There's no need to shelve that summer vacation you wanted to take but never got around to planning: The last two weeks of August may be the most popular time to get away for the season, but there are still plenty of options available for travelers who are game for a last-minute escape.
Jack Ezon, president of travel company Ovation Vacations, said that July is actually an opportune time to book a late August trip. "Room cancellations in coveted places like the Mediterranean happen in July just before hotels impose cancellation fees, cities in Europe are quiet, and many resorts all over the United States have space, especially if you're willing to go midweek," he said. "Africa, South America and Canada are possibilities, too." Here are a few options for a memorable summer vacation that you can plan right now.
Luxury travel company Royal Travels & Tours is offering a private seven-night trip to Argentina that includes three nights in Buenos Aires with a city tour, tango lesson and museum tours; two nights in Salta, in the northwest, with a city tour, a winery visit and tasting and a cooking lesson; and two nights in Iguazu Falls with hiking and whitewater rafting excursions. Stays are at upscale hotels throughout, and breakfast is included in the cost. Prices start at $1,900 a person. Because the tours (and the agency) are private, you will need an agent to set up the trip. E-mail travel agent Ben Adams directly at email@example.com.
Maybourne Hotel Group, a collection of three high-end properties in London, including the Berkeley, Claridge's and the Connaught, has an offer in August where guests who book a four-night stay enjoy one of those nights for free.
Those booking with a travel agent who's part of a luxury travel network such as Signature Travel Network or Virtuoso also get a space available upgrade, breakfast and a food and beverage credit. Prices per night (before the free night) start at 425 to 500 pounds (about $550 to $650).
Outdoor adventure in the South Carolina Lowcountry
Montage Palmetto Bluff in Bluffton, S.C., is offering a fourth night free for travelers who book a three-night stay. The resort is situated among 20,000 acres where walking, biking, canoeing, kayaking and wildlife viewing tours are all possibilities. Prices start from $300 a night before the free night. You can book online at the hotel's website.
An island getaway in Maryland
The Inn at Perry Cabin by Belmond in charming St. Michaels, Md., has a "Skip the Bridge" package available for late August. It includes accommodations, and the name comes from the included 90-minute Champagne cruise from Annapolis across the Chesapeake to reach the resort — an appealing alternative to the dreaded traffic on the 5-mile-long Chesapeake Bay Bridge. The package also includes parking in Annapolis. Prices per night start at $865.
The natural beauty of Ireland
Wilderness Ireland has a six-night Hiking & Island Hopping Cork and Kerry trip available for Aug. 18-24. Travelers discover the landscape of southwest Ireland through scenic coastal hikes and boat trips. You will also visit the Ring of Kerry, Skellig Michael and Dursey Island where you can go wildlife spotting, and see puffins, sharks, whales and dolphins. Prices run $1,962 per person and include accommodations, tours, transfers and most meals.
Go camping in Greenland
Natural Habitat Adventures has the eight-night Discover Greenland: The Natural Habitat Experience trip available from Aug. 16-24. Travelers stay in a deluxe expedition camp near the Greenland ice sheet and explore fjords and islands through boat excursions and guided walks.
Visitors can meet with local Inuit residents and learn about their lifestyle and culture. Prices are steep, starting at $10,995 a person inclusive of accommodations, tours, transfers and some meals and alcoholic drinks.
Walk the Amalfi Coast
Exodus Travels has a seven-night Walking the Amalfi Coast trip available from Aug. 18-25 and Aug. 25-Sept. 1. Travelers enjoy daily guided walks that take them through some of the region's most popular attractions, such as the towns of Positano, Ravello and Amalfi and the remains of Pompeii. Ticket prices start at $1,525 a person and include accommodations, the guided tours, transfers and most meals.
A brand-new Caribbean escape
The new Skylark Negril Beach Resort in Jamaica is offering a starting rate of $115 during the second half of August in advance of its official opening after Labor Day. The 28-room hotel is situated along Negril's famous white-sand Seven Mile Beach and is home to the first Jamaica outpost of the popular New York City restaurant Miss Lily's. Guests will receive a free foot treatment in the hotel's spa and an herbal tonic at Miss Lily's.
Swim with whale sharks in Mexico
Journey Mexico is offering a four-night Riviera Maya Family Adventure trip which includes an excursion to swim and snorkel with whale sharks, guided visits to archaeological sites such as Coba, an ancient city on the Yucatán Peninsula, and a swimming excursion through the Sian Ka'an Biosphere Reserve. Prices start at $4,500 for a family of four, or $800 per day for two. Call Journey Mexico directly or visit the tour's website.
Enjoy the wildlife in Kenya
Take a private wildlife excursion to Kenya with Roar Africa during the height of the spectacular wildebeest and zebra migration in August. The trip includes one night in Nairobi with visits to a giraffe sanctuary and elephant orphanage; two nights in Tsavo National Park with private bush walks and game drives; two nights in a private rhino sanctuary, and three nights in the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Prices start at $10,000 a person and include luxury accommodations, meals and local flights. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.