Once the holiday season rush ends and the dead of winter sets in, you may be looking for an escape to warmer weather or a mountain location to enjoy some time on the slopes. Often considered the low season in many places around the world, flights tend to be cheaper than usual during the months of January and February. Check out these six popular winter destinations that you can fly to at a seriously low rate.
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Live the island life without the need to go through passport control. St. Thomas is home to several scenic beaches and some amazing spots for snorkeling. One of the most popular places to enjoy paradise is Honeymoon Beach where you may even get to sunbathe next to the local roosters. For snorkeling, head to Coki Point Beach to explore life under the sea.
Recommended Hotel: Emerald Beach Resort
Flights to St. Thomas: Typical prices dropped this year thanks to new service from Frontier Airlines. The new flights from Miami, Orlando and San Juan, along with existing service on Spirit Airlines have put pressure on the major airlines to cut prices or risk losing customers to the budget carriers.
The lowest fares will be found for mid-week travel. Flying Spirit and Frontier, roundtrip prices sometimes dip in the low $100s-$200s range. For other airlines, like American, Delta, and United, prices in the mid-$200s roundtrip are common from major East Coast cities. Further west and smaller markets will typically find the lowest prices in the $300s-$400s range.
Winter is the best time to visit Arizona as the temperature is reasonable compared to its incredibly hot summers. Join the snow birds in the desert for some excellent hikes or take a road trip to Sedona to see the red rocks and experience the supposed healing powers of the vortex.
Recommended Hotel: The Saguaro Scottsdale
Flights to Phoenix: As a hub for both American Airlines and Southwest, you’ll find the most flight options flying these carriers. Just remember to check for pricing on Southwest.com since you won’t find its fares anywhere else. Pricing depends largely on whether you’re flying from somewhere that has service from an ultra-low-cost carrier or not. Spirit and Frontier often have base prices as low as $50-$100 roundtrip.
The lowest fares on other airlines tend to be in the mid-$100s range from West Coast cities and $200s-$300s range from the rest of the country. Although, flights from New York and Miami can sometimes be found for similar prices as West Coast cities. If you’re flexible on which airport you fly into, don’t forget to check out flights to Phoenix-Mesa Airport (AZA) where you’ll find cheap flights on budget carrier Allegiant.
Nicknamed the “City of Eternal Spring”, Medellin consistently has temperatures in the low 80s throughout the winter making it an enticing destination for anyone looking to escape the cold. The thriving culinary scene and vibrant nightlife are bonuses.
Recommended Hotel: Lleras Green Hotel
Flights to Medellin: Typical for much of South America, flights from Florida to Medellin can be drastically lower than from the rest of the U.S. Major airlines like Avianca and Copa often sell tickets for under $200 roundtrip from Miami, Fort Lauderdale, and Orlando, which isn’t much more than what you’ll find on Colombia’s low-cost airline Viva Air or Spirit.
Flying from other parts of the U.S., prices can range quite a bit. New York City usually sees competitive pricing as low as the mid-$200s range but most other cities around the U.S. will have prices in the $300s-$500s range unless you catch a flash sale. If you have any interest in seeing a bit of Florida on your way, it may be cheaper to book two separate tickets (one to Florida and one from Florida to Medellin) as prices from most of the U.S. to Florida tend to be incredibly cheap.
Montego Bay, Jamaica
Jamaica is one of the most relaxing places on earth and there’s no better time than to be lazing the days away at the beach than while your home up north gets plastered with snow. Although you’ll need to fly into Montego Bay, I’d recommend taking the exhilarating 1.5-hour drive down to Negril to walk the 7-mile beach and take in the majestic sunsets along the cliffs.
Recommended Hotel: Blue Cave Castle Negril
Flights to Montego Bay: JetBlue has been helping to keep prices low from the Northeast but keep in mind that its lowest fares now have restrictions similar to Frontier and Spirit in the fact that only carry-on luggage is included. Delta often matches JetBlue’s prices and has a better baggage policy. And if you plan to bring checked bags, don’t forget to check Southwest.
New service on Frontier in 2021 has also made this destination more competitive. Pricing from major East Coast markets like Miami, New York, and Boston can often be found as low as the mid-$200s range roundtrip. Flights from the Midwest and West Coast will usually cost at least mid-$300s to high-$400s. If you’re flying from a smaller market, you may be paying over $500 unless you’re flying Spirit.
If you’re looking to mix a ski trip with some European vibes, a trip to Switzerland this winter should be on your radar. This picturesque alpine country is a winter wonderland where you can hit the slopes by day and cozy up to a fire by night. Flumersberg, Elm, and Hoch-Ybrig are all great ski towns just over an hour away from Zurich by car.
Recommended Hotel: Crowne Plaza Zurich
Flights to Zurich: If you’re able to fly from one of TAP Air Portugal’s North American gateways in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Miami, Chicago, San Francisco, Montreal, or Toronto, you’ll likely find incredibly cheap flights. It can be as low as the mid-$300s range and sometimes includes a stop in Lisbon.
Otherwise, SAS and Icelandair sometimes have competitive pricing in the $400s range and nonstop flights on Swiss can be found in the $500-$700s range depending on departure city. If you’re flying from Small Town, USA, all three major airline alliances often have fare wars to Zurich with low fares from around the country. This means you can usually find pricing in the $500s-$600s range and sometimes even lower if you catch the right sale.
For those looking to stay a little closer to home but still enjoy the mountains this winter, a flight to Denver is a great jumping off point to reach a plethora of ski resorts in Colorado. Breckenridge is an easy drive from the airport, as is both Keystone and Loveland. And Aspen is within reach if the cheaper flight into Denver justifies making the 4-hour drive. Aside from world-class skiing and snowboarding,, Denver is also a thriving city that, surprisingly, gets a lot of sunshine in the winter.
Recommended Hotel: Grand Hyatt Denver
Flights to Denver: As a major hub for three different airlines, Frontier, Southwest, and United, Denver is one of the cheapest places to fly in the entire U.S. You can frequently find base prices for under $100 roundtrip if you can stomach flying an ultra-low-cost carrier like Frontier. If you’d like a more predictable experience and no extra fees, make sure to have a look at what Southwest is offering. It’s likely to be the best value if you’re flying with checked bags.
Flying major airlines, you’ll often find that the lowest roundtrip fares can be found in the mid-to-high $100s range from select cities in the west and midwest, while flights from most eastern U.S. cities and some smaller markets in the west typically have prices in the $200s-$300s range. Of course, expect prices to be higher for weekend travel.