By Christie Hudson, on May 8, 2018

The ultimate 2018 summer vacation planner

Summer Vacation. Many of us are packing the precious time between Memorial Day and Labor Day with not only leisure travel, but also trips to visit family, destination weddings, weekend getaways, business travel, and more. I don’t think I’m alone in feeling a little overwhelmed at the way my calendar looks from mid-May through mid-September.

But it’ll be okay, I promise—we have your back, traveler! Aside from the holidays, summer is the biggest travel period of the year. Luckily, we’ve pored over millions of searches and bookings from last year to compile all the advice you need to plan and book your summer travel, and hopefully not empty your bank account to do it. So, get out there. See some sights, make some memories. After all, your Instagram stories aren’t going to create themselves.

Your “Getting a Good Deal” Checklist:

  1. Book your airfare at least 30 days out. Expedia’s annual Air Travel Outlook report found last-minute ticket purchases can cost a lot more than if you plan a little further in advance. Improve your odds even more by choosing a flight that departs on a Sunday, generally the most cost-effective day to travel.
  2. Know the peak weeks. Our data shows that on average airfares in August are cheaper than in June and July. In particular, the last two weeks of the month showed lower rates on average, versus the last week of June through first week of July, which showed the highest rates of the summer.
  3. Bundle, bundle, bundle. If your travel requires more than one component, always compare standalone pricing to the package rate. This applies whether it’s a flight + hotel, car + hotel, or any other combination of bookings. On Expedia, simply bundling your flight + hotel saves you an average of $600.
  4. Work the Rewards. If you haven’t already done so, sign up for ALL of the loyalty programs. Rack up the frequent flier miles, hotel points, and sign up for Expedia Rewards to double down—you’ll collect points on all your bookings and you can use them immediately.

Okay, on to the fun stuff. Where, oh where should you go?

Most Popular Summer Destinations

Here are top five most popular summer destinations from the U.S. based on 2017 flight data:

  1. New York
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Orlando
  5. Las Vegas

The Best Summer Deals

Americans jonesing to wander a bit further from home this summer are in luck. Among the best deals over summer based on historical flight data are Barcelona, Paris, London and Reykjavik. Here are the top five destinations seeing the greatest decrease in price compared to last year, broken down by month:


  1. Barcelona (more than 20% cheaper)
  2. Zurich (roughly 20% cheaper)
  3. Paris (roughly 20% cheaper)
  4. London (nearly 20% cheaper)
  5. Taipei (nearly 20% cheaper)


  1. Paris (nearly 20% cheaper)
  2. London (nearly 20% cheaper)
  3. Cincinnati (nearly 20% cheaper)
  4. Ho Chi Minh City (more than 15% cheaper)
  5. Reykjavik (more than 15% cheaper)


  1. London (roughly 25% cheaper)
  2. Barcelona (nearly 25% cheaper)
  3. Reykjavik (more than 20% cheaper)
  4. Paris (more than 20% cheaper)
  5. Amsterdam (roughly 20% cheaper)

Cheapest Flights from the U.S.

Finally, a list for people who just need to get outta town and don’t want to break the bank or bust out the passport to do it. These are the cheapest places to fly during summer based on average ticket prices:

  1. Fort Lauderdale
  2. Orlando
  3. Myrtle Beach
  4. Atlanta
  5. Las Vegas
  6. Chicago
  7. West Palm Beach
  8. Tampa
  9. Dallas
  10. Denver

For more tips to plan an epic summer vacation, including how to save on rental cars and work the summer holidays to your advantage, head to our Newsroom.

Where will you go on your summer vacation?