Book early. Oh, right. You knew that but just didn’t get to it and now the kids are almost out of school. Here are some ideas for getting a great summer vacation on the books, even at the last minute.


1. Look at some “off-season” destinations. These would be places that are popular in winter like ski towns in Colorado and Utah, or in fall like The Poconos or New England.


2. Think about places you wouldn’t ordinarily go in summer. These destinations are pretty hot (we mean it both ways), with plenty to do and great beaches, too, in Mexico, St. Thomas, and South Florida. Don’t discount the desert, either. Try Scottsdale, Arizona; Taos, New Mexico; Palm Springs, California.


3. Try to travel mid-week instead of on weekends. There’s a reason Sunday-Thursday stays cost less than Fridays and Saturdays. Bonus: Best airfares are usually on Tuesdays.


4. Avoid holiday weekends. Everyone is taking advantage of that long weekend, which means everyone booked Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day weekends months ago. 


5. Can you wait till late August? Many summertime favorites open up a bit starting the last two weeks of August. Some schools are already open by mid-August, which means more kids back in school, and more likely availability at your favorite spots.


6. Check your owner website for last-minute Inventory Specials. You never know, right?


7. Use the Waitlist. Stuff happens, people cancel for all sorts of reasons. You might as well be ready just in case your dream vacation is suddenly within reach. Someone has to be lucky – might as well be you.


8. Stretch and reach. What about a trip down under? It’s winter in Australia and New Zealand, which means not really cold, but a lot cooler (we mean it both ways) that sweating it out at home.


9. Get travel insurance. Summer travel volume means delays, lost luggage, cancelled or missed flights, and any number of unforeseen emergencies. Travel insurance is your best protection.

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