While the excitement of the summer travel season is upon us, it’s coming with one major caveat: high price tags on airfare. With scaled-back flight schedules, strategizing—especially by booking early—is more essential than ever before. But even if you haven’t locked in your flights yet, it’s not too late to find that affordable summer getaway, if you know where to go.
“Entertainment meccas, such as Las Vegas and Orlando, provide consistent value, with especially good deals in the summer,” says Kevin Heery, Priceline’s chief product officer. “There is widely available inventory at multiple star-levels and price points to cater to different interests and budgets.”
Broadly speaking, domestic airfares are going down, as Kayak’s consumer travel trends expert Kayla Inserra says they’ve seen the average price over the last two weeks dip 23 percent, while international fares have gone up 11 percent during the same period. Even so, travelers who want to use their passports can still find flight deals.
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The Nevada city continues to be a top choice for Americans, appearing on all four booking companies’ lists. For Skyscanner, it was the top booked destination for the summer for roundtrip economy airfare for departures between May 1 and September 1, while Booking.com noted that it’s one of its top cities offering Getaway Deals, as well as one of the most searched and trending locations for domestic travelers.
Despite June being the peak month for Kayak, which named Vegas one of its most popular summer destinations, roundtrip summer prices from Phoenix start at $80 and from Chicago O’Hare at $166, with average round trips being $315. Priceline also noted an average nightly hotel at $130, making it one of the most affordable places to stay as well.
At the top of Skyscanner’s best value destinations for the year is Madeira, Portugal, which has seen a 22 percent price drop since the beginning of the pandemic—and also seen a 123 percent increase in searches, landing it on the booking site’s hot list for family travel.
The best days to fly to the islands off the coast of northern Africa are in August, according to the site, with average roundtrip flights from $588. Fares increase to $692 for bookings in July, and $776 for flights in June.
With bold-faced name attractions like Walt Disney World and Universal Studios, it’s no surprise this Florida city also showed up on every booking company’s lists for summer deals. Kayak called Orlando the cheapest summer destination for domestic travel, with an average airfare of $335. Meanwhile Skyscanner’s global travel trends expert Laura Lindsay said it was one of the top booked summer cities, with fares as low as $70 roundtrip in June.