As the summer heat winds to a close, we can now look forward to a fantastic fall season of cooler temperatures, fewer crowds, and, best of all, cheaper flights. The shoulder season between summer and the holidays is one of the cheapest times to fly all year. And if you’re able to work remotely, you may even be able to extend your trip into a working vacation.
Whether you want to stick to a domestic trip or embark on an international journey to one of the countries open to international travelers, here are eight of the cheapest places to fly this fall. Just make sure to stay up to date on entry requirements.
Los Angeles, California
Feel like extending your summer? A trip to L.A. this fall is your ticket to consistent sunshine and endless beach days without the large crowds of summer. The average seawater temperature hovers around 66° F this time of year, which makes for a refreshing swim in the Pacific. And don’t forget your vaccine card if you want to enjoy the nightlife. You’ll need to show proof of a vaccine to enter indoor areas of bars, wineries, breweries, and nightclubs.
Recommended Hotel: Shore Hotel
Flights to Los Angeles: If you travel super light and don’t mind flying ultra-low-cost carriers like Allegiant and Spirit, you can often find base ticket prices to L.A for under $100 roundtrip from across the U.S.
For a little more, you can fly major airlines like Alaska, American, Delta, and United. The lowest roundtrip fares on these airlines tend to range from $70-120 from West Coast cities, $100-250 from Central U.S. cities, and $140-300 from East Coast cities. And don’t forget to check alternate airports. For instance, Avelo Airlines may have cheaper fares to Burbank Airport.
Traveling to the U.K. is going to be an easier experience this fall. The U.K. recently announced new rules for international travel, which means fully vaccinated travelers need fewer tests at lower costs. If you’ve been patiently waiting to visit historical landmarks such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and Stonehenge, hop over to England this fall.
Recommended Hotel: Hub by Premier Inn London Westminster Abbey Hotel
Flights to London: JetBlue recently started a new service to London-Heathrow from New York and it will be adding another new flight to London-Gatwick this fall. The new competition has helped keep roundtrip airfares in the $350-600 range for flights from major East Coast cities and $450-800 range from cities further west. TAP Air Portugal tends to have the lowest fares if you’re able to fly from one of its gateway cities in Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Montreal, or Toronto.
New York, New York
When the pandemic hit and thousands fled the city, some wondered if New York would ever return to the bustling city it’s known to be. Of course, the city that never sleeps is back and tourism has been on the rise lately, yet still well below pre-pandemic levels. In fact, Airbnb told MarketWatch that New York is the most popular fall destination among U.S. travelers. If you want to experience multiple world cultures in one city, New York is the place to be.
Recommended Hotel: Freehand Hotel
Flights to New York: Being the largest air travel market in the U.S. has some advantages when it comes to cheap flights. Even if you filter out ultra-low-cost carriers, you’ll still find cross-country flights to New York as low as $140 roundtrip from several major West Coast markets. That’s flying Alaska, JetBlue, United, etc. And you’ll find fares for under $100 from select cities in the Eastern U.S. You’re bound to find a bargain with the lowest fares nationwide ranging from $80-300 this fall.
San Jose, Costa Rica
If you’re looking for a tropical escape, a trip to the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica is a perfect choice. While the Pacific side of the country experiences its rainy season, the fall season is one of the driest and sunniest on the Caribbean side. Check out the nesting sea turtles in Tortuguero National Park or relax along the shores of Puerto Viejo. Either way, you’ll be living the “Pura Vida” life.
Recommended Hotel: Hotel Escape Caribeno
Flights to Costa Rica: It’s best to fly into San Jose (SJO) to reach Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast. And airfares have been lower than usual this fall thanks to new route options on American, Frontier, and Spirit either added recently or scheduled to begin this fall.
