Need to plan a cheap trip for spring? Consult this list of affordable destinations, which are offering great value to travelers at this time of year. You’ll find plenty of beach-side locations on this list, as well as alternative vacation ideas for a spring break that doesn’t involve the beach.
As noted in SmarterTravel’s cheapest places to fly list for spring 2019, “Australia is routinely on sale nowadays” with airfare sales common to Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney. However, this year the west coast, including Perth, is also a cheaper place to fly to with airfare down 30 percent over last year. While monitoring Scott’s Cheap Flights, I’ve seen countless round-trip airfare sales to the continent recently in the $500 and $600 range.
Where to stay: Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney hotel prices are particularly low right now with four-star properties offering nightly rates between $100 and $150. Even the trendy, five-star Ovolo Woolloomooloo in Sydney has rates as low as $117.
What to do: Make the most of a trip Down Under and book a group tour, like Intrepid’s Esperance & Southwest Adventure. Prices start at $810 for the six-day trip. You can hit Western Australia’s national parks and the weather will be fair in the country’s fall season. Also, in Sydney, be sure to catch the Vivid Light Festival that occurs in late May — the Opera House and other landmarks are adorned in a spectacular light show that shouldn’t be missed on a spring trip.
As this tourist destination increases in popularity, airfare is dropping due to new direct flights from Boston, which are causing increased competition on the East Coast. According to SmarterTravel, you can expect round-trip airfare to cost you about $500 from Chicago, D.C. and New York.
Where to stay: Riads, or boutique guest houses typically located in a city’s medina, are more affordable than resorts in Morocco and found in popular cities like Fes and Marrakech. For example, the traditionally designed Hotel & Spa Riad Al Jazira costs under $100 per night. And for even lower nightly rates, plan to stay in smaller cities like the blue-painted Chefchaouen and seaside Essaouira.
What to do: Spring is one of the best times to visit this North African country. I’ve traveled to Morocco in mid-March and the weather was mild and dry — ideal for market wandering and desert camping.
Note: Ramadan occurs from May 5 to June 4 this year and may result in some closures due to the religious holiday.
Greater Palm Springs, California
Thanks to new airfare routes and almost-always sunny weather, spring 2019 is the best time to travel to Palm Springs. Increased competition puts fares as low as $49 round trip from Chicago and $200 from New York, according to SmarterTravel. Just make sure to avoid peak travel dates in late April, when the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals will increase prices due to popular demand.
Where to stay: The Saguaro Palm Springs is that colorful retro hotel you see all over Instagram. And while it makes for an envy-inducing vacationgram, the hotel is affordable with rates that start at $134 in the spring. Note that this hotel is known for its party scene, which is great if that’s the type of spring break you want. If it’s not what you’re looking for, check out the Skylark Hotel Palm Springs, where rates start at $169.
What to do: Enjoy Palm Springs before the heat of summer hits with its famous music festivals, pool parties and spas. Get your workout in with easy day trips to Joshua Tree and nearby canyons for hiking. And because Greater Palm Springs is comprised of nine different cities across 94 square miles, you have plenty of shops, restaurants and museums to explore.
For a cheap Mexican spring break, head to the city of Guadalajara. With round-trip flights becoming cheaper to this city than to other destinations like Mexico City, you can enjoy a similar cultural experience for a better value. As reported by SmarterTravel, prices are 14 percent lower this year for spring; be sure to check out low-cost carrier Volaris for savings.
Where to stay: Average nightly rates for a spring stay in Guadalajara are under $100 per night. Check out the Krystal Urban Guadalajara for its location near popular restaurants and large and comfortable rooms.
What to do: It may not be your typical Mexican spring break destination, but in Guadalajara, you’ll have the unique opportunity to take a day trip to the city of Tequila. Of course, there will be tequila tasting opportunities, but the city’s cultural and culinary offerings are really what makes it shine. Be sure to explore the artisan area of Tlaquepaque, the Historical Center and the local markets for fresh produce. If you’re spending more than just a few days in Guadalajara, you can also take a day trip to Chapala, home to the largest lake in Mexico.
Flight searches to Pensacola (a 35-minute drive to Navarre) yield fares under the $300 round-trip mark from Boston and New York during early April and May. From Atlanta, April flights are as low as under $200 round trip as seen on Kayak and Airfarewatchdog.
