Memorial Day is still weeks away. But it's time to start thinking about booking your summer vacation travel, if you haven't already.
Based on historical flight data, the week of April 23 — that is, now — could be one of the best weeks to book domestic flights for June, July or August, according to a new report from fare-tracking site Hipmunk.com. (Click on graphic to enlarge.)
Travelers could save 12 percent compared to peak summer booking prices, they estimate, and even more for big holidays. Travel over Memorial Day could be up to 16 percent less expensive compared to fares booked later, and travel over the Fourth of July, up to 14 percent cheaper.
"The week of April 23 is about six weeks prior to the start of summer, which is traditionally right around the optimum time to book domestic flights" said spokeswoman Kelly Soderlund. "So it makes sense that we'd see the average booking price for summer travel start to climb after that time."
That said, don't be so quick to snap up a flight.
Recent data from travel site Hopper.com found 2 in 3 fares drop within 24 hours of the original search or booking, saving an average 14 percent. Check fare forecasts for your route, as well as strategies like alternate airports and dates.
Travelers who aren't ready or able to book summer flights this week needn't resign themselves to peak prices, either, Soderlund said.
"If all else fails, our data shows that travelers should book domestic summer flights three weeks prior to their departure date," she said.