If you want to make an escape, but don’t want to pay an arm and a leg for airfare, there’s no need to limit yourself to a road trip. Depending on where you live in the U.S., there are a number of fantastic destinations that often come with the opportunity to snag some great low airfares, including these.
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Thanks to Iceland-based low-fare airline Wow Airlines, which continues to expand routes throughout North America, it’s becoming easier and easier to score a great deal on airfare to this travel bucket list destination – sometimes as low as $99 each way. Direct departures are now available from Boston, Washington DC, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and as of June 2017, from Pittsburgh as well. Once you’re there, look forward to exploring the dramatic volcanic landscapes dotted with roaring waterfalls, glaciers and hot springs. Diving enthusiasts can even take a dip between the North American and Eurasian plates in the Silfra fissure for an unforgettable underwater experience. And, if you visit between late September and mid-March, you may even get to see the Northern Lights.
Flights to Miami can be found for as little as $99 round trip, depending on your departure point, of course. But even from Chicago, it’s possible to snag one for less than $150, and under $25o if you’re coming from a place as far as Seattle. Look forward to warmth, sunshine, plenty of skin and partying ’til dawn. You might spend your days soaking up the sun and the sand, and perhaps checking out the art and culture too, by visiting the Vizcaya Museum & Gardens or the Museum of Contemporary Art. After dark, explore some of the hottest clubs around like Mokai or one of the area’s new additions, DV Hospitality’s Rec Room, designed to make you feel as though you’re hanging out in a friend’s 1970s basement.
For a tropical island vacation, Jamaica tends to be one of the cheapest, not only for accommodations, but round-trip flights from eastern U.S. cities are almost always under $400. The best bargains tend to be had during hurricane season, generally July and August – if that’a risk you’re willing to take, you can save big but you may want to sign up for travel insurance just in case. Once you step off the plane, not only will you have the chance to melt that stress away lounging on the beach, but you’ll be able to sample lots of fantastic cuisine, including homemade Jerk. Jerk, along with reggae and Red Stripe, has become a national icon. Originally developed by runaway slaves, it’s a meat that’s marinated in a piquant sauce before being slow-cooked over a pimento-wood fire. While pork and chicken have been the traditional jerk items, these days all sorts of things are prepared this way, including beef, mutton, goat and fish. While you’ll find lots of traditional Jamaican fare that’s stayed true to its roots, like salt fish and ackee, Jamaica continues to bring in a new crop of chefs that are doing all sorts of creative things.
New York City
With some many airlines flying to New York City, there are almost always bargain airfares to be found. Plus, the Big Apple is served by three major airports: John F. Kennedy International Airport, Newark International Airport, and LaGuardia Airport, increasing the odds even more. Currently, they can be had for less than $50 each way from Washington DC to $260 round trip from Los Angeles. Once there, look forward to iconic sights and attractions like Times Square, Broadway, Central Park, Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty, and some of the best shopping and dining in the world.
Not only is flying to Costa Rica relatively inexpensive, with flights as low as $300 from New York City, once you’re there, your dollar really goes a long way. In fact, it’s easy to get by on only about $40 per day, including meals, entertainment and accommodation. Compared to Disneyland, that’s a real steal. Outside of Africa, it’s one of the best places for close up encounters with wildlife, with its lush jungles filled with four types of monkeys, sloths, crocodiles, countless lizard species, poison-dart frogs and an incredible variety of exotic birds and butterflies. In some places rare, exotic birds are frequently spotted right alongside of the road. Tapirs, coatimundis and anteaters scurry by regularly in some national parks, and both coasts are famous for nesting turtles as well as visits from migrating whales and leaping dolphins, with pods number in the thousands. Of course, outdoor adventures are popular too, particularly surfing, snorkeling, whitewater rafting, hiking and zip-lining.
Chicago is a major hub for many airlines, which means airfares to the Windy City tend to be a lot lower too. It could run you as low as about $90 from New York City and under $200 from San Francisco. Explore one of its most famous attractions, Michigan Avenue, otherwise known as The Magnificent Mile, which runs from the bridge that spans the Chicago River to its northern point at Oak Street. Put on your comfortable walking shoes and enjoy an entire day of shopping, eating, browsing art galleries, visiting world-class museums and more. The Loyola University Museum of Art is a not-to-be-missed city treasure. Opened in 2005, it’s dedicated to the exploration, promotion, and understanding of art and artistic expression that attempts to illuminate the enduring spiritual questions and concerns of all cultures and societies. Over on the Navy Pier, ride the Wave Swinger which lifts guests 14 feet into the air and then swirls them around for a thrilling ride with great lake views, while the 150-foot high Ferris wheel features unparalleled vistas of the city’s skyline and lakefront.
The Dominican Republic is another popular budget travel destination for those who want to soak up the sun and the sand. Flights from most major cities run less than $300, and in some cases, much less. When you get there, you’ll find a wide range of accommodation options to fit any budget too, including affordable hostels. If you’re looking to party, Punta Cana, o unlimited alcohol, bean the island’s easternmost tip, is a favorite with many of the mega-resorts here offering unlimited alcohol, beachside contests and games, and swim-up bars. Plus, you’ll be able to get out and do a little exploring at nearby Los Haitises National Park, paddling through lagoons and mangrove canals in a kayak while watching for leatherback turtles and pelicans.
Most people are under the impression that flights to the Emerald Isle are rather pricey, but that’s something that’s changed dramatically in recent years, also thanks in part to Wow Airlines. Not only can Wow get you to Iceland for a cheap price, it also flies to a number of places in Europe from Reykjavik Airport, including Dublin. That means you can take advantage of them for your dream Ireland trip, and perhaps even visit Iceland along the way. While accommodation rates in Ireland’s biggest city can be expensive, by venturing into the more rural areas, you’ll not only be surrounded by magnificent scenery, but comfortable B&B rooms can often be had for only about $50 a night.
The busiest destination in the Caribbean, cheap flights can be had to Cancun from almost anywhere in the U.S., and hotels start at suspiciously low prices too. The newer hotels along the Hotel Zone tend to be an especially good value, particularly when compared to Caribbean islands, and there are a wealth of other options within a reasonable distance as well, like Playa del Carmen, which is only an hour south of the airport by taxi or shuttle. If you want to get away from the crowds, visit Isla Mujeres just a 20-minute ferry ride away. Not only does this picturesque isle offer the chance to enjoy the scenic natural beauty of the beach in relative seclusion, but it has a more laid-back atmosphere and amazing street food. There are even Mayan ruins to explore, a turtle protection center to visit, and opportunities to swim with dolphins, while the downtown area offers a number of restaurants and shops.