East Texas is soggy and dreary. But for not too much money, you can be sun-drenched in many a tropical paradise. Cruise lines have responded to a more nervous traveling public, and the deals are closer to home.
Sharon Howell of TravelMasters in Tyler says, "The cruise lines have repositioned many of their ships to what are referred to as "driving ports-of-call."
"They're leaving from Galveston, Houston, and New Orleans," she adds.
Carnival has four and five-day trips from Galveston to Mexico for less than $400 per person. Remember all your food's included.
Royal Olympia Cruises will take you on a seven-day excursion for around $800. The ships are vying for every cautious vacationer.
"[Family travelers are] looking at things that are more of a "safe-type" trip, and certainly cruising is that. It's all inclusive in nature, with not many surprises," Howell says.
Airlines are giving us a surprise too.
"We've had some fares as low as $99 each direction between the United States and London."
At that point, some carriers don't break even.
Howell: "If that seat is empty, they're pretty much paying the same amount of money, so why not put a body in it? It just makes sense."
This week, American is launching an ad campaign to get the discount flyer's dollar. Sharon says it's overdue.
"Our airline industry is getting a bit more realistic in terms of what the market will bear. And that's a big turnaround in their thought process," she says.
For those whose thoughts aren't dwelling on war but on family fun, travel now can pay off in being able to buy a lot of souvenirs.