WASHINGTON — If you’re without vacation plans this summer but hope to get away during the season’s last two months, there are still plenty of deals to be had and plenty of destinations from which to choose.
Laura Powell, a veteran travel journalist and blogger for The Daily Suitcase, has ideas on budget-friendly, last-minute summer vacations, as well as local getaways and trends in travel.
To snag a deal in the dog days of summer, Powell says, scout destinations where July and August are considered the off-season. “If you’re willing to go to places where it’s really hot or where there are threats of hurricanes, those are good options.”
Resort prices in the Caribbean and parts of Florida are greatly reduced in the summer, and hotels in Phoenix and Scottsdale, Arizona, typically offer major discounts during summer’s hottest months. In Arizona, Powell says, a room at a high-end hotel, such as The Four Seasons, may be discounted up to $300 a night.
If the heat during the day is too much, Powell suggests flipping your normal schedule. Stick to the spa or indoor shopping during the day, and enjoy the pool later in the afternoon or golf in the evening.
With so many deal sites out there, booking a vacation on the Internet can be overwhelming. But Powell says a few websites, such as Airfare Watchdog and Kayak, consolidate prices offered from the major online booking sites.
“[They] will give you the whole gamut so that you don’t have to go to each individual site. That can save you some time for your comparison shopping,” Powell says.
If the price of a hotel looks too good to be true, chances are it is. Many have hidden costs that drive up the price of your stay.
Be wary of tax, which, if left off the reduced rate, can add quite a bit to your final cost — especially in a city such as New York, where taxes are up to 20 percent, Powell says. Parking is another cost to consider; some hotels charge upwards of $40 a day.
If you need access to the Internet on your trip, find out whether Wi-Fi is included in the advertised rate.
“Some hotels — especially the more expensive hotels — charge you $20 a day for Wi-Fi,” Powell says.
Resort fees — or an added cost for using resort facilities — are another hidden fee some travelers encounter.
“This is what they do to keep the room price down, but in essence, you’re still paying an extra $25 a day for this resort fee,” Powell says. “These are the little extras that people may not think about when they see that great deal online and say,