- Experts told Insider you can easily save 40% to 75% on travel by pushing December flights to 2023.
- Travel in January, February, or March for major savings on both domestic and international flights.
- I found 12 deals on flights in early 2023 to Hawaii, Europe, and the Caribbean.
The end-of-year holiday travel season is fast approaching and experts predict this year will be just as busy as ever. Not only are airports crowded and affordable hotel rooms hard to come by, but prices on airfare are expected to skyrocket.
“The period around Christmas and New Year are typically the most expensive three weeks for airfare of the entire year,” said Katy Nastro, spokesperson for Scott’s Cheap Flights. “Schools are on vacation and people want to fly home to be with family. That surge in demand in a brief period leads to significantly higher fares.”
But Nastro also told Insider that the lofty price tags don’t mean you have to skip out entirely. Right around January 8, when kids go back to school and families return to work, Nastro said she sees airfare prices flip in the opposite direction. January and February are the two least expensive months of the year for flights, she said.
“Cheap flights are abundant if you’re traveling from the second week of January through the beginning of March,” Nastro told Insider. “During that time frame, you’ll often see fares 80% cheaper than they were over the Christmas and New Year period.”
The same flights that are expensive in December are hundreds of dollars cheaper a few weeks later in January
According to Scott’s Cheap Flights, a flight from Seattle to Honolulu from December 23 to 30 is just over $1,000, while the same flight from January 16 to 23 is only $198. Their flight deals, which are shared with a base of email newsletter subscribers, also revealed that a flight across the country from Los Angeles to Boston from December 22 to 29 is nearly $900, while the same flight from January 11 to 18 is only $140. These flights are either nonstop or have a single layover.
Nastro also said it’s not just flights that are cheaper from January through March, and you’ll also save on accommodations, car rentals, tours, and activities if you wait.
“Unlike Christmas or New Year, by mid-January there’s no lines at the museum, few waits even at top restaurants, popular beaches with tons of open space,” Nastro said. “Pushing your plans back a few weeks won’t just mean a cheaper trip, but a better one, too.”
Here are 12 cheap flight deals I found for early 2023 that flexible travelers should consider
Following Nastro’s suggestion, I searched for cheap flight deals on Kayak and Google in early 2023 and found inexpensive flights from major US hubs to places like Europe, Hawaii, and the Caribbean on airlines such as American, Spirit, United, and JetBlue. All flights are direct or have a single layover, and often in basic economy. Prices are accurate as of publishing, but subject to change.
- New York City to Dublin on British Airways with one layover
January 9 – 16: $434 (compare to $1660 in late December)
- Houston to Cancún nonstop on Spirit Airlines
January 17 – 24: $168 (compare to $852 in late December)
- Seattle to Honolulu on American Airlines with one layover
January 23 – 31: $275 (compare to $1078 in late December)
- Los Angeles to Boston nonstop on JetBlue
January 11 – 18: $198 (compare to $889 in late December)
- Atlanta to Antigua on American Airlines with one layover
January 12 – 18: $365 (compare to $1532 in late December)
- Phoenix to Miami on Spirit Airlines and Frontier with one layover
January 9 – 16: $217 (compare to $737 in late December)
- Chicago to Las Vegas nonstop on Spirit Airlines
January 10 – 17: $87 (compare to $435 in late December)
- Boston to Paris on PLAY Airlines with one layover
January 20 – 27: $304 (compare to $1498 in late December)
- San Francisco to New York City nonstop on JetBlue
January 19 – 25: $218 (compare to $527 in late December)
- Miami to Aruba nonstop on American Airlines
February 3 – 10: $480 (compare to $745 in late December)
- Dallas to San Jose, Costa Rica, on Spirit airlines with one layover
January 26 – February 2: $361 (compare to $1037 in late December)
- New York City to Barcelona on Tap Air Portugal with one layover
January 15 – 22: $370 (compare to $1121 in late December)
The bottom line is, if you have flexibility to wait to travel, it makes a lot of financial sense
Cheap last-minute Christmas or New Year’s flights are probably an oxymoron. Based on my research, they’re basically impossible to find as everyone scrambles for a seat at the same time when the holiday season hits its peak and the year comes to a close.
I’ll be following Nastro’s advice and waiting until January or February, or perhaps even March, to save a significant amount of cash.