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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.

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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

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(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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.)

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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.

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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.

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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.

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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.

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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.

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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.

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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.

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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.

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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.

(Screenshot from google.com/flights)

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.

(Screenshot from amtrak.com)

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.

(Screenshot from amtrak.com)

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

(Screenshot from amtrak.com)

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.

Featured image by DAN THORNBERG/GETTY IMAGES
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.

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  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
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Rewards Rate

5XGet 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com
1.5XEarn 1.5X points on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year
1X1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Intro Offer
    The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.

    Earn 150,000 points
    120,000 points
  • Annual Fee

    $695
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    670-850
    Good, Excellent

Why We Chose It

It's hard to find a card that competes with the mile-long list of benefits that come with the Amex Business Platinum. While it's certainly not the card for the average consumer, a business owner with tons of expenses -- especially related to travel -- will find this card incredibly valuable. This card is similar to the consumer version that Amex offers, but with more business-oriented perks around statement credits and earning rates that are a better fit for business owners.

Pros

  • An up to $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck application fee every four to five years
  • Up to $400 annual credit for eligible U.S. Dell purchases (enrollment required)
  • Gold status at Marriott and Hilton hotels (enrollment required)
  • Access to the Fine Hotels & Resorts program and Hotel Collection
  • Extended warranty protection
  • International Airline Program and Cruise Privileges Program

Cons

  • Steep annual fee
  • Difficulty meeting $15,000 welcome offer for smaller businesses
  • Limited high-bonus categories outside of travel
  • The Points Guy Exclusive Offer: Earn 150,000 Membership Rewards® points after you spend $15,000 on eligible purchases with the Business Platinum Card® within the first 3 months of Card Membership.
  • Get 5X Membership Rewards® points on flights and prepaid hotels on amextravel.com, and 1X points for each dollar you spend on eligible purchases.
  • Earn 1.5X points (that’s an extra half point per dollar) on eligible purchases at US construction material & hardware suppliers, electronic goods retailers and software & cloud system providers, and shipping providers, as well as on purchases of $5,000 or more everywhere else, on up to $2 million of these purchases per calendar year.
  • Unlock over $1,000 in annual statement credits on a curation of business purchases, including select purchases made with Dell Technologies, Indeed, Adobe, and U.S. wireless service providers.
  • $200 Airline Fee Credit: Get up to $200 in statement credits per calendar year for checked baggage fees, lounge day passes, and more at one selected airline.
  • $189 CLEAR® Credit: Use your Card and get up to $189 back per year on your CLEAR® membership. CLEAR® is available at more than 50 U.S. airports and stadiums.
  • The American Express Global Lounge Collection® can provide an escape at the airport. With more than 1,400 airport lounges across 140 countries and counting, you have more lounge location options than any other credit card on the market as of 9/2021.
  • $695 Annual Fee.
  • Terms Apply.