May 01, 2024

Expedia: Summer Travel Outlook

The Sweet Spot for Saving Around 15% on Flights to Summer’s Trending Destinations is 21 to 60 Days Out

Spring is in the air, but the clock is ticking for travelers to lock in summer travel plans. According to the Expedia® Summer Travel Outlook, released on Monday searches for summer trips are up year-over-year for flights and lodging, and the window is open now to save on summer airfare. Top destinations tempting U.S. travelers include major cities like New York and London, as well as beach destinations like Cancun and Honolulu.

France is also a summer hotspot as Paris and surrounding areas prepare to host a major global sports event in late July. Expedia’s data reveals a massive surge in searches for accommodations during these dates in cities including Yvelines (+520%), Lyon (+310%) and Marseille (+200%).

Travel Cheat Sheet

To help travelers plan for what’s shaping up to be a busy summer travel season, Expedia’s Summer Travel Outlook uncovers crucial tips, including:

  • Book summer flights 21 to 60 days out. Last year, travelers booking during this window saved around 15% for domestic and international travel. That means the window to save on Memorial Day Weekend travel will close by May 2.

  • Depart on a Monday (international flights) or Tuesday (domestic flights). Travelers saved around 15% compared to those that departed on Thursday and Friday.

  • Fly during mid-to-late August. It’s less busy and can yield savings of up to $265 on roundtrip tickets compared to the last week of June when average fares peak.

  • The Fourth of July is on Thursday, and the week leading up to the holiday is expected to be the busiest time to fly this summer.

“The sweet spot for booking your summer trip is right around the corner, but there’s still a bit of time to figure out your vacation plans and lock in those flights at a great rate,” says Melanie Fish, head of Expedia Group Brands public relations. “The cheat sheet is easy this year — book one to two months out and save around 15%, whether you’re taking the family to the beach in Florida or summering in Paris.”

Expedia Summer Travel Outlook

When to Book Summer Travel

According to Expedia historic flight data, the sweet spot for booking summer flights is between 21 and 60 days ahead of departure, whether you’re headed abroad or staying stateside. That means the clock is already ticking with summer officially kicking off on Memorial Day, currently just over six weeks away.

  • Average Sweet Spot Savings: Up to 15% on airfare
  • Worst Time to Book: Less than a week out for domestic travel or more than 90 days out for international travel (travelers paid 15% more than average during these windows).

Don’t want to wait? Book when you’re ready and use Expedia’s Price Drop Protection,* which provides an automatic refund if the flight fare decreases on Expedia after booking. Available for purchase and on the app, it’s free for Gold and Platinum One Key members on eligible bookings who will receive any refund in OneKeyCash automatically.

Destination Insights

Expedia’s search data highlights New York and London as the most popular domestic destinations overall for summer.

Top Destinations

Meanwhile, significant year-over-year surges are also evident in major international cities across Europe and Asia, along with sought-after beach locales in Mexico and the Caribbean. Japan continues its reign as a top year-round destination for U.S. travelers, with Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto appearing on the list of fastest-growing cities for summer.

Trending Destinations

Best and Busiest Times to Travel This Summer

Flexibility is critical, and sidestepping the busiest travel days can offer cost and time savings. Based on 2023 flight demand, late June tends to be the busiest time to fly and the most expensive. Meanwhile, August boasts the lightest crowds and cheapest average ticket prices of the season.

Best Month
Based on 2023 flight demand on

The Fridays and Saturdays before July Fourth and Labor Day are historically among the busiest for air travel during the summer months, as travelers aim to make the most of office closures and paid holidays. July Fourth falls on a Thursday this year, so travelers can expect busier roads and airports both the weekend before and the day before the holiday.

  • Busiest Travel Dates: Last week of June; June 29 and July 3 (Saturday and day before July Fourth holiday); August 30 (Friday before Labor Day)
  • Lightest Travel Dates: Last week of August

Best Times to Fly

Cheapest Day of the Week to Fly

According to Expedia data, Fridays are the busiest day at the airport during the summer months, while Tuesdays are the lightest. Day of the week also matters when it comes to savings; for domestic flights, depart on a Tuesday instead of a Friday to save around 15%, and on Monday instead of Thursday for international flights.

Best Day - Price

Best Day - Volume

Make the Most of Summer Holiday Weekends

These are some of the best places to fly for under $500 during summer’s long weekends, based on historical flight data.

Holiday Weekends
Based on 2023 flight demand on

Summer in Paris

Paris is among the most popular international destinations for U.S. travelers this year, with Paris as one of the top destinations all up. During late July through mid-August, the City of Lights and surrounding areas are attracting even more interest as it prepares to host a major global sports event. Expedia’s data reveals a massive surge in searches for accommodations during these dates in cities including Yvelines (+520%), Lyon (+310%) and Marseille (+200%).

Summertime in Paris

With Paris attracting a surge of summer visitors, accommodation rates have spiked compared to last year. To save on a place to stay, travelers should explore neighboring cities that are still well-connected by train to various competition venues:

  • Best for lower rates compared to Paris City Center: Rueil-Malmaison, Chatou, and Nanterre.
  • Best for stays near the Stade de France: Saint-Denis, Saint-Ouen

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