May 14, 2014 -- Wanderlust heavy but wallet light? It's the plight of many would-be summer travelers -- time off to travel, but not a lot of money to spend. Add with higher hotel and domestic airfare prices, 7 and 2 percent respectively, according to Hotwire, and what do you have?
A recipe for staying home.
But there are deals to be had -- if you know where to go, and perhaps more importantly, when to go. According to Hotwire's State of Summer Travel Report, you'll get the most bang for your buck for travel in mid-to-late summer, with August yielding the lowest prices across the board. This is great news for procrastinators. If you've not yet booked a summer trip, you've still got time. But don't wait too long: Orbitz reports 88 percent of Americans plan to take a summer vacation this year, up 11 percent year-over-year -- that's a lot more competition for the cheap seats.
And if you've got your heart set on that July 4 long weekend -- it's on a Friday this year, compounding the crowds looking to take advantage of a three-day weekend-- Hotwire says not to wait another minute to book that trip. Travel web site Hipmunk agrees, especially when it comes to airfare.
Hipmunk evaluated historical flight data and found that the best time to book July 4 travel is during the week of Memorial Day. Hipmunk discovered "Those who book from May 26 to June 1 could save nearly $150 just by booking early."
So now you know when to go, and when to book. But where are the deals this summer?
Hotwire said travelers looking for hotel deals should focus their efforts on "mid-size" cities, such as Minneapolis and Philadelphia. But they point out "pockets" of deals in larger cities, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, DC. That's where the August travel comes in. And if you can stand the heat, hotels in Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and Miami also have deals this summer.
And if that all-important trip to Disney just can't wait one more year, August is your month. DealNews reported the cheapest weekend to get a hotel room in the Disney area is the weekend before Labor Day. The historical analysis of summer weekend prices came from travel giant Priceline, which also found the most expensive weekend is the last one in June. The price difference between the most expensive and least expensive weekend? 23 percent. That's a lot of turkey legs.
International travelers will find deals in the Dominican Republic, particularly Punta Cana; and Los Cabos and Cancun in Mexico. Travelers heading to Europe, Hotwire said, can find great deals in Paris, Berlin, Munich and Madrid.