Summer is slipping by quickly. Soon, days will be filled with back-to-school shopping, fall sports and then the holiday season. Before it ends, some couples and families are trying to sneak in a quick summer vacation.
But before pulling out the wallet, experts suggest doing research, saying it’s still possible to find good deals.
“There are still some deals out there,” said Cheryl Pollard, owner of Travel by Cheryl in Temecula. “Last minute cruising out of San Diego or L.A. is going to be most affordable. And all-inclusive resorts in Mexico have great deals too.”
Pollard is seeing an uptick in the travel industry. While many vacationers were staying close to home over the past few years in response to the recession, that’s no longer the case.
“I’m doing a lot of European travel, destination weddings and vacation travel to the all-inclusive beaches,” she said.
But much of the summer travel is already booked according to Debbie Taylor, owner of Bear Creek Travel in Wildomar.
“The Alaskan cruises … Hawaii and the river cruises in Europe are mostly booked because they’re really popular,” Taylor said. “You may see posted deals, but often they aren’t good cabins. They sell what’s left at a premium, but make it sound like a good deal.”
However, looking at locations experiencing their off-season is a good way to still find deals.
“If clients are looking for a deal and want to stay in the U.S. for summer travel, I always suggest any of the ski resorts,” Taylor said. “It’s the off-season, but they still have a lot going on.”
The Big Bear Mountain Resorts have mountain biking, golfing, sky chair rides and hiking throughout the summer months. Mammoth also does scenic gondola rides, mountain biking, summer concerts and more.
“Really, we’re already in a beautiful place,” Taylor said. “We have the mountains and the beaches right here.”
But for those hoping to travel to a more distant destination, Taylor suggests Australia or New Zealand. Again, it isn’t the summer travel season there, so roundtrip 7 to 11 day trips with flight, hotel and sometimes car rental are going for $1,100 to $1,850. But even these deals are ending soon.
Both agents agree. If booking a trip to Las Vegas or the beach, it’s simple enough for people to do their own research and book online. But for those looking at a distant destination vacation, it’s safer to book through an experienced travel agent.
“Unless it’s someone very knowledgeable about overseas travel, it’s best to book through an agency,” Pollard said. “If you book a trip and don’t have a visa, you’ll be in trouble. And airlines and hotels … everybody overbooks. You want to be sure you’ll be on your flight and your room will be ready when you get there.”
Jennifer Dean is a local writer and new contributor to SWRNN.