Five Summer Destinations That Won't Strain Your Budget

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Trim Castle in Ireland; Wikimedia Commons

The summer vacation season is here, and the trip planning has begun. Though deals may seem hard to come by as hotels and airlines begin raising their rates for summer, Christine Sarkis, writer and editor for SmarterTravel.com, has done some of the dirty work, monitoring trends and sale patterns to find the top five destinations where travelers can stretch a dollar.

In an article for USA Today on Thursday, Sarkis named destinations both domestic and far-flung, reachable by many.

California tops the list, where hotel deals abound, including at over thirty Joie De Vivre hotels which will be offering the "Road Trippin' California" promotion -- with up to 50% off until the middle of September (rates start at $99 per night). Getting to California will also be easier thanks to Virgin, which will be launching new flights from Toronto to both San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Sarkis also names the Bahamas as a place where travelers can treat themselves to a true island paradise for a fraction of the cost. On June 13, Delta will have flights from Atlanta to The Exumas on Wednesdays and Sundays for fares as low as $129 each way. Packages available include "Fridays Free in the Bahamas" which allows you to book 4+ nights and get Fridays free, with daily breakfast and a welcome cocktail on Friday.

Visitors to Quebec City can get a taste of Europe without the hassle of Iceland's volcanic ash. It's much easier to access, with a renovated airport and new air services (United recently increased service from Chicago, and flights from D.C. are starting June 10th), and there are affordable flight options and lodgings within the city. Need a hotel? "Stay for Breakfast" at the Courtyard Marriott with rates starting at 149$ a night.

New attractions, like the new 1.2 mile boardwalk, and new air services make the idyllic Myrtle Beach more accessible and even more exciting. Allegiant has new flights from Fort Wayne Indiana, Grand Rapids Michigan, Knoxville Tennessee, and Youngstown Ohio. With 89,000 rooms in Myrtle Beach, there are ample opportunities for deals on lodging. The "Summer Wave of Savings" promotion from the Beach Colony Resort gives travelers the fourth night free, while the "Sizzling Summer Savings" promo at Palace Resort has one-bedroom condos starting at $134, including daily breakfast.

Sarkis wraps up her recommendations with Ireland, although she notes that it may be tricky to get to, thanks to Iceland's problematic ash cloud. Airfare prices are on the rise, but those who act fast will be rewarded. Vacation packages can currently be found through Aer Lingus -- offering roundtrip airfare and seven day rental cars starting at $519 from New York. Scepter Tours offers a luxury package with roundtrip airfare, car rental, six nights accommodations, including one night at the Ritz Carlton Powerscourt, starting at $799 from New York or $969 from San Fransisco for stays June through September.
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