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April 29, 2015

It’s a good day to be planning a summer vacation. Travel search engine Kayak just expanded its travel-planning prowess with the recent launch of the 2015 Travel Hacker Guide. It’s much more than glib recommendations—the compilation features hard numbers pulled by the company’s data scientists, who have pored over 100 million searches to back-up their findings.  

That’s a lot of data to digest, so in the name of expediency here are the top takeaways:

Kona, Hawaii is the Place To Be

This hotspot has seen a 48 percent increase in flight searches in the past year. Summer month airfare is the cheapest in May (median round-trip cost coming in around $663), so unless you’re interested in flying out within the next few weeks, plan on paying more up until September, when it dips to around $642.

Travel to Europe on a Wednesday or Tuesday

Half of the guide’s top trending summer destinations are located in Europe, including Reyajavik, Copenhagen, Edinburgh, and Madrid. The data also indicates that that a midweek departure (Tuesday or Wednesday) is the cheapest way to go.

Taking a Road Trip? Hit the Pavement in June

Car rental prices start to increase in July, making June the perfect time to plan that summer road trip. Plus it’s prime time for driving with the windows down without dealing with summer’s most sweltering temperatures.

Best Destination Deals: Adventure Abroad

Of the top 10 destinations that have seen the greatest drop in airfare, none of them are located in the United States. So, if you’re looking to take on an overseas adventure, look to Tel Aviv, Hyderabad, Hong Kong, Bangkok, or Johannesburg for the best deals.

When To Buy: Plane Tickets

Purchasing the plane ticket is usually the first (and most stressful) part of a trip. KAYAK pulled together a data set on the best days to fly and how long to wait to buy your ticket in order to get the best deal. No matter where you're traveling—Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central America, Europe, South America, or North America—you can take "worry about missed airfare savings" off of your vacation planning list. 

Erika Owen is the Audience Engagement Editor at Travel + Leisure. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram at @erikaraeowen.

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