Whether you’re itching to go on a family vacation or a spring break trip with friends, keep this in mind: Airfare is expected to rise this spring, and finding the best travel deals might be tough.
According to the travel website Hopper, domestic round-trip airfare is expected to increase in March and into June 2019. Here’s a quick look at Hopper’s four-month airfare forecast and month-over-month change during the spring:
- March: $223, 2.4% increase
- April: $229, 2.3% increase
- May: $245, 7.3% increase
- June: $251, 2.2% increase
This doesn’t mean you have to ditch your spring travel plans, though. You just need to know where to look to find cheap flights.
Click to See: The Best Travel Destinations for Your Money in 2019
How to Find Cheap Flights This Spring
With airfares going up in spring 2019, it’s more important than ever to identify destinations that give you the most bang for your buck. Plus, there are other savvy ways you can find affordable flights.
1. Visit Destinations That Will Have Flight Deals
Spring is a tricky time for finding flight deals. The cheapest rates for the majority of destinations fall in January and September, according to Hipmunk. However, there are some travel destinations that stand out for their deals during April and May.
Here are five destinations whose median flight prices are lowest during several spring months, according to Hipmunk:
- Aspen, Colorado: May – $487
- Buffalo, New York: April – $294
- Burbank, California: April – $245
- Colorado Springs, Colorado: May – $257
- San Jose, California: May – $278
Another way to reduce your travel costs is to target destinations that have experienced declines in airfare. Below is a breakdown (provided by Hipmunk) of the decrease in airfare from 2018 to 2019, with cities ranked from the largest decline to the smallest.
Of the 20 destinations, 10 cities are in Europe, five are in the U.S., two are in South America, one is in Asia and one is in Australia.
|City||2019 Median Flight Booking Price||2018 Flight Median Booking Price||Year-over-Year % Decrease|
|Buenos Aires, Argentina||$1,191||$1,499||20.5%|
Europe really seems to be the winner here in terms of getting the best deals. The average airfare to Florence dropped by more than half, airfare to Zurich dropped by more than a third, and airfare to Madrid fell more than a quarter. South America is the second-best, with average airfare to Buenos Aires dropping by a fifth and São Paulo’s airfare dropping as well, though not as significantly.
Among the U.S. cities with cheaper flights this year, GOBankingRates also found these cities have experienced a lower year-over-year cost for groceries, restaurants, transportation and utilities — which means your dollar will go further when visiting:
- Saint Louis
- San Diego
2. Search the Best Online Travel Sites
You can also find cheap flight deals with some internet savviness. There are tons of online travel sites where you can shop for the best prices, or use aggregator sites that do it for you. The best travel sites, according to Reviews.com, include:
- Booking.com: Best Airfare Site
- Kayak: Best for Flexible Planning
- Hipmunk: Best for Comparing Features
The Google Flights search engine is a very useful tool, too. Besides rounding up various airfares and carriers, Google Flights also provides “Tips” and a “Price Graph” tool that help you strategize on saving money. The former includes travel guides, resources and information about if prices are likely to rise or go down. The Price Graph tool shows average airfares and how they vary depending on different travel dates.
Click to See: How Google Flights Can Help You Score Affordable Travel
3. Use the Best Travel Rewards Cards
Travel rewards cards can also help you find cheap flights. And the good news is there’s plenty to choose from.
For example, the Discover it Miles card charges no annual fee and you earn 1.5 miles for each dollar you spend on anything, not just travel purchases. For straight up rewards points, a card like Capital One Venture gives you two miles per dollar spent on anything and 10 miles per dollar spent on participating hotels through January 2020.
By combining strategies — targeting destinations where airfare has gotten cheaper, choosing destinations based on the cheapest month to travel, using online travel sites to find the best prices and utilizing travel rewards credit cards — you can make your vacation more affordable this spring.
Read more from travel experts who share their tips for saving for a vacation.
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