Travel Trends: What Is The Cheapest Destination for a Last Minute Summer Trip?

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Our friends at Kayak are among the best at tracking travel trends, and as summer winds down (it’s already August) and travelers start to consider a last (or several) summer trips before fall comes around again, they have put together some handy facts about top destinations for a last-minute getaway as well as tips and tricks to help save you money on your airline tickets.

Go South

The biggest trend that Kayak points out in its new data release is that airfares to destinations all across the South have dropped by double digits for the end of summer. That’s no surprise given the soaring temperatures and humidity, but you could catch a lucky break and get a breezy weekend. I’m in Miami right now and the sun is shining making it perfect beach or pool weather- while it is rainy and gross in NYC.

It's hot in the South right now, and southern destinations like Nashville are hot!
It’s hot in the South right now, and southern destinations like Nashville are hot!

Kayak’s top pick is New Orleans because the average airfare there in August dropped 11.8% to $313.30, and the average hotel rate dropped a a whopping 30.2%, to $146.69. Other Southern hotspots (pardon the pun) include Nashville, Houston and San Antonio – airfares to all three drop about 11% this time of year. It might be boiling hot, but at least you can go hear some great music, enjoy some fantastic restaurants, and just have a leisurely, drawling Southern getaway – that’s why the American South is one of my top 10 places to visit in 2013.

By contrast, one of the top destinations for Labor Day weekend is actually Atlanta, with a 62% increase in airfare searches to the destination, which Kayak believes is because of the NASCAR races at the Atlanta Motor Speedway and the Virgina Tech versus Alabama game.

Hit the Beach

Of course, the end of summer also means one last beach vacation for a lot of folks, but Kayak suggests waiting until the weekend after Labor Day to travel.

Waikiki is home to many of the islands' resorts.
Looking for a great beach vacation spot – hit Honolulu after Labor Day.

Cancun and San Juan are the third and fourth trending destinations for the holiday weekend, and average airfares are $495.63 and $362.38, respectively, but airfares to Cancun drop an average of 18.2% the week after Labor Day and 16.6% to San Juan for the week prior to Labor Day.

However, if you’re going to hit Honolulu for some fun in Waikiki, Kayak suggests traveling on the actual holiday weekend to save because you’ll pay a whole lot less than the weeks before or weeks after Labor Day, with airfares averaging $600.

What are your plans for the end of summer? Any under-the-radar destinations where you scored some deals?

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