When to Book Cheap Flights to Top Travel Destinations

Underwater view of the continental split at Silfra in Iceland
Iceland // Photo by Lindsay Lou/iStock/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

Cheapflights.com has released a list of when to buy the cheapest flights to top travel destinations worldwide. The 15 destinations on this list are currently topping Americans’ to-do list, Cheapflights.com said, so take notes.

Machu Picchu: When traveling to the “Lost City of the Incas,” it’s advised that travelers fly into Lima, the nation’s capital, then fly to Cusco via a local airline, which offers better travel deals as opposed to booking a connecting flight from the United States. Travelers then take a train followed by a bus, which finally gets them to this UNESCO World Heritage site. The last two weeks of August offer the lowest average airfare, but should be booked during the last week of March or May, when there are bargain buying windows. 

Hawaii: Hilo, Kona and Honolulu offer the best airports for travel deals in this state. Flying into Hilo is a good option for travelers aiming to fly in October. Bargain flights can be found last-minute, as they start to pop up in September. For Kona, October is also a good month for travel, though extra savings can be made when booking flights for late April or early May. Flights here can be booked in November and December. Honolulu, the state’s capital, offers the most flight options, with airfares from mid-January through early February being among the most affordable of the year. Flights booked as early as September are optimal for travel deals, though last-minute bargains can be found when booking a trip in early February. 

Iceland: The capital of Reykjavik may be the best option for finding flights – in which case, travelers should aim to fly during the second half of January for the best deals and the potential to see the northern lights. The best time to score some tickets to this destination is the last two weeks of August.

The Grand Canyon: The best places to fly into when traveling to this national landmark are Las Vegas or Phoenix, Arizona. The best time to book a flight into Vegas is late July or early August, when looking to fly in during late January, the end of November or early December. The best Phoenix flights are found when booking in mid-July for a trip right after Thanksgiving. Otherwise, other travel deals can be found when booking in late August for travel in early December.

Rome: When looking for the best travel deals, it's best to look during late January, with travel plans booked for the first week of May. Bear in mind that April to mid-June are the best time for moderate weather and minimal crowds. 

Yellowstone National Park: Travelers can fly directly into Yellowstone Airport, though it is only serviced by Delta. Other options include Jackson, Wyoming, which is a 45-minute drive from the park, or Bozeman, Montana, which is a 90-minute drive. Bozeman is the cheapest of the three options. The best time to fly into this airport is during mid-to-late October, with the last week of the month being particularly cheapest. Flights here should be booked in early August for the best deals. Insider tip: crowds can be beat when arriving before 9 a.m. or after 3 p.m., especially during off-peak season in September or October.

Bali: The best times to fly into this dreamy Indonesian city are during mid-September, though travelers should start to look for deals in mid-April. Off-peak season is primarily during September and October, before the rains start, and perfect for travelers looking to escape other tourists. 

The Caribbean: Cruises to this popular destination typically set sail from Florida, with Miami being a hot spot for cruise departures in particular. Airfares to this destination are usually at their lowest from mid-January to early February. The best travel deals for the coastal city pop up during the first week in August, as well as late September and early October. San Juan, Puerto Rico is another good place to book a flight apart from Miami. Bargain flights can be found in late September when travel is set for October.

San Francisco: Flying into San Francisco International Airport, the best deals, on average, can be found when looking to visit the city during the end of January through mid-February. Bargain deals on flights can be found during late September or early October.

Rio de Janeiro: Traveling to this Brazilian city is best from August to early and mid-September. When aiming to travel in August, tickets should be purchased at the end of April. For travel in mid-September, flights should be booked a bit ahead of time in late March. Labor Day weekend also falls in the thick of the bargain window, so flights for this travel time frame are best made around mid-June.

New York City: Visiting the Big Apple is best during late January or early February. Cheaper flights to New York can be found when booking in September, though booking in June is optimal when booking a holiday trip for after Thanksgiving

Paris: April through mid-June and September through October are the best times to visit the City of Lights, though the off-season falls during November through March. Bargain traveling during springtime in Paris means booking a trip for the first week in May, with flights purchased at the beginning of November for the best deals. For travelers who don’t mind chilly weather, visits during the third week of January can offer even more savings. Bargain January flights can be booked in mid-October.

London: Visiting this city is best when planned for trips in January or February. Bargain flights can be found in August for a late January visit, or during the first two weeks of September for a visit in February. 

The Pacific Coast Highway: Popular starting points for California getaways include San Diego and Los Angeles. The last full week of October is the cheapest time to fly to either of these cities. San Diego travel deals can be found when booking in October, whereas Los Angeles flights should be booked during the first half of July.

Bangkok: The first three weeks of November are the perfect time to travel to Thailand’s capital city if cheap travel is ultimate goal. Travelers can even book trips relatively last minute, with November deals appearing in mid-October. 

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