Planning a summer vacation is just about as American as apple pie and the 4th of July.
Sadly, if you haven't booked your travel plans, you may already be missing some great deals. Ruth to the Rescue's rule of travel planning is to start shopping around months in advance.
"Book now especially for your flights and hotels to these popular destinations," agreed Jeanenne Tornatore, senior editor at Orbitz.com.
She says you can catch the best bargains for summer travel in early June or August. If you look at a calendar, you can see early June is fast-approaching.
Orbitz.com has crunched some numbers and says the list of most popular destinations includes Cancun, Las Vegas, Orlando, Seattle and Los Angeles. Luckily, popular doesn't have to mean expensive.
"Orlando, our #3 booked destination, we're ranking as our #1 most affordable with average hotel rates coming in at just $119 a night," Tornatore said of the prices she's seeing for the summer hot spots.
However, she also says being flexible on your destinations can also save you some money. "The majority of travelers said that they don't have their heart set on a destination, they just want to go where the deal is," said Tornatore.
In addition, she said travelers are looking for ways to boost their budget with free perks, and some of their choices might surprise you.
"Forty-two percent of respondents told us that free breakfast is a more important amenity to them than a pool at their hotel."
Avoid Travel Mistakes
Planning the perfect vacation does take some time, and Tornatore says don't stop with just air fare and hotel rooms. She advises travelers to arrange everything in advance from theme park tickets to Broadway shows.
"Book your attractions in advance..." she said. "Book them online in advance. Not only can you get them cheaper, but you want to make sure you get good seats before they're sold out."
Ruth to the Rescue also reminds you to avoid these common mistakes once you hit the road.
1) Don't carry all your credit cards when you're sightseeing. Keep at least one in the hotel safe.
2) Make sure your laptops or tablets are secured, they're a major target of thefts.
3) Don't do personal business on unsecured, public wifi
4) Stick to your vacation spending plan, if you overspend, you'll regret it when you get home.
5) Remember to pay all your bills that come due while you're out of town.
6) Don't forget to use membership (AAA, AARP) or credit card discounts at hotels and restaurants where available.
7) During and after your vacation remember to check your credit card statements for any unexplained activity.
8) AVOID posting photos of your vacation until you're back home, they can be an open invitation to thieves who might target your home.
9) Be sure to hold your mail, or have someone empty the mailbox.
10) You might think about putting all your expenses on credit cards, especially if you earn loyalty points.
The last item is one that can help you pay for your next vacation! "Eighty percent of travelers in our survey told us they plan on using their credit card points to help them save on their vacation this summer," said Tornatore.
No matter where you go, remember to be smart, and have fun!
"After this winter, I think everybody in this state deserves to do something fun, warm and exotic," said Ron Parkes of Huntington Woods when asked about his summer vacation dreams.
Unfortunately, he says he'll be working through the summer. Hope you get some time to relax!