Take advantage of these cost savings trips when planning your trip. August 1, 2009 In-Box Bargains Hotels and airlines keep you posted on falling rates. RELATED BARGAINS Steal These Deals PLUS: See Our Bargain Hunters PODCAST: Steal These Deals Covercast QUIZ: What Kind of Spender Are You? SLIDE SHOW: Travel Bargains Airlines and hotels want you—bad. With travelers tightly grasping every penny, the travel industry is slashing prices. “Last summer, we saw $2,000 fares for peak summer travel to Europe,” says George Hobica, founder of Airfarewatchdog.com. “Now, we’re seeing fares around $400.” Prices inched up for early-summer travel, but Hobica predicts that price cuts will return for the late-summer season, which starts in the second half of August. So you may see deals similar to the ones you could have grabbed in the spring—such as a $297 round-trip fare from Los Angeles to Dublin. How can you catch a cheap ride for that last wave of summer? Sign up for free frequent-flier programs and newsletters, and airlines will shower you with promotional codes and discount coupons. Southwest Airlines, for example, often sends 50%-off deals to e-mail subscribers, and JetBlue recently offered $50 discounts, says Hobica. You can find amazing e-mail deals on the ground, too. Marriott, for example, is offering rewards members a night’s stay for $1 when they book a vacation at one of its seven resorts in Hawaii, Guam and Australia for four or more nights between September 1 and December 20 (booked by October 10). Advertisement Flexible travelers who can take off on a whim will bag the best bargains. For last-minute lodging, check Hotels.com, which lists new quickie deals every Thursday. In early June, we found a nightly rate of $52 at Atlantic City’s Tropicana Casino & Resort for trips taken within the week. And Priceline is a bargain hunter’s dream if you’re comfortable bidding on airfare, hotel rooms, cruises and rental cars.