Don’t let summer slip away! Save big on last-minute vacation deals

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Summer is winding down, but almost 1 in 4 Americans still hasn't finalized their end of summer travel plans!

Now is actually a great time to go on vacation because prices are low and temperatures are still high.  When booking, do it alone or consider a travel agent.

“For most reservations, there is no fee involved using an agent.  We receive our money from those offering the vacations, such as the destinations.  That means there is no extra cost to a traveler from a travel agent," said Christopher Lingren with Cruise Planners.

On some very detailed vacations, there may be a nominal fee because of all the extra work and planning involved.  Just be sure to ask in advance.

Right now, kids are back in school, so these deals are more for empty nesters, singles or those who can get away at the last minute.  Hawaii is the number one aspirational destination throughout the world and specifically the Midwest. It's a great destination to get to!

But what's the price for that vacation to Hawaii?  If you scour the internet like Lingren recently did, you can find some great deals.  He discovered a few trips from Indianapolis to Hawaii, for only $1,100 per person in September.  That includes the flight and a five-night hotel stay. It’s not the only deal out there.

“There are wonderful deals to be had.  Internationally, Cancun is great.  Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic and Jamaica are all offering some great deals and special values right now,” said Lingren.

There are hot deals in Europe as well, but many travelers fear a better deal will come along after they make their purchase.  But for more and more agents and their customers, that's not a problem.  For example, Cruise Planners has its own fare watcher system.

“Sometimes we might discover a better price after you book.  It could also be a better location on the cruise ship or it might include some different perks and amenities that they didn't get when they first booked.  If that’s the case, we'll make that change for them.  The cruise lines aren't going to do that automatically and no online website is going to do that for them,” said Lingren.

Good agents can also make recommendations, given their experience.  Many also have access to exclusive deals and promotions to help you stretch your dollar.  Families can get last-minute deals over fall and Christmas break, but generally planning ahead--even way ahead--is ideal.  That's made easier, because school calendars are put out a year in advance, if not 2 or 3 years.  Those who are booking for 2020 and even 2021 are getting the best pricing.

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