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5 Ways To Beat Peak Summer Airfares

1. Flight/hotel packages
FareCompare's Seaney strongly recommended booking a flight and hotel together for winter holiday savings and says the same advice applies during the summer. The airfare may be a bit more expensive during that time, but hotels will offer deep discounts for certain dates just to fill vacancies.

Some hotels will take it a step further. Intercontinental Hotels Group (IHG) and its Hotel Indigo, Crowne Plaza, Holiday Inn and other properties offered to pay guests' checked-baggage fees last summer and during the winter holidays. This summer, InterContinental is giving guests a $75 prepaid card for staying on consecutive weekend nights and suggesting that they apply the cards -- redeemable up to $300 -- toward baggage fees.

"What makes this summer really stand out is the abundance of value-add offers from hotels," Travelocity's Brown says. "Hotels have regained some pricing power in the last year, and they're not keen to give that up by slashing rates, so instead they sweeten the deal with incentives like free nights, free room upgrades, resort credits and pretty much everything else under the sun to get travelers to pull the trigger and book."

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