Hayley Berg - Thu Jan 18 2024
It’s January, so what better time to start planning your trips for the year ahead? According to our latest data at Hopper, there’s good news for travelers thinking about 2024 trips. Both domestic and international airfare prices are down from what we saw this time last year. In fact, airfares to Mexico and Central America have dropped nearly 10% compared to 2023!
For those thinking about planning trips this year, our expert team at Hopper compiled the top travel booking hacks for 2024 to help you plan smarter and save more on trips this year. So, listen up!
For travelers flexible on when they fly, aiming for midweek departures for domestic flights is a simple way to save an average of $45 per ticket, or about 15%. Sunday will be the most expensive day of the week to depart on a trip and is typically a busy day in airports as travelers head home from weekends away.
For international travelers headed on longer haul trips, skip the Friday or Saturday departures to kick off your travel and instead aim for an early in the week start. Travel to the Caribbean and Mexico is cheapest if you depart early to mid week, Tuesday or Wednesday to save the most on airfare.
For travelers booking accommodations, skipping the weekend stays can offer huge savings off pricey hotel rates. Travelers who check in on Friday or Saturday and stay through Sunday will pay a 20% - 23% premium over the cheapest day of the week to check in.
Weekend premiums can be even higher among top destinations in the US and abroad. If you’re headed to any of these top destinations, plan to start your stay mid week to save huge on nightly rates.
Travel in January/February instead of peak spring break months. Prices for travel in January and February are typically the lowest of the year, as Americans are coming off the expensive and travel laden holiday season and not yet booking trips for the new year. Airlines, hotels and many experience providers will drop prices in January and February to incentivize travelers to take a trip. On average, travelers saved 30% or $92 per ticket off airfare when traveling in the first two months of the year instead of in March and April, peak spring break travel months.
Travel in September/October instead of peak summer months. June through August are some of the busiest months to travel domestically or abroad. With schools out for the summer and Americans taking advantage of vacation time, millions of travelers hit the skies and accommodations for longer vacations during the warmest months of the year. Prices peak with the heat in mid summer and drop as early fall approaches. When this summer demand begins to die down, travel providers will drop prices once again to drum up additional demand as the “shoulder season” between summer and the holidays draws closer. Domestic travelers last year saved 32% or an average of $112 off airfare by shifting trips from peak summer months to September or October.
Prices for accommodations, whether hotel or rental home, will follow a similar pattern to airfare. January and February will be the best months of the year for hotel getaways, before warm weather destinations are overrun with spring breakers and summer hot spots become crowded through the fall. If you’re looking to get a luxury hotel experience on a budget, look for rates available now for February stays, or consider visiting in September or October when prices are likely to drop once again.
Start monitoring prices for domestic flights at least 3-4 months before you plan to depart. Prices will change frequently, but drop on average until about 1-2 months before departure. Expect to book 1-2 months ahead of your departure date! Don’t wait too long to book, prices can increase by almost double in the last 3 weeks ahead of takeoff.
International trips, especially those longer haul transatlantic or transpacific ones, will require planning further in advance. Start monitoring the price of your trip 7-8 months before departure. Expect to book trips to Asia and Oceania the furthest in advance, anywhere from 5-7 months before takeoff. Travelers headed to other regions of the world can expect to book anywhere from 3-6 months before departure to get the best prices.
This is general guidance. We recommend using Hopper’s Price Watch tool to monitor the price of any trips you’re dreaming of for 2024. We’ll monitor the price of your specific trip (destination, dates, even preferences around non-stop flights!) and let you know when prices are dropping to their lowest!
If you’re headed to a leisure destination like Miami Beach or Cancun, expect to book your hotel at least 1-2 months before your desired check in date. Oftentimes hotels in popular vacation destination cities will be booked up early, meaning last minute rooms are harder to find and priced higher than usual. Expect to book all inclusive resort stays at least 3+ months in advance, and expect to find the best prices for leisure destinations between 1-2 months before check in.
Hotels will often drop room rates in the last few days before check in, especially in larger cities where travelers have many options to stay at similar price points, and with similar amenities. If you can wait, book at the last minute to get the lowest prices on rooms in big cities. Prepare to be flexible on where you stay within a neighborhood and on the room type you book, as the best prices will be on the rooms left open 48 hours before check in.
Long weekends are often quiet in big cities, especially in the first two months of the year when travel is slow and weather is cold. Plan a staycation in a big city near you! You’ll get some of the best rates of the entire year and can even book at the last minute and get the best prices. Some properties will offer discounts to locals, special rates to encourage community members to stay and spend locally! Whether budget or luxury properties, expect great deals booking at the last minute over quiet weekends.
We’ve rounded up some of the most popular holiday travel weekends of the year to give you the ultimate guide of when to start planning and when to book your trips. Download the Hopper app and search for the trip you want to take for real-time recommendations on when to book at the right time!
Portugal is our #1 European deal destination for the second year in a row! Airfare into Lisbon or Porto averages about $650 - $700 round-trip, compared to fares well over $1,000 to many top destinations. Even better, Portugal is a relatively inexpensive country to travel through, with low prices for accommodation, food, drink and more. If you’re looking for Europe on a budget, or a first stop on a larger European tour, Portugal is the place to start.
Greece is always a popular destination for American travelers, though you can find you’re breaking the budget with a trip directly into Santorini. Consider flying into Athens for ~$870 round-trip, saving you just under $400 off higher airfare to Santorini!
Palermo and other destinations in Sicily are increasingly popular following the success of the TV show The White Lotus, set on the island. Airfare to Palermo will cost travelers about $1,000 per ticket, compared to just $875 to fly to Naples, another coastal destination in Italy. Expect prices to both destinations to skyrocket in peak summer months this year. The best time to visit will be May, September or October for the lowest prices and fewer crowds.
Travelers looking to explore Australia’s south west coast can save hundreds by flying into Sydney for $1,214 round-trip instead of Melbourne for closer to $1,500 per round-trip ticket.
Buenos Aires, Argentina has long been a popular destination among American tourists, but with airfare close to $900 per ticket, a trip can be out of budget for many. Cartagena, Colombia can offer an incredible cultural experience, beaches and amazing food for less than half the price of a ticket to Argentina. Round trip airfare to Cartagena is averaging $375 per ticket. Consider this swap to save on travel expenses and in-country costs like food and accommodation.
Trade in your trip to Turks and Caicos or St Lucia for trips to Puerto Rico or the Bahamas to save $200 per ticket, or more! Trips to Turks and Caicos and St Lucia will cost travelers about $500 per ticket, or more. Accommodations on both can be expensive, as is food, drink and entertainment. Puerto Rico and the Bahamas offer airfare as low as $270 round-trip, as well as many more options for stays and experiences that won’t break the bank.
You could save up to 40% on your next flight!