As Summer Solstice marked the first day of summer across the world on June 21, 2011, travel experts at Travel Ticker, a leading U.S.-based travel portal, released “Where To Go Now & How Guide” this summer season.

Based on the seasonal trends, summer travel deals, weather conditions, tourist traffic, entertainment options and the cultural experience, here are the best five summer travel destinations of 2011:

1. Chicago, Illinois, United States

Why Now: From the summer festivals, Wrigley Field bleacher seats, Millennium Park concerts, walking along Lake Michigan, to outdoor shopping and dining – it's no secret that Chicago is enjoyed to its fullest in the peak summer months. And with Chicago surrounded by numerous unique neighborhoods, there is a great chance to explore other places for each visitor.

Value: Hotel rates are higher in the summer, but only by about $20-$30 compared to the off season. This makes the Windy City one of the most affordable splurges considering the big experiences that you can have. It also tends to be one of the lower-priced big cities in the country to fly into as well. Hotel rates range from $99-$139.

The Amalfi Hotel Chicago starts at $139 on select dates, June 29-September 9. Stay near the Magnificent Mile, plus get a complimentary room upgrade, breakfast, cocktails, & WiFi.


Buckingham Fountain, Chicago. PHOTO: stock.xchng

2. Peru

Why Now: U.S. summer is Peru's winter and off season, which equates to great travel deals. The weather is pleasantly tropical in many places during this time of the year. There are also fewer tourists, so you can experience local culture to its fullest in spots like Machu Picchu, Lima, and the Inca ruins. For these reasons, now is the perfect time to fall in love with Peru.

Value: Save up to $200 per person on packages in summer and $300 per person by traveling in early September, as compared to the peak season.


Machu Picchu ruins, Peru. PHOTO: stock.xchng

3. Las Vegas, Nevada, United States

Why Now: Summer is Sin City's off season and yes, it is hot outside, but that's what the renowned pool facilities and air-conditioned restaurants and casinos are for. The off season is always a good time to take in the amazing nightlife, acclaimed shows, concerts and entertainment without the threat of high prices or sell-outs. Plus, Las Vegas hotels offer more incentives during summer in the form of complimentary extras for dining, entertainment and more.

Value: Save up to 30% on rates compared to peak season and use that savings for a show!

Tropicana Las Vegas is offering stays from just $119 that includes VIP passes for the chic, new Club Nikki and Nikki Beach, and late checkout. Travel till September 30 to avail this summer travel deal.


New York Hotel, Las Vegas. PHOTO: stock.xchng

4. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, United States

Why Now: While summer is Myrtle Beach's peak season, it's still a great budget-friendly destination. The weather is much more enjoyable in summer than other times of the year. The city comes alive in the summer months with live entertainment, water sports, dining, shopping and plenty of beaches to go around. In addition, many rooms are studio-style and include kitchenettes, so it's a great money-saving destination for families.

Value: Rates range from $39-$69 midweek, and $69-$99 on weekends.

The beachfront Landmark Resort in Myrtle Beach offers all that, plus a water park and daily breakfast for two from $119 midweek, June 26-August 6. Weekends are just $10 more.


A sand sculpture with US Democratic presidential candidates, (L-R) Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY), Senator Barack Obama (D-IL) and former Senator John Edwards (D-NC), is displayed outside the site of a CNN-CBCI Presidential Debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, January 21, 2008. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

5. Guatemala

Why Now: The summer months translate to the rainy season in Guatemala, but the rain is reliably tropical and light. This makes for the perfect time to explore Guatemala City and Chichicastenango, tour Antigua, the ancient church of Santo Tomas, or go on an excursion to the picturesque Lake Atitlan.

Value: Save up to $350 per person on packages, as compared to the peak season.


Lake Atitlan. PHOTO: stock.xchng