Locate Good Travel Deals Even in a Bum Economy

Times are tough. But there still are good reasons to consider heading to a vacation destination. While finding good travel deals is a challenge, with a little research and flexibility there are some good bargains to be found.

That's because of the state of the travel industry. Thanks to slumping business travel, travel operators are doing more to lure consumers to fly and stay with them. Hotels especially are vulnerable as hotel inventory grows—properties planned several years ago and now built need to be filled.

Flexibility is key

In the current travel environment, if you're flexible, you'll do better. One example: In one week in early 2009 for 15 minutes a day, the Web site LastMinuteTravel.com sold rooms at more than 15,000 hotels around the world for $1 a night.

"There's no reason why you need to plan more than two or three weeks out to get a decent deal," says Tim Leffel, Nashville, Tenn. travel expert and author. "Sometimes waiting until the last minute will give you the best deal of all. It depends on supply and demand."

Searching for bargains

With the Internet making travel information available at your fingertips, you're in the driver's seat. "It's pretty easy to set things up to your preferences," says Leffel. "There's no need to spend hours surfing and trying to find things." Let notices come to you by signing up for e-mail newsletters from travel providers.

Cruises are becoming more popular because, in the current economy, consumers like a cruise vacation's all-inclusive fare. They know exactly what they'll pay.

In your own backyard

If you're planning to vacation closer to home, Leffel advises that you head to your local library for a state travel guide. "Often people think [libraries are] only useful if you're going far from home," he says. "But they have good information." You'll also find specific guides if you like to hike or bike, for example. State tourism Web sites can provide lots of vacation tips, too.


Here are some Web sites that can help you set up a vacation deal:

And if you could use a loan to help get away from it all, talk to a Harvard Credit Union representative today about the HUECU Vacation Loan. You can apply online or come in to any one of our branches. You can also call (617) 495-4460 or email us for more information about this or any of our other services.


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