It’s a new year, and with it comes the endless possibilities for the adventures, experiences, and memories that travel brings. But with uncertainty abroad, many Americans may choose to stay closer to home this year. Yet domestic travel can be just as challenging to plan as excursions abroad. And while most travel data analyses concentrate on when to buy or where to go, just as crucial is when to go. Indeed, at Hipmunk we get asked all the time when the best time to travel to a particular destination is (read: the cheapest). So this year, we decided to expand on last year’s When to Go Monthly Index, increasing the list to include 120 North American cities (with dedicated ski and Hawaii charts below), concentrating solely on low-cost airfare, and adding our most popular Canadian destinations to round out the list.
We dug through 18 months of Hipmunk flight bookings to find you the average monthly airfare to each of these 120 cities (103 US, 17 Canadian) when departing from the US, highlighting the least expensive times of the year to go to these top destinations.
So consider this your yearly guide: pin it to Pinterest, download one or more of the charts to your computer for easy reference, or simply print and put it on your fridge.
Let’s jump in! And don’t forget to check out our When to Go 2017: Canada, Hawaii, and Mountain indexes following our US breakdown below.
It’s pretty obvious that the best times to travel domestically is either Jan/Feb or Shoulder Season (Aug/Sep): a whopping 66 percent of the cities listed above named January as one of their two least expensive times to visit. Indeed, this maxim holds true even for Hawaii vacays, where four out five cities analyzed returned January as one of its “when to go” months.
And while better deals may be found in the fall, there’s still ample time to take advantage of winter and spring ski season savings:
Rounding out our When to Go 2017 list is our neighbors up north (a few of these cities were included in our ski chart, above). Celebrating its 150th anniversary of confederation this year, Canada has seen a boost in popularity for Americans lately thanks in part to a strong exchange rate. Here are the best times to maximize the dollar’s spending power:
Of course, the best way to ensure you purchase the lowest flight prices in any month is to book about six weeks in advance and to set a fare alert.
Tell us in the comments below: where are you planning on going this year?
Methodology: Hipmunk analyzed prices for round-trip flight booking made from July 1, 2015 – Dec 31, 2016, departing from the US and arriving in either US or Canadian cities from Jan 1, 2016 – Dec 31, 2016.