You’ll find the most competitive pricing from major hub cities like New York, Chicago, Miami, Washington D.C., and L.A. where the lowest roundtrip fares on airlines like American, Avianca, Copa, Delta, JetBlue, and United range between $200-300. Flying Spirit, you’ll find $150-250 fares from several U.S. cities. Expect to pay in the $300s-500s roundtrip to fly major airlines from smaller markets unless you catch a flash sale.
With Canada now open to American travelers, it’s a great time to plan a trip to the Canadian Rockies and enjoy the moderate fall temperatures. Banff National Park is an easy 1hr 30min drive from Calgary and is full of some of the most beautiful scenery in North America. Think crystal clear lakes, snow capped mountains, and evergreen trees.
Recommended Hotel: Moose Hotel & Suites
Flights to Calgary: If you live in Canada or near the border, you’ll find some super low fares on domestic flights thanks to new Canadian ultra-low-cost carrier Flair Airlines, which has brought down pricing on Air Canada and WestJet as well. Flying from the U.S., you’re looking at the lowest fares ranging between $250-400 from most U.S. cities.
Mexico City, Mexico
As Mexico has remained open throughout the pandemic, it continues to be one of the most popular destinations for U.S. travelers. If you’d like a break from the typical Mexican beach vacation, try a visit to the thriving capital in Mexico City. You can experience Day of the Dead and take a day trip to the pyramids of Teotihuacán on the same trip.
Recommended Hotel: Sheraton Mexico City Maria Isabel Hotel
Flights to Mexico City: Airfares to Mexico City vary quite a bit depending on your departure city. If you’re able to fly from a city that has competition from Mexico’s low-cost airlines Volaris and VivaAerobus, you’ll find some incredibly cheap fares—including on familiar airlines like American, Delta, and United. Better yet, if you live near the border in SoCal, it will be drastically cheaper to fly from Tijuana’s airport, which can be accessed directly via a bridge on the U.S. side of the border.
Flights from cities like Los Angeles, Oakland, Denver, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, and Miami can often be found for $180-250 roundtrip. Expect flights from most U.S. cities to be in the $300s-400s range with some smaller markets reaching over $500. Make sure to double check alternate airports. For instance, flights from Baltimore may be half the price of flights from Washington D.C.
If you’re looking for fall foliage with some European flavor, flying to Austria may be the ideal trip for you. The alpine region in the west will have the best colors, but you may want to fly into Vienna for cheaper flights and to experience the city’s wine culture.
Recommended Hotel: Living Hotel An Der Oper
Flights to Austria: Flights to the capital of Vienna (VIE) are surprisingly cheap this fall compared to some other European cities. Flying via Lisbon on TAP Air Portugal tends to be the cheapest option where you can sometimes find roundtrip fares in the mid-$300s range from cities like Boston, New York, Washington D.C., Miami, Chicago, and San Francisco. Due to the flight schedule, these flights usually require an overnight stop in Lisbon on the way back, which you can sometimes extend to a few days for no extra cost.
Flying other airlines like Swiss, Turkish, or Aer Lingus from these cities will generally cost in the mid-$500s to $600s range, while the lowest fares from smaller market cities could reach the $700s-$800s range. Check flights to Munich (MUC) as an alternative if you’re only looking to visit western Austria.
Kansas City, Missouri
Kansas City is about as central as you can get in the U.S. And fall is a great time to visit the heartland. You can visit pumpkin patches, corn mazes, eat some of the best BBQ in the nation, or experience a football game at Arrowhead Stadium all while taking in the vibrant colors of fall in Missouri.
Recommended Hotel: Intercontinental Hotel Kansas City at the Plaza
Flights to Kansas City: Its central location means flying to Kansas City can be cheap from both coasts. Southwest is the dominant carrier here so be sure to double check Southwest.com to make sure you’re not missing out on a nonstop itinerary or a cheaper flight. As for other airlines, Spirit or Frontier will have the lowest fares from the few places they fly with a decent routing. But you may prefer to pay a little more to fly a major carrier, with roundtrip fares between $150-300 from most of the country.