Discounted Gulf Vacations

By James Valles - bio | email | Twitter

Columbus, GA (WTVM) -- Donna Comer owns Travels by Donna, a full-service travel agency in downtown Columbus, which rents out condos, homes, and hotels along the Gulf. She says the oil spill has travelers so worried, they are choosing to avoid the area altogether.

"Instead of canceling, they're saying where can you send me," explains Comer. "We are diverting people to different places, Savanna, depending on their budgets. Some are doing short cruises, Cancun and Jamaica. Some are cutting their trips."

But, you might want to think twice about canceling. She says now could be a prime time to take advantage of some steep discounts.

"Some of them are reducing rates by 10-20%. Some are throwing in a couple of free nights," Comer explains.

For example, a three bedroom, two bath home right on the beach in South Walton, Florida averages $2,900 for the week, but has been reduced to $2,300.

"Actually, we had a friend that got a really inexpensive place across from the beach," said Lindsey Hass. She and her husband just returned from a week-long getaway in Panama City. Hass says everything was perfect; but stresses, it has been less than perfect for businesses on the Gulf.

"A lot of them are real scared about the oil," Hass said. "So, they are discounting. We were able to rent a boat for really cheap and go out snorkeling on our own."

And, despite the heart wrenching images, she feels it is important to support the beaches.

"There are so many other things to do down here than just sitting on the beach," she said. "You can go hit the pool."