As summer comes to a close, many people are already looking back fondly on their vacation and counting the days until their next one. However, some savvy consumers with a little more flexibility in their schedule might still be looking forward to a vacation later this year instead of next.
Why? Because choosing to travel outside of the most popular times can save you a significant amount on your airfare. Summer vacations might be the norm for most, but those willing to break out of that pattern can save as much as 41 percent off of the typical cost of a flight. That’s why travel site Hipmunk puts out its annual travel planning guide that tracks what month offers the steepest discounts on airfare across some 30 American states and Washington, D.C.
Here’s a closer look at the cheapest times to visit these popular destinations so that you can save big on your next vacation.
Cheapest Time to Visit Alaska
It might not come as too much of a shock that flights to Alaska are cheaper in the dead of winter. The $437 average cost of a flight to Anchorage in February means that, for anyone who doesn’t mind the cold, it’s the best time to take your trip. If you’re looking for a fun and wholly Alaskan activity, check out Anchorage’s 75-year-old Fur Rendezvous Festival — also called the Fur Rondy — which takes place during the last week in February and the first week of March.
Cheapest Time to Visit Arizona
If you always wanted to visit Arizona but can’t stand the heat, there’s some great news: The cheapest month to visit Arizona is also typically its coolest. Not only will you avoid the 100-degree temperatures of the summer months, but the average cost of a flight to Phoenix in January is just $282, almost 20 percent below the average.
Cheapest Time to Visit California
When: January and February
California is an enormous state with a pretty diverse range of places to visit, but the beginning of the year tends to be your best bet. In Southern California, a ticket to San Diego is at its cheapest in January at an average price of $302, and Los Angeles bottoms out a month later in February at $296. But if the Bay Area is more your speed, go with San Francisco in February when it’s just $351. If you can’t travel early in the year, Oakland’s cheapest time to visit is in October when flights are just $215.
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Cheapest Time to Visit Colorado
Luckily for the skiers out there, the cheapest time to visit the Mile High City is right smack in the middle of winter, with flights to Denver in January costing an average of $228. You can enjoy the city and still find time to hit the slopes at any of the ski resorts within a reasonable drive.
Cheapest Time to Visit Florida
When: January and September
The best time to visit Florida will actually vary depending on what you have in mind. If you’re hoping to see South Florida and the famous Miami Beach, January has the lowest average ticket price for Miami at $295 and nearby West Palm Beach at $350. However, venture further north and September is the time to go, with Tampa and Orlando all seeing the lowest average ticket price falling in September. Tickets to Fort Lauderdale, which is located between Miami and West Palm Beach, are also lowest in September and will run you around $227.
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Cheapest Time to Visit Georgia
When: January and February
If you have Georgia on your mind, you had better hope it’s at the start of the year or you might wind up paying more than you need to. The average cost of a flight to Atlanta in January is just $231, a 21 percent discount on the $291 you can expect to pay the rest of the year. If Savannah’s more your style, wait a month and visit in February when ticket prices are at their lowest with the average airfare hitting $328.
Cheapest Time to Visit Hawaii
When: January, February and September
There’s no shortage of beautiful spots to visit in Hawaii, but whether the cheapest time falls at the start of the year or in early fall depends on which island you’re looking to visit. Honolulu on Oahu has the cheapest flights in January for an average of $687, and Lihue on Kauai falls a month later in February when you can expect to pay about $606. However, Kahului on Maui or Kailua-Kona on the Island of Hawaii are both at their lowest price in September at $534 and $626, respectively.
Cheapest Time to Visit Idaho
Once again, avid skiers can rejoice at the news that the cheapest time to visit Idaho is also right smack in the middle of the skiing season. A flight to Boise falls to an average of $236 in January, and there are ski resorts as close as 16 miles from the city.
Cheapest Time to Visit Illinois
Chicago in February is certainly not for the faint of heart, but if you’re not dissuaded by cold weather, flights that month average a cost of just $215 apiece — a discount of over 25 percent compared to the rest of the year. So, if you’re confident you can bundle up and still enjoy yourself, a steaming slice of deep dish pizza in February is worth considering.
Cheapest Time to Visit Indiana
A flight to Indianapolis — known as the Crossroads of America — is at its cheapest in February when the average cost is $276. But there’s plenty of family fun to be had there, including the largest children’s museum in the world — the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis.
Cheapest Time to Visit Louisiana
Whether it’s exquisite Cajun food in the French Quarter or catching a jazz show at the legendary Preservation Hall, New Orleans is a city filled with some of the most uniquely American flavor in the country. And if you’re planning a visit on a budget, consider August when average flights are at their cheapest — just $321 compared to a year-round average of $383.
Cheapest Time to Visit Maryland
Whether you’re looking to see the birthplace of “the Great Bambino” or the fort that inspired “The Star Spangled Banner,” Baltimore is the destination you’re looking for. And if you want to catch both without spending more than you have to, plan on visiting in September when the average flight costs just $269.
