5 Reasons This is the Cheapest Summer to Travel in Years

Courtesy of Peeter Viisimaa
By Melanie Lieberman Posted June 08, 2016

It's time to book a summer trip.

This piece originally appeared on Travelandleisure.com.

Many Americans have already commenced their Memorial Day celebrations, ushering in summer with barbecue cookouts, beach parties, and by eating plenty of hotdogs

But if you haven’t made any summer travel plans yet, consider this an appeal to do so. According to, well, everyone, this is going to be one of the most affordable summers for travel. Travelzoo projects vacations this summer could be more than 40 percent cheaper than they would have been last year. We’ve outlined some of the most compelling reasons for why travel prices are hitting records lows—and how you can take advantage.

Hotel Developments are Booming

Figures from STR forecast record-breaking room demand for U.S. hotels this summer. But an escalation in the number of rooms available (thanks to new developments) is likely to keep room rates at the same price as they were in 2015.  If you’re traveling, seek out markets with strong pipeline growth rates. As reported by the Khaleej Times, New York City is a great example. There are 31,314 rooms under-contract in the Big Apple, guaranteeing that rates will be fixed, if not driven down.

Travelers are Avoiding the Caribbean and Mexico

Unfortunately, the threat of the Zika virus has made many travelers (especially women who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant) wary of tropical destinations such as the Caribbean, South America, and Mexico. If you’re healthy, however, and don’t have any plans to get pregnant, you can take advantage of increased availability for rooms in destinations where the CDC has issued a travel warning. Travelzoo says even cruises and vacation packages are being steeply discounted.

More from Travel + Leisure:
America's Best Cities for Summer Travel
25 Ideas for Your Best Summer Ever
Best Places to Travel in 2016

Airfares are Dropping

According to Travelzoo, falling oil prices and increased competition have contributed to plunging ticket fares. Flights are, on average, 12 percent cheaper than they were last year. If you haven't taken a summer vacation since 2014, you'll find that flights could be 20 percent lower. Competition on routes to Australia and New Zealand is also forcing airlines to slash prices. We’ve seen prices for round-trip flights well under $400. Really.

The U.S. Dollar is Strong

Now is the best time to take advantage of a strong dollar. According to Expedia, the trend may not continue into 2017. Fortunately, we’ve determined where the dollar has gained the most value since last year—and we’ve even adjusted for rising airfares. You’re welcome.

Tourism to Europe is Changing

The tragedies that have struck Europe, as well as the migrant crisis, are likely the causes of occupancy rates dropping 11 percent year-over-year. Now, Travelzoo predicts that 30 percent of the hotel rooms in Europe are vacant. Some cities, like Istanbul, have been hit harder than others. Allianz Global Assistance reported that visits to the Turkish capital are down 43.7 percent this year; trips to Brussels have decreased by 30.4 percent.

Meanwhile, Travelzoo compared flight data from 2015 and 2016 to determine that flights to Paris from major hubs across the U.S. could be 20 percent cheaper than they were this time last year. (That's $294 savings on a trip from Dallas to Paris). While Allianz Global Assistance projects that American visits to Europe this summer will increase overall by 9.3 percent, there’s a massive redistribution in where on the continent people are going. Instead of Germany and Belgium, travelers are opting for Ireland and Portugal.  

Melanie Lieberman is the Assistant Digital Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @melanietaryn.

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