UPDATED: Jan. 31, 2017
It’s getting late. If you do not have tickets for your Spring Break trip yet, check out the tips below, check out the fun destination list at then end, then buy your tickets and the single most important thing to do when shopping is to compare airfares.
Maybe you heard about a fantastic deal and you’re going to scoop it up; take a minute or two to compare that price with other fares before you ding your credit card because – who knows? – you might find something cheaper. Happens all the time.
4 Ways to Cheaper Trips
1. Fly Tuesday, Wednesday, Saturday
Given a week off, most of us would choose an itinerary that includes both weekends to make the most of vacation time. However, the cheapest days to fly in the U.S. are usually Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday so it could pay to move your dates around. Example: Both of the following itineraries show roundtrip fares (found Jan. 31) for Dallas-Orlando travel in February:
- Depart Friday of the first weekend, return Sunday of the second: $319
- Depart Tuesday, return Saturday: $129
You don’t have to be a genius to see the Tuesday/Saturday trip is less than half the cost of the weekend-to-weekend itinerary. This isn’t always true, though, which is why you must compare fares, and be sure to compare fares by different travel dates.
2. See if Connecting Flights are Cheaper than Non-stops
Sometimes you’ll pay significantly more for the convenience of a non-stop flight. Here’s a recent example for Dallas-Aspen trips on the same dates in February (found Jan. 31):
- Non-stop flight: $1,287
- Connecting flight: $694
This is kind of an extreme example; the difference in fares isn’t always so great and in fact non-stops are occasionally cheaper. The only way to be certain of the most economical way to go is to compare fares, and compare fares of non-stops vs. connecting flights.
3. Look for Cheap Destinations
We’ve got a list of 20 great Spring Break destinations at the end.
- Ski trips: Boston and Denver offer lots of competitive airline service and plenty of flights so prices stay relatively low year-round.
- Beaches: Good value destinations in Florida include Ft. Lauderdale and Miami, while in California deals to Los Angeles and San Diego are common.
4. Make Disney Trips Cheaper
You can often save on travels to favorite destinations by flying to cheaper airports, and usually bigger airports are more cost-effective. This may require extra drive-time, so only you can say if it’s worth it.
- Disneyland (Anaheim, Calif.): The closest airport is Orange County’s John Wayne in Santa Ana, Calif. but Los Angeles’ big hub LAX is a mere 34 miles up the road and often has cheaper flights. Also the Long Beach airport is just 24 miles away and offers good prices from many departure cities thanks to increased traffic from JetBlue and Southwest.
- Disney World (Orlando, Fl.): Deals to Orlando are not uncommon but if you can’t find the price that you want, check to see if Tampa is cheaper (though it is an 80 mile drive away).
Fun Destinations for Spring Break
The following list in no particular order is based on recommendations from friends, enthusiastic responses from travelers and personal experience. We’d love to spread the word about your favorites, too.
- Click the city name to find airfare deals from your town.
- Charleston, S.C. Walk along the Battery in this lovely coastal town and ooh and ah at the historic mansions – or take a pirate tour. Lovely hotels, B&Bs and Lowcountry cooking. More visitor info here.
- Savannah, Ga. This southern city is filled with stirring architecture, historic squares and gracious mansions; take a tour, enjoy one of the numerous festivals and enjoy the excellent restaurants. More visitor info here.
Charleston and Savannah are both served by JetBlue which frequently offers deals from New York.
- Boston. This vibrant, historic city offers many attractions but is also the gateway to skiing and snowboarding in New England. Visitor info on Boston here.
- Denver. There is nothing quite like skiing in the Rockies and Denver is the doorway to world-class resorts offering the most challenging black diamond runs to slopes for beginnings. More visitor info here.
Fun for All
- South Padre Island, Texas. If you can’t find fun here, you’re still in your hotel room sleeping. From raucous parties to amusement parks, skydiving or splashing in the Gulf of Mexico, there are plenty of opportunities for Instagram photos that’ll entertain (or embarrass) you for years to come. More visitor info here.
- Orlando. Home of Disney World, Universal Studio Tours, Sea World and so much more. See these tips for visiting Disney parks, and learn more about the area here.
Glitz & Nightlife
- Austin. If you like music – especially live music – this is the place. The home to the University of Texas (and the state’s capital), Austin’s music scene takes place almost everywhere but especially in the clubs along 6th Street; it’s also home to the famed music/film/interactive extravaganza South by Soutwest (SXSW). More visitor info here.
- Las Vegas. Yes, there is gambling here and yes, people have been known to enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two here. Not 21 yet? There are amusement rides, golf, hiking in gorgeous scenery plus boutiques and dining ranging from fast-food to four star. More visitor info here.
- Los Angeles. A great club scene plus fun schlock (Hollywood Walk of Fame) and world renowned art (The Getty). What more do you want? Oh, right – the beach. The Venice boardwalk is always fun. More visitor info here.
- Miami and Ft. Lauderdale. Spring Break in Florida: What could go wrong? The airports for these cities are just 26 miles apart so fly into whichever is cheaper, then see what’s happening in South Beach. More visitor info here.
- Grand Canyon. Fly to Phoenix or Las Vegas and spend time there if you want before pushing on to the canyon. This is one natural wonder so stunning it’ll stop you in your tracks. Do not miss it. More visitor info here.
- Yosemite. Fly to Sacramento or San Francisco (but you’ll have a drive after that). This national park has been delighting visitors for more than 120 years with its waterfalls, ancient giant sequoias and the favorites of rock climbers, Half Dome and El Capitan. Camp, stay in a lodge or get a motel room. More visitors info here.
- Dublin and Galway. If your idea of Spring Break lends itself to traditional pursuits, check out the lively pub scene in these cities. Then get out and look at the Cliffs of Moher, Connemara ponies, gorgeous old castles and ruins amidst all that deep, deep green – beautiful enough to break your heart. More visitor info here.
- London. We’ve been seeing great deals to the U.K. since last fall. Already been? You can’t see all of London in a dozen lifetimes, so go again! More visitor info here.
- Paris. So beautiful. And in recent months, so cheap. More visitor info here.
- Oslo. Norway’s beautiful capital is a great deal right now as are other Scandinavian cites (thanks in part to Norwegian Air Shuttle, one of the 500 + airlines featured on FareCompare). More visitor info here.
- Florence and Venice. These two gems of Italy hardly need our seal of approval; you can take Michelangelo’s or Leonardo’s word for it. More visitor info about Florence here and Venice here.
Have fun during Spring Break, and safe travels.