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Paris skyline with pink flowers in the foreground
neirfy | Adobe Stock

The 7 Cheapest Places to Fly This Spring

SmarterTravel

If you’re looking for a cheap spring vacation, you’ll need to act fast. Airfares are expected to rise this spring. In its latest Consumer Airfare Index report, Hopper forecasts that domestic airfare will increase 7 percent each month until June—surpassing 2019 prices by April. 

Fortunately, we’ve found seven destinations where airfares are actually trending lower than usual so you can still get out of town without breaking your budget. Whether you’re looking for a spring break to the beach or want to venture overseas, take off to one of these locales this spring for an affordable vacation.

Charleston, South Carolina

Aerial view of Charleston, South Carolina at sunset
jdross75 | Adobe Stock

Kick-off the spring season with a visit to lovely Charleston, South Carolina. The city will host the 75th annual Festival of Houses and Gardens between March 16 – April 9, 2022. Events include intimate tours of historic houses and mansions, concerts, and wine tastings. You can also check out the oldest landscaped gardens in the U.S. at Middleton Place.

Flights to Charleston: While it’s primarily a regional airport, Charleston has been adding service from new airlines in recent years and you can now fly nonstop from as far west as Seattle or Los Angeles. Breeze Airways will fly to Charleston from 13 U.S. cities once new flights from Long Island/Islip and West Palm Beach begin in late February. Both Delta and Sun Country plan to start flying from Minneapolis in April, and Southwest will begin new service from Austin in March.

The lowest round-trip fares are often under $100 from Breeze cities. You’ll be able to find fares in the $100s from many major cities along the East Coast and in the $200s and $300s from cities further west. At the time of writing, one of the best deals I spotted was a $208 round-trip, nonstop flight on JetBlue from Los Angeles.

Take a look at current fares to Charleston (CHS) from your home airport.

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Aerial view of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and bay with cruise ships
Miguel Naranjo | Adobe Stock

If you’d like to enjoy spring break in Mexico but want to avoid the extremely overcrowded resorts of Cancun, a trip to Mexico’s West Coast paradise is a great option. From day trips to secluded beaches up the Riviera Nayarit to tequila and food tours, a trip to Puerto Vallarta won’t disappoint.

Flights to Puerto Vallarta: Puerto Vallarta is one of the cheaper places to travel this spring compared to past years thanks to new service on Spirit Airlines, which began last summer. JetBlue begins new nonstop flights from New York in early 2022, which will help bring down prices from the Northeast.

It’s possible to find fares for under $200 round-trip from certain West Coast cities. Expect to pay mid-to-high $200s and $300s for the lowest fares from most other major cities. It may be more expensive from smaller markets. Weekend travel can cost quite a bit more—especially during peak spring break weeks—so fly mid-week for the best prices. For instance, I was able to find nonstop American flights from Dallas for $184 round-trip for mid-week travel dates in March, while some weekend dates were going for over $1000.

Want to hit the beach? Check out the latest fares to Puerto Vallarta (PVR).

Paris, France

Aerial view of Paris with Eiffel Tower featuring prominently in the skyline
Ekaterina Belova | Adobe Stock

Fully vaccinated travelers can enjoy watching the flowers bloom with a stroll along the Champs-Élysées this spring. While a negative test and full vaccination (including booster shot) is required for Americans to enter France, local restrictions have started to ease in Paris as the Omicron wave wanes. For now, you’ll need to obtain a vaccine pass to enter most public venues such as bars, restaurants, and museums but there have been reports that this may no longer be required as early as the end of March.

Flights to Paris: Airlines have been drastically dropping prices all across Europe recently in the hopes of luring wary American travelers back across the pond. At the time of writing, flights were around $480 round-trip from nearly every U.S. city to Paris for spring travel. While nationwide fare wars like this are rare, it’s possible we’ll see more of these going forward until international travel demand picks up again.

New low-cost service on French Bee from Los Angeles (LAX) to Paris-Orly (ORY) and Air France restarting service between New York (JFK) and Paris-Orly this spring means more options for travelers looking to visit France at an affordable rate.

Have a look at the current deals to Paris (CDG) and Paris-Orly (ORY) from your hometown.

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

Busy street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
THANANIT | Adobe Stock

Philadelphia is hosting several exciting activities this spring. Basketball fans can attend the NCAA Men’s Basketball East Regional (Sweet 16/Elite Eight) at the Wells Fargo Center on March 25 and 27. Meanwhile, the Franklin Institute has a special Harry Potter exhibition celebrating the magic of the series with an up-close look at props and costumes from the films. And iconic landmarks such as the Liberty Bell and Rocky statue are always around for visitors to the City of Brotherly Love to enjoy. 

