School's out, the weather's grand, and business may be slowing down—sounds like the ideal time for a trip. However, getting away this time of year isn’t cheap. The average traveler spent nearly $2,300 on a summer vacation in 2015, and more than two thirds said that they spent more than expected, according to Experian.

"For folks that haven’t booked a summer vacation yet, there are still lots of opportunities to save,” says Dave McNamee, a travel expert with Expedia.

Read on for some smart tips on how to take a great summer vacation without breaking the bank.

1. Consider “winter destinations.” Many ski resorts and mountain towns make great summer destinations for hiking or mountain biking, and they often have quaint downtowns perfect for a summer stroll. Ski resorts that also boast lakes and beaches may still fill up in the summer, but the prices tend to be lower than what you’d pay to visit the same place during the winter months.

If you’re OK with (really) hot temperatures, cities in Sand States like Florida, Arizona, and Nevada have great summer deals to entice travelers in spite of the weather. Darley Newman, host of PBS’s "Travels with Darley," recommends that summer travelers consider Caribbean destinations as well during the summer when demand is lower. “You may be looking at hotter temperature and some rain, but you’re also going to get great deals,” she says.

In addition to finding a vacation bargain on hotels and airfare, traveling off-season can also bring down prices for everything from dining to entertainment.

2. Get rewarded. The best travel rewards credit cards are offering sign-up bonuses this summer of up to $626, according to a new analysis from CardHub. Spending $500 on a new Frontier Airlines Credit Card, for example, will get you 40,000 bonus miles that can be traded in for two round-trip domestic flights, and if you spend $2,000 on a new IHG Rewards Club Select Credit Card in the first three months, you can get up to 14 free nights in IHG hotels, which include Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Kimpton, and others.

In general, you shouldn’t open a new credit card if you’re worried about your credit score or are shopping for a mortgage, and credit card rewards aren’t a good deal unless you can pay the balance off in full each month.

Even if it doesn’t make sense for you to open new cards, you can usually join the loyalty programs with airlines, hotels, and travel sites for free. In addition to earning points for future savings, membership can sometimes mean perks like free hotel Wi-Fi access or access to exclusive deals. “I’m a big believer in rewards programs,” says McNamee says. “If you’re going to travel, you might as well be taking advantage of them.”

3. Ask for a lower rate. Once you’ve done some comparison-shopping online, call your preferred hotel to see the rate they’ll offer you over the phone. Then ask whether there’s any wiggle room on that price. Fewer than 30 percent of travelers try to bargain on the price of a hotel room, but more than three quarters of those who do have success with either a lower rate or a better room.

4. Plan to get away late in the summer. Traveling after schools have welcomed back students—early to mid August in many parts of the country—can mean not only thinner crowds, but also better prices. “Those last two weeks of August are a really great time to get deals, if you can swing it with your schedule,” Newman says.

TripAdvisor analysis of prices for popular summer destinations found that six in 10 offered the best deals the last full week of August. Airfare data firm Hopper projects that airfare in August will be nearly 14 percent cheaper than it will be in June.

5. Keep an eye out for future rate drops. While it often pays to reserve your trip in advance, you don’t want to miss out if the rate drops before your summer vacation begins. Use online tools to automatically track the price of your flight ( or hotel ( and get an alert if there’s a change. Then, call your airline (refundable fares only) or hotel to see if they’ll refund you the difference. Web site does the same thing for car rentals, and even handles the rebooking for you.