Travel

The Cheapest Last-Minute Spring Break Destinations

Published On 02/19/2016 Published On 02/19/2016
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Whether you’re a procrastinating college student in danger of spending spring break alone in the dorm or a full-grown adult desperate to trade a snow shovel for an umbrella cocktail, you may still be in luck when it comes to scoring a cheap flight next month. 

While plane tickets in March and April are traditionally more expensive due to high demand, airfare-monitoring app Hopper (which claims to predict price drops with 95% accuracy) has calculated which popular spring-break destinations are most likely to see a drop in ticket prices between now and the end of April. 

Here are the top eight, organized by estimated fare.  

1. Fort Meyers, Florida -- Average current fare: $213, Estimated low fare: $175
2. Miami, Florida -- Average current fare: $220, Estimated low fare: $183
3. Daytona Beach, Florida -- Average current fare: $262, Estimated low fare: $204
4. Cabo, Mexico -- Average current fare: $386, Estimated low fare: $297
5. Brownsville, Texas -- Average current fare: $445, Estimated low fare: $365
6. Kahului, Hawaii -- Average current fare: $484, Estimated low fare: $387
7. Honolulu, Hawaii -- Average current fare: $523, Estimated low fare: $429
8. Cozumel, Mexico -- Average current fare: $526, Estimated low fare: $431

So, why are these eight destinations -- as opposed to other popular spots where the college kids like to party -- most likely to see lower fares? According to Hopper, it’s because of airline competition. While conventional wisdom dictates that connecting flights are usually cheaper, the opposite is true when demand is high: that is, fares tend to drop in destinations with more daily non-stop flights. And all of these airports offer a lot of non-stop flights.

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As for when you should actually book (and take) this potential last-minute getaway? Well, that’s a bigger question, since Hopper isn’t really predicting exactly when prices will fall. Their data did, however, reveal the most expensive spring travel weeks this year at US airports will be March 23rd (fares will be 32% higher), March 30th (45% higher) and April 6 (28% higher) -- so if your schedule is flexible, best to avoid this three-week stretch. 

They also found that Monday to Wednesday departures are up to 25% cheaper than those on Thursday to Saturday. While Friday is the most expensive day to travel. Also, if you wait until under two weeks to book, the price of your ticket could increase by up to 33%. Although considering we’re talking about a trip in the next month, not sure how helpful that number is. 

Other than that, it’s anybody’s guess. Best to pack your bags, check the fares daily, and keep dreaming of the beaches (and beach bars) you'll hit when you finally escape the snow and/or that biology midterm.

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Matt Meltzer is a staff writer with Thrillist who'll be spending Spring Break in El Salvador. See what it's all about by following him on Instagram @meltrez1.

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