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One of the best vacation times of the year fast approaches: Spring Break! And it’s not just about tequila shooters in Cancun or dragging the kids out to Hawaii for a week. The holidays are far behind us and summer is still far ahead, so it’s about time to start thinking about a relaxing trip to break up the long span of spring. The only question is, how do you decide where to go and when to book your trip?
Just in time for some winter daydreaming, our friends at KAYAK.com shared their findings on spring break travel trends – including the hottest 2013 destinations and some tips on the best airfare booking windows.
With a series of mega-storms hitting the Northeast and Midwest this winter, it will probably come as no surprise that warm weather destinations are the most popular spring break spots this year. By analyzing literally billions of KAYAK travel searches for travel throughout the month of March, Las Vegas came out on top, followed by Orlando, Miami and Fort Lauderdale – go Florida!
Average airfares for these markets ranged from approximately $300 for Las Vegas, Orlando and Fort Lauderdale up to a high of $377 for a trip to Miami. Luckily FLL is only 30 minutes or so from Miami, so it might make sense to fly there and get transport to Miami- especially for families.
Beyond those four domestic destinations, Puerto Vallarta (average airfare: $633) made a definite impact as a top trending destination, with searches up 130% relative to the weeks leading up to and following spring break season.
Surely impacted by the SXSW festival taking place March 8-17, searches for Austin, TX also spiked with its search share up 127%. Travelers can help to “Keep Austin Weird” for an average airfare of $375 during the festival period.
Haven’t booked your trip yet? The time is NOW. Generally speaking, as I’ve noted in previous holiday period travel posts:
- Consumers generally find the lowest airfares 21 days prior to departure for domestic trips and 34 days prior to departure internationally.
- Departing on a Saturday and returning on a Monday will generally get you the cheapest domestic itineraries (on average, 16% lower than departures/returns on alternate weekdays).
- Departing on a Tuesday and returning on a Wednesday is 21% cheaper than the average fare for week-long international trips,
Of course, I wouldn’t be The Points Guy if I didn’t remind you to use the best credit cards for purchasing airfare. I tend to put all of my airfare on my Amex Premier Rewards Gold card, which is currently offering a 50,000-point sign-up bonus for spending $1,000 in 3 months and earns 3 points per dollar spent on airfare (4x if booked through Amex Travel). The Sapphire Preferred card is also a great option, giving 2.14 Chase Ultimate Rewards points per dollar (2x base on all travel plus a 7% annual dividend), and if you’re buying your airfare on a foreign website it should be noted that there are no foreign transaction fees when using this card.
Are you making your spring break plans? Where are you going and how much is it costing you?