Summer is here, and most Americans plan to take a vacation. But according to a new poll, 61% of those vacation planners hadn't fully booked their summer trips by mid-May. Travel industry professionals say what started as a bet-hedging mechanism during the 2008 recession may have become the new standard practice for Americans planning getaways. Travel-deal site Airfarewatchdog's May poll pulled in 13,000 responses, and 46% of them indicated they hadn't booked anything for their summer travel, with another 15% saying they'd booked part of their trip. Last-minute planning seems like a way to get stuck with higher rates and fewer choices. But there are plenty of reasons for the last-minute booking trend -- and the wait isn't hurting the hotel industry. Consumers are definitely benefiting from the endless parade of deals, a growing pool of lodging options, and the flexibility that comes with late-stage vacation planning. And hotels are thriving in the current climate, too. Get the full story at The Motley Fool