Travel deals very available

With an active travelling season expected this summertime, it may be hard to discover a last-minute trade.

According to a new study from the Department of Transportation, fares on internal flights averaged $380 in the 2006 fourth fourth, upward much than 3 percentage from $367 the past year. And with airlines filling nearly 80 percentage of seats, the higher prices are possible to continue.

"As far as airfares, you see fewer and fewer deals because airlines have reduced capacity," said Michael Stitt, executive producer at Travelzoo Inc., which tracks and publishes travel deals. "So the airlines have the ability to increase prices."

At the same time, 69 percent of U.S. adults said they plan to fly as much as or more this summer than they did last summer, up from 57 percent in 2006, according to, a travel search engine.

Still, though you may have trouble finding bargain-basement prices, travel professionals say it is possible to pare costs. You just need to think strategically.

Shop midweek. Many myths exist about which day of the week airlines typically cut fares. But when it comes to last-minute weekend getaways, Stitt said most airlines post specials, or e-fares, on Tuesdays.

"Sometimes [the deals] are great, sometimes they're good, and sometimes they're just OK," Stitt said. Regardless, be prepared to travel in the morning: Most fares require that you fly Saturday and return early the following week.

Flights that depart on a Tuesday or Wednesday also can help you snag a fare as much as 40 percent lower than leaving on a Friday.

Be flexible. If you can stay as loose about your destination as you are about the days you travel, you will have an even better chance of saving money.

Travelzoo, for example, releases the 20 best travel deals of the week every Wednesday at 9 a.m Eastern time. Among bargains recently listed: A seven-week Alaskan cruise going for $849, which normally costs between $1,200 and $1,500, and 50 percent off rooms at a new Scottsdale, Ariz., resort.

Also, regard heading to areas where summertime is the off-season for travelling. A new hunt for flights from Chicago's O'Hare airport to Phoenix (the closest airport to the Scottsdale resort, incidentally) turned upward round-trip fares starting at $176. Several flights to Mexico could be had for little than $400 rounded journey, including taxes and fees (all prices are based on travelling from June 12 to June 19.

Keep searching. Don't accept you are overly later to rescue a few dollars on trips to more favorite summertime destinations, such as Europe. While you won't find the low fares typical of early spring and fall, the continent's off-season, airlines may run periodic sales to help fill any empty seats.

Airlines, for example, sometimes release additional discounted student airfares starting in mid-May, said Kristen Celko, vice president of marketing and e-commerce for STA Travel North America, a student travel organization. On average, student fares are 10 percent to 20 percent cheaper.

"Procrastination may pay off," Celko said.

Even if it is expensive to cross the pond, you may be able to find deals on the continent. The weak dollar is leading many U.S. travelers to avoid Europe this summer. As a result, European hotels are starting to cut rates.

For example, the Leonard hotel in London is offering rooms for about $158 per night as long as you book by May 30, about 55 percent off what the hotel normally charges.

Act fast. When you do spot a deal, don't delay. With capacity tight, any specials that do surface likely will be for a limited number of seats or hotel rooms.

"Be ready to book fast," said Stitt of Travelzoo, "because the best deals go fast in the summer."

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