Summer travel deals are still out there

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PHOENIX -- If you haven't taken that summer vacation yet, it's not too late. There are still deals to be found. You just have to know where to look.

Summer is in full swing, which usually means vacation time, but with the weak economy, is a nice vacation really in anyone's budget?

Carol and David Porter run a travel website in Scottsdale called The Roaming Boomers.

They say a 5-star vacation is doable on a 3-star budget if you follow some simple tips.

For instance, they recommend using social media like Twitter or Facebook and look for exclusive deals only offered on those sites.

Another tip, try and go to your destination during the off-season when resorts, for instance, are crying for vacationers.

“That holds true all over the world wherever you're considering to travel," Carol said. "Make phone calls, get on the Internet, find out when the shoulder seasons might be and you'll save significantly.”

Right now in Phoenix, for instance, you can stay somewhere like the upscale Scottsdale Princess for half the price or even more compared to the peak season.

Another reminder is when you stay at a hotel or resort, ask if they have a free "membership" reward program. Most resorts do and for simply joining, you can immediately start enjoying perks. 

“You'll find that they'll give you, a common thing is, a free room upgrade so you'll pay a base room rate and get an upgrade,” David said.

There's a new concept gaining popularity called "house swapping." I'm not a big fan of this because it seems kind of weird, but more and more consumers are doing it.

“That's happening all over the world, actually," David said. "Find someone who has a house that you would like to go and swap with them. There's websites for that popping up all over the place.”

How about getting a little creative with your mode of transportation and try something less expensive.

“Take a train instead of flying," Carol said. "Train travel is a lot cheaper than flying and you can see the countryside.”

But if you do fly, consider the days you purchase and what day you actually depart to get the best deal.

“Best time to buy airfare is Tuesday afternoon after 3 p.m. and best time to travel is Thursday or Saturdays,” Carol said.

These are just a few ideas, but if you do your research deals can be found.

“A 5-star vacation on a 3-star budget is absolutely possible!” Carol said.

Here's another tip, the cruise industry has a black eye right now because of a number of mishaps. To gain your confidence, there are two-for-one specials and other incentives to get customers back.

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