Summer is a notoriously busy, and therefore expensive, time to fly. Between school vacation and warm weather, there’s no question that the months of June, July, and August make up the high travel season for much of the world. But that doesn’t mean all of the world.
To find an airfare deal for your summer vacation, you might think you’ll need to hit a sweltering locale when most people are avoiding the sky-high temperatures, but some of the cheapest places to fly this summer are bucket-list spots with comfortable weather.
Thanks to new air routes and changing travel trends, some particularly far-flung locales are surprisingly cheap compared to how much the journey cost just last year. Here are the cheapest places to fly for summer 2019 according to airfare experts, plus when to travel for the best deal.
The Cheapest Places to Fly for Summer 2019
Editor’s note: All prices are the average for one round-trip flight unless otherwise specified. Special thanks to CheapOair, Skyscanner, Fareness, Booking.com, and Airfarewatchdog (SmarterTravel’s sister site) for sharing pricing data and commentary.
Think visiting the U.K.’s most expensive city in summer can’t be affordable? Not so if you’re up for August flights. CheapOair data shows that the English capital’s average summer fares are down about 10 percent from the same period last year, and Airfarewatchdog analyst Ricky Radka tells me the price drops can be even more substantial in late summer.
“Mid- to late-August travel to London has routinely seen some phenomenal price drops compared to years past. Boston to London on select dates in August is currently listed as low as $342 on Virgin Atlantic and Delta; some late-July departures can be had for around $10 more. For example, July 31 returning August 12 is $353,” Radka says. “Newark and JFK are pricing at $410 in August and can often dip below the $400 mark. Chicago and San Francisco are both bookable for sub-$400 round trips if travelers have a flexible window.”
Airfarewatchdog data also shows that about 40 percent of departure airports are seeing “favorable” fares (defined as being at least 10 percent cheaper than the same trip last year) to London.
Check Prices for citizenM Tower of London Hotel in London, United Kingdom
The Dutch Caribbean island with unwaveringly warm weather year-round is one of the cheapest places to fly in summer, with the most competitive fares available just before the most active part of hurricane season (September). Airfarewatchdog data shows that 36 percent of airports are seeing Aruba fares drop 10 percent or more from last year, and Radka tells me that South Florida airports are seeing the most advantageous prices.
Radka says Aruba deals are via “mainly Mami and Fort Lauderdale with JetBlue, American, and occasionally Southwest pitted against each other price-wise. Most fares hover around $230 on these routes. For summer season I’d consider them to be a good option for procrastinators, as many are available for travel just a few weeks out.”
Aruba hotels are also surprisingly cheap in summer: Booking.com hotel data shows lodging options are 24 percent off in Oranjestad and 38 percent off in the popular Palm Beach resort area.
Check Prices for Renaissance Aruba Resort & Casino in Oranjestad, Aruba
St. Petersburg, Russia
Perhaps the single cheapest place to fly this summer is St. Petersburg, Russia, which is a whopping 53 percent off compared to last year according to Fareness data—from $365 roundtrip—despite June also being the best time of year to visit.
An air hub for Aeroflot, St. Petersburg is also served by Turkish Airlines, Lufthansa, and Delta, among many others, which makes for ample air competition. And visiting in summer means not only perfect weather but nearly 24 hours of sunshine per day—including a few consecutive nights when the sun never fully sets, thanks to St. Petersburg’s far-north location. The White Nights Festival celebrations marking the phenomenon are in mid-July.
Check Prices for Gogol Hotel in St. Petersburg, Russia
Another city that’s at its cheapest during the best time to visit, Minneapolis comes alive in summer and, according to Airfarewatchdog data, is offering airfare significantly lower than last summer from 25 percent of departure airports. Radka tells me it’s thanks in part to an expanding airline that’s creating new competition in the area.
“Minneapolis flights have dropped quite a bit since Sun Country expanded its route network and continues to transform into an ultra-low-cost carrier. … Delta has been price matching Sun Country on select city pairings and driving down costs to MSP,” Radka says. “Many of Sun Country’s fare deals include summer travel dates, which [are] its bread and butter as a seasonal airline.”
Check Prices for Loews Minneapolis Hotel in Minneapolis, MN
Italy in summer probably isn’t what comes to mind when you think of the cheapest places to fly, but Fareness is showing an aggressive 28 percent price drop in average airfares to Florence compared to last year: down to just $790 round-trip from about $1,100 last year.
