“Summer is one of the most popular times of the year for travel as the kids are out of school and the weather is great, but the downside often includes large crowds, long lines and high prices in many destinations,” said Pierre-Etienne Chartier, vice president of the Hotwire Group. “However, by analyzing our data and gathering travel industry insights we’ve been able to pinpoint several destinations near or on the coast where there are great deals and great fun to be had.”
Barcelona – vibrant city with attractive price drops
Why Now: Barcelona is in its high season during summer, but there are still fantastic deals to be had – particularly for hotel rooms. Many hotels across Europe are trying to make up for the slower than usual traffic they’ve experienced the past couple years due to a slow economy, which has resulted in some properties dropping prices. In particular, we are seeing some fantastic prices throughout Spain, including the summer retreat of Barcelona. Home to fantastic outdoor and beach activities, Barcelona is also a first class destination for shopping, art and culture. While there, visitors can take a cable car – or walk, if they’re feeling adventurous – up to the top of Montjuïic to enjoy the breathtaking views of the city, take a stroll down the famous and beautiful Gothic Quarter or check out the architectural masterpieces of Gaudí’s Casa Batlló and Puig i Cadafalch’s Casa Amatller. The city typically experiences temperatures in the 80s during the summer, so visitors can soak in some sun and then cool off in the Mediterranean at one of the many beaches along the coast. And since Barcelona is right on the water, folks can also enjoy traditional, fresh and reasonably-priced Catalan seafood in restaurants like Los Caracoles and Agut.
Value: Current 4-star and above hotel prices are around $100 per night on Hotwire which represents nearly a 10 percent drop compared to last summer, and deals will likely get much better over the coming weeks.
How: Sample Air/Hotel Package Deal: 4-star hotel in the L’Eixample-Passeig de Gracia area and RT airfare from Chicago (ORD) for $1,351 per person (rate reflects bookings on 6/26/13 for travel 7/26-7/28/13).
Puerto Vallarta – fewer travelers means more money-saving deals
Why Now: Puerto Vallarta experiences its peak season during the winter when travelers want to escape cold weather and again during spring break. And though prices are typically lower during the summer given that it’s off-season, hoteliers are dropping prices even lower this year to try and attract visitors who may be considering other beach-friendly destinations like Hawaii and the Caribbean. Vacationers can drink, dine, shop and dance on the beach or enjoy one of the many tour options, such as exploring underwater marvels on a snorkel or scuba tour, ziplining through lush canopies, or sampling the city’s surprisingly international culinary scene.
Value: Hotel prices are down 25 percent when compared to last summer and average hotel prices on Hotwire are a low $65 a night.
How: Sample Air/Hotel Package Deal: 4-star hotel in the Marina Vallarta area and RT airfare from LAX for $497 per person (rate reflects bookings on 6/26/13 for travel 7/26-7/28/13).
Los Angeles – SoCal hot spot with even hotter savings
Why Now: Los Angeles is known for year-round great weather and its broad, popular beaches. But compared to last year, they have fewer conventions this summer, which means hotels drop prices to attract more mid-week leisure travelers. In fact, hotel prices this summer are nearly half of what they were at the height of the fall convention season. First-time visitors can check out the world-famous Walk of Fame and TCL Chinese Theater, or take a hike up to the infamous Hollywood sign. During the summer there are also plenty of coastal activities in the LA area. The Santa Monica Pier has rides and games that are fun for the whole family, and nearby Venice Beach offers plenty of shopping on the boardwalk. Not to mention the miles of sandy beaches that are perfect for volleyball, surfing or simply soaking in the sun.
Value: Those interested in a SoCal summer getaway can score big savings compared to the fall months when average hotel prices are nearly 50 percent more. Average hotel prices for this bustling city are around $100 a night on Hotwire.
How: Sample Air/Hotel Package Deal: 4-star hotel in the Downtown Los Angeles area and RT airfare from SFO for $287 per person (rate reflects bookings on 6/26/13 for travel 7/26-7/28/13).
Richmond – off the beaten path and full of summer activities and savings
Why Now: Travelers looking for a variety of activities that the whole family can enjoy are sure to have an unforgettable getaway in Richmond, Virginia. The city typically plays host to most of its visitors in the fall as folks come in to marvel at the foliage or see the wealth of historic sites. During the summer, however, Richmond tends to experience less traffic, and – in turn – lower prices. And though it’s technically not a coastal destination, Virginia Beach is just a short car ride away, so visitors can get easy access without paying the more expensive beachfront hotel rates. Within Richmond, visitors can explore the city’s rich history with tours through important sites from the American Revolutionary and Civil Wars, or the Virginia State Capitol Building or the Maymont Mansion. Additionally, families looking for some thrills can head to big theme parks like Busch Gardens or Kings Dominion, while those in the mood for shopping and good eats can check out Carytown.
Value: Compared to the popular fall months, hotel prices for summer stays are 30 percent lower with an average nightly rate of only $60 on Hotwire.
How: Sample Air/Hotel Package Deal: 4-star hotel in the Downtown-Central Richmond area and RT airfare from ORD for $544 per person (rate reflects bookings on 6/26/13 for travel 7/26-7/28/13).
New Orleans – big deals in the Big Easy
Why Now: Those looking to pack their getaway full of unique activities should look no further than the Big Easy. Most visitors choose to hit New Orleans during late winter for Mardi Gras or in spring, but summer is the city’s off season, so even the most budget-conscious of travelers can still have an extraordinary getaway. Early summer, in particular, is the time to go to avoid the more stormy weather that comes later in the season. Those heading to New Orleans can check out a wide variety of summer festivals like the Running of the Bulls, the Satchmo Jazz Festival and the Whitney White Linen Night. Folks can also enjoy recreational activities like fishing and boating in Barataria Bay, biking through the French Quarter or golfing on one of the city’s many courses.
Value: During the summer months the average hotel prices on Hotwire are around $102 a night. This represents a nearly 20 percent savings versus the pricier spring season and more than 40 percent savings compared to the Mardi Gras season.
How: Sample Air/Hotel Package Deal: 4-star hotel in the Riverside Park area and RT airfare from LAX for $566 per person (rate reflects bookings on 6/26/13 for travel 7/26-7/28/13).
Above savings are calculated by comparing Hotwire Hot Rates for select destinations during peak season (varies by location) against Hotwire Hot Rates this summer season (June through August 2013). Any note of year-over-year comparisons are comparing summer months (June-August) to the same time last year. Hotel and airfare sample rates are based on Hotwire searches made between 6/26/13 for specified travel dates for each city. All hotel sample rates are Hotwire Hot Rates.