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Four Tips for Stretching Your Travel Dollar This Summer

Accommodation Price Comparison

With a weak US dollar and rising gas prices, vacationers need to make the right moves to find a good travel deal this summer.

(PRWEB) April 27, 2005 -- Travelers planning a summer vacation in Europe will experience major sticker shock this year, as the dollar hovers at a low point against the euro and the pound sterling. Taking a summer road trip in the US is no bargain either, especially with regular unleaded gas above $2 per gallon for the foreseeable future.

Flexible travelers still have plenty of options for stretching their budget, however. Tim Leffel, author of “The World’s Cheapest Destinations,” offers these tips for getting around high season travel prices this summer.

* Go where the dollar is strong.
Many countries still tie their currency to the US dollar, either officially or in practice. This is especially true in Latin America and Asia. In these areas, prices have barely budged from where they were two or three years ago. The colonial interior of Mexico is a great value on our southern doorstep. The jungles of Costa Rica and Panama are not much further and some of the best scuba diving deals in the world are on the islands of Honduras. Argentina’s currency troubles have made Buenos Aires one of the best values on the planet for mid-range and upper-range travelers. You can regularly experience a candlelight dinner with steak and wine for two for $30. All through Peru and Ecuador, rooms in charming and comfortable local inns are $30 to $40 per night and meals are a few dollars per person.

Travelers with more time to get away may want to look to Asia. The dollar’s decline is mostly a non-issue outside Japan. For the best bargains, look to value-priced Thailand, Vietnam, and Bali, Indonesia. All routinely offer package deals that are the price of a flight booked on its own.

* Go where it is “shoulder season”
In much of the Caribbean and in coastal Mexico, May through July is a slower time for resorts and tour operators. In general though, the weather is still sunny and clear prior to August. This is also shoulder season or even low season in parts of South America, where our summer is their winter.

* In the US, let airfares be your guide.
If you want to stay in the US, see where the airfare deals are and then pick a place to go, rather than deciding on a destination first. You can sign up for deal alerts from your own airport with Go beyond the obvious: Cleveland has one of the world’s best amusement parks and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. St. Louis has a world-class zoo. Chattanooga has enough attractions to keep kids occupied for days. Find where the bargain flights are, then go beyond the obvious.

* Be spontaneous.
If you can avoid the urge to book way ahead of time, you can find some jaw-dropping deals that are meant to fill unsold planes and hotels. Subscribe to Travelzoo for weekly alerts and check sites such as Skyauction and Site59 for deep discounts.

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