If you’re looking to book spring or early summer flights, you’ve probably noticed airfares have gotten much more expensive lately. In fact, prices for airline tickets have jumped nearly 20 percent compared to last February, according to recent data from Hopper.
Check list features top spring-break destinations – with a couple of surprises thrown in – that are all accessible from major North American airports. Whether you’re looking to thaw out in the Caribbean, sunbathe among the stars in Los Angeles or go kayaking by night through a bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico, we’ve got the perfect spring break trip for you.
According to Google Flights, the most popular spring break destinations in 2023 are:
- San Juan, Puerto Rico – While Nicaragua might not be on your spring-break radar, the laid-back atmosphere at San Juan del Sur, the country’s premier surfing hub, will banish any doubts. Take surf lessons and experience some of the area’s world-class breaks, or hop around the neighboring coastline to visit the nearby string of glistening beaches: Playa Maderas, Playa Majagual, Playa El Coco, Playa Hermosa…the list goes on and on. Party animals, don’t despair: down an ice-cold Toña or a stout rum cocktail at one of the town’s lively bars, try craft beer at the local cervecería or take a boozy catamaran cruise out into the bay.
- New Orleans, Louisiana – New Orleans is a Louisiana city on the Mississippi River, near the Gulf of Mexico. Nicknamed the “Big Easy,” it’s known for its round-the-clock nightlife, vibrant live-music scene and spicy, singular cuisine reflecting its history as a melting pot of French, African and American cultures. Embodying its festive spirit is Mardi Gras, the late-winter carnival famed for raucous costumed parades and street parties.
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – Punta Cana, the easternmost tip of the Dominican Republic, abuts the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It’s a region known for its 32km stretch of beaches and clear waters. The Bávaro area and Punta Cana combine to form what’s known as La Costa del Coco, or the Coconut Coast, an area of lavish, all-inclusive resorts. It’s popular for zip-lining, windsurfing, kayaking and sailing.
- Montego Bay, Jamaica – Montego Bay, the capital of Saint James Parish on Jamaica’s north coast, is a major cruise ship port with numerous beach resorts and golf courses outside its commercial core. Popular beaches include Doctor’s Cave Beach and Walter Fletcher Beach, home to an amusement park. There’s also snorkelling and diving at coral reefs in the protected waters of Montego Bay Marine Park.
- Fort Myers, Florida – Fort Myers is a city in and the county seat and commercial center of Lee County, Florida, United States. The Census Bureau’s Population Estimates Program calculated that the city’s population was 92,245 in 2021, ranking the city the 370th-most-populous in the country.
- Rome, Italy –
- Rome is without doubt one the most beautiful cities in the world; every year millions of tourists come from around the world to admire the treasures and masterpieces of Roman art and architecture. Rome is the capital city of Italy. It is also the capital of the Lazio region, the centre of the Metropolitan City of Rome, and a special comune named Comune di Roma Capitale
- San José del Cabo, Mexico – San José del Cabo is a resort city on the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California peninsula. It’s known for its sandy beaches and colonial buildings. The San José missionary church, rebuilt in 1940, faces Plaza Mijares in the heart of the historic district. Nearby art galleries exhibit work by local artists. East of the city is San José Estuary, a nature reserve with bird species like hummingbirds, ibis and herons.
- Charleston, South Carolina – Charleston, the South Carolina port city founded in 1670, is defined by its cobblestone streets, horse-drawn carriages and pastel antebellum houses, particularly in the elegant French Quarter and Battery districts. The Battery promenade and Waterfront Park both overlook Charleston Harbor, while Fort Sumter, a federal stronghold where the first shots of the Civil War rang out, lies across the water.
- Key West, Florida – Key West, a U.S. island city, is part of the Florida Keys archipelago. It’s also Florida’s southernmost point, lying roughly 90 miles north of Cuba. Famed for its pastel-hued, conch-style houses, it’s a cruise-ship stop also accessible from the mainland via the Overseas Highway. It’s known more for its coral reefs – destinations for diving and snorkeling – than for its beaches.
- Las Vegas, Nevada – Las Vegas, often known simply as Vegas, is the 25th-most populous city in the United States, the most populous city in the state of Nevada, and the county seat of Clark County. The city anchors the Las Vegas Valley metropolitan area and is the largest city within the greater Mojave Desert.
You can still book cheap flights for spring break
The good news for travelers is that even though average airline ticket prices have jumped, there are still affordable airfares to be found. Utilizing the right search tools and booking windows can yield cheap flights and plenty of savings.
Time your purchase just right
Google studied airfares between 2018 and 2022 and found that average prices for domestic trips are lowest when booking 44 days ahead of time. For spring break flights (travel in March and April) that window drops to 38 days out. So now’s the time to purchase flights for April vacations.
Use the Google Flights Explore Map
In addition to its regular search feature, Google Flights has a tool called Explore Map, which plots a variety of flights around the world from your home airport. It’s interactive and repopulates new flight deals as you move the map to different regions, so it can be especially useful for inspiration.
Some examples of cheap flights from New York that it is currently highlighting include deals to some of the most popular spring break destinations like: round-trip to San Juan from $158 in late April; round-trip to New Orleans from $80 in late March; round-trip to Rome from $488 in April; and roundtrip to San Jose Del Cabo from $312 in early March.
Other current Explore Map deals include roundtrip flights from New York to Tromsø, Norway from $609 in early May; to Paris from $444 in mid-April; to Lagos from $745 in late March; to Los Angeles from $188 at the end of April; and to Miami from $74 in March.
Fly during the middle of the week
An easy way to save money on airfare is to avoid flying on weekends. Try booking flights for Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday—they’ve recently been 12 percent cheaper than weekend departures on average. In fact, according to one Expedia report, travelers who start a domestic trip by flying on Wednesday usually save an average of 15 percent on airfare. For international flights, departing mid-week can save up to 20 percent.