Spring break expected to be busier than last year, with searches up 40% and international beach destinations back on the map
According to the latest data from leading travel app Expedia®, travelers are already planning their spring getaways, eyeing everything from Caribbean beach escapes to Alaskan cruises. Flight searches for March and April travel are up 40%1 compared to the same time frame last year, with interest in international destinations like Punta Cana, Paris and Tokyo up double-digits compared to Spring Break 2022. While average ticket prices are higher than last year, price-conscious travelers will still find savings by avoiding the busiest travel dates, choosing less crowded destinations and taking advantage of package discounts.
- Searches for March and April flights are up 40% compared to the same time-frame last year, indicating that U.S. travelers are getting a head start on planning spring break getaways.
- Average ticket prices for March and April flights are currently higher compared to this time in 2022, while average daily hotel rates are roughly flat versus Spring Break 2022.
- Airfare prices peak in late March through early April, making early March and the latter half of April the cheapest times to fly this spring season.
- Without the COVID-19 testing requirements of Spring Break 2022, travelers are returning to their favorite Mexico and Caribbean beaches like Puerto Vallarta and Punta Cana. March and April demand for international destinations is up double-digits compared to last year.
- Travelers can find plenty of affordable getaways to top destinations including Fort Lauderdale, New York City and Toronto, all of which currently offer both round-trip airfare and hotel stays under $350.
Spring Break Airfare Tips2
Despite the rising cost of airfare, it is still possible to plan a spring getaway that doesn't break the bank. Heading to a city destination will be cheaper – and likely less crowded – than a trip to an international beach resort. Regardless of the destination, travelers can stretch their dollars by following these tips:
- Avoid peak dates in order to save: According to booking data, traveling during the first week of March (before March 9) or after April 16 will allow travelers to take advantage of the lowest airfares of the season. The busiest travel days during the period are March 10–11, and the priciest are Saturdays, March 25 and April 1.
- Depart on a weekday: During the spring travel period, travelers can save an average of more than 20% on round-trip airfare when departing on a Tuesday instead of a Saturday, plus enjoy shorter lines at the airport.
- Take advantage of pre-summer shoulder season: After mid-April, average ticket prices are expected to stabilize before the summer travel season ramps up. For those with flexible schedules, late April to mid-May is a great time to head to Europe or enjoy a domestic city escape at a lower price.
- Find the sweet spot: In most cases, booking about a month before domestic flights helps travelers save money on airfare, but when in doubt it's wise to set up price alerts as soon as there's a destination in mind. The Price Tracking and Prediction feature on the Expedia app uses machine learning to predict the best time to book and notifies travelers when flight prices drop.*
How to Save on Lodging and Car Rental
Lodging and car rental rates remain relatively flat2 compared to Spring Break 2022. Savvy travelers can use these tips to score more value:
- Book accommodations 30–45 days out: While around 64% of spring breakers tend to lock in hotels 90+ days in advance, the ones who wait tend to get better deals. Expedia lodging data shows that, historically, booking hotels closer to a month out yields savings of around $30 per night.2
- Snag package savings: Bundling flights, hotel and car rental together on the Expedia app saves travelers an average of around 10%, or $300, and makes trip-planning easier.**
- Compare pick-up spots: Expedia data shows rates near cities tend to be cheaper than the average while rates near national parks and ski destinations are among the priciest.2 Off-airport lots can also be cheaper than picking up at the airport due to lower operating costs, so it pays to shop around.
Spring Break Destination Guide
Travelers seek to broaden their horizons this year, causing international beach destinations like Puerto Vallarta (+25%) and Punta Cana (+30%), along with culture capitals like Rome (+20%), Paris (+50%) and Tokyo (+55%) to see major spikes in flight searches.1
Spring breakers looking to stay closer to home but avoid busy beach destinations are flying to their favorite big North American cities including New York City (+5%) and Montreal (+40%) or unplugging in nature in places like Banff National Park (+40%) and Jackson Hole (+60%).1 Cruises are also picking up steam for spring break. Demand for spring cruises to Alaska, for example, is up nearly 25% compared to the same time frame last year while demand for European cruises gains momentum going into the summer.3
Still need help figuring out where to go this spring? Expedia's experts rounded up ten places to visit, including exciting domestic hotspots with airfare (ATP) under $350 and international bucket-list destinations under $700. Hotel prices (ADR) at these destinations remain under $350 per night.2
- Fort Lauderdale
- Los Angeles
- New York City
- San Juan