Cheapest Time to Visit Massachusetts
Few cities are as steeped in American history as Boston, where you can walk the Freedom Trail to see everything from the Paul Revere House to the Bunker Hill Monument to the USS Constitution. And although you might find the weather a little nippy in January, you’ll also find a cheaper flight — $284, on average.
Cheapest Time to Visit Michigan
Detroit is a city steeped in culture, from the Motown Museum to the incredible collection at the Detroit Institute of Art. September isn’t only the cheapest time to fly into the city — an average flight is $274 during that month — but the fall colors and fresh apple cider also make it one of the best times to visit Michigan.
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Cheapest Time to Visit Minnesota
February might bring frigid temperatures in Minnesota, but it also brings low costs for flights. A flight into Minneapolis in February is just $264 — a whopping 41 percent discount on the $451 you would normally expect to spend.
Cheapest Time to Visit Missouri
When the calendar turns to September, plenty of bargain hunters might be singing “Kansas City, here I come,” as the price of flights into the city reach their lowest at an average of $337. And Missouri brings a wide variety of underrated places to see — from St. Louis’ gateway arch on the east side of the state to the National World War I Museum and Memorial in Kansas City to the west.
Cheapest Time to Visit Montana
Montana’s stunning natural beauty is always on display, but if you want to take it in without spending more than needed, consider visiting in September. That’s when flights into Bozeman — right between Glacier and Yellowstone National Parks — reach their lowest point with an average cost of $461.
Cheapest Time to Visit Nevada
When: February and April
The “cheapest” time to visit Nevada might have more to do with your luck at the tables than the cost of your flight, but the time to hit Las Vegas without spending extra on your airfare would be February when tickets fall to an average cost of $250. If your February is booked, consider a visit to the Biggest Little City in the World in April — flights to Reno are cheapest in April at an average of $308.
Cheapest Time to Visit New Jersey
The Garden State might have the highest population density in the country, but it will always make room for one more if you’re interested in visiting. The cheapest time to visit is January when the average price of a flight falls to $304 a pop.
Cheapest Time to Visit New Mexico
Whether you’re interested in visiting the state’s famed pueblos or the Los Alamos laboratory, you’ll most likely find the cheapest tickets to New Mexico in January. The average flight is just $312 in the first month of the year, the lowest it gets.
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Cheapest Time to Visit New York
You’ll be able to see all the famed New York landmarks for less if you’re ready to brave the city in winter. January has the lowest average price for a ticket at $289, giving you a little extra cash to do the Big Apple in style.
Cheapest Time to Visit North Carolina
When: March and September
The right time to visit the Tar Heel State depends on where you’re hoping to go. If you want to visit Charlotte, the cheapest average flight comes in March when they hit a low of $322. However, a trip to Durham might be better suited for September when the average cost of a flight is at its lowest at $293.
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Cheapest Time to Visit Ohio
When: January and August
The regions of Ohio offer different times of year that are ideal for a visit. Cleveland — seated right on Lake Erie to the north — has the cheapest average flight in August at $284. Columbus, though, right in central Ohio is better to visit in January when an average flight goes for just $305.
Cheapest Time to Visit Oregon
The average price to fly into Portland and begin your vacation in the Pacific Northwest hits a low point at the beginning of the year when it costs just $256. So if you’re interested in stopping by the Rose City, consider doing so soon after turning the calendar over before it gets more expensive.
Cheapest Time to Visit Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is full of wonderful vacation ideas, from the Delaware River to the Steel City. But if it’s cheesesteaks and the Liberty Bell that tickle your fancy — and you don’t mind braving some colder weather to save money — plan on going in January when the average ticket price bottoms out at $306.
Cheapest Time to Visit South Carolina
If you’re looking to celebrate our nation’s birth in one of its original 13 colonies, one option could be South Carolina. Given that July is the cheapest month to fly there — with the average ticket into Charleston going for $412 — it might be one of your better bets.
Cheapest Time to Visit Tennessee
Tennessee’s cheapest time to visit falls in January, when the average cost for a ticket to Nashville runs for $323. So, if you’re interested in seeing Music City and want to keep more cash to spend on shows, consider making it a post-Christmas vacation.
Cheapest Time to Visit Texas
When: August, September and October
The Lone Star State doesn’t just have one ideal time to visit. If you’re looking to keep Austin weird in person, consider visiting in September when the average price of a flight is $321. But if Dallas is more your style, visit in August when a ticket goes for an average of $273. And if it’s the Gulf Coast that you want to see, a flight to Houston is cheapest in October at an average price of $301.
Cheapest Time to Visit Utah
Utah’s natural beauty can make it a pretty spectacular place to vacation, and October is the ideal month to go and save money on getting there. The average flight into Salt Lake City is just $312.
Cheapest Time to Visit Washington
If you want to visit the headquarters of Starbucks or see the gorgeous Cascades Range, January is the month when it will cost you the least to get there. The average price of a ticket is just $294 in that month.
More on Travel
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Lia Sestric contributed to the reporting for this article.
To find the cheapest months to fly, Hipmunk analyzed the average booking prices for round-trip airfare departing from the U.S. between June 1, 2016, and Nov. 30, 2017, for flights that departed and returned in 2017.