Summer's here, it's time to celebrate your independence this Fourth of July -- without paying through the nose.
We've compiled our annual list of great deals for the July Fourth holiday weekend. Here are four tips for stretching your dollar as far as it will go this year:
1. Go early: With the holiday falling on a Thursday this year, deals are a bit harder to come by on hotels and vacations for the long weekend (July 4-7). But, even those that have hiked their rates for the days following the Fourth are offering deals for the days preceding the holiday (June 30 - July 3). Make your travel plans for the days before the Fourth, and you'll save a lot of coin.
2. Be flexible: If you are flying over the Fourth -- and don't have your tickets yet -- you will need to be flexible on the dates you're traveling to find the best deals. But even during high-demand periods, there are soft spots for airlines. This year, our research is showing that those soft spots fall on June 29, July 2, 4, 6 or 9. Check our Today's Best Fares tool and Fly.com Fare Calendars for deals on the route you want to fly, and plan accordingly.
3. Hit the city: As counterintuitive as it would seem, many of the country's biggest cities are hot spots for deals over the long holiday weekend. Even with the parades and festivities in places such as New York City, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco, deals are there for the taking. The holiday cuts business and convention travel significantly, and upscale hotels discount to fill rooms. And with many locals also getting out of town for favorite weekend spots, it's also a great time to take advantage of Local Deals on gourmet dining, spa days, events and top-rated activities. Download our free app so you have these deals at your fingertips wherever you end up.
4. Extend the fun: Nothing takes the shine off of long holiday weekend more than sitting in traffic or a crowded airport at the end of your trip as seemingly the whole world returns home on Sunday evening. Staying over on the Sunday (this year, it's the July 7) will score you lower rates in many popular destinations, such as Las Vegas. And, if you can wait until the weekend to start your holiday, you'll be coming just when the crowds are going. The week following a major holiday often has much lower occupancy, and much better deals.
It's not too late to head out of town this holiday. Check out our July Fourth travel deals for last-minute inspiration.
-- Andrew Young is Travelzoo's U.S. Web Editor and is based in New York. Travelzoo has 250 deal experts from around the world who rigorously research, evaluate and test thousands of deals to find those with true value