Raise your hand if you’re itching to book a trip. Us too. With spring around the corner, we can hardly wait to trade our boots for flip flops and set off on a new adventure (or, at least, settle in on a beach somewhere). It’s the perfect time for a change of scenery. (And the ideal way to procrastinate spring cleaning. Sorry, closet organization project — we have sights to see and frozen margaritas to drink. Umbrella mandatory.)
With tax refunds rolling in, booking a trip may seem like a given. But, just because you may have some extra money burning a hole in your pocket, doesn’t mean your should break the bank planning your vacay. Luckily for you, we know how to score cheap flights (go figure ;-)), so your hard-earned dollars can take you further. And the good news is, if you do your research (and read on), your flight budget may get you more bang for your buck this year.
Comparing airfares Cheapflights.com users found for our 150 most-searched destinations in the first two months of 2016 vs. the same period of 2015, our data shows fares are down an average of 14 percent — and over 30% lower in some instances. While airfares rise and fall often, when it comes to comparing this year to last, U.S. travelers look to be the winners. Although flight prices are constantly fluctuating, the growth of low-cost airlines brings competition to many key routes. Similarly, the expansion into the U.S. by international carriers, combined with lower fuel prices, may mean there’s no better time to think about booking your next vacation.
So, to get you started planning your next trip on the cheap, here are 10 destinations where prices are down and savings are up. Happy travels.
Sunshine State, for the win
Between the sunny weather, gorgeous beaches and, of course, Disney World, do you really need another reason to plan a Florida getaway? Probably not. But, if you do, we have just the one: flights are significantly lower this year than they were last year. Your biggest problem will be deciding what part of the state you should explore.
Three Florida cities hold top spots on our list for airfare savings in 2016: Fort Myers (down 35 percent), Fort Lauderdale (down 33 percent) and Orlando (down 33 percent). Choose wisely and start packing.
Big city, low prices
Prefer a city getaway to a beach vacay? No problem. Head to New York or Chicago, where average airfares are down from last year. Fly into Chicago O’Hare International Airport (down 35 percent) or New York’s LaGuardia Airport (down 30 percent) and save big. In New York, spend the money you save on airfare splurging on Fifth Avenue or catching a show on Broadway. In Chicago, why not use those extra dollars on a great meal? Try Monteverde for bold Italian cuisine or, if you’re in the mood for steak, tuck into classic favorites in a gorgeous atmosphere at Maple & Ash. And, of course, there is always pizza.
Strong dollar, cheap travel
With prices down an average of 40 percent, there is no better time to plan that bucket list trip to Reykjavik, Iceland. Even if you don’t make it there in time to catch the northern lights, there are plenty of other things to do in this nordic hot spot, from scenic hikes to a dip in the Blue Lagoon.
Or, if you’d prefer to travel down under, Melbourne airfare prices are down 38 percent. Consider booking that dream trip to Australia this year, instead of just living vicariously though Hugh Jackman movies.
If a luxury beach vacay is more your speed, you can find un-belize-ably (we had to) low prices on airfare to Belize City — 33 percent cheaper than last year. With scuba diving, fishing and breathtaking beaches at your disposal (not to mention savings), it could be time to explore this Caribbean paradise.
Also consider adding Bogota, Colombia to your travel radar. Aside from the fact that flights are down 32 percent from last year, this metropolitan area boasts an eclectic (and flavorful) foodie scene, as well as tons of history and culture.
If you’re thinking about Europe, you may hear London calling. Flights to Heathrow are also down 32 percent this year, making it an attractive time to explore London Town. With museums, theater and a vibrant city to explore, there’s something to be said for hopping across the pond this year.
Main image: istockphoto/yulkapopkova