Who else already has snow on the ground?
For those of us who live somewhere brutal winters (that apparently start in October), looking ahead to a warm winter getaway to is vital. Even if it’s just a weekend or a short trip, an escape makes surviving these months easier.
Of course, the coronavirus pandemic has put a major dent in almost everyone’s travel plans. Many international destinations remain closed to American travelers, and trying to plan any trip amid all this uncertainty may seem impossible.
Though we know it’s difficult to plan anything right now – and painful to think about winter – you must think ahead. There are plenty of warm-weather destinations in the U.S. and abroad that can make for a tropical getaway in the coming months. And whether you’re flying next month or next February, the best time to book your winter vacation is … right now.
Book Now, Travel Later
Why do you need to start looking now? Because even though winter feels far away right now, you can often save on flights – especially to warm-weather and international destinations – by booking 60-plus days in advance.
We often find that booking flights two to six months in advance is the sweet spot for finding cheap flights. And while the rules behind when to score cheap flights have changed during coronavirus, this same rule still holds true.
Starting your search for a cheap winter getaway early also gives you some buffer time to wait for the best flight deal possible. Once it’s already winter, demand skyrockets, making it harder to find a cheap flight deal. To ensure your winter getaway doesn’t break the bank, start with a cheap flight deal and build your trip out from there.
But this year, in particular, it pays off to plan ahead. Right now, airlines are offering fee-free changes and cancellations for flights booked before the end of the year. That means you can book a flight today for travel in 2021 and change or cancel it free (for a voucher) down the road if need be.
The No. 1 Tip for Booking a Cheaper Winter Getaway
Now, don’t panic: You’ve still got plenty of time to plan!
The first rule of booking a crazy cheap winter getaway – or any cheap flight – is to be flexible! Let the cheap flight guide your destination choice and trip dates.
Instead of deciding on a location first, keep your mind and options open to whatever flight deal comes your way. Don’t care where you go, so long as it’s warm? Google Flights Explore is the perfect tool to search for a cheap flight if you’re open to going anywhere a good deal can take you.
And don’t commit to exact dates or start booking hotel reservations or tours before book a flight. It’s the most common and costly planning mistake that travelers make, often costing hundreds of dollars on flights by locking into dates too early.
Instead, let the flight deals come to you, and see which destinations match with your winter availability. You’ll be able to save rather than picking dates first, getting stuck with higher airfare on those dates.
How to Find a Cheap Winter Flight Deal
Looking for something a little more tropical? We can help.
Our Thrifty Traveler Premium service finds the hottest domestic and international flight deals and instantly notifies our subscribers. These deals are $250-$500 off average airfare costs, for the price of a (fancy) coffee each month!
So let’s take a look a some of the cheap tropical getaways we’ve already been finding for winter 2021 travels.
If you’re looking for an international getaway this winter, Mexico and the Caribbean is your best bet. Mexico is open to U.S. travelers – and no COVID-19 is currently test required. Best of all, we’re seeing some rock-bottom prices to hotspots like Cancún (CUN), Cozumel (CZM), Puerto Vallarta (PVR), and Cabo (SJD) for winter and spring 2021.
Need an island escape, but don’t want to bring the passport? We recently alerted Thrifty Traveler Premium members of half-off nonstop fares to the U.S. Virgin Islands for winter, with fares as low as just $225 round-trip!
Prefer to stay within the mainland U.S. this year? Head south for an easy winter getaway to some of our favorite domestic winter destinations like Phoenix, Myrtle Beach, San Diego, New Orleans, Miami, Orlando, and Austin. This recent deal we found to Florida’s Gulf Coast was available this winter through summer 2021, including winter holiday availability!
Here’s a roundup of some other recent Thrifty Traveler Premium deals we found to warm-weather domestic destinations:
- Las Vegas under $199 (Nov. – June 2021 – Was: $375)
- San Diego under $198 (Nov. – Sept. 2021 – Was: $425)
- The Hawaiian Islands for $465 (March 2021 – Was: $700)
- Long Beach under $186 (Winter 2021 – Was: $400)
- MSP to Phoenix, AZ for $84 (Nonstop / inc’l NYE – Was: $350)
Love winter and the hobbies that come with it? We’ve been finding rare sub-$200 fares to ski favorites like Vail, Salt Lake City, Steamboat Springs, Denver, and more! These deals were available from nearly every U.S. airport for winter and spring 2021.
These deals are the perfect example of the power of waiting for the flight deal to come to you. Being open to different destinations and waiting for a cheap flight can save you a ton. Let the crazy cheap flight deal guide your winter getaway choice!
Winter is coming. And despite all the uncertainty clouding travel right now, it’s not too early to start planning your warm-weather getaway. In fact, this is the perfect time to start looking.
Get our flight deal alerts for $5.99/month and wait for a cheap flight that catches your eye to book!