Summer Travel Deals Fly Fast

Bottom line: the end is near for rock bottom airfare prices, at least domestically.

It's a different story for international flights, so if you were thinking of a European vacation this summer, pay attention.

In the past several years, more carriers have been pushing into the international market. After all, along with business travel, that's where the money is. Or where it was.

The global recession spared no one. So tickets prices have come down: If you went to Europe last summer, you probably paid about $1,100 roundtrip including taxes and fees.

This summer, you may pay half that, or less.

Europe on the Cheap

The four cheapest European destinations right now? Ireland, Spain, Germany and Switzerland. And by the way, prices for Australia, Asia and even the ridiculously high South American markets have all come way down, too.

So my advice is (again): If you're traveling domestically this summer, buy now. If you'd like to take an international flight, you might be able to wait a bit for late fall/winter trips. Just don't wait too long, OK?

One last thing: airlines still pull sales out of nowhere at the drop of the hat and they still make the occasional mega-mistake (like $230 roundtrip to Rome a few weeks ago).

You must cover yourself by signing up for real-time email alerts – or do like I do, and follow price drops in real-time from your city on Twitter. People can and do score super cheap deals that way.

I hope this helps any of you who are still on the fence about traveling this summer. Maybe you'll be inspired to travel thanks to all this new-fangled social media. Why not? As a card-carrying member of the Twitterati, I know all about how fast great deals come and go. Maybe it's time for you to join us.

This work is the opinion of the columnist and in no way reflects the opinion of ABC News.

Rick Seaney is one of the country's leading experts on airfare, giving interviews and analysis to news organizations, including ABC News, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Reuters, The Associated Press and Bloomberg. His Web site offers consumers free, new-generation software, combined with expert insider tips to find the best airline ticket deal.

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