Maybe this is your year for Europe or Fiji or an African safari. If so, have fun, and here’s how to find the cheapest flights to these far-flung destinations. But if you’re on a budget – and planning to stay in the U.S. – we’ve got you covered there, too.
Listen as Rick Seaney tells us what’s hot, what’s not:
Finding Cheap Destinations
We’ve got a lot of ideas for cheap summertime destinations, but prices will vary depending on where you’re flying from. First suggestion: check out What to Pay for Summer Vacation Flights. Then, see our ideas for cheap destinations below. Click on the city name to find the cheapest flights.
Cheap Cities: Western U.S.
Phoenix – If you don’t mind sizzling temperatures, airfare to this city can be a real bargain. Tip: After a round of golf on a hot course, treat yourself to a refreshing spa session.
Cheap Cities: Central U.S.
New Orleans – It will be humid, but it will also be entertaining – and very often a nice, cheap getaway.
Cheap Cities: Eastern U.S.
Boston – Increased competition to this historic city makes it a good deal year-round and summer is no exception.
Miami and Ft. Lauderdale – These airports are just 26 miles apart and vie with one another to offer the cheapest prices. Note: June 1 marks the start of the Atlantic hurricane season which gives some travelers pause, but can mean even cheaper airfares.
New York - Airfare whiz Rick Seaney says prices to the Big Apple are improving and look for weekend hotel deals there, too.
Cheap Route: Cross-Country
Look for better deals this year on flights between Los Angeles and New York. Keep your eyes open for the rare $99 one-way deal, but such unusual promotions are more likely in late summer if not the fall.
How to Find the Cheapest Flights
Here are three sure-fire ways to find the cheapest flights every time you shop.
Compare prices: If you head to a single airline’s website, you could miss out on some amazing deals. Compare prices so you don’t miss out on any cheap flights.
Shop Tuesdays: For the past several years, the best day to shop for airfare has been Tuesday at about 3 p.m. eastern time. That is still the case.
Fly less popular days: The cheapest days to fly are typically Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. Even if you can’t work out a departure and a return on those days, flying one of them will still save you money.
Also try the following:
Connecting flights: By dispensing with the convenience of a non-stop flight, you could save anywhere from 20% to 60% on airfare.
Using a carry-on bag: Fees for checked bags usually add up to $50 round-trip. Only JetBlue and Southwest offer free checked bags. Note: Spirit charges for all bags, and Frontier will soon institute a carry-on fee for some customers.