Planning For Vacation

It being Friday and all thought I’d blog something fun.

Regards,

Nino

By KELLI B. GRANT

Most years, waiting until late April to book your summer vacation meant missing out on the best deals. But this spring — thanks to a glut of rentals and un-booked hotel rooms — experts say it’s still possible to score a cheap trip.

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U.S. hotel prices are expected to rise 4.7% this year to an average $107 per night, according to Smith Travel Research, but experts say those prices may be offset by better promotions. Thanks to reduced traffic and a slew of new hotels, even popular spots aren’t booked up. Summer favorites such as South Padre Island in Texas and Branson, Mo., still have more than 50% availability for summer rentals, says Jon Gray, the vice president of U.S. business for rental site HomeAway.com. (The site reports overall listings are up 30% compared with last year.) And hotel prices are down in cities such as San Diego, where rates fell 7.4% to $135, and Orlando, which saw a 7% drop to $94, reports Hotels.com.

It’s the cost of travel itself that may limit roaming. Airfares are already up roughly 4% this year, and summer travelers may see even higher prices. Domestic fares for summer flights are up 3% to an average $383, and international fares are up 5% to $880, according to Travelocity. “If you procrastinate, that could be a substantial hit,” says Gabe Saglie, a senior editor for Travelzoo. Gas prices, meanwhile, are hovering at $3.83 per gallon — just four cents shy of last year’s average, reports AAA.

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