Airfarewatchdog data corroborates the trend, showing that 32 percent of origin airports have experienced at least a 10 percent airfare drop from the same period in 2018. And it’s another deal for one of the best times of year to visit: June and July are peak season in Tuscany and feature some of the region’s best weather.
Check Prices for Hotel Silla in Florence, Italy
Showing favorable price drops in both Skyscanner and Airfarewatchdog pricing data, bustling Bangkok is one of the cheapest places to fly this summer if you can take the heat. Airfarewatchdog data shows that 58 percent of origin airports are seeing favorable fare drops of at least 10 percent from last year, and Skyscanner data shows a 5 percent drop in year-over-year pricing to a consistent mid-$700s range.
Reasons to visit now include this summer’s new King’s Birthday and Queen’s Birthday festivities in July and August, respectively, which celebrate the nation’s monarchs with patriotic displays of colored lights and flowers.
Check Prices for Dream Bangkok in Bangkok, Thailand
Las Vegas, Nevada
Another hot locale both temperature- and budget-wise, Las Vegas makes for a surprisingly cheap summer vacation this year. Airfarewatchdog shows that 46 percent of origin airports are showing 10 percent or higher fare drops, and Radka notes Vegas as a frequent deal outlier for summer 2019.
“Heading to 100-plus temperatures isn’t tops on everyone’s summer travel plans, but flyers from MSP, ORD, IND, LAX, PDX, SEA, SFO, DFW, and IAH can roll the dice on deals to Sin City for around $100 departing West Coast and Texas airports and $140-180ish from ORD, IND, and CVG,” Radka says. “With low-cost carriers like Spirit, Sun Country, Allegiant, and Frontier fiercely competing in this top leisure market, there are often cheap deals to be had. … In some instances, you might be able to hit the jackpot with a traditional legacy carrier price matching with one of the no-frills airlines on head-to-head routes.”
Check Prices for JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa in Las Vegas, NV
For late-summer hiking, sailing, and nature tours in breathtaking landscapes like the Gulf of Alaska and Denali National Park, Anchorage is seeing hefty airfare deals from late July into August on flights from West Coast. And this is a deal trend that’s again square in the best time of year to go.
“Cities like Seattle and Portland up to Anchorage have been reasonably low for seasonal summer travel to Alaska,” Radka says. “Seattle to Anchorage is routinely around $150 round-trip for peak travel, allowing for a cheap link north to catch a summertime cruise. Piggybacking or competing with those fares, other cities like Chicago, Boston, and Denver can be found around the $350 round-trip price point, which is quite good for that time of year.”
Airfarewatchdog data concurs, showing that 25 percent of Achorage’s airfare origins are at least 10 percent lower than the same trips last year.
Check Prices for The Lakefront Anchorage in Anchorage, AK
Madrid and Andalusia, Spain
If you think visiting Europe in summer is worth taking some heat, another steamy locale that sees deals in late summer when most locals are on holiday is Madrid. CheapOair reports that average airfares are about 10 percent lower than last summer’s, and Airfarewatchdog data agrees, showing that 38 percent of origin airports are seeing at least a 10 percent fare drop for Madrid compared to the same trip last year.
And if 10 percent isn’t enough to convince you, hotels in Spain are a whopping half off this time of year. Booking.com data shows that hotels in Andalusia are about 30 to 50 percent off for June, July, and August. Andalusia is the warm southern region of Spain that’s just an air-conditioned train ride from Madrid, and home to bucket-list cities like Granada, Seville, Toledo, and Cordoba.
Check Prices for Hotel Dona Maria in Seville, Spain
What to Wear to the Cheapest Places to Fly this Year
Women’s Super Comfy Outfit
Men’s Outfit to Wear with Travel Sandals (no shoes)
Women’s Bright Dress Outfit
Men’s Evening Outfit for Croatia
Women’s Evening-Wear for the US Virgin Islands
Men’s Casual-Wear for New Zealand
Women’s Swimsuit with Jean Shorts
More from SmarterTravel:
- 8 Affordable Trips to Take in 2019
- 7 Airfare Analysts Weigh in on When to Book a Flight
- 7 Expert Airplane Seat Hacks to Boost Comfort on Long Flights
SmarterTravel’s Shannon McMahon writes about all things travel. Follow her adventures to the cheapest places to fly on Instagram @shanmcmahon.