Plan your spring travel early (Paradise Island, Bahamas; Credit: Caitlin Martin)
Plan your spring travel early (Paradise Island, Bahamas; Credit: Caitlin Martin)

This year, Americans are planning more vacations than last year! According to a recent American Express survey, 70% percent of Americans expect to travel for leisure in 2016 (up from 66% in 2015).

In the spirit, Hotwire developed what it’s calling the Inspiration Indicator, a compilation of tips, trends and deals to help you plan for for spring 2016 travel. Here are some of its most helpful tips:

1. Best cities for value in spring 2016
Snag a deal in April, May and June in which top-notch hotels are cheapest at under $250 a night in Dallas (April), Phoenix (May) and Florida (June). (All prices are based on 3 – 5 star Hot Rate Hotel rates found in 2015. Prices do not include taxes and fees.) Hotwire ranks these cities the best value for travelers in Spring 2016.

2. When to take family trips to Myrtle Beach and Honolulu
Great deals for families can be found in Myrtle Beach during May (almost 30% more affordable than in June) and Honolulu during April. Hotwire says room rates can start as cheap as $150 per night here.

3. When to take weekend trips to Vegas, LA and Phoenix
If you want to save during the annual girl or guy getaway, head for Vegas in June! Yes, we know it’s hot, but you can save almost 15% versus other times in the spring. Prices are also about 10% cheaper for travel to Los Angeles in May. And Phoenix is a steal for hotel rooms at around $90 a night in spring. In fact, prices can get as low as $65 a night in June, if you can stand the heat!

4. When to take cultural/food trips to Portland, Memphis and the Carolinas
Travel to Portland for the food and great wine in the spring and get hotel prices down low in April ($150 a night). Memphis is most affordable in April and June with average rates at around $100. In the same months, Raleigh and Charlotte are around $100 per night and Hilton Head prices are $165 a night.

The MINI enjoying the open road and scenic PCH views
The MINI enjoying the open road and scenic PCH views

5. Rental car tips
According to AutoRentalNews, now is the time to rent that convertible before gas prices rise later this year, saying, “gas prices continue to play a huge role in the travel habits of US consumers, with an increase in car rentals year over year from 2014 to 2015 and growing.”

Hotwire suggests checking out off-airport rental locations for a better price and picking up on a Friday or Saturday and returning on a Sunday or Monday for the best deals.

And once you have the convertible rented, be sure to take it on some scenic drives like I did here!

6. Fly to an alternative airport—and then rent a car
Hotwire notes you can find cheaper airfare to your destination by flying to a nearby airport and renting a car while gas is still cheap. Check prices on Monday evening and Tuesday morning for the best deals.

7. Hotels on Sunday nights
Hotels tend to be cheapest on Sunday, says Hotwire. So if you can include Sunday as a part of your trip, you’ll save! Capitalize on last-minute hotel deals by booking the same day as the stay. If you can be spontaneous and wait that long, your wallet will thank you!

For more air, hotel and rental car deals, check out

Caitlin Martin

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®.
  • 2X points on travel and dining at restaurants worldwide, eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out & 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on orders over $12 for a minimum of one year on qualifying food purchases with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Earn 5X points on Lyft rides through March 2022. That’s 3X points in addition to the 2X points you already earn on travel.

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