PHOTO: Act now to save big on summer travel. (photo courtesy of Thinkstock)
As the month of May approaches, the anticipation for summer grows, as does “vacation time.”
Hopefully, you didn’t blow your whole travel budget on spring break because, if you want to get the best deals on airfare during May, June, July and August, there’s no time to wait.
A FareCompare analysis shows that prices for summer airfare will rise starting on May 12.
For those traveling to Europe, fares begin to climb as the peak travel season in Europe begins. Fares don’t start to really drop until Aug. 21, so keep this in mind if you are booking late-summer travel.
Asia is similar: Fares begin rising on May 12 and again on June 9 and July 20. However, summer prices fall earlier, so those booking late can catch a deal after August 7, with a more significant drop on August 20.
In the U.S., “pre-summer” pricing begins on May 21, so you have a little bit of extra time when booking domestic flights. The next fare increase comes on June 15—this is the most expensive time to travel and book during the summer months. Fares won’t really drop again until Aug. 30.
In addition to getting a deal by booking early, everyone talks about the cheapest days to travel. Your Vacation Gurus say that, in the U.S., the best days to travel are Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday. Internationally, you are more likely to score a deal mid-week than on the weekend.
Where to Travel for Cheap
It also really pays to have some flexibility in your schedule if you want to save money. Shopping around is an important step: There are many sites such as FareCompare that can help travelers scan through fares and send alerts when prices drop or rise, giving travelers a better idea of when to book.
If you just want to get out of town on the cheap, some places are better bargains than others: FareCompare says that, in the U.S., Boston, Dallas, Denver, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Seattle and Washington, D.C. are the cheaper cities this summer.
In Europe, travelers can find some good prices in Copenhagen, Dublin, Oslo, Paris, Stockholm, Barcelona, Rome and London — especially with the current exchange rates.
While planning ahead is always a good idea, what about booking and saving at the last-minute?
Airfares are harder to find that way, but cruises and hotel stays can net serious bargains. Your Vacation Gurus searches cities for last-minute savings and passes them on to customers, oftentimes at extremely low rates for high-end properties. Always be sure to read the reviews and inclusions before you book. Even when you are booking last-minute, it never pays to make a snap decision just because you see a good rate.
Another great option for last-minute trips? Cruises.
Your Vacation Gurus tracks cruise websites for last-minute deals. However, “last-minute” is a loose term. Last-minute rates are usually for sailings 60 to 90 days in advance. Peak cruises are hard to find, such as summer sailings, but it’s not unheard of, so it’s worth keeping a close watch if hearts are set on certain dates.
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