Where to stay: The Best Western Navarre Waterfront is a solid budget option for families looking for beach and pool access with starting rates at $87 per night. You can book a campsite or cabin on the beach at the Navarre Beach Camping Resort, which also offers full-sized vacation rentals at reasonable rates.
What to do: With a top-rated beach, cute surrounding towns and access to nature activities like forest walking trails and kayaking, Navarre Beach is an underrated Floridian spring break destination.
The Pacific Northwest
If Seattle or Portland, Oregon, are on your bucket list, this spring is one of the most affordable times to experience either or both of these two cities. Especially if you make the most of these cheap airfares and go road tripping. With searches on Skyscanner to Seattle, I found flights under $100 round trip from Los Angeles in April and there are even more savings to be had from the East Coast. In March, flights from New York are under $100 and just $150 in April. Boston also has fares under $130 to Portland in March and same for New York in May.
Where to stay: Portland stands out this season for its low hotel rates. Marketed as an urban escape, the Dossier Hotel is downtown but still connects you with the outdoors. The concierge team helps arrange hikes or a trip to the city’s wellness social club, Knot Springs. Starting rates are $125 per night in spring.
What to do: For spring events in the Pacific Northwest, you can travel for the Portland Rose Festival, Seattle Restaurant Week, Emerald City ComicCon and the University District Street Fair. For outdoor activities, enjoy the mild (and sometimes sunny) weather in late spring at the Mt. Hood Territory near Portland, or Washington’s Rattlesnake Ledge in Snoqualmie Pass.
Despite recent safety concerns and legality confusion, Cuba is a safe, affordable and yes, legal spring break destination. Flights to Havana from hubs like Atlanta, Boston, Miami and New York average in the $300 range (as seen on Kayak) round trip for late March and early and late April, as well as the entire month of May.
Where to stay: Casa particulars — or guest houses — are affordable and help the local economy, and you can even book them on TripAdvisor. While hotels are notoriously expensive in Cuba, NH Capri La Habana has nightly rates starting at $156 per night. Or, opt to stay in the beach area of Varadero. Sol Palmeras has nightly rates starting at $142 for spring dates.
What to do: Enjoy the local food, culture and early celebrations for the 500th anniversary of Havana coming this November. For spring break activities, you can visit Las Terrazas, a nature reserve with hiking trails, or Varadero for its beaches.
Note: For U.S. travelers, booking a tour group is still the easiest way to legally travel to Cuba. G Adventures offers Cuba tours starting at $679 for a six-day trip.
As the weather warms up, so do the city’s outdoor events, and prices for airfare and nightly hotel rates stay low. This urban metropolis owes its European flair to its French heritage and with the current exchange rate, on-the-ground costs are almost 30 percent off.
Flights are inexpensive from East Coast cities like Boston and New York, averaging under $200 (for March through May) round trip as seen on Kayak. And a flight search from West Coast cities like Los Angeles and San Francisco shows average prices around $350 to $400 round trip for April and May.
Where to stay: Hotel Le Dauphin Montreal Centre-Ville is an affordable spring break hotel option with nightly rates starting as low as $95 per night, including breakfast and Wi-Fi.
What to do: Check out the Montreal Botanical Garden for the butterfly release, indulge in the annual Croissant Festival, enjoy the Piknic Electronik shows at Jean-Drapeau Park, wander the city’s museums for free on Museums Day in May; taste-test some microbrews at Beer Fest, or visit in early June to watch the daredevil drivers race in the Canadian Grand Prix.
Hawaii is still cheaper than it has been in years past, especially for the spring, so make sure to set a deal alert on Airfarewatchdog if an affordable spring break trip to Hawaii is on your radar. Fares for spring travel are as low as $500 round trip from places like Atlanta, Austin, Baltimore and Boston.
Pennsylvania also scores major affordability points for its spring activities, with license-free fishing days and free entrance to state parks, like Cherry Springs State Park, home to the state’s own ‘’Grand Canyon” and a dark sky reserve. Plus, it’s accessible for a weekend trip by train or car from most of the Midwest and East Coast.
Editor’s note: Hotel prices were taken from prices seen on TripAdvisor, SmarterTravel’s parent company. All prices were found using flexible search dates from March to May and were accurate at the time of writing. No prices are guaranteed.
This story originally appeared on SmarterTravel.com.
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