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You don’t have to stay home: Summer travel deals you can still book

May 19, 2022
7 min read
Beach in Cancun
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This year, summer travel is expected to be busier and more expensive than in years past. Don't let this scare you off just yet, though. Hidden beneath the heap of expensive tickets and sold-out hotels are a handful of destinations where you can still find a reasonable flight or train ticket.

To help you get out and about without breaking the bank this summer, we've compiled these cheap destinations in this post. We'll update this post every other week throughout the summer, with new travel deals valid from June through the middle of September. So, bookmark it and check back for the latest deals.

This week, we have a variety of deals for you: from domestic jaunts to flights to Europe. There's something for everyone, and all flights are well under $500. In fact, some are under $100 round trip.

Here's the line-up of some affordable trips this summer so you can get to booking.

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Fly to Toronto without breaking the bank

Canada has recently seen an influx of new low-cost carriers starting service to/from the U.S., including Flair and Swoop. In turn, this brings affordable flights to our neighbor up north to Americans.

For example, Flair is offering flights from Chicago to Toronto for as low as $118 throughout the summer.

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Or, you can book Swoop from New York to Toronto for under $150 round trip.

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Canada's quirkiest carrier, Porter, is offering flights from Boston to Toronto for roughly $211 in late August.

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You could then pair these affordable flights with a stay on Hyatt points at the recently renovated Park Hyatt Toronto.

Park Hyatt Toronto (Photo by Chris Dong/The Points Guy)

Head to Mexico from Texas

Texans, listen up: Right now, you can book flights to Mexico for under $250 round trip.

Those based in Austin, Dallas and Houston can leverage budget carriers like Frontier, Spirit and VivaAerobus to fly to Cancun and Mexico City.

Austinites will find Cancun tickets for $250 or less round trip in July and August on Spirit Airlines. Budget in a little extra for bags and a snack, if needed, and you'll be on your way to a relaxing long weekend away in no time. (Here's how you skip the bag fee and maximize the free Spirit carry-on.)

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Houstonians can take advantage of reasonably priced Spirit tickets to Cancun, too, with flights starting pricing at under $200 round trip in July and August. Or, you can fly to Mexico City with VivaAerobus or Volaris for under $200 round trip in July. Here are some tips for what to eat and drink in Mexico City if you make the trip.

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Meanwhile, Dallas travelers shouldn't feel left out of the Cancun fun. Frontier is offering round-trip nonstop tickets for $230 this July. If you want to keep cash in your pocket, there are a variety of points-friendly all-inclusive options in that area once you land.

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Cheap flights to Europe are back

Dreaming of Europe? Good news -- this summer you will find that some flights to Europe are cheaper than domestic tickets.

As an example, TAP Portugal — a Star Alliance carrier — is offering one-stop flights from New York to Paris for under $500 in late August.

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Or, you can try Iceland's newest low-cost carrier — Play — to fly Baltimore to Reykjavik for as low as $300 round trip in July. Here are some on-the-ground tips for Iceland if you make the journey.

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Or, you can book a last-minute June adventure from Boston to Berlin via Iceland with Play for roughly $400.

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For deals to Europe, you can also search Norse Atlantic Airways, which TPG's own Ethan Klapper is using to fly to Europe for $129 one-way in June.

Related: Best credit cards for booking airfare

Domestic flights deals exist

Despite higher-than-average airfare, we also found low-cost domestic flights on select routes. Not surprisingly, the majority of lower-cost fares are found on low-cost carriers. However, some routes have deals on the Big 3 U.S. carriers, too.

From Denver, you can fly Frontier to Las Vegas for as little as $60 round trip or Salt Lake City for just under $80 this June.

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If you're a New Yorker, jet to Nashville for under $100 with Spirit on various dates in June. Here are some tips on where to stay if you head to Music City.

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Looking to see the Carolinas this June? You can take Delta, JetBlue or United from New York to Charleston for roughly $175 round trip on select dates.

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Moving onto July dates, Chicago to Miami, Orlando and Atlanta can all be booked for under $200 round trip with various airlines. The majority of these flights are on low-cost carriers. However, Delta and American operate cheap flights to New York on various dates.

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Going further west, you can score tickets between Austin and San Diego for under $150 round trip with Allegiant on select dates. You can also find Alaska-operated flights in the low-$200s on the same route. Of course, if you choose to fly with Alaska, you could also leverage the co-branded credit card's companion certificate.

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Related: How TPG staffers are finding flight deals this summer

Consider Amtrak this summer

None of those routes strike your interest? Maybe you'd rather hit the rails instead.

Amtrak is chock-full of great deals this summer from many U.S. cities. In fact, if you're based in the New York City area, you can book Northwest Regional tickets for well under $75 round trip in coach. So, book a ticket and finally take that trip to Boston, Washington D.C. or Philadelphia you've been planning.

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If you're based in Chicago, hop on a long-distance train to Washington D.C. or New Orleans for under $250 round trip this summer.

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Meanwhile, in the Pacific Northwest, you can book trains from Seattle to Portland (and vice-versa) for as little as $55 round trip.

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Related: How to save on Amtrak tickets

Bottom line

If you have some flexibility this summer and let the fares drive your destination decisions a bit, you can still travel this summer. It helps to be open to new destinations and avoid weekend travel as those dates are often the most expensive, sometimes by a large margin.

Remember: If you're interested in booking, act quickly. Airfare prices can and do change with regularity.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.