Family budgets couldn't be tighter, but right now finding travel deals is even harder.
Ninety-five percent of people plan to travel as much or more this summer compared to last, say travel experts, but at this point the savvy traveler has to think ahead to save because many flights are in high demand.
"If your trip involves airfare, you want to go ahead and book it because there's not a lot of wiggle room. Most of the seats are going to get filled," said Genevieve Shaw Brown of Travelocity.
The problem isn't just availability. It's also cost. From a year ago, summer airfares are expected to rise 15 percent. Costs of hotel rooms could increase seven percent.
There are ways to beat the rising costs:
NBC Chicago tested flights to Orlando and saw price estimates vary more than $100 dollars during the next month.
Flying Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday tend to bring better fares. Holidays are the worst.
Bundling hotel and flights are also a good bet
"Nine out of ten times you're going to save money booking a package deal," said Shaw-Brown.
"If you search online for hotels only, still call and see if you can get a better 'unpublished rate.'"
Other budget-friendly websites:
- Airfarewatchdog gives promotional codes and special offers
- Kayak.com scans hundreds of travel websites for price comparisons
- Bookingbuddy.com also lets you compare deals
- Jetsetter.com com gives you deals and ideas if you don’t have a specific destination in mind.
- SniqueAway.com: Another private sale site where you to register but you get deals and reviews on luxury properties.