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One of the Internet's hottest providers of low-priced air fares is Bestfares.com, which has just announced it will extend its round-trip coast-to-coast airfare sale at $174 for travel through August 3, 2002, until further notice. As is always the case, their cheap tickets are on a first-come, first-served, basis, so get these bargains as soon as you can. If you're late, you may have to settle for round-trip fares of $278, still a bargain. A friendly hint: Be sure to ask about nearby airports if they say there are no more bargains from your preferred gateway. The extra car mileage may be little enough to make your second choice departure port worth the extra bother, considering the lower cost.

Sample fares, in addition to the transcontinental ones mentioned above, include those for 30 European nations from New York City, Boston or Washington DC for spring departures from only $399 round-trip, or summer fares (June 1 through August 31) for just $50 more. From Chicago, Miami or Los Angeles, the spring fares start at $499, the summer ones from only $549. These represent savings of about 50% to 60% off normal prices for the appropriate time of the year, they say.

Finally, the same site offers sale tickets to Hawaii for travel through May 19, 2002; Mexico through May 19, 2002; and Asia. There are even some fares, good for travel through March 30, 2002, to Central and South America.

Samples roundtrip airfares: Dallas to Costa Rica $290
Chicago to Rio $398
NYC, DC or Detroit to Rio $51
LA, San Diego, Atlanta or NYC to Belize $380
Dallas to Belize $325
Seattle, LA or San Francisco to Costa Rica $355

Where to stay once you are at your destination? Bestfares recommends the Hotel Reservations Network, which has its own Web site promising up to 70% off regular hotel rates in major cities around the world. You can book online at www.hoteldiscounts.com.

Again, for low-priced airfares, check out www.bestfares.com.