With the economy faltering, many Americans are cutting back on vacations.
But as summer draws to an end, there are great deals to be had at home and, especially, abroad, where the dollar is strong.
On "The Early Show" Friday, CBS News Travel Editor Peter Greenberg pointed the way to travel bargains for the cost-conscious.
He says, "Many people either have already traveled for the summer, or the recent economic hits have forced many to cancel trips. law of supply and demand has kicked in, and with many school systems starting back in august, there's a lot of sudden excess capacity out there."
AirTran's fall sale ends today, but if you want to fly to Florida, you can fly from Tampa to San Francisco from $134 each way; Sarasota to San Francisco from $147 each way; and Fort Myers to San Francisco from $151 each way.
American Airlines' European sale is going on until August 31. Depart August 14 - October 27, 2011, and return by November 24, 2011. Mid-week departures and a Saturday-night stay may be required.
Boston to Heathrow, September 14-21, 2011 is $643 including all taxes and fees.
JFK to Brussels, September 8-15, 2011 is $859 including all taxes and fees.
Continental's Latin America sale includes fares like Chicago to Cancun for $365.53 from September 13-20, 2011; Orlando to Puerto Vallarta for $537 from September 12-19, 2011.
Delta has deals to Europe if you purchase by August 15, 2011. Fly from Atlanta to Frankfurt from $469 each way or New York to Heathrow from $339 each way. Travel must begin August 22-October 28, 2011 and be completed by November 28, 2011. A 14-day advance purchase and Saturday-night stay is required.
The Celebrity Millenium is sailing for four nights from Miami to Key West and Cozumel from only $329 per person, departing October 4. Or sail the same ship for five nights from Miami to Roatan and Cozumel on October 17 from only $299 per person (even the balcony room is affordable, from $499 a a person).
NCL's four-night Bahamas cruise from Miami starts from only $207 per person, up to about $349 per person throughout the months of September and October on the Norwegian Sky.
If fall foliage is on your mind, you can save by sailing mid to late October. Royal Caribbean's seven-night Canada/New England cruise starts from about $850 per person in mid-September, but drops down to a very reasonable $579 per person departing October 15, and $549 October 22. Since you're sailing as far east as Halifax, Nova Scotia, you're still going to see the great fall colors for a lot less.
Even luxury cabins are on sale. MSC Cruises is offering a 50 percent savings for a second guest on seven-night European cruises if you book a Yacht Club suite. Book the MSC Splendida or MSC Fantasia by August 31, 2011 for sailings through November 6, 2011. Cabin rates start at $2,969 for the first guest and $1,484.50 for the second guest, plus $100 shipboard credit for each person. The Yacht Club suite include 24-hour butler service, a 24-hour concierge, free alcohol, and access to a private lounge and private swimming deck.
Look for a hotel package that includes more than just a room to sleep in. Don't just go for the published rate. Ask about value-added extras that aren't advertised but the hotels might throw in -- can my kids stay or eat free? At city hotels, ask them to throw in free parking. if you don't ask, you don't get.
Travaasa Austin has a special offer through September 15, 2011. Weekday rates start from $189 a night and include accommodations, daily breakfast, and all on-site activities such as cooking classes, horseback riding, nature hikes, an Outward Bound course, and more.
Fairmont Resort Hotels is discounting across the entire brand this fall with value-added amenities and activities built into the price. At the Fairmont Turnberry Isle in Miami, pay $159 a night and get accommodations, free golfing, and free meals for kids 5 and under, through September 30. At the The Fairmont Mayakoba, Riviera Maya, $299 a night gets families daily breakfast, a cooking lesson with a resort chef, and a one-hour boat tour with an ecologists. A four-night minimum stay is required through December 17, 2011.
Save up to 45 percent at the beachfront Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino or Sonesta Great Bay Beach Resort & Casino if you book by September 30, 2011 for stays through December 17, 2011. Rates start from $116 a night, and the discounts increase the longer you stay: two nights, get 35 percent off; three nights is 40 percent off; four or more nights is 45 percent off. Kids ages 12 and under stay free.
Florida's LXR Resorts & Hotels are offering fall discounts from $79 a night, including $75 dinner credit, a bottle of wine, and 20 percent off spa treatments at hotels in Orlando, Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Sanibel-Captiva. A two-night minimum stay is required for travel between September 1-November 2, 2011. Participating hotels include: Sundial Beach & Golf Resort, Sanibel Sunset Beach Resort, and Seaside Inn on Sanibel Island (all from $129); Bahia Mar Beach Resort & Yachting Center in Fort Lauderdale from $79 per night; Miami Beach Resort from $89 per night.
WHERE THE DOLLAR IS STILL KING
Even though the dollar is taking a beating against the euro and the pound, there are travel bargains abroad. There is a lot of volatility. Italy, Portugal and Greece are just a few countries that are having economic problems and that present opportunities to travelers who can afford it. Hotels, airfare and tourist attractions are discounted to attract people who can afford to travel.
As a contrarian, I always say that the best time to visit a destination is after a major disaster or economic meltdown. And we certainly have a few to choose from this year.
In Portugal, hotels average about $114 a night, making Lisbon far more affordable than some other Western European cities like Paris and Rome.
Greece is also dealing with its economic crisis, which has translated into reduced prices across the board. Airfare can be expensive because there's not a lot of competition (Delta is charging almost $2,500 JFK to Athens). But you can save by flying into another city, like Istanbul via Turkish Airlines for about $950, and take a low-cost flight between the two cities on Aegean Airlines.
Iceland is still reeling from its economic meltdown in 2008, and deals continue to abound. Icelandair has a deal where you can fly into Reykjavik from just $629 per person from Seattle, Boston, New York, DC, or Minneapolis, and they'll also include a two-night hotel stay, daily breakfast, and a day-long Golden Circle tour of a geothermal area, a national park, waterfalls, and hot springs.
Take advantage of Icelandair's stopover program, where you can fly through Reykjavik, stop over for 3-7 days, and then continue on to a different city in Europe.
Last but not least, Argentina and Thailand.