Editor's Note: Those who choose to travel are strongly encouraged to check local government restrictions, rules, and safety measures related to COVID-19 and take personal comfort levels and health conditions into consideration before departure.
Spring break is just a few short months away, and this year, travelers could score some great deals to destinations around the United States and Mexico. Whether you’re dreaming of a Hawaii beach vacation or a trip to one of the country’s best cities, there’s a budget-friendly option for you. We teamed up with Kayak to curate a list of 10 affordable spring break trips. To find the best deals, Kayak considered the prices of flights from U.S. locations with search dates of Nov. 1, 2020 through Dec. 13, 2020 for spring break travel (looking at March 27, 2021 through April 3, 2021), compared to prices for the same dates a year ago.
Flight prices are down over 25% for these destinations, and travelers can find great deals on hotels or opt for an Airbnb to save a few more bucks on their spring break vacation.
In a statement shared with Travel + Leisure, Vanessa Kafka, Kayak’s head of product, said, “While travel has largely been on hold this year, people are slowly starting to get back out there. As they do, there are a number of factors to take into consideration. Are they more comfortable driving versus flying, staying in an apartment rental versus a hotel — the list is endless. For those who feel comfortable flying, fares are cheap and flexible. And waived change fees from airlines have made flexible travel more accessible.”
Here are 10 of the most affordable spring break trips for 2021, according to Kayak. If you’re thinking about travel, but not quite ready to book, Kayak can help: The Explore feature allows consumers to easily see important COVID-related information, and the Travel Restrictions map breaks down regulations by state or country. Some listed destinations may restrict travelers from certain areas or require visitors to quarantine. Of course, local restrictions are subject to change at any time, so be sure to check with the relevant authorities before planning a trip.
Destinations in the Northeast U.S.
Prices for flights to Philadelphia are down 52% year over year. If you aren’t enticed by the affordable airfares, the vibrant food scene and countless historical and cultural sites offer even more reasons to visit the City of Brotherly Love.
Boston is the second northeastern city on the list, with flight prices down 33% compared to last year. Temperatures begin warming up in late March, so visitors can take in historic attractions like the Freedom Trail, Faneuil Hall, Boston Common, and more.
Destinations in the South and West U.S.
They say everything’s bigger in Texas, but it seems flight costs are the exception, since prices are down 36% year over year. The massive city has plenty of affordable accommodation options, too, so you can worry more about finding the best Tex-Mex and less about the cost of your spring break trip.
Palm Springs, California
Flight prices are down 36% for Palm Springs, California. This desert oasis has everything you need for a relaxing spring vacation, and it’s the perfect home base for those wanting to explore Joshua Tree National Park. There are affordable hotel and Airbnb options, but you might be tempted to splurge on a luxe resort with your flight savings.
San Diego, California
San Diego offers another West Coast option for budget travelers this spring break, with flight prices down 33% year over year. There are so many great neighborhoods to check out, from the trendy Gaslamp Quarter to stunning La Jolla, in addition to plenty of things to do on and off the beach.
Destinations in Hawaii
If Hawaii is on your bucket list, you’re in luck: Three Hawaiian destinations are on this list, and Kailua-Kona had the largest flight price drop, with costs down 42%. From Kailua-Kona, you can explore the incredible natural beauty of the Island of Hawaii, including black-sand beaches and Hawaii Volcanoes National Park.
Flight prices to Honolulu are down 28%, making the Hawaiian capital city an attractive option for budget-conscious travelers. Located on Oahu, the city offers tons to see and do, including famous Waikiki Beach, Iolani Palace, the Pearl Harbor National Memorial, and more.
Prices for flights to Lihue, Hawaii, are down 27%. Lihue Airport is Kauai’s main airport, so it’s the gateway to exploring the rest of this beautiful island. At the time of publication, Kauai requires travelers to complete a 10-day mandatory quarantine (unlike the other islands that are accepting negative COVID-19 test results as a way to bypass a quarantine).
Affordable Spring Break Trips in Mexico
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
With prices for flights to Puerto Vallarta down 43% year over year, sun-seekers could find a great deal for spring break. Accommodation options range from luxe all-inclusive resorts to affordable hotels, so there’s something for every type of traveler.
Cancun, Quintana Roo
White-sand beaches and turquoise waters await travelers in Cancun, where flight prices are down 37% compared to last year. Opt for a worry-free spring break when you book an all-inclusive that offers meals, drinks, activities, and more in one price (there are great options for couples, groups, and even families).
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