With flight prices like these, there’s no time like the present to see another part of the world.
When it comes to planning a trip, it’s always easy to default to what you know best: domestic travel. According to the Official Aviation Guide (OAG) 2019 report, the most popular domestic flight in America over the past 12 months was between New York City (JFK) and San Francisco (SFO), a route that averages at $349 per roundtrip ticket. Did you know that, in some cases, it’s actually cheaper to fly out of the country than across it?
Here are 10 international flights to exotic destinations that will cost you much less than $349. (Disclaimer: These super cheap international flights might inspire you to book a trip.)
NOTE: All rates are sourced from Skyscanner.
Miami, Florida to Cancun, Mexico
Craving a margarita? There’s only one place to go: Mexico. This October, South Floridians can spend a long weekend in the Yucatán Peninsula for a steal. American Airlines is offering nonstop flights from Miami to Cancun for just $315 roundtrip. From scouring the ruins of Tulum to dancing all night at one of Mexico’s popular all-inclusive resorts, your Halloween weekend just got a lot cooler.
INSIDER TIPThese prices fall over one of Mexico’s most important holidays, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead), when the streets of Cancun come alive with traditional costumes, parades, dancing, decorated altars, late-night festivals, live music, and more.
Seattle, Washington to Vancouver, Canada
Voted one of the world’s most livable cities, Vancouver has the best of everything—it’s a vibrant, laid-back city in a nature lover’s playground, with top-notch seafood, dining, shopping, nightlife, skiing, hiking, biking, sailing, and more. And lucky for Seattleites, they can get there cheaply, and in less than an hour. This November, Delta will offer nonstop flights from Seattle to Vancouver for as low as $188 roundtrip.
INSIDER TIPGo in late November and experience Aurora, Canada’s largest winter festival, which turns Hastings Park into a whimsical village with ice skating, a slide park, carnival rides, and giant light installations.
Raleigh, North Carolina to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
When it’s cold in North Carolina in January, plan a long weekend in the U.S. Virgin Islands! American Airlines is starting the New Year with direct flights from Raleigh to St. Thomas for as low as $318 roundtrip. Picture it now: five days of boating, kayaking, swimming with sea turtles, shopping in Charlotte Amalie, and snorkeling in sparkling-teal Magen’s Bay. Packing yet?
INSIDER TIPFerries run from St. Thomas to St. Croix (1 hour and 15 minutes; $60) and St. John (20 minutes; $12) regularly, so travelers can fly into St. Thomas and see all three major islands of the USVI.
Honolulu, Hawaii to Sydney, Australia
Thanks to Jetstar Airways, the low-cost Australian airline from Qantas, those seeking a trip to “the land down under” can fly to Sydney for as low as $314. Available in February 2020, that price will get travelers direct flights and a full week in the New South Wales capital.
INSIDER TIPFebruary marks the end of high season in Australia, so accommodations are cheaper and major attractions (like the iconic Sydney Opera House) are less crowded.
New York City, New York to London, England
This might be an unpopular opinion, but January is one of the best times to be in London. Sure, it’s cold, gray, and probably raining, but London is also a city with so much to see and do, and locals that don’t let the weather stop them from doing it. For just $299, travelers can snag nonstop, roundtrip flights on Norwegian Airlines from New York to London. This means a week of shows in the West End, pub food, Harry Potter tours, afternoon tea, photos with Buckingham Palace guards, and—fingers crossed—royals sightings.
INSIDER TIPBudget for shopping, as the city is famous for its January sales.
Houston, Texas to Guatemala City, Guatemala
Guatemala City is the biggest city in all of Central America; it’s so big, in fact, that you could spend months there and leave with so much more still to see. This November, Texans can start to scratch the surface with $163 Spirit Air flights direct from Houston. That rate doesn’t include a carry-on, so opt for a (cheaper) $35 checked bag fee each way for a grand flight price of $233. The result? A long weekend in the Guatemalan capital, where cultural museums, coffee plantations, free beer tours, and shopping at the famous Mercado Central await.
INSIDER TIPGuatemala City is considered the creative hub of Central America, so don’t miss the city’s colonial architecture, art galleries, local artisans, live music scene and more.
Chicago, Illinois to Toronto, Canada
Did you know Toronto’s charming Distillery Historic District is home to one of the best Christmas markets in the world? Chicagoans can see them up close when they snag a $198 roundtrip flight from Chicago Midway on Porter, a regional airline headquartered at Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, this December. While the flight is nonstop, it is a basic fare ticket, so carry-on luggage is not included. To get the best bang for their buck, passengers can opt to buy a checked bag online at the time of booking for $25 (The price jumps to $40 if they do it at the airport).
INSIDER TIPStay at the Fairmont Royal York, which offers a Toronto Christmas Market package that includes entry to the market and a three-night stay.
Los Angeles, California to Los Cabos, Mexico
Is there ever a bad time to spend a workweek in Los Cabos? (The answer is “no,” as this destination has warm weather all year round.) In January 2020, however, there are $273 roundtrip flights from LAX to Cabo that make it even better. Most of these flights are direct and follow a Monday through Friday timetable, so use that PTO and treat yourself to the vacation you deserve.
INSIDER TIPJanuary is the height of whale watching season in Cabo, so book a local whale-watching tour and see humpback and gray whales up close!
Newark, New Jersey to Madrid, Spain
This February, escape the hustle and bustle of the (freezing) Big Apple and head to Spain! Iberia is offering roundtrip flights for 10 days in Madrid for as low as $271 from Newark Liberty International Airport. Madrid is an epicenter of art, music, culture, and food, so make sure you check out El Greco’s work in Museo del Prado, buy Iberico ham in Mercado de San Miguel, and see live music in Plaza Mayor. Given its central location, Madrid is also the perfect starting point for a quick side trip—hop on the high-speed AVE train and you could be seeing the lights of Toledo in an hour or exploring Segovia, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, in just under two.
INSIDER TIPAmerican Airlines is also offering flights around the same rates, so AAdvantage members should consider booking through them.
Fort Lauderdale, Florida to San Jose, Costa Rica
South Floridians can experience the Pura Vida lifestyle at its finest with five days in Costa Rica this November. In this part of the world, the biodiversity is unmatched—in fact, Juan Santamaría International Airport puts travelers just a couple hours away from Arenal Volcano, the rainforest, and the country’s popular Pacific coast beaches. See it all and more when you grab a $168 roundtrip flight from Fort Lauderdale to San Jose on Spirit Airlines. As is the case with all Spirit flights, this doesn’t include a carry-on, so buy a $35 checked bag at the time of booking for the best deal.
INSIDER TIPIf you love surfing, you’re in the right place! November is the start of surf season in Costa Rica, the ideal time to ride waves for half a mile off Boca Barranca beach.