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While last-minute deals often get a lot of press, what smarttravelers know – and live by – is that thinking ahead is the mostreliable way to get the best deals. After all, waiting until justbefore you’re ready to go might leave you stuck with few optionsand lots of restrictions – or worse, no vacation at all. Airlinesand hotels are thinking ahead, too, and are eager to fill up planesand hotels. That translates to great prices right now – the idealtime to book for the best vacation deals.

These five destinations are the perfect combinations of greatdeals, plentiful sunshine and activities for all types oftravelers:

* Mexico. Our neighbor to the south has more to offer than youmight imagine. From beautiful beaches to rich history, culturaldiversity to delectable cuisine, Mexico has it all and then some -just a short flight from the United States. It makes sense, then,that Mexico vacations come in many forms. On the Caribbean side,you’ll find Cancun and the Riviera Maya, which combine luxuriousbeachfront resorts with the opportunity to explore Mayan ruins likeChichen Itza and Tulum. On the Pacific coast, towns like Los Cabos,Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta are perennial favorites for theirlaid-back atmosphere and beautiful natural scenery.

* Las Vegas. If you’re looking for glitz, glamour and non-stopfun, Vegas should rocket to the top of your list. And if you’relooking for a low-cost vacation, it’s hard to beat Las Vegas travel deals. The beauty of Vegas is that it’s aparadise for savers and spenders alike – you can find great dealson hotels and entertainment and still have plenty to lavishyourself with fine dining and luxurious spa treatments. Despite itsreputation for fast living, Vegas is a family-friendly destination,even boasting hotels and resorts with themes that play into kids’favorite daydreams. Of course, if you’re looking for a more grownupexperience, Vegas won’t disappoint, with scores of four-starrestaurants and designer shops to keep you busy for days.

* Hawaii. America’s slice of tropical paradise is the best wayto get a taste of the South Pacific. Beach bums and adventurersalike will fall in love with these beautiful islands. On Mauialone, you can relax on secluded, sandy beaches or take a thrillingbike ride down the side of Haleakala, the sleeping volcano, beforemaking the famous drive to Hana or dining and shopping in charmingLahaina. On Oahu, you’ll find world-famous Waikiki Beach, the PearlHarbor Memorial and a picture-perfect hike up Diamond Head StateMonument.

* Florida. A family vacation to Florida’s theme parks is justabout as American as apple pie, and for good reason. It’s thethrill of a lifetime for kids, who won’t ever forget meeting Mickeyand Minnie. The variety of theme parks is ever expanding, andcleverly combines fun and learning about science, nature and othercultures. What you might not expect, though, is that Florida’stheme parks are also a great getaway for an all-adult trip like agirlfriend getaway or a golfing trip with your buddies. Withtop-notch spas, gourmet dining, luxury shopping and perfectlymanicured golf courses, it’s a perfect place for some grown-uprelaxation.

* San Juan, Puerto Rico. It can be a challenge to make adecision about Caribbean vacations – with so many options, it’s hard to knowwhat’s best. Skip the suspense and set your sights on San Juan.This charming city has been quietly winning the hearts of travelersover the years and you can easily find out why – you don’t evenneed to change your money or get a passport. Puerto Rico is amelting pot of European and Caribbean culture with great food, richhistory and architecture and lively nightlife. You’ll also be ableto get in touch with nature – it’s a top ecotourism destination;boasting the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Parksystem.

With great deals available now, all you need to do is chooseyour destination and start planning. You can find deals byfollowing your destination, hotels or vacation providers on Twitterand Facebook (for example, @deltavacations orwww.facebook.com/deltavacations), which will help you to learn moreabout where you’re going, get the most up to date specials and askfellow travelers questions.

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