Sluggish International Economy Forces Travel Destinations to Slash Prices

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What a great time to travel overseas. Facing as much as 50% capacity, and further dwindling tourist income, cruise lines, hotels and air carriers worldwide are offering bargain basement prices that are becoming ever-so attractive to even the most budget-minded travelers.
The economic instability has meant a wild ride for the cruise industry that has resulted in some jaw-dropping prices for consumers.

“The pricing wasn’t as low as post-9/11, but it was pretty close,” says Tom Baker of CruiseCenter in Houston.

Here are the trends to watch.

Low fares

When the economy took a turn, cruise lines started lowering fares to lure travelers back, say the experts. “You can cruise for the cheapest prices I’ve ever seen in my life in many cases,” says Carolyn Spencer Brown, editor-in-chief of the popular cruise Web site Cruise Critic.com.

Even better: Brown says in many cases travelers can cruise on newer, more luxurious ships for almost the same fares that used to apply only on older ships. For example, she said she’s seen seven-day Caribbean cruises as low as $249 – but the same cruise on a new ship for just $299.

And how about hotels? Brace yourself. Major hotel chains are offering some of the best deals in years as they try to convince more travelers to visit them. Five-star luxury is on sale for a whole lot less.

At some of the nation’s nicest hotels, it’s the summer of the discount.

“So, now customers can afford to stay in a four-star property or five-star property where they may not have been able to afford that before,” Noreen Henry with travelocity said.

Hotel owners are trying to lure travelers back as they said the economy starts to recover. You’ll find some of the biggest discounts, in big cities, where hotel prices were sky high last summer. According to travelocity, prices this year are often 30-50 percent less than a year ago.

If you need a vacation, summer is on sale at hotels all across the country. Major hotel chains are offering some of the best deals in years as they try to convince more travelers to visit them.

Five-star luxury is on sale for a whole lot less. At some of the nation’s nicest hotels, it’s the summer of the discount.

And, while airlines wing it on reduced airfares , several are offering special deals on international travel. Some with packages unrivaled in many, many years. Continental Airlines, which provides service from Austin, Texas, to San Jose, Costa Rica,  has reduced their airfare to $479 from the previously-listed airfare of $620 round trip in late 2008. However, one possible reason, in addition to the global economic, could be that this is the rainy season in Costa Rica, which usually drives lower airfares and hotel rates.

So, if you’re contemplating an international trip this summer, check out the rates and take advantage of some super buys in hotels, cruises, and airline fares.

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