The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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March 5, 2013

Spring vacation travel tips

If you're thinking of taking a spring break trip but are just now getting around to planning it, you may find there are still some good deals, depending on where you want to go. Finding these deals can be the key to having fun but staying on a budget.

"Hotels, airlines, cruise lines and even local establishments are pushing last-minute spring break deals," said Gabe Saglie, senior editor for Travelzoo. "You just have to know where to look for the deals.”

For starters, flexibility can save you money. Traveling the week after Easter just might save you the most. You could find an additional 15 percent in savings on top of 30 percent to 50 percent discounts. As an example, Travelzoo points out Curacao, a four-star beach and golf resort is $139 a day that week, down from the regular price of $279.

You'll also find savings of up to 50 percent if you shop around for end-of-season ski resort destinations. Taking a trip to a major city, like New York or Chicago, can save you as much as 40 percent on hotel rooms. Flying on Tuesday, Wednesday or Saturday can knock up to 40 percent from air fare.

Airline fees

If you are traveling by air, make sure you don't just consider the fare but take a close look at fees too. Kiplinger, a personal finance publication, recently highlighted a number of ways to avoid costly airline fees, starting with flying Southwest or JetBlue, two airlines that have limited baggage fees. JetBlue allows passengers to check one bag for free and Southwest allows two checked bags at no charge.

Before leaving for the airport, measure and weigh your bags. If you fly an airline that does charge a baggage fee, make sure you don’t pay more than you have to by meeting the weight and size requirements.

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