How To Save On August Vacations

August is a great month to travel because it's usually easier to take time off, the weather is great, and the kids are out of school. But it can also be frustrating, because everyone seems to travel in August. Airports are jammed, you can't find a spot on the beach, and everything is expensive.

There are ways around these problems: You just have to be smart about it. And the best news of all is that some of these could save you lots of money.

Smart Money magazine's senior editor Leigh Gallagher offered advice on The Early Show Wednesday.


to co-anchor Harry Smith that a lot of places fill up early for August, but you'd be surprised how many deals there are. Many hotels have midweek specials. At the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza at Hilton Head, S.C., Sunday-through-Wednesday rates are $40 cheaper, starting at $149.

Another thing to keep in mind is cancellations. Most people don't like to make their plans at the last minute, but you can get into some places that would otherwise be booked. The Salish Lodge & Spa in Snoqualmie, Wash., was fully booked last year for August, but had 18 rooms open up at the last minute. This year, they're nearly booked, but if you call five days before you want to go, there will probably be something available, especially during the middle of the week.


Go to a hot spot

For resorts in year-round hot places, August is off-peak season. If you can bear the heat, there are great deals.

Arizona is hot but not humid, for example, and you can get a great deal at a place like the Westin Kierland Resort. It has several deals, including a package that gets you a $169 per night room rate and a 20 percent discount on services at its spa. Another package includes unlimited golf for $199 per night during the week and $239 on weekends. It has plenty of activities for kids, including a special Tumbleweeds Kids Club that plans activities such as hikes and arts and crafts. It also has a golf camp for kids. It even has air-conditioned golf carts.

Or, if you've always wanted to go to Canyon Ranch, visit in August instead of May or June, and you'll save $1,800, or 30 percent, on a weeklong stay. That includes meals. It will be hot, but dry, and there's plenty to do inside during the peak afternoon hours, such as getting a massage. They have specials with kids right now.