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Great last-minute spring break deals

Posted at 6:04 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-02 09:14:58-05

So you haven't booked a spring break getaway this year, in March or April? You have plenty of company.

Perhaps money was tight, or you weren't sure you would get any time off, or you were scared away by the airfares.

A flight on a mainline airline from Cincinnati to Florida can cost $500 or more per person around Easter, the first week of April.

"It's awful. A thousand dollars for me to get to Bentonville, Arkansas," one unhappy woman at the airport told us.

That might be enough to make you decide to spend your spring break on your family room couch this year. Movie night, anyone?

But it doesn't have to be that way.

Still Plenty of Deals

Cincinnati-area travel agent Lesley Sawhook says sure, Easter Week is very expensive everywhere right now. Flights and hotels are going for top dollar both the week before and week after Easter. 

But, she says if you can change your dates, you will still find amazing bargains right now, on flights, cruises, beach hotels, even Disney World and Universal Studios.

Yes, you'll still find big discounts at Disney World, from mid-April through late May, she says, if you know where to look.

Sawhook, of DestinationMagic.com, says: "A lot of people think it's too late. But there are some really great last minute deals this year."    

This travel agent who lives and breathes Florida travel says, with Easter early this year, you'll find two months of discounts right after.

"Disney has some great spring break deals through mid-June, up to 30 percent off deals running right now."

The key, she says, is to avoid traveling the week after Easter: March 28 through April 3.

"The week before Easter and the week after Easter, around the country, everyone has time off from school. So they do increase the prices -- you're going to have crowds and everything," Sawhook said.

Cruise and Airline Deals

On April 4, she says, prices start to drop on cruise lines.

"A lot of the cruise lines are running some really great specials. Royal Caribbean has 30 percent off most of their sailings. Norwegian Cruise Lines is offering some amazing offers this spring, too."

Airlines are also running great deals from the week after Easter until Memorial Day, too.

"On Southwest Airlines, if you don't mind driving an hour or two to the airport, its just $112 one way right now."

Sawhook finds round trips to Florida for $225 on Allegiant or Frontier from CVG, or on Southwest out of Columbus, Dayton, or Indy.

Just remember: You have to avoid Easter week.

Driving Getaways

But if even a discount airline is really more than you can afford to spend right now, there are still plenty of discount driving options.

Lesley says if you don't mind slightly cooler weather, you'll find 30 percent spring discounts to Myrtle Beach, Hilton Head, and even the Florida Panhandle, all within a 12-hour drive from Cincinnati

For great condo deals, she loves the website VRBO.com, where spring prices are 25 percent to 50 percent lower than summer prices.

"I especially love Destin and the Fort Walton Beach area. The white sandy beaches of Florida are wonderful," she said. "You can go on VRBO.com and find some great rentals there and get a really great beach vacation for around $200 a night," she said.

Closer to Cincinnati, Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tennessee are also on sale right now, except for their annual Hot Rod Run the weekend of April 15, when hotels tend to be high-priced.

For a cheap hotel, she suggests you check Hotwire, Priceline and Last Minute Travel for prices that get lower the closer you get to your trip.

But remember, for the lowest price, be willing to be flexible on dates.

That' how Bree Flagg scored a $200 roundtrip on Allegiant to sunny Florida.

"You have to have a flexible schedule, which luckily I did," she said.

 Reds Spring Training Discounts: Very Tough

Finally, if you are trying for Reds spring training, the best you'll be able to do is about $400 round-trip on Frontier Airlines.

Unfortunately, you won't find cheap tickets to Phoenix until after Opening Day, unless you find a travel group that has pre-purchased airline tickets.

That way you don't waste your money. 

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Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.

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