Can you say "shoulder season?" Summer's over. The holidays aren't here yet. Deals abound.
I know a lot of people are skittish about spending on "luxuries" such as travel, what with the financial meltdown around the world and all. Understood. But if you're up for traveling, you can pay for a trip without totally depleting that pile of bills that's now under your mattress instead of in your ailing bank.
You can find large discounts on package tours now. When the kids are back to school and fewer families are on vacation, prices drop. Ten percent, 20 percent and more. And, of course, tours come with people who will keep you, as a solo traveler, company.
Just be sure to call and find out the demographics of the trips you're interested in. Ask if any other people are going solo. You don't want to end up with all 80-year-old married couples (not that there's anything wrong with them) if you're 25.
As to individual countries, the best value for the dollar at the moment is Egypt, according to a poll by the U.S. Tour Operators Association of "hot" 2008 destinations. Gulp. Yah, that's pretty far to go last minute. Other good values for travelers with dollars are China, Turkey and the United States.
South America wasn't on the tour operators poll. Maybe because the association's members don't have as many trips that go there? From what I know, Central and South American countries generally are a good value, all year round.
Get to it. Times-a-wastin'. Don't let life pass you by.
Photo: Ellen Perlman. Tucson