Flights to Philadelphia: As a major hub for American Airlines, you’ll find nonstop flights to Philadelphia from all over the country. This spring, Spirit Airlines is looking to take a piece of the cheesesteak by adding seven new nonstop routes to Philly, including from Oakland, New Orleans, Nashville, and Houston.

With plenty of competition among airlines, it’s not too difficult to find a flight deal to Philadelphia. Round-trip fares are often in the $50-90s range on ultra-low-cost carriers for certain routes. If you only fly legacy carriers, plan to pay $100s or $200s from most major cities and $300s from smaller markets or peak travel periods. At the time of writing, JetBlue was selling nonstop flights from Boston as low as $44 round-trip.

Check out the latest cheap flights to Philadelphia (PHL) from all over the U.S.

Bogota, Colombia

Aerial view of Bogota, Colombia with mountains in the background
Mira | Adobe Stock

Explore Bogota this spring and get immersed in the flavors of Colombia with a visit to this sprawling capital city. In the La Candelaria neighborhood, you’ll find cobblestone streets, colorful houses, and plenty of churches. The Santuario Nuestra Señora del Carmen is hard to miss with its unique red-and-white-striped design both on the outside and inside of the gothic temple. When it comes time for dinner, try Ajiaco, which is Bogota’s signature soup dish made with chicken, potatoes, herbs, corn, and avocado.

Flights to Bogota: Colombia is the cheapest place to fly in South America and you’ll find the most flight options to its capital in Bogota. Copa Airlines and Avianca seem to always have incredible fares from their U.S. gateways but you’ll find great fares on the major U.S. carriers such as Delta, United, and JetBlue as well.

Surprisingly, round-trip fares from New York and Miami are less than $200 on a somewhat regular basis these days. You’ll find fares in the $200s and $300s range from other major markets across the U.S. Spirit will often be the cheapest by a long shot from mid-sized cities. Major airlines generally charge $400s to $500s from smaller markets. I’ve spotted $195 round-trip, nonstop Avianca flights from New York and $270 Copa Airlines flights from Los Angeles.

Looking to learn some salsa moves? Have a look at airfares to Bogota (BOG) from your nearest airport.

Austin, Texas

View of Austin, Texas at sunset
Reagan | Adobe Stock

It seems like people have been flocking from both coasts to Austin for the past few years. The quirky capital of Texas has been attracting visitors with its lower costs, pleasant weather, and music and arts scene. The South by Southwest festival is scheduled for March 11-20, 2022, and is a great time to visit Austin for concerts, film screenings, and tech conferences.

Flights to Austin: Nearly all airlines have expanded service in Austin in the past few years but Southwest remains the largest carrier. To maintain its market share, Southwest plans to add seven new routes to Austin this spring. Allegiant is also expanding its route map with new flights from San Diego, Sarasota, and Washington D.C.

While you’ll sometimes find flights for under $100 round-trip on ultra-low-cost carriers, fares from most cities will be in the $100s or $200s range on major airlines. Of course, there will be outliers for peak travel times and small markets, but flight deals to Austin are plentiful. I’ve come across $158 round-trip, nonstop flights on Alaska Airlines from San Francisco and $168 round-trip, nonstop flights on Delta or JetBlue from Boston.

Look for the latest deals to Austin (AUS) from your city.

Helsinki, Finland

Aerial view of Helsinki, Finland on a bright summer day
Travellaggio | Adobe Stock

If Finland hasn’t crossed your mind as a place to visit, you may want to re-check your bucket list and add a trip to Helsinki. The city is home to some amazing architecture sites such as Suomenlinna Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site constructed by Sweden. It was built in 1748 to deter Russian expansion. For entry into Finland, tourists from the U.S. will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test along with proof of vaccination.

Flights to Helsinki: Finnair has delayed the launch of its new nonstop service between Dallas and Helsinki until March 27, 2022. But, the plans for this new flight have caused some nationwide fare wars on all major airlines and has led to some never-before-seen prices for flights to Finland.

At the time of writing, I was seeing round-trip airfares in the mid-$300s to $400s from nearly every U.S. city. Of course, prices like that don’t stick around for very long but there have been frequent price drops on flights from major U.S. cities to Scandinavia lately. It shouldn’t be too much trouble to find a flight in the $500s range if you can fly from a major U.S. market. Some of the best deals I found during this latest sale included $341 round-trip from San Diego, $389 nonstop from Chicago, and $358 from Charlotte.

Check out current fares to Helsinki (HEL) from across the U.S.

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