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Time and again we remind our readers that travel does not require taking a second mortgage out on your house. With a few tips and tricks, one can always find an affordable vacation destination. Case in point, it's nearly winter across South America -- thus off-season and even more affordable.
Record high gas prices aren't stopping Americans from hitting the road, according to the American Automobile Association. But they are worrying hotels, resorts and car rental companies enough that free gas has become the de rigeur gimmick for summer travel within the US.
Whether you're heading north or south, several airlines have major Florida sales on right now. The best rule of thumb: if you're paying more than $178 plus tax to fly between a major Florida city and anywhere else in the East, you're paying too much.
Lounge on a beach in Mexico or hole up in the jungles of Belize. Pick the spot that suits your personality and go: these packages -- some include airfare as well -- are priced to move.
Here's some of the best deals a handful of major travel agencies are advertising this week.
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Reader's Voice
From Ryosuke Takahashi: "Summer is here and gas prices are sky-rocketing again! I found an old Hot Issue that covered this, but I thought it would be appropriate to do a remake of it for this year. How can one save on gas for Summer road trips? Does anyone have experiences with electric or hybrid cars? So, please post any gas saving tips you might have... short-term or long-term solutions."
From vicki nuckolls: "Can you recommend a reputable agency that helps facilitate house swapping? I travel every year with my family and it would be wonderful to live in a home for our holiday rather than hotels, hostels, or B & B's. Not to mention the savings! Thanks!"
From Emily Lee: "Has anybody ever not been allowed to check in their baggage when it was over the airline's limit even when willing to pay the excess baggage fee? I am thinking of buying a ticket between Venice and Barcelona on Alpi Eagles (Italian low cost airline). They only allow 15kg but I will probably have around 23kg. I figured it out that even if I pay the excess baggage fee it will probably still be cheaper than buying a ticket through an airline that allows a higher baggage weight."
From Carleen Cohen: "This was our 4th trip to Italy and perhaps our greatest. I really credit the guidebook for its realistic appraisals and pertinent information on the ins and outs of travel to Italy. I speak of the guidebook in the highest regard to all that I meet that want to plan a trip to Italy. I simply tell them to buy a Frommer's Italy 2004 guidebook as their first step"
From Traveltot: "Just back from Mexico City which is undergoing a kind of renewal in the Centro. Much safer at night for one thing and the old colonial center a pleasure to walk around. Hotel Gillow is only three block from the zocalo, is inexpensive and very comfortable. You will need a little tourist Spanish since most of the guests are Mexican.It's our third visit to this huge and fascinating city. Admittedly we wouldn't be caught dead on a beach but I think people who don't experience the great cities or even small towns of Mexico come away with a very different picture of this wonderful country."
 
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