Looking to catch a cheap flight this year? Kayak, one of the world's leading travel search engines, shared with Travel + Leisure a list of the cheapest places to travel this year.
To determine the most wallet-friendly destinations, Kayak analyzed the searches for flights from Nov. 20, 2020, through Nov. 19, 2021, for travel between Jan. 1, 2022, and June 30, 2022. Kayak then considered the top 100 most-clicked destinations with the lowest average flight price, excluding outliers based on criteria such as travel restrictions and security concerns.
Fly against the grain and get rewarded with major savings.
Unsurprisingly, Mexico makes the list of the cheapest places to travel in 2022. The country has long ranked as an affordable and easy-to-reach destination for many Americans; reasonably priced direct flights are abundant.
Within Mexico, San José del Cabo (in Baja California Sur), Puerto Vallarta, and Cancún come out on top as the cheapest places to fly, with January being the most affordable month to visit for each. Fortunately, January is nothing short of glorious in each of these beachy destinations — warm, balmy, and filled with rich colors, textures, and flavors to beat the winter blues.
Searching for a city break instead of a beach retreat? Mexico City, with its rich Aztec heritage and generous smattering of museums, is another affordable option in Mexico. May is the cheapest month to book a flight there.
Who wants to visit Chicago in winter? You will, once you see the rock-bottom prices you can score in January and all there is to do in this Midwest winter wonderland. Spend an afternoon on the Maggie Daley Park Ice Skating Ribbon, then warm up with a slice of deep-dish pizza.
Colombia is a beloved travel destination for its rich history, vibrant culture, and mouthwatering food. It's also well priced against what many Americans are used to paying for, say, a fresh arepa and cup of Colombian coffee.
February is the least expensive month to fly to the country's capital, Bogotá. The weather here is chilly, but not too cold to stroll the painstakingly maintained Bogotá Botanical Garden, which dates back to 1955 and is filled with almost 20,000 plants (and costs just over $1 USD to enter).
In January, head to Cartagena, a port city on the country's Caribbean coast. You don't have to spend much to enjoy your time here — simply walking the picturesque streets is enough for most visitors.
There's a reason bachelorette parties and reunions of every sort flock in droves to the Music City — it's not hard to have a boot-scootin' time on a budget. Mural-hopping is free, hot chicken will only set you back a few bucks, and there's lots of live music to be heard (free of cover charge) along Honky Tonk Highway. January is the cheapest month to book.
New York City, New York
New York City isn't known for being a cheap destination, but go in January and you'll get the best prices they've got. The city never sleeps, but it does slow down during the cold winter months — the perfect time for you to swoop in and take advantage of the decreased demand for flights and hotel rooms. Plus, there are plenty of free things to do in New York City, too.
Mexico isn't our only neighboring country with deals aplenty — Canada also makes for an easy getaway, with well-priced flights widely available from most of the U.S.
In Montréal, Quebec, the must-try food is the steamé — the city's take on a hot dog — served steamed in a side-loading bun (which is also steamed). It's the perfect food to gobble up during freezing February, when the flights are cheapest. Best of all, each delicious (and filling) hot dog will only set you back a couple of dollars.
February is also the cheapest month to fly to Toronto, Ontario. The weather may make you leery, but don't let it: During February, the annual installation of art and lights, known as the Toronto Light Festival (totally free), takes place in the walkable and historic Distillery District. It's also a good time for The Bentway Skate Trail under the Gardiner Expressway overpass, which will set you back only $5.
And while Vancouver, British Columbia, is gorgeous in the summertime, January is the cheapest month to fly there. Take the ferry for an affordable "tour" of the city from the water.
Atlanta has all the big-city perks at prices far more wallet-friendly than most of its counterparts. Splurge on a SkyView Ferris wheel ride for views of Centennial Olympic Park and beyond, and go in January for the lowest possible prices. There are lots of things to do in Atlanta during this time of year, from visiting the marine animals at the Georgia Aquarium to learning about local history at the National Center for Civil and Human Rights.
Head to Charm City this year to keep costs low and still have a memorable travel experience. Chilly January may be the cheapest month to visit, but luckily, you can still check out places like the Rawlings Conservatory and Botanic Gardens ($5 donation encouraged) in the urban oasis of Druid Hill Park.
San José, Costa Rica
The capital and largest city of Costa Rica, San José is a must-visit for any intrepid traveler. Expect Victorian mansions, nightlife in El Pueblo, lots of culture, and surrounding historic coffee plantations.
Check out the Pre-Columbian Gold Museum for a glimpse into what it might look like to have an unlimited jewelry budget. Admission is $15 for non-residents, but offers access to more than 1,500 gold objects and artifacts. Head to San José in May for the cheapest airfare to this lively (and affordable) city.
This year, visit Dallas outside of Cowboys football season — like in January, when prices are at their lowest. During this time, you can expect more reasonable rates, but still get in on the sports action by catching a home game for the Mavericks (basketball) or the Stars (hockey).
Las Vegas, Nevada
Las Vegas can be as cheap or expensive as you want it to be, but if you prefer to devote the majority of your dollars to slots and shows rather than airfare and accommodations, go in January. Just don't expect hot temps, as even the desert gets cold in the winter. Here are some more tips to keep in mind and mistakes to avoid on your next trip to Sin City.
Panama City, Panama
Panama City, the capital of Panama, is an impressively modern Central American destination framed by the Pacific Ocean on one side and the Panama Canal on another — best viewable from the Miraflores Locks. Visit in January for great flight deals, and don't miss the cobblestone streets of historic Casco Viejo.
Florida as a destination is hotter than ever, but Tampa isn't as inundated with crowds as the state's other major cities — plus, its location on the western coast promises gorgeous sunsets over the Gulf of Mexico. Go in January for a good deal, warm (but not sweltering) temps, and plenty of sunshine.
If January's chill has you dreaming of pink-sand beaches, you're in luck, as it's a great month to visit Bermuda. Fly into Hamilton and stroll Front Street for a peek at the pastel buildings that are iconic to this glitzy British island territory, but stick to window-shopping if you want to keep your trip cheap. Biking and beach-hopping are the name of the game here.
January may be the cheapest month to fly to Boston, but it's not the best season for strolling its idyllic Common or touring the Freedom Trail. Luckily, many stops along the historic route are indoors — and cheap (like the Paul Revere House, which is just $6 per adult).
The Dominican Republic is another popular destination for American travelers. January is the least expensive month to visit the two most affordable cities to fly into: Santo Domingo and Punta Cana.
Though Santo Domingo is the country's capital, it doesn't have to be an expensive visit. Take in the architecture that dates back to the late 1400s and stroll the Colonial Zone for a memorable (and free) experience.
Punta Cana, on the other hand, is known as a tourist hot spot with plenty of resorts (and ways to spend lots of money). However, some of life's greatest treasures — like sandy beaches and waterfall hikes — are as free in Punta Cana as they are anywhere else.
St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
You don't need a passport to fly to St. Thomas, but you'll have a hard time believing this jaw-dropping, colorful island is technically U.S. soil. Make sure to visit Magens Bay, climb the 99 Steps in Charlotte Amalie, and marvel at the sheer blueness of the water surrounding this popular cruise ship port. Go in January for the best flight prices; you'll be glad for the savings when you see what accommodations cost on this luxurious island.
Denver has a ton to do, even in January, which is the cheapest month to visit. Hitting the slopes is hard to do at a discount (unless you go in the summer to hike instead of ski), but at least you'll save money on airfare if you visit Denver during this snowy month.