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Expedia Unpacks Best Time to Book, Cheap Places to Visit for Summer 2019

Searches for “summer 2019” have been on the rise for the past 90 days1, and the unofficial start to summer – Memorial Day weekend – is just a couple weeks away.

So Expedia® travel experts revealed the best time to book, cheapest places to visit, and other vacation planning tips to help travelers prepare for another season of epic adventures. Expedia also recently polled2 1,000 Americans and analyzed travel data to uncover the trends that will likely inspire your next summer getaway.

Expedia's ready to inspire your next summer getaway.
  • Nearly 85% of Americans are taking or planning to take at least one trip between now and September. For the 15% of Americans who said they won’t be traveling this summer, more than half of them (65%) claim it’s due to budget concerns.
  • Domestic travel continues to be the foundation of most American trips. 3 out of 4 Americans aren’t planning to leave the country this summer. Expedia’s flight and hotel data confirms this as hot spots like Vegas, Orlando, San Diego and Los Angeles make up a majority of the top 25 most popular summer vacation destinations this year.   
  • Most Americans plan to road trip or fly with family or a significant other this summer, and they’re willing to spend between 5-10 hours in transit.
  • Disconnecting from work, hitting the beach, getting some sun, sightseeing, spending time with friends and family are all things we want to accomplish this summer.

Nisreene Atassi, PR Director for Brand Expedia comments: “Whether it was road trips around the Midwest or long weekends to the East Coast, domestic vacations were a hallmark of my family trips as a child. So, it doesn’t surprise me to hear that most Americans plan to travel within the U.S. this summer. We’re on a mission to really arm travelers with everything they need to get their vacation plans sorted, and our analysis covers everything travelers need to do just that.”

Here’s when to book your hotel, flight and car rental4   

  • Hotel – Travelers are becoming more accustomed to booking last minute, which could work in their favor this summer. Being flexible and waiting about a week before your trip starts could save you more than 15% on hotel costs. For those who cringe at the thought of missing out on a specific property or not staying with other travelers in your party, booking 21-30 days in advance could still mean nearly 10% savings. Regardless of when you decide to book, remember the cheapest average daily rates are found on Fridays5.
  • Flights – The “sweet spot” for airfares is about three weeks to a month (21-30 days) ahead of time. Remember to purchase flights over the weekend, particularly on a Sunday. Nearly 30% of Americans are flying to their destination, so this next tip is super important: choosing flights that take off on Thursday or Fridaycan save travelers around 10%.
  • Car Rental – It’s never a bad idea to avoid putting miles on your car. Booking a comfy rental 14-20 days in advance could save you around 5% this summer.

“We hear from travelers time and time again that budget is a big concern for them. While summer can often mean peak travel times and peak pricing, we’ve done the heavy lifting to figure out the best ways for travelers to still find prices that fit their budget,” says Atassi. “With some careful planning and a little research, summer travel plans are well within reach for many Americans.”

Cheap summer vacation ideas

Most Americans feel comfortable spending somewhere between $1,000-2,9997 on their entire summer vacation. Expedia’s data gurus pulled together some of the cheapest destinations in the USA that fit this budget.8 We also threw in a few international locations that Americans tend to frequent.

• Hilo, Hawaii – average ticket prices under $600• Phoenix, Arizona – average daily rates under $150
• Key West, Florida – average ticket prices under $500• San Diego, California – average daily rates under $300
• San Jose del Cabo, Mexico – average ticket prices under $400 • Houston, Texas – average ticket prices under $250, average daily rates under $150
• Cancun, Mexico – average ticket prices under $400, average daily rates under $300 • Atlanta, Georgia – average ticket prices under $250, average daily rates under $300
• Colorado Springs, Colorado – average ticket prices under $400 • Austin, Texas – average ticket prices under $250
• Orange County, California – average ticket prices under $300 • Tampa, Florida – average ticket prices under $250
• New Orleans, Louisiana – average ticket prices and average daily rates under $300 • West Palm Beach, Florida – average ticket prices under $250
• Charleston, South Carolina – average ticket prices under $300 • Denver, Colorado – average ticket prices under $250, average daily rates under $300
• Nashville, Tennessee – average daily rates under $300 • Toronto, Canada – average ticket prices under $200
• Portland, Oregon – average daily rates under $200 • Daytona Beach, Florida – average daily rates under $200

Be sure to also check for deeper travel discounts in the Expedia app, which is available to download for free on iOS in the App Store and on Android devices through Google Play.

Expedia.com® is one of the world’s largest full-service travel sites, helping millions of travelers per month easily plan and book travel. Expedia.com  (1-800-EXPEDIA) aims to provide the latest technology and the widest selection of top vacation destinations, affordable airfare, hotel deals, car rentals, destination weddings, cruise deals and in-destination activities, attractions, services and travel apps.

1Data source: Google Trends volume for search term “summer travel” for the past 90 days. 
2-3,7Survey commissioned by Expedia and conducted by SurveyMonkey, polling 1,000 respondents, aged 18-65+, located in the U.S. 
4-6Based on Expedia flight, hotel and car demand data for travel dates between May 20-September 30, 2018 as well as findings from the 2019 Travel Pricing Outlook report by ARC & Expedia Group.  
8Based on Expedia flight and hotel data for travel dates between May 20-September 30, 2019