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Bargain tips for the upcoming travel season

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Clark Howard |
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The calendar can be your best friend when you’re planning travel. And right now, we are getting closer and closer to bargain season.

September and October are just about the best bargain months of the year for people who want to go on cruises, people who want to go anywhere in the United States and people who want to go to Europe.

The weather in Europe in September is roughly equivalent to June weather in Europe. Yet people pay twice as much to travel in June as many times you do in September. So use the calendar to your advantage if you don’t have kids that you have to deal with going back to school.

Meanwhile, travel around the United States is also poised to be very affordable. I just read a report from Southwest Airlines that said they’ve reached the point where they know people are going to go on buyer’s strike if fares go any higher. Take that in combo with the calendar, and that means I think we’ll see some real deals after Labor Day for the leisure traveler.

You’re also going to find a number of specials to Asia in the next two months. More and more routes are going in and you can find good introductory specials. As an example, there have phenomenal deals to Asia for travel in September from Chicago.

If you like to do cruise ships, September and October are such a bargain. The best bargains on cruises usually occur three weeks or less before sailing. It’s great if you can be spontaneous.

Finally, a lot of you have heard me talk about ultra cheap hotel deals. I use Priceline, Hotwire and QuikBook to land those deals.

With Priceline and Hotwire, there are message boards to help you know where you’re likely going to stay and how much or little you should do as a starting bid. Go to for Priceline and for Hotwire. The two sites will give you all kinds of scoop that Priceline and Hotwire don’t want you to know!

Editor’s note: This segment originally aired Aug. 15, 2011