. Where are the summer airfare deals? : Budget Travel Adventures

Where are the summer airfare deals?

Finding cheap flights for summer travel

Many would love to take a summer vacation to Hawaii

For those looking to make their summer vacation plans, many may be wondering where are the cheap flights, airfare deals, and vacation packages.  Summer officially begins in a little over 2 months.  Now is generally the time to book your travel.

Meanwhile, the economy and budget crisis continue to make the headlines.  The price of oil remains high and gas prices are punishing people at the pump.  And a check of weekly airline deals doesn’t bring many options for summer.

Good deals, no deals, and bad news

It’s not that there aren’t any deals.  This week is National Parks Week with free admission to national parks.  There are some cheap flights to countries like Portugal. Spain, and Ireland.  A number of airlines have cheap flights to Europe.  And AirTran and Frontier are two of the first airlines to offer cheap flights for summer travel (the major airlines may soon follow).

However, the news isn’t all good.  Southwest has offered airfare sales through June 7 for a month now – not a single airfare has gone on sale for summer.  Delta just raised airfares by $10 because of rising fuel costs.  The costs of airfare are up over this time last year.

What about general travel concerns?  Well there are the TSA body scanners (although Matt over at LandLopers recaps some interesting news stories in travel including an attempt at new traveler screening procedures for frequent fliers).  A woman is raped in the airport in Denver.  Planes are making emergency landings and having close calls with other planes.  Air traffic controllers are falling asleep on the job.  Airlines are still fighting with online booking sites.  And some planes are falling apart in mid-air (Don’t we just love when the media shares the news that scares the public?).

For those who enjoy cruises, recent turmoil in the Middle East and natural disasters in Japan have forced some cruises to cancel.  While I am not a fan of cruises, there are some cruise deals out there.  And for family travelers, staying close to home this year may be your cheapest option so look for deals close to home.

So if you are looking for cheap flights for summer, what should you do?

Tips for finding summer airfare deals

While it is a difficult year to find bargains for travel, there is still some hope.  My 6 tips for finding the cheapest flights can help you any time of year.  However, this year it will take some extra tips and thinking outside of the box to find those travel deals.

  1. Budget airlines – More than ever, budget airlines will offer the best deals.  The major airlines may soon follow but budget airlines are going to drive the airfare sales for summer as AirTran and Frontier have done.
  2. Watch the stock market – The price of oil is going to be huge for airfares.  If you are traveling later in the summer, watch the price of oil.  If it drops, it could mean lower airfares.
  3. Fly and drive – or boat, bike, ferry, hang glide, hitchhike, take the train, or whatever other option gets you to your destination.  Find the cheapest flight to a city close to your destination and use another transportation method to get there and save money (check out this example – budget travel options from Seattle to Vancouver)
  4. Airfare alerts – If you are wanting to fly to a specific destination, use a sight like farecompare.com to get alerts or a price predictor site like Bing Travel to know when to buy.
  5. Vacation packages – Many airlines partner with their vacation sites (i.e. United Vacations, Delta Vacations, etc) to put together packages for flights, hotels, and/or cars that cost less than booking these separately.  Many airlines have partnerships with car rental companies and hotels that discount the price of some vacations (see how vacation packages can save you money).
  6. Talk to a travel agent – Believe it or not, they still exist.  And now more than ever, they know how to find good deals that you may not be able to find online.
  7. Be patient – If you are willing to take the risks, most airlines offer last minute getaways for this weekend or next weekend for both domestic and international getaways.  If you want to go on vacation but don’t need to make plans in advance, this may bring some good deals.

Planning a vacation this summer is going to be more difficult and expensive.  Travel discounts and deals aren’t impossible but the current state of airlines and the economy doesn’t make it easy.  Summer vacations will go on – just do your research and be patient.

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Filed Under: Budget Travelflights, airlines, airportsTravel Tips


RSSComments (17)

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  1. Srsly.. where are the good deals?? We’re looking at tickets to London or Scotland for July, and it’s not looking too pretty. Wish we could fly by the seat of our pants more and book them the week before. 😛

    Thanks for the two airline comparison tools you mention – I’ll have to check those out. I’ve used Kayak’s before, but it’s always nice to have more information. :)

  2. Good tips Jeremy! I really wish I could go someplace this summer, but I think I have to wait until fall :(

  3. Thanks for the tips! Seems like road trips will also be pricey, with the cost of fuel going up. Maybe we’ll see a return of the “staycation” this summer!

  4. Grace says:

    I thought I was the only one noticing that the scarce airfare deals out there. I do want to add that I see a lot of great deals for Costa Rica. The fly and drive deals also seem interesting but I have never tried them.

