Spring break is still a couple months away, but if you're looking for that deal of travel, you may already be too late.
Airlines are merging. United and Continental, Southwest and Airtran, Delta and Northwest. That means less competition. It also means fewer flights and less availability.
The rule of thumb used to be six to seven weeks out was your best time to book to get the best deals. But airport personnel and travel agencies say that's changing.
At a recent board meeting, the Indianapolis Airport Authority reported that this year they expect seat availability to be down, and fares up.
Triple-A reports if you haven't booked by now for spring break, you are out of luck.
One travel agent I spoke with, Bethanne Harrison Brown, agrees, and says the one caveat is flexibility. "If you know you're going into this, and say 'I know it's spring break, I know availability is limited' I could find something." Brown said. "If you're wanting that deal, like for Florida, not so much during spring break because of availability."
Alternative destinations on the Gulf Coast, such as Mobile, Alabama, New Orleans and Galveston, Texas may be worth a look.
Scottsdale and Phoenix, Arizona also offer sunny alternatives.
But even if you're thinking about those places for spring break, you need to book now. And now is also the time to book your fall break or even holiday trips for this year if you want to get the best fares to the popular destinations.