Get a Deal on Last-Minute Vacations

If you're dreaming of an late-summer escape, use these strategies to save hundreds of dollars on 11th-hour airfare, vacation packages, cruises, European getaways and more.

Ah, the last precious weeks of summer. The kids may be getting ready to go back to school, but don't put away your suitcase just yet. If you never got around to taking a vacation this season -- or you're itching for one last getaway before Labor Day, there's still time to snag a sizzling deal. Now's a good time to brush up on your vacation-booking skills.

For this story, we define "last minute" as within two weeks of departure for most destinations or up to a month before a cruise sets sail. (The typical weekend vacation is booked seven weeks in advance.) You can save a bundle by following strategies for booking spur-of-the-moment trips for business and leisure.

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