5 best travel deals

Hotel rates and airfares have been inching up, but you can still find travel bargains at these 5 fabulous destinations.

Where to go in 2012
Where to go in 2012

As you start fantasizing about your next vacation, you might feel discouraged once the reality of airfares and hotel rates sets in.

U.S. lodging prices rose 4% last year, and industry research group STR forecasts another 4% jump this year. Airfares spiked 8% in the first three quarters of 2011 (the most recent data available). And Hotwire predicts hikes of 8% to 10% in 2012, as demand continues to stabilize and capacity is cut back.

Even so, there are still deals to be found -- if you know where to look. The five locales here will allow you and your partner to fly and stay for a very budget-friendly price, thanks in part to airline competition and excess hotel inventory.

The domestic destinations come out to less than $1,500 for two for five nights; the international ones, under $2,500. Food, fun, and tacky souvenirs not included.

By Anne C. Lee @Money - Last updated March 16 2012: 9:38 AM ET
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