Summer may seem like a far-off land, filled with mythical games of beach volleyball and gently lapping waves, but it’s not that far away, and both of those things are totally attainable — especially if you book your travel in April. Get excited and start planning with these insider budgeting tips on booking cheap flights, cheap hotels, and cheap activities for summer!
Plan Your Summer Travels in April to…
Land the cheapest flights
As any savvy traveler knows, the price of plane tickets can change dramatically in just a few days. That’s why it’s so important to shop smart, and strategically purchase your flights when the fares are the lowest. Of course, that’s easier said than done. When are fares lowest?
According to data from Hipmunk.com, a travel booking site, you’ll typically find the lowest airfare in April about six weeks before Memorial Day Weekend, which most people consider the kick-off of summer. This year, that means you’ll likely score the best deals during the week of April 22nd through the 28th, so mark your calendars! Prices could begin to rise after that window.
One of the best ways to make sure you’re getting the best prices is by setting fare alerts, which will let you know when fares increase and decrease. Luckily, there is no shortage of ways to do this. Set up fare alerts through booking sites like Hipmunk and Expedia, or book through KAYAK to see price forecasts and buying advice. The app Hopper will let you know the best times to book flights and will send you notifications when there are price drops on itineraries you’ve browsed. The more data you collect, the better!
Dive into cheap hotel bookings
While you may be tempted to book everything at once, data collected by TripAdvisor from July 2015 to August 2017 showed that the best time to score cheap hotel rooms for summer travel was actually one month out from your trip.
This was true for locations all over the U.S, from New York City to Miami to San Francisco. Booking exactly one month before your trip could save you up to 40% on your rooms—and that’s a big chunk of change.
Like flights, the key to finding cheap hotels is comparison shopping. Websites like Priceline and Trivago can help you quickly and easily compare different hotels in your destination. However, it’s always a good idea to do your own investigation before booking. Often times you’ll discover promo codes or perks like free breakfasts to make a deal even sweeter. Not pleased with any of the hotels you’re seeing? Airbnb and GlampingHub can help you find excellent alternatives to traditional hotel accommodations.
Plan cheap activities
The most important part of any family vacation is the activities. With a little bit of planning and research, you can have the trip of your dreams, jam-packed with plenty of fun in the sun, entertainment, and good food.
Start by embracing all the completely free activities your destination offers! Spend the day on the beach or go hiking on a nearby trail—there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy without putting a dent in your wallet. Hit up a grocery store on your way into town and grab cheap supplies to make breakfasts and lunches while you’re exploring.
Before you head out, go online and research all the free activities going on in the area while you’re visiting. Many places will have free concerts in the park, farmer’s markets, festivals, and other exciting events for the whole family. Take advantage of them!
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