Another year, another spring break trip up in the air.
With COVID-19 still spreading rapidly along with travel restrictions, travel remains complicated. And then there’s the matter of price: This year and every year, flights to escape the cold for a spring break getaway can seem expensive. But they don’t have to be.
If you’re determined to get away this spring or simply preparing for next year, our Thrifty Traveler Premium flight deal team finds tons of cheap spring break flights. We’ve got strategies to get you somewhere on the cheap, as well as some good options to leave below zero temperatures behind for a change of scenery for less.
The Best Options for This Spring Break
As the pandemic rages on, spring break is going to look much different this year. And it may not be the right time to travel at all. But if you are heading out for some fresh air and sunshine, here are a few things to keep in mind.
U.S. travel is your best bet. With new international travel restrictions making travel abroad more complicated, domestic travel is likely your best option for a cheap Spring Break flight – and trip. Be sure to check our state-by-state guide for current entry requirements and restrictions. And keep in mind that additional restrictions on domestic travel could be around the corner.
But there is some good news. Domestic flights are cheaper than we’ve ever seen before, with fares dropping as low as $50 roundtrip nationwide! Thrifty Traveler Premium members get instant alerts for cheap flights like this:
Looking for something unique? Here are some of the U.S. landmarks, cities, and sites that will make you feel like you’re abroad. Or finally make this the year you see Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands. You’ll need a COVID-19 test to get in, but no passport required! And no COVID-19 test is required on your return flight, since they’re part of the U.S.
Heading internationally? Check this first. If Mexico, the Caribbean, or another international destination is on your Spring Break docket this year, you need to know two things. First, make sure you know the testing or quarantine requirements to enter the country. Second, make a plan to get the required COVID-19 test abroad before you board your flight back to the U.S.
Thrifty Tip: Print out this international travel COVID-19 checklist to make sure you’ve got a plan.
Pick a warm-weather destination with socially distant activities. You’re probably already dreaming of a warm-weather escape anyway, but here’s another reason to head south: You can spend most of your days outdoors. Head to a national park, grab takeout and make a picnic to the beach, and schedule some hikes and ocean time into your itinerary. We’ve been finding rock-bottom prices to national park gateways across the country lately:
Did you know fourth graders (and their families!) get into national parks free for a year? And if you’re not a fourth grader (or a parent of one), here’s how to do a national parks trip for free on points and miles.
Find Cheap Spring Break Flights with Google Flights Explore
There’s just one tool that’s fit for the job: Google Flights Explore.
Google Flights is the best travel search engine out there. And if you’re looking for a cheap flight, there’s no better tool than this.
Google Flights has an unadvertised feature that will help you book a cheap getaway. It’s perfect for those times when you want to get out of town, but don’t care where you’re heading … so long as it’s cheap.
Google Flights Explore can help you find the cheapest ticket out of town. Your search can be as broad as you’d like – anywhere in the world – or limit it to the U.S. – or even a specific state. You can dial in your dates for a specific period, or keep it more open like “a week in March.”
Thrifty Tip: Have a specific timeframe you need to travel? Enter it, but be sure to watch for alerts from Google when shifting your flights by just a day or two can save you big bucks.
Then just let Explore find you the cheapest destination.
We love this feature because Google still gives you the power to set the ground rules while also showing you tons of destinations you may have never considered. Here’s a look at how to use Google Flights Explore to book a cheap Spring Break getaway.
How to Use Google Flights Explore to Find a Cheap Getaway
Before getting started with the Explore feature, make sure you’re familiar with Google Flights itself. Be sure to read our guide on how to use Google Flights to find the cheapest flights.
Google doesn’t heavily promote Google Flights Explore, but it’s easy to find. Simply navigate to the Google Flights homepage at www.google.com/flights, click the Menu button and click the “Explore Map.” Or just type “flights.google.com/explore” into your web browser.
Google Flights Explore looks and operates much like Google Flights itself. The beauty of Google Flights Explore Map is just how much it lets you, well, explore. Begin by typing in your home airport if it hasn’t auto-populated for you.
To start, leave the destination box blank and hit search to explore all your options.
Then, you can type in any range of dates, or keep it open. For a Spring Break getaway, you could type the exact dates you want to be gone, or choose “Flexible dates” and select “Weekend in March,” for example. Then just drag the map to see what prices are to cities around the country or world!
You can similarly tailor your destination. It can be as broad as “The United States of America” or “Europe” or as specific as a given state or city. Either type in the area in the destination bar or drag the map to cover the area you want to search. A week trip to the Caribbean for Spring Break sounds pretty nice right about now!
The results will change as you move the map. If you need some heat in the southern U.S. but don’t care where you find it, just zoom in on that area and see what flights pop up. The cheapest fares and best deals will show in green on the map.
Got specific dates you want to travel on for Spring Break? No problem: you can still use the Explore feature. Simply choose your desired dates, and let the search continue. Just remember: flexibility with dates means cheaper flights!
Once you’ve zeroed in on a destination, click on the result. You can find the specific flights and even play around with the schedule to see if there are better dates at the same or similar prices. Somewhere warm for Spring Break? Sounds great to me!
Thrifty Tip: Read more about how to use Google Flights Explore.
Whether you just need to fuel your wanderlust, want to plan ahead for 2022, or are dead-set on jetting off somewhere this year, cheap spring break flights are in reach.
Use Google Flights Explore and book your cheap flight! Take these suggestions into consideration, and paired with a cheap flight, you’ll be on your way to sunshine and warm weather in no time.
And if you’re looking for the cheapest flights of all, give Thrifty Traveler Premium a try for $5.99 a month. Trust us: you do not want to miss out on these lowest-ever fares we’re seeing for spring through winter 2022.