Last-minute July 4 weekend travel deals
Hoping to get out of town for the July 4th weekend?
You may still be able to book a trip and have cash left over.
About 41 million Americans are projected to travel 50 miles or more this Independence Day holiday weekend, up 2 percent over last year, according to auto club AAA. Because the holiday falls on a Friday this year, many travelers are expected to take advantage of the three-day weekend.
While domestic hotel rates have been edging up, with an average daily rate of $171 for the July 4 weekend, several major online travel agencies are reporting that some major cities remain budget-friendly.
“Las Vegas is a great value this July 4th, with average nightly hotel rates of only $105,” said Travelocity senior editor Courtney Scott. Another great option for deals over the holiday weekend is Orlando, Florida, where hotel rates are averaging $131, a 15 percent drop over this time last year, she said.
Other domestic cities where Travelocity found daily rates under $150 for the holiday weekend include Albuquerque ($112), Colorado Springs ($116), Memphis ($126), Dallas/ Ft. Worth ($126), Atlanta ($139), Palm Springs ($140), Minneapolis ($141) and Phoenix ($142).
Priceline’s data crunching for the upcoming holiday weekend identifies Aspen, Colorado, as the best bargain destination for the holiday weekend, with an average daily hotel rate of $152, which is 27 percent cheaper than last year at this time. Other bargains on Priceline’s Top 10 July 4th Bargains list include Miami, where the average hotel rate is $100, down 8 percent over last year.
Travelocity’s data also shows that airfares to eight out of the top 10 most popular destinations for the holiday weekend are less than the national average of $402.
CheapOair is also reporting a wide range of holiday bargains. “For those traveling domestically, they will find great deals across the country, but especially Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Denver and Atlanta, which have daily hotel rates for under $100 and airfare for under $350 roundtrip,” said Patrick Fragale, the company’s chief content officer.
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Travelers who do spend the holiday in some of these "best bet" cities will also find plenty of free entertainment. Miami Beach is planning a full day of family-friendly activities, a free concert and fireworks over the water. Orlando has a long list of day and evening activities taking place in and around the city, including a watermelon-eating contest in Winter Park and a variety of parades. In addition to evening July 4 fireworks displays, visitors to Denver will be able to watch a free outdoor showing of the Disney animated blockbuster "Frozen" in Skyline Park on July 5.
If you’re in the right city and willing to wait until the last minute to make a holiday plan, you may be able to travel there in a private jet for just a few dollars.
On July 3, private jet charter company JetSuite will use its Facebook page to post one-way, empty leg flights for July 4th — its private aircraft rentals are usually available for no less than $536 — for just $4.