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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Summer vacation time is right around the corner, so if you are looking for some deals, you'll really have to do your homework this year, especially to find cheap airfare. With all of these airlines merging, less competition means higher prices to fly to your summer destination.

Just as industry analysts predicted, airfares have headed higher. Some of the rules of finding cheap airfare have changed, too. Airfarewatchdog.com says that the idea that the airlines post the best airfares on Tuesdays or Wednesdays is an urban myth. So you need to be on the look out everyday of the week.

Timing does still matter for our departure and return date. The Wall Street Journal reports that a recent fare of $720 round-trip from Chicago to Beijing for travel the first week of May. It would cost $1500 any other week.

Setting up price alerts can help. You can do so on sites like Mo-mondo, Adioso and Airfarewatchdog.

A good place to look at price tools -- to see if airfare is likely to rise or fall -- you'll want to check out Bing.com/travel and Kayak.

Another place to look is Google.com/flights/explore. It shows you how fares vary by travel date.

As for destinations, the experts are suggesting Canada this summer. The dollar is strong there right now, and airfares are down -- off 7 percent to Toronto and 9 percent to Vancouver.

Another option is a cruise. With all the recent shipboard illnesses and accidents, the bargains are out there. Some cruises are going for as little as $50 a day -- and that includes your food.

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