal determine where you go," McGinnis said.

Ski resorts offer great amenities and the best deals in the off peak summer season. The savings on a hotel room could be as much as 80 percent.

"There's a lot of activities in Colorado and Utah, the Rocky Mountain areas," McGinnis said. "River rafting, biking, hiking -- all kinds of stuff."

Arizona is known as a spring training, or winter, destination. But the Automobile Association of America suggests it's just as great in the summer too.

"I know that may sound unusual," said AAA Travel writer Michael Ackermann, "but the prices in the summer are phenomenal when compared to the winter."

Rates at the five-diamond Phoenixian in Scottsdale start at $169 in the summer versus almost $500 in October.

If off-peak travel isn't appealing to you, perhaps Hawaii is.

"We did find a three-night hotel in Waikiki," Ackermann said. "It's the New Edition Hotel, a Mariott property, plus air fare out of San Francisco for only $660 per round trip. That's airfare and a hotel."

The bottom line: Finding that bargain will take time and effort.

"The reality is there's not one single great web site that's always going to find the very beat deal for you," said McGinnis. "It pays to shop around."

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