It’s already May, and that means it’s time to start shopping around for summer travel deals. Here’s how to end up with an incredible, affordable summer vacation in 3 easy steps:

Step 1- Apply for your US passport renewal

Some of the best travel deals this summer will take you out of the country. Since you now need your passport even for most trips to our neighbors in Mexico, Canada and the Caribbean, it makes sense to go ahead and apply for your passport renewal now.

Step 2- Friend/Follow your favorite airlines and hotels

One great way to get the inside scoop on travel deals is to connect with your favorite airlines or hotels on Twitter and/or Facebook. For example, CBS’ “The Early Show” reported that the Sheraton Nassau Beach Resort is offering discounts of up to 40% off to travelers who “like” the resort’s Facebook page.

Likewise, many airlines announce specials on Twitter. For example, JetBlue airlines uses the @JetBlueCheeps account to broadcast discounted fares to its followers.

Step 3- Monitor sites for deals

Many discount travel sites will send you updates by email to show you what their latest deals are. For example, Orbitz has a service called “Deal Detector” that lets you name your desired price for a specific itinerary. If the price for the trip drops down below a certain point, Orbitz will notify you by email.

Other travel websites will send you email newsletters with hand-picked travel bargains. If you don’t want these clogging your inbox, consider changing your email settings to have them routed to a special “travel” folder, which you can then review at your leisure.

While it makes sense to book ahead most of the time, last-minute deals do also come up. That’s why it’s so important to have a valid passport. US passport renewal can take 6 weeks if you apply with regular processing, and 3 weeks even if you apply for the government’s expedited processing.

If you need your passport renewal more quickly, there is hope-a private passport expediting company like RushMyPassport can get your application processed in as little as 24 hours, without you having to spend a lot of time in a passport office.

Apply for your US passport renewal today!