It's mid-August, the summer has seemingly passed faster than a stock market nosedive and the kids are pestering you that all of their friends have taken fancy vacations and yet your family has only ventured as far as the town pool.

Is it too late to find a vacation for late August or Labor Day weekend?

And, how are you going to scope out such a last-minute trip as the Summer is beginning to fade into Fall?

Fortunately, there are lots of resources, from traditional travel agents to "opaque" hotel sellers such as Hotwire ( and Priceline ( and "flash sales" sites such as Jetsetter ( and LivingSocial (, which can provide you with alternatives.

Stacy Small, the president of Elite Travel International in Brentwood, Calif., specializes in luxury travel and says the agency routinely handles spur of the moment requests.

Fear not if a hotel or cruise website shows that everything is sold out, Small says, because in the travel business, as in most others, it's all about connections.

"We always go to our contacts at the hotel directly and often are able to get space cleared or will be the first notified when there are cancellations due to our personal relationships," Small says.

And, there are lots of hotel deals out there.

Small points to the Big Island of Hawaii where the Four Seasons Resort Hualalai is offering a second room in the same category for 50% off, and Anguilla where the Viceroy Anguilla provides a complimentary night for each night booked at standard rates.

And when you are considering a last-minute vacation, it doesn't hurt to take a contrarian view and steer away from the most popular areas. Small says she'll check the weather reports about possible hurricanes, recommend travel insurance and advise clients to consider a Caribbean vacation in the next couple of weeks because the airfares are reasonable.

So-called opaque travel sites, including Priceline, Hotwire and (, where you don't know the identity of the hotel until after you book, can be an attractive alternative for vacation procrastinators if you can stomach a little uncertainty. Generally, these sites hook you up with well-known brands at steep discounts, depending on the demand and availability in the destination under consideration.

On the other hand, (, which belongs to the Hotwire Group, reveals the hotel name up-front. For example, Travel-Ticker was offering a stay starting at $100 per night at Myrtle Beach's Boardwalk Beach Resort, but with the third night free. The stays had to be booked by Aug. 21 for travel Aug. 21 to Sept. 24.

And, then there are "flash sales" sites, such as Jetsetter, LivingSocial Escapes ( and Groupon Getaways with Expedia (, which may be tempting alternatives. With these sites, you become a member for free and then you have a limited number of days to book the trip at promised steep discounts.

You can book some great discounted vacations on flash sales sites, but you should do your homework, check other sites, and ensure that the "deal" is really a deal.

And, if hundreds of other people are purchasing vouchers for the same flash sales deal, will the hotel inform you there are no rooms available for your last-minute Summer vacation?

"At Jetsetter, members book available dates and therefore don't fall into the deal-a-day risk of spending money on a vacation that won't accommodate your preferred travel dates," says spokeswoman Kellie Pelletier, adding no vouchers are involved.

On airline and hotel websites there are tons of deals still available. With a little research and planning, you can still get out of town.

Dennis Schaal covers travel tech as North America Editor of Tnooz (, and co-authors USA Today's Digital Traveler column.