  5. You can still get some pretty good deals around Europe once you’re over here. PS Jeremy, I’ve got my Portugal tour sorted out (thanks for your input), more on this later!! Very excited!

  6. Laurel says:

    Good advice Jeremy. I would also add be flexible if you can on your dates and destination, since last minute deals on flights to certain destinations may pop up. I watched flight prices for 6 weeks when booking our flights from Germany to Canada and unfortunately couldn’t wait any longer as our dates weren’t flexible, but I’ve already seen prices on some airlines come down a bit – after I bought of course.

  7. Ted Nelson says:

    That is unfortunate to hear that airlines prices overall are not that cheap. Although the state of the recession has improved I think there are still people hesitant to travel and high airline prices will not help. If people will not pony up for the higher prices they might be forced to lower them, so your be patient suggestion looks like a good one.

  8. Excellent tips but it will not work for me unless I am over at your side of the world. We too have lots of major savings with the budget airlines this part of the world. I should start looking now for next year.

  9. I agree that the outlook for travel prices isn’t all that good no matter what mode of transportation you are taking. I just booked tickets to Europe for late August and was shocked that I could still use mileage at the saver rate! So I don’t know if this means people aren’t traveling to Europe or what.

    Its time to pull out all the creativity you can muster to find the least expensive way to take a vacation.

  10. Jools says:

    ‘watch the stock market’ that’s a shrewd tip there Jeremy. Glad to hear that the national parks are offering free entry though. I’d to explore a few of those one day.

  11. Lisa says:

    It’s true, you really have to hunt for the bargains at times. I will use your idea of airfare alerts for lower prices! Thanks 😉

  12. I’m probably in the minority, but I hate having to watch for deals. I’d rather save my cash and buy a ticket when it’s convenient and not worry about the stress of getting a ticket $10 cheaper.

  13. Norbert says:

    The US airline industry is becoming a mess! Even though there are deals every now and then, getting them is becoming more difficult as time passes. But, good tips of finding a good deal!

  14. Jeremy says:

    @Christy – Budget deals for travel are harder to find. As for tools, there are a number of them out there. I just mentioned a couple that can be useful for people.

    @Michael – I actually prefer traveling in the Fall more than any other time of year. Better deals, good weather, and less crowded. Most of my trips have extended into the Fall.

    @Leslie – As you noted, the price of fuel is affecting everything. While I don’t like the idea of a staycation, I did just post something on how to travel at home! :)

    @Grace – Costa Rica would be a great place to visit. Not sure why there are so many deals there. I believe Norbert (GloboTreks) has spent a lot of time there.

    @John – I love the budget airlines in Europe. The one thing about airlines in Europe is that they can compete and fly into other countries. We don’t have those same options in Europe. I actually wrote about why European airlines are better than US ones. Where are you going in Portugal?

    @Laurel – I agree. That is why I included the tip in there about the last minute getaway deals. Not something that is easy to do for most travelers but you may be able to save money that way.

    @Ted – I am not sure what to think of the economy and travel right now. Seems people are cutting back on many things but travel seems to be in high demand. Maybe after a couple of years, people just want to get away to somewhere.

    @David – I wish the US had the budget airline opportunities that Asia and Europe have.

    @Debbie – Maybe since it was late August, that is not a big peak travel time because many schools are back in or close to starting. I like traveling in late August and September also.

    @Jools – I am not sure how much people can gauge travel from the stock market but oil definitely is a big factor in the price of airline tickets.

    @Lisa – Hopefully the tools will help but you have to be more creative these days to try and find good deals.

    @Ben – I understand your point and yes you are probably in the minority. :) However, think of it this way. $10 (each way) might not be a big deal to you but $10 each way for a family of 4 is $80. And many people are looking to save much more than $10.

    @Norbert – Having to fly in the US or from the US is a pain. I wish we had more options. Domestically, the new trains might be a good option but airlines desperately need competition. This is where Europe does a good job of that which keeps ticket prices lower.

  15. Ashley says:

    We’ve opted to take a road trip this summer, instead of flying to somewhere new. I know gas prices concern some people, but they’ll actually be cheaper for us once we get out of the Bay Area! I guess that’s the good side of paying for some of the most expensive gas in the country – haha.

  16. Always in the pursuit of a good deal, and lately again there are none. Except the once you have to book months before if you want a discount, okay – but who the hell plans something for next year? :(

    • Best time to get deals for a trip is about 3 months to 1 month out. All of that varies based on a number of factors. However, one good way to get a good deal is right before the next season starts. For example, in late winter you can look for some early summer deals. In the middle of summer, start looking for travel deals in Autumn.

      There may some unexpected deals, dips, and increases in airfares. However, there are also a number of websites where you can get airfare alerts for a destination that you want to visit.

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