AAA says hotel prices increased nationwide this year for stays over the… (Gary Hershorn / Reuters…)
Now that you've heard the bad news about airline travel this summer -- higher fares, long lines and jam-packed planes, according to this L.A. Times story -- what's in store for Fourth of July travel on the hotel front?
Well, let's just say it's a good time to hone your deal-hunting skills.
AAA's Leisure Travel Index found Fourth of July rates nationwide rose this year. Room prices at three-diamond lodgings increased 4% over last year to an average $164 per night, and two-diamond hotels shot up 9% over last year to $120 a night.
But discount travel company Hotwire has this advice for holiday travelers: Party where hotel prices are dropping. The company calculated the best deal destinations by looking at average rates for four-star and above hotels where prices had dropped at least 5% over the holiday period.
For the week leading into the holiday (June 29 to July 5), average nightly prices for top hotels were $79 in Orlando, $91 in Las Vegas, $154 in New York City, $89 in Fort Lauderdale and $135 in Seattle.
For the following holiday period (July 4 to 9), rates were $81 in Orlando, $93 in Las Vegas, $151 in New York City, $112 in Miami and $134 in Seattle. (Hotwire's numbers are based on reservations made between May 1 and June 12 for stays in the date periods listed above.)
Where else are hotels prices a good deal? Hotel booking site Tingo lists the top 10 destinations with the greatest number of hotels that dropped their rates in May: San Francisco, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Diego and San Antonio in the West and Southwest, and New York City, Atlanta, Houston, Orlando and Miami Beach in the East.
Tingo, incidentally, is a site where you can book a hotel and, if the rate drops, you receive an automatic refund. Based on a survey of 1,000 travelers, Tingo found that half of travelers who make hotel reservations never check to see whether the hotel drops its rate after they've made a reservation.