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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Best Cheap Summer Vacations!!

Vacation travel is starting to come back from its recession-era slump. And that means fewer hotels and airlines are desperate for your business. Some travel destinations that were bargains last year may not be so now. Regardless, here are some great summer places you can visit and -- as long as you can find a cheap flight -- avoid breaking the bank.
Why go: A one-time meager fee ensures entry into Yellowstone National Park (and the nearby Grand Teton National Park) for seven days. That's plenty of time to enjoy the best of Yellowstone's majesty, including Old Faithful or the Mammoth Hot Springs. Hotel rates are reasonable all summer long, but you might want to come in June before the summer tourist season really picks up. Also consider saving on lodging by bringing your own, as the park is filled with campground facilities.
Why go: Lisbon, Portugal is one of the most affordable European destinations any time of year. Summertime is when visitors ditch the urban districts and splurge for accommodations in the seaside retreats of Cascais or Estoril. But with careful planning you can still find reasonable hotel deals in the city itself; even five-star accommodations in the action-packed Belém or Alfama neighborhoods could run for less than $100-a-night. Don't forget to take a 30-minute bus or train ride to the Sintra, where a microclimate keeps this castle-strewn town temperate at any time of year.
Myrtle Beach
Why go: Summertime is the most popular -- and most expensive -- time to visit Myrtle Beach. But you can save considerable money if you find a place stay off the main beach. Ditch the Grand Strand area in favor of a campsite or rental cottage, or consider one of the stay-and-golf deals offered by the major chains. The stretches of clean public beach (read: free and fun) and reasonably priced miniature golf courses will make the bargain hunting worth it.
Fort Lauderdale
Why go: Like the Caribbean, Fort Lauderdale and other South Florida beach towns are most popular as winter and spring break getaways. So you can really luck out on airfare and room rates if you visit the "Venice of America" in June, July or August. Laid-back Fort Lauderdale has an up-and-coming dining scene along Las Olas Boulevard and more beach than people to fill it during the summertime. Rent a car if you get bored: You can be strolling the Art Deco district of Miami Beach in 45 minutes or less.
Trinidad & Tobago
Why go: People flock to the Caribbean when it's cold at home. But warm weather in the States and a fear of hurricanes keeps many people away from the islands during the summer. This can mean great deals on both airfare and hotels during the summertime. But here's the kicker: the islands outside the hurricane belt also offer summer discounts. Trinidad and Tobago is a prime example, and its best activities -- breathtaking wildlife (more than 400 species of tropical birds) and outstanding beaches -- are free for everyone to enjoy.
Why go: The European debt crisis has made all of Europe cheaper for U.S. visitors this summer, but perhaps no place is more affordable than Greece, including the island of Crete. Ancient ruins, wild parties, magnificent beaches, scenic hikes -- take your pick or try doing all of the above. July and August are the busiest months on the island, but there are also lots of early-booking bonuses on package deals. Consider visiting toward the tail end of summer, when there's less chance of precipitation and fewer crowds.

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