Australia Travel Guide: When to Fly To and From the Land Down Under

This guide is for Americans who want to visit Australia, and for Australians who’d like to visit the United States. We’ve divided it into three sections: When to Fly, How to Fly and Where to Go. See information on attractions at the end.

LISTEN: Rick Seaney loves Australia and shares his Down Under travel tips.

When to Fly

Two good rules of thumb for any traveler looking to save money:

Travelers to Australia: Peak season is typically the last two weeks in April, the second week in June through the third week in July and the third week in Sept. through the end of October, with flights averaging about $2,000 round-trip. Other times you’ll pay 20-30 percent less.

Travelers to the U.S.: The peak season for travel in the U.S. is generally June, July and August. The cheapest off-peak season generally runs late October through mid-February. However, these months include two very expensive periods: Thanksgiving in late November and Christmas through the New Year’s travel period. Note that December, January and February can mean snow in many cities (exceptions: Los Angeles and Florida destinations).

How to Fly

Travelers from both countries: If you’re flying to Australia or the U.S. from a smaller city, it may be cheaper to divide up your journey into two flights. In other words, fly from your home airport to a large city, then fly non-stop from that large city to your final destination. The only way to be sure is by comparing prices.

Example: Instead of looking for flights from Boston to Sydney, it may be cheaper to break up a trip into separate components – a domestic flight, and overseas flight. So you would take one flight from Boston to Los Angeles, and another flight from Los Angeles to Sydney.

Note: Be sure to leave plenty of time to connect with that second flight. Air travel analyst and FareCompare CEO Rick Seaney says he usually flies to the West Coast and spends the night there before boarding a trans-Pacific flight. “This also helps me avoid jet lag,” says Seaney.

In-Country Flights

Generally, the off-peak season rule again prevails; prices are cheaper when people are less inclined to fly.

Be sure to check prices on discount airlines like Australia’s Jetstar or U.S. carriers like JetBlue and Southwest, but remember, no single airline always has the lowest prices so again, you must compare.

Where to Go

Click the city name to find the best-priced airfare from your home airport.

It’s nearly impossible to even scratch the surface of things to do and attractions in these two big beautiful countries – not in the limited amount of space here – so be sure to see the links below for more information.

In Australia

  • Sydney, New South Wales: The world famous Opera House in a beautiful harbor setting.
  • Melbourne, Victoria: Royal Botanic Gardens, Federation Square and all those great restaurants.
  • Brisbane, Queensland: Watch a ballet or bike or snorkel in this subtropical city.
  • Perth, Western Australia: Visit family-run wineries in the beautiful Swan Valley.
  • Adelaide, South Australia: This elegant city is also your jump-off point for Kangaroo Island.
  • Gold Coast, Queensland: Sun and surf plus the Pacific Coast Touring Route to the Great Barrier Reef.

In the U.S.

  • Boston, Massachusetts: This New England city offers history, culture and trendy nightspots.
  • Los Angeles, California: Home to Hollywood, beaches, clubs and a dynamic restaurant scene.
  • New York City, New York: See a Broadway play, visit the State of Liberty, and shop in an amazing array of stores and boutiques.
  • San Francisco, California: Cable cars, the Golden Gate Bridge and tremendous restaurants.
  • Washington, D.C.: See the While House and the incredible collections of the Smithsonian museums.

For More Information

  • For more information on what to see and do in Australia, visit Australia.com
  • For more information on what to see and do in the United States visit DiscoverAmerica.com

Suggested reading: For anyone interested in Australia, see “In a Sunburned Country” by Bill Bryson and here’s a quote from the book.

“The people are immensely likable – cheerful, extrovert, quick-witted, and unfailingly obliging. Their cities are safe and clean and nearly always built on water. They have a society that is prosperous, well ordered, and instinctively egalitarian. The food is excellent. The beer is cold. The sun nearly always shines. There is coffee on every corner. Life doesn’t get much better than this.” – from “In a Sunburned Country”

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Published: February 20, 2014