Trying to get away for a spring break trip? Or are you already planning your summer vacation?
If so, be prepared for significantly higher airfares and hotel prices this year.
But there are some ways to cut those costs.
Soaring Airfares This Year
Tricia Murray of Cincinnati's Western Hills area is planning a spring break to Cancun.
But she noticed one big difference from last spring, telling me "the airline websites were really hard to look at, because the prices were dramatically increased from last year."
An improving economy means Americans will be filling planes and hotel rooms in 2011, unlike the past three years. As a result, last year's great airfares are mostly gone.
Tricia said "on the main airline websites they were like $880 to Mexico! You could go to Europe for that."
Don't Wait for Discounts
AAA Travel's Nicole Heidelberg says don't wait to book a popular destination like Disney World or Universal Studios, with its new Harry Potter attraction packing in crowds.
Ditto for popular Caribbean cruise ships. Nicole said "the brand new ships with Royal Caribbean are extremely popular right now, as are the Disney cruise ships."
Great Travel Websites
So how to grab the best deals? Start with websites like TravelZoo.com. (CLICK HERE)
TravelZoo lists discount airfares and cruises, and has a Top 20 list of the hottest deals.
For airfare deals, Bing Travel, formerly Farecast.com (CLICK HERE) gives you historical prices on airfares, and suggests if you should buy now, or wait.
And check Kayak.com, (CLICK HERE) which lists the lowest price -- period -- on any route you want to fly.
As for when to book and travel, Nicole says the rumor's true: Tuesday is the least crowded day to travel, and is often when airfares are lowest. She said "Tuesdays and Wednesdays typically are going to give you better rates."
Plan Trip Backwards
Meantime, the website Walletpop.com suggests planning your trip backward.
Start by finding a low priced airfare, wherever it might be, then find a hotel.
One final caution: Don't expect hotels and resorts to offer as many last minute deals as they did the past 3 years, during the peak of the recession.
They are no longer as desperate to fill rooms, so you'll have to work a bit harder this year to grab a great deal.
As always, don't waste your money.
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