Updated: Hopper’s Guide to Last-Minute Spring Break Travel

Best Spring Break Destinations Across The US

Liana Corwin - Mar. 5, 2020

UPDATED: THURSDAY, MARCH 5

Last Minute Spring Break Getaways That Won’t Break The Bank

Spring break is almost here, but that doesn’t mean it’s too late to get a good deal. 

Hopper collects over 25 billion airfare and hotel price quotes every day and has built a historical archive of trillions of prices from over the past several years. Our team analyzed Hopper’s historical pricing data, plus the real-time feed of current pricing, to identify affordable spring break destinations within the US for a last minute getaway.

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Considering a staycation instead? Top U.S cities with great hotel deals during school vacation:

  • Chicago -39% of hotels in the city offering private rates; savings up to $98/night

  • Austin - 20% of hotels in the city offering private rates; savings up to $88/night

  • San Francisco - 22% of hotels in the city offering private rates; savings up to $116/night

  • Washington, D.C - 23% of hotels in the city offering private rates; savings up to $251/night

  • New York City - 28% of hotels in the city offering private rates; savings up to $209/night


Summary

When To Buy

  • Airfare - Book domestic flights at least 3 weeks in advance; broaden your timeline to 4 weeks for international flights.

  • Hotels - Book hotels 1-2 weeks in advance if you're traveling to a larger, more business-travel heavy city (New York, Boston, Chicago, LA, Dallas). For vacation getaway destinations (Orlando, Miami, Phoenix), book 8 weeks in advance to get the best prices.

When To Fly

  • Best Days of the Week - Flexible travelers can save up to 18% off peak domestic prices and up to 7% off peak international prices by departing for vacations early in the week, on Tuesday and Wednesday.

  • Best Weeks - If you’re not tied to a school break, save the most on domestic flights by traveling the first week of March or hold off until the last two weeks of April to save ~$30/ticket. For international travelers, depart in the first two weeks of March or in mid-April to save up to ~$58/ticket off peak prices.

Insider Tips For Booking Hotels

  • Use Tools That Source Special Rates - Hopper has 623,071 hotels in 2,594 cities. 47% of the time, the app will have a mobile rate that’s cheaper than the web with average savings of $79 per night. In some cases, the savings are upwards of 70% (that means you’re looking at a $210 savings for a hotel that is usually $300 per night).

  • Best Day To Check-In - In general, Sunday is the least expensive day of the week to start your stay at a hotel and checking in on a Sunday can save travelers 19% off peak week prices on average.

  • Best Type of Hotel For Deals - Consider booking a hotel that has just recently opened. Rooms in new hotels are often listed for sale up to 12 months before the first guests arrive, with the median listing being about 5 months before opening. Prices vary significantly, but they appear to be initially discounted by about 10-15%, rising back to expected rates within about three months of opening.

The Price Is Right

The good news is that prices will continue to fall in Spring 2020 compared to the previous three years, with domestic round trip airfare 16% lower compared to 2017 levels.  International round trip airfare is 8% lower than in 2017, saving travelers ~$52 per ticket.

01 Chart Good-Deal-RT-Airfare

When To Buy

While spring break can be expensive, there are ways to bring down the cost of your trip, such as booking at the right time.

Plan Ahead

  • Begin monitoring prices using a tool like Hopper now since prices fluctuate throughout the day and weeks leading up to your trip. As a rule of thumb, avoid booking too last minute. Booking less than two weeks before departure will cost you $11/per day for domestic flights and $16/per day for international flights, every day that you wait. Waiting even just five days can cost you as much as $80.

  • Unfortunately for the procrastinators, spring break is decidedly not a good time to book a spontaneous getaway. Since spring travel is quickly approaching, our recommendation is to start watching your trip on Hopper so you know exactly when to book your specific trip.

Book By Dates for Domestic & International Travel

  • Domestic Travelers: Book 3-4 weeks in advance at the latest to get a good deal on airfare. Prices will spike by an average of $11 per day starting ~3 weeks ahead of departure.

  • International Travelers: Book 4 weeks in advance at the latest to get a good deal on airfare. Prices will spike by an average of $5 per day between 2-4 weeks ahead of departure, then will rise to spikes of $16+ per day until departure.

02 Graph Good-Deal-Price-Domestic-RT-Airfare-Advance03 Graph Good-Deal-Price-International-RT-Airfare-Advance

When To Fly

One of the easiest ways to save on your spring getaway is to adjust your departure date. The best week, and best day of the week to fly can vary though depending on whether you’re flying domestically or abroad.

Depart on Tuesday or Wednesday: Spring Break airfare typically peaks on highest demand days over the weekend. Save up to 18% off peak domestic prices and up to 7% off peak international prices by departing early in the week (Tuesday or Wednesday).

06 Chart When-to-Fly-Domestic-Day07 Chart When-to-Fly-International-Day

Not tied to a school vacation? Avoid peak spring break weeks: Depart the first week of March or hold off until the last two weeks of April to save up to $30 per ticket for domestic flights. For international travel, depart within the first two weeks of March or mid-April to save up to $58 per ticket.

04 Chart When-to-Fly-Domestic-Week05 Chart When-to-Fly-International-Week

Where To Go

From warm sandy beaches to cold ski slopes, there’s a destination for everyone this spring. Here are the destinations climbing in popularity over spring break for solo adventurers, couples, and families. To find out what’s trending, we calculated which destinations Hopper’s 40M+ users are tracking for dates this spring. Hopper users typically set their trip watches up to 90 days in advance of when they would typically search for flights on the web. This early intent data gives us signal on which destinations will be trending.

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Which popular destinations are likely to drop in price? Here are the best deals you can find to popular destinations this spring.

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Want to avoid the crowds? These destinations are trending down for spring, so you’ll see fewer travelers than at other times of year.

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Methodology

Hopper predicts future flight prices with 95% accuracy up to one year in advance of departure. We collect 25 to 30 billion price quotes every day, and have built a historical archive of several trillion prices over the past several years. By combining current prices with historical trends, Hopper can predict how prices are likely to change in the future.

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