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corfuNow that the days are getting shorter and July has crashed the party, it’s time to think seriously about booking that summer vacation if you haven’t already. Yes, you still have a shot at planning an awesome summer trip this year. But you should step on it. Travel providers are already rolling out autumn deals for some destinations, and it won’t be long before you’ll need to pack sweaters and stockings on your European getaway.

But this glorious season has yet to fade, and deals are still available for late-blooming summer travelers. Here are five of our favorites:

August Flights to Ireland from $330 OW
We’re loving these affordable Aer Lingus flights, which seem priced more for shoulder-season travel than for departures in the height of summer (the most popular time to visit the Emerald Isle). August flights from select U.S. cities to Dublin are on sale starting at just $330 each way plus taxes and fees.

Save 30% on Summer Stays + Receive Free Gas Card or Kindle
This Hotels.com deal is comprehensive on multiple levels. The savings are varied — receive discounts on accommodations, a $25 gas card or even an Amazon Kindle — and the offer is applicable at hundreds of participating properties in destinations around the world. Travel is valid through September 5, but you must book your stay by August 2 to take advantage of this deal.

Last-Minute Tokyo Fare Sale: Fly from $388 OW
The Japanese tourism industry suffered a devastating decline after the earthquake and tsunami disaster that struck northeastern Japan in March. But you can help. Planning a trip to Japan is a wonderful way to show your support and boost relief efforts by contributing to the local economy. (You could even take a volunteer vacation.) Moreover, it’s now safe to visit most parts of Japan. The U.S. State Department’s current travel alert for Japan declares, “The health and safety risks to land areas which are outside a 50-mile radius of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are low and do not pose significant risks to U.S. citizens.”

It’s pretty inexpensive to travel to Japan now, too. American Airlines is offering low fares from select cities to Tokyo, with prices dipping down to $388 each way plus taxes and fees. To get these fares, depart in July and complete your trip by the end of August.

HostelBookers Summer Sale: Save Up to 40%
Luxury travelers, skip this one. But if you’re not choosy about where you spend the night on vacation, pay attention: you could book a stay in a major European city for less than the price of movie theater popcorn. Make your reservation with HostelBookers.com and save up to 40 percent on already-dirt-cheap digs in Europe, Australia, South America and Morocco when you travel in July and August. This late summer sale features a wide selection of hostels and other budget-priced properties, with rates as economical as 2 euros per night.

Late Summer Europe Fares from $261 OW
We’ve unearthed even more pocketbook-friendly summer fares to the Continent. Even better, this Air France sale’s not so last minute, with a spate of discounted fares that are valid for travel through the end of September. Fly for as little as $261 each way plus taxes and fees when you head to Europe in August or September.

Editor’s Note: IndependentTraveler.com is a member of the TripAdvisor Media Network, an operating company of Expedia, Inc., which also owns Hotels.com.

— written by Caroline Costello

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