Looking for cheap spring break flights? Follow this guide to an inexpensive trip

Looking for cheap spring break flights? Follow this guide to an inexpensive trip

For many travelers and want-to-be travelers filled with wanderlust, spring break is an irresistible time to travel. Who doesn’t need a break from the crippling cold or winter doldrums?

But too many people stay home because they erroneously believe flights for spring break getaways are too expensive.

That's not necessarily true.

All you have to do is follow this simple guide from when you buy, and you’ll be on your way to a cheap spring break vacation, whether it's enjoying the beach, hitting the ski slopes, exploring a big city or even heading abroad to Europe or beyond.

1. Book now

Spring break dates vary depending on where you live, but everyone needs to start shopping now. This is a popular time to fly, and prices are already on the rise (and will jump dramatically the week of departure). Bottom line: Book your tickets now, and do it on a comparison shopping site; that way, you’ll know you got the best deal.

2. Fly on cheaper days

If you’ll be flying within the U.S., avoid travel on Fridays and Sundays; these are almost always the most expensive days to fly. Instead, depart on Tuesday or Wednesday and return Saturday (or do the reverse). For example, nonstop roundtrip fare from Chicago to Fort Myers, Florida, at the end of February is $75 from Tuesday to Saturday but $172 from Sunday to Sunday.

Not every route will see such savings, but always check by pricing out different itineraries; it could save you from doubling the price of your airfare.

3. Choose a cheap destination

If you have your heart set on a special destination and don’t care about saving money, go for it (but use the other tips here to cut costs as much as possible). If, however, you’re looking for a great place for a getaway and you do care about costs, here are some cool places that rank among this year’s travel bargains:

  • Beaches: Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and Miami; San Diego (depending on where you fly from).
  • Skiing: Boston; Denver.
  • Big cities: Chicago; Los Angeles; New York; Seattle.
  • Europe: London; Paris; Madrid; and Barcelona, Spain.

4. Pack the right bag

I'm passionate about only taking carry-ons instead of big suitcases, and there are three reasons for this:

  • Many airlines don’t charge a bag fee for carry-ons.
  • Carry-ons travel by your side, so airlines can’t lose them.
  • You won’t waste time at the baggage carousel; once you land, you can walk out the door.

If you’re worried about not having enough room in a carry-on, wear heavy items like boots and your coat (and stuff the pockets with socks and other small items).

5. Don’t miss out on any freebies

Once you're on your trip, if you get tired of snowboarding or basking on the beach, be sure to check the official visitor and tourism site for your destination; these often include lists of free (or very cheap) things to see and do, and many also have downloadable coupons good for bars and restaurants.

Finally, check out shuttle and public transportation options. Some ski areas offer free service from airports, and nearby hotels frequently have free rides, too. Call ahead to check. Also look at the airport’s website, which usually tells you how to connect with public transportation.

With luck, you’ll save a lot of money, which means you can take another fun trip for summer!