Consumer demand for travel is still lagging, so travel-industry providers are still offering deals for late summer and into the fall in hopes of fattening their bottom line. Details on deals are changing all the time, so if you book airfare, a hotel room, a tour or cruise, you should definitely read the fine print and make sure you're up to date.
At this writing, there are some enticing deals out there. I post these with the usual proviso: I am a journalist, not a travel agent; I don't sell anything and I don't have any business connections to travel providers. I'm passing on this information in case you find it useful:
* If you move fast - by midnight Eastern Daylight Time, tomorrow, Monday, July 20 - you can save up to 50 percent off rooms at a number of U.S. and international hotels and resorts operated by Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc. If you don't know Starwood, you know their brands; St. Regis, Sheraton, W, Westin and Le Meridien among them. Deals are valid for travel till Oct. 12. Go to www.starwood.com.
* The stylish boutique-hotel operator Kimpton Group continues with a three-tiered sale, offering rooms at their properties in two dozen North American cities from $129 a night, $159 per or $179 per, pending on the city, plus a choice of $30 dining credit or free parking. The deal is valid for Thursdays through Sundays and runs till Sept. 7. (www.kimptonhotels.com).
* The airline that practically invented low-fare flying - combined with folksy humor, laid on thick - is offering getaway packages to Las Vegas. Southwest Airlines is the carrier, and fares and rooms are bookable through its unit Southwest Vacations (www.southwestvacations.com). Three-night packages at participating Vegas hotels - among them Bally's, New York New York, Luxor and MGM Grand - start at $55 per night. Added inducements include a free flight for a second person when you book a flight and hotel. If you stay three nights or more, you get one free night. The catch: Your stay can't include Fridays or Saturdays, and there are some blackout dates. The offer covers travel from Aug. 17 till Jan. 7, 2010, and must be booked by Aug. 10.
As always with big sales, only a limited number of airplane seats and hotel rooms are covered by the sale prices. That being the case, being as flexible as possible - about where you stay and when you travel - will help you land a good deal.