Summer vaca

According to Project: Time Off, more than half of American workers had unused paid leave at the end of 2015, resulting in up to 658 million wasted vacation days. But according to Hotwire, they may not be leaving vacation on the table, they may just be getting smarter about when they travel and where.

Best time to travel this summer

According to the Hotwire’s massive booking data, these are the best times to travel during the summer months for savings.

  • Weekend of August 30
  • Weekend of September 13
  • Weekend of August 23
  • Weekend of September 20
  • Weekend of September 27
  • Weekend of September 06
  • Weekend of August 16
  • Weekend of July 12
  • Weekend of July 5
  • Weekend of July 19
  • Weekend of August 2
  • Weekend of August 9
  • Weekend of July 26

Most popular destinations for Value

For travelers looking to get the most bang for their buck without skimping on quality, the best rates on three to five star rooms in these 10 cities can start at $67 a night:

  • Las Vegas, Houston, Atlanta, Orlando, Dallas, San Diego, Minneapolis, New Orleans, San Antonio, and Saint Louis

Travel by car? These 10 cities have the best deals on rentals
–   Minneapolis, Chicago, Los Angeles, Baltimore, Orlando, Dallas, Seattle, Fort Lauderdale, San Jose and San Diego

Top spontaneous travel destinations for summer

  • Houston, Texas
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Austin, Texas

Family Friendly

From beach days and BBQs to touring national monuments, these four U.S. cities for families are recommenedd. All four have especially low prices during the summer months.

  • Oakland, California
  • Washington D.C.
  • Fort Lauderdale, Florida
  • San Diego, California

Travel with Friends

When it comes to great places for a getaway with friends, these five cities boast bars, sports, and a bustling city life… as well as lower-than-usual prices on hotels during the summer months.

  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Miami, Florida
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Boston, Massachusetts

Off the beaten path

Travelers who want to avoid the crowds during summer 2016 should check out these three cities, which traditionally offer low hotel rates during the summer months as well as great food, art, festivals, and culture.

  • Petersburg, Florida
  • Naples, Florida
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota

Make the most of business travel

Business travelers looking for some “bleisure time” can stay through the weekend and explore a new city after a sales conference or business trip. Convention-friendly cities with great summer deals include the following.

  • Oakland, California
  • Houston, Texas
  • Tampa, Florida
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Baltimore, Maryland

Best budget cities to travel to during Labor Day Weekend

To take advantage of the last official weekend of summer, these U.S. cities offer three to five star rooms from $70 a night during Labor Day Weekend 2015.

  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Dallas, Texas
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Tampa, Florida

Tips and tricks on how consumers can get the edge on travel

Hot tips on Car Travel

  • Check out off-airport rental locations. Airport fees and taxes in some locations can drive up the final price of your car rental, so it’s best to shop both on and off-airport locations to see where the low prices really are when you total up the costs.
  • Pick up on a Friday or Saturday and return Sunday or Monday.

Hot tips on Hotel

  • In the summer, business travel slows and leisure travelers head away from the city to enjoy outdoor trips. This drives big city hotels to offer extra savings if you’re looking to plan a staycation.
  • If you can handle the heat, expect to find great deals on lodging in warm locations like Las Vegas, Phoenix and Dallas. Warm weather markets generally have the best deals during the summer months.
  • Sundays are typically the least expensive day of the week. Include a Sunday as part of your stay and save on lodging costs.

Hot tips on Air

  • Consider booking a cheaper flight to a smaller airport and then driving to your final destination. Based on historical data, you can rent cars from $13 a day in many cities. This can be a great money saver.
  • If you’re booking airfare, check prices on Monday evening and Tuesday morning for the lowest prices.
  • When traveling cross country, try to book red-eye flights to enjoy big savings. Not only is the flight cheaper, but you will be able to add another day of exploring.

More insights about U.S. travel this season

Here are some additional trends that will impact travel this summer.

  • A classic American road trip will be hard to beat this summer. AAA reports gas prices are currently at the lowest average since 2005 while 70 percent of consumers say gas prices are very/somewhat important to travel decisions.
  • On average, Americans are planning three weekend trips this summer with journeys to the beach cited as the most popular getaway.
  • The National Park Service turns 100 on August 25 and 21 percent of Americans plan to visit a National Park this summer for the centennial.