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Consumer alert: How to snag summer travel savings

MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Aimee Clift and her children Emma and Jack just recently returned from a trip to Destin, Florida.

"We did the beach, we did parasailing, we did, we just lived it up, it was fun," said Clift.

Clift says she booked a few months ago, which not only allowed her to save money, but provided additional choices.

"It gives you more options, as far as like your location, like whether you want to be beach side."

Gary Lowry is a manager with AAA Memphis.

"In January, I could book a flight to Europe and back for $600, today it's $1600."

However, Lowry says for those who haven't planned a summer vacation, there are still some ways to save.

"We still have some deals out there, we've got some specials that are going like for Alaskan cruises."

Along with Caribbean cruises, Lowry told WREG.

One of the keys to saving on summer travel is flexibility.

Whether it's hotels, package deals or flights, the more flexible the dates, the bigger the bargains.

Lowry explained, "The difference between flying on a Wednesday and a Saturday could save you a lot of money, it could be 15, 20, 30 percent."

Also with flights, experts suggest comparing fares across airports if there are multiple in a city.

It's important for consumers who spot a good deal with a low-cost carrier to total up all the fees.

For families, road trips could be a better option.

"You can go to St. Louis and it's not a real expensive trip, you can go to Florence, Alabama, Muscle Shoals and they've got some really nice things over there that are good family trips," said Lowry.

Clift says her husband didn't get to join for the Florida trip, so they might take one more.

"We're looking, looking at fishing trips and things like that."

Other Ways to Save on Summer Travel

  • Check travel websites
  • Set up fare alerts, or alerts for travel to specific cities
  • Take advantage of associations, memberships at hotels
  • Use credit card rewards
  • For bigger trips, compare prices online, versus with travel agent
  • Check hotel rates with online travel sites, as well as with hotels directly
  • Go off the beaten path
  • Look for free activities during the vacation