Tips and tools that could save you up to 60% on spring break travel

Patrick Surry - Jan. 31, 2016

Summary

  • Don’t depart on a Friday or Saturday.  A Friday departure, on average, will add 22% to your ticket price and a Saturday departure will add 18%.
  • If possible, avoid traveling during the weeks of March 16 or 23rd.  These weeks will add 34% and 33% respectively to your flight ticket price.
  • Book your ticket at least 15 days in advance.  4-14 day advance purchase will increase your ticket price by 29% and a last minute purchase (0-3 days) will increase the price by 62%.
  • Use Hopper’s interactive flight price map to find the best deals from your city.

Spring Break Warm Weather Destinations

Spring break in the US can be anytime between February and April depending on what year of school or college you are in and what part of the country you live in.  Hopper looked at February to April travel to popular warm spring break destinations (Figure 1), to identify a list of travel tips for the price conscious. We used regression modeling on over 100 million shops from all US origins to these destinations to analyze how different factors interacted to affect prices.

Figure 1: Warm weather US and Caribbean destinations

The Spring Break Price Premium

Our data shows that prices are about 30% higher for flying from a typical US origin to these destinations during the most popular spring break weeks. However, if you want to save money, when you book your ticket and when you travel can matter a lot.  

Timing is Everything

To get the best price for your spring break trip make sure you:

  • Don’t depart on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday.  A Thursday departure, on average, will add 12% to your ticket price.  A Friday departure will add 22% and a Saturday departure will add 18%.
  • If possible, avoid traveling during the weeks of March 16 or 23rd.  These weeks will add 34% and 33% respectively to your flight ticket price.
  • Book your ticket at least 15 days in advance.  4-14 day advance purchase will increase your ticket price by 29% and a list minute purchase (0-3 days) will increase the price by 62%.

Where to Splurge on Comfort

For most destinations booking a multi stop vs. non stop flight offered little additional saving.  Surprisingly including a Saturday night stay, which often has a large impact on price, did not offer additional savings to these destinations.

The Most Expensive Weeks

If you have to travel during the week of March 16 or 23rd the subset of destinations shown below tend to offer the best deal for your money, though prices will vary from specific origins.

Find the Best Deal

To find the best deal use Hopper’s interactive flight price map, which will show you prices to destinations around the world for an origin that you select.  An example for travel from NY is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Hopper interactive price and popularity map for travel from JFK airport in New York

You can also find details for individual origin-destination markets, including popularity and deal prices for specific dates, here.

Data and Methodology

The data presented in this analysis comes from Hopper’s combined feed of Global Distribution System (GDS) data sources which includes about 10 million queries and 1 billion trips per day.  Demand is represented as the number of queries not actual ticket purchases, and is calibrated across all GDS sources for each market.  Lowest fare, or deal fare, is represented by the 10th percentile prices.  For example if the 10th percentile price is $800 dollars it means that only 10% of trips are priced at or below this price.

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