The U.S. Independence Day holiday – better known as the Fourth of July – falls on a Thursday this year which opens up the possibility of a short mini-break or a longer vacation.
Here’s how to make the most of whatever trip you choose and how to save some money.
Hear Rick Seaney offer more tips for flying (and saving) during holidays:
Finding Cheap Flights – Getting Started
Shop now. Procrastination means higher prices. The longer you wait, the more you will pay. Exception: Some airlines offer last-minute weekend deals that are generally good for Friday/Saturday departures and Monday/Tuesday returns; however, some of these last-minute deals are to less popular destinations so you may have to take pot luck.
Travel on the holiday: Airfare sales often include blackout dates around the holiday but not on the big day itself (a recent sale from Virgin America is a perfect example). If possible, travel on the holiday and if you time it right you won’t miss the fireworks.
Be flexible: There are a few ways to do this, if you don’t mind a little inconvenience.
- Fly early, fly late: Overnights, flights at dawn and lunch-time/dinner-time flights tend to be less popular which is why they’re usually priced better.
- Fly on Tuesday and Wednesday: These mid-week days are traditionally the cheapest to fly. Runner-up: Saturday. If possible, avoid Fridays and Sundays because they tend to be most expensive.
- Stretch out your flight: Connecting flights are almost always cheaper than direct routes – sometimes as much as 60% cheaper.
Cheaper Fourth of July Destinations
Cheaper destinations for the Fourth of July include most of the cheapest destinations for summer. Click the city name to get you started on your travels (and click the other link for information on fireworks displays).
- Boston – 40th anniversary of the Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular
- Denver – Catch a Colorado Rockies game and some fireworks
- Los Angeles – Check out the fireworks at the Hollywood Bowl
- Miami - Concerts, festivals and fireworks
- Phoenix - Alliterative Arizonans take pride in the Fabulous Phoenix Fourth
- Washington, D.C. – First a parade then fireworks at the U.S. Capitol
Tips for Easier Travel
These ideas will save time and as we all know, time is money.
Get to airport early: Holiday periods mean crowds at the airport; add in the normal craziness of the busy summer season and this could mean long lines at security. Arrive early to minimize the crazy.
Pack light: As FareCompare always suggests, carry-on bags usually save on fees. If you must pack more, JetBlue and Southwest still offer free checked-bags.