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Good things probably came....to those who booked early this year for spring break. Alas, airfares are only down 4% from last, despite much lower fuel costs for the airlines. And those trying to score a last minute deal may come away empty handed, if it involves domestic airfare, as planes are already pretty full for March and April. It your plans don't include a flight within the U.S., however, there are still discounts to be found. Here are some of the best:

Cruises

Think would-be cruisers may have gotten spooked by the Anthem of the Sea's two aborted, bad-weather cruises? We certainly do, which may be why a number of March and April cruises are going for $100/day or well-under from Bayonne, NJ to the Caribbean. But that's not the only ship that's going for cut rates: at the end of this month, the Norwegian Jade's round-trips from Houston to the Caribbean are being priced from just $399 for 7 nights, and the Carnival Sensation's 7-nighter from Miami to the Caribbean isn't much more at $439. To see these deals, and others, try such sites as VacationsToGo.com, CruisesOnly.com and CruiseBrothers.com.

Cancun and the Mayan Riviera

Because of the weakness of the Mexican Peso (it is now at 17 pesos to the dollar, two years ago at this time is was at 12 to the dollar) Mexico is far less expensive to visit than it has been in recent years. According to a study done by Booking.com prices at Cancun hotels are down 45% from last year for spring break. Try that site, or such packagers as Vacation Travel Mart (www.vacmart.com), CheapCaribbean.com, or Expedia.com to score deals.

Ski Vacations

Wacky weather around the US has meant feast or famine scenarios at ski resorts around the country. Some have been inundated with snow, others not so much, and still others have had excellent weeks and pretty lousy ones. For those willing to take the risk—and those who don't mind schussing on the man-made stuff—there are boatloads of late-season lift ticket discounts such sellers as Liftopia.com and RetailMeNot.com. This is in addition to ski lodge deals on Groupon.com and Hotels.com (among other sources). In the case of lift tickets, some resorts are dropping the rate by as much as 80% to get skiers onto the slopes.

Europe

Hopping cross the pond will certainly be most cost-effective in spring than in summer, particularly if you can pick up one of the scattered airfare deals from such relative newbies as WOW Airlines, Norwegian Airlines and Emirates (new only to US-Europe routes). With these carriers and their competitors, I've seen rates for the upcoming weeks of as little as $400 between say, Washington, DC and Paris or New York and Reykjavik (including taxes). Considering that the euro is still trading at far less than it used to against the dollar, April in Paris should be more than doable this year.



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