Budget airlines are making worldwide travel more accessible than ever, especially from the United States. With countless options for low cost carriers, you also have countless choices of where you’d like to spend your next week of vacation.
Budget airlines do, of course, attempt to make back the money they took off your ticket price so do beware of these additional costs that can suddenly creep up on you. Sometimes, a checked bag, a carry on, an in flight meal, an overweight bag or even failing to print your boarding pass at home can incur some kind of fee at the gate. Always do your airline research in advance to make sure you’re comfortable with the costs of the services you’ll be receiving and make sure you know exactly what those services are. It never hurts to read the reviews and ratings of an airline you’ve never flown with before prior to booking - if there are any issues with safety or customer service, this can factor into your decision about whether or not the price is actually worth it.
While there are plenty of destinations that we can easily find cheap flights to now, there are a few places out there that the cost of venturing to will always be high, but the experience of that country appears to be worth the ticket price. Here you’ll find 15 of the cheapest destinations to fly to from the US. These are based on travel in the spring of 2019, with departures and arrivals during the weekdays, leaving from various airports in New York. Always do your own research about which airline meets your needs and makes you feel comfortable; these are not endorsements of flight quality, but merely the lowest possible cost incurred. Additionally, you’ll find 10 countries that booking a flight to could require emptying your wallet...but it could be totally worth it for a once in a lifetime experience.
25 Budget Friendly: Reykjavik, Iceland
Iceland has become one of the most affordable flights from North America in the last few years thanks to low cost carriers like WOW and Icelandair. The flight is only 6 hours which contributes to the low ticket price but you'll have to expect no frills on these airlines.
Meals are not included in your economy class ticket (though they can be purchased in flight) and on WOW air, you'll even be charged extra for a carry-on bag. While the flight itself is cheap, the additional fees can add up fast so make sure you're reading the fine print when booking to avoid any surprises at the gate!
24 Budget Friendly: Cancun, Mexico
Of course Mexico's close proximity to the United States makes it a prime location for affordable travel, and airlines like Interjet are offering flights for as little as $320.00 USD this spring. The flight is just over 4 hours from New York City so you'll be hitting the beach in no time.
Cancun is a great jumping off point for other hotspots in Mexico right now such as Tulum, which can be reached by car or by shuttle bus in roughly two hours. Take note, Tulum is not a cheap place to stay or to eat so if you’re planning a visit...hopefully you saved on the flight.
23 Budget Friendly: Stockholm, Sweden
Flights to Sweden are not as far out of reach as they once were. Airlines like Icelandair, WOW Air and Norwegian Air offer ultra low prices to this Scandinavian destination. Flights as low as $383.00 USD this spring can be found on certain dates with Norwegian.
The base fare really is just for your seat and a carry-on bag, but if you’re willing to fork out an additional $90.00 USD you can upgrade to LowFare+ which includes 2 meals, seat reservation and a checked bag. It might be worth the additional cost for comfort on this 8 hour flight. Most airlines offer an upgrade to an Economy plus option for roughly the same amount of money - it’s always a good idea to see if the upgrade will cost you less than it would to pay separately for Basic Economy and a checked bag. Often, you’ll find for a $10.00 difference you can enjoy food and the peace of mind that comes with choosing your seat ahead of time.
22 Budget Friendly: London, England
London is super affordable to reach from New York with flights as low as $373.00 USD on Air Canada and Swiss Air this spring. WestJet is another airline that often has very affordable flights to and from London, England.
Be mindful of which London airport you're flying into, be it Heathrow or Gatwick as this city’s multiple airports can leave you sprinting for the gate if you realize on arrival that your connecting flight is actually at the other one. There is a shuttle bus between airports but leave yourself plenty of time for delays.
21 Budget Friendly: Bogota, Colombia
South America is on every backpacker’s bucket list and perhaps Bogota, Colombia should be your first stop if you’re on a budget. As one of the cheapest flights from the US to South America, there are options as low as $426.00 USD this spring (jetBlue).
Not only is the flight affordable, so is accommodation and food! Airbnb has rooms available for just $13.00 USD a night in the heart of the city, which is amazing for the quality of place you’ll be able to stay in. This is definitely a backpacker’s paradise.
20 Budget Friendly: Oslo, Norway
The unsung hero of the Nordic countries, Norway has become far more accessible to travellers recently with its domestic airline Norwegian, as well as being a destination for airlines like Icelandair and Swiss Air. With flights as cheap as $323.00 on Swiss Air this spring it's a perfect time to experience all the natural beauty this country has to offer. Just remember, the flight is cheap but once you’re there, food and accommodation can get very pricey if you don’t plan ahead. Cooking your own meals in an Airbnb is a great way to save!
Swiss Air and Icelandair both require you to stopover (in either Zurich or Keflavik)...why not extend that layover to 24 hours and get a glimpse of another one of these gorgeous cities in the springtime?
19 Budget Friendly: Dublin, Ireland
Being one of the closest European countries to us, it makes sense that the flights here are super affordable! Rates as low as $387.00 USD can be found on Lufthansa in the spring of 2019 or consider going Irish all the way and check out the rates for Aer Lingus!
With the flight being only 6.5 to 7 hours you can hopefully cope without the usual luxury of in-flight entertainment, as most budget airlines don't have a TV for you to watch your favourite movies on. Prepare instead with a book or e-reader, video game, magazine or load a playlist of music onto your phone. Some airlines have an app you can download ahead of time that will allow you to watch their selection of movies on your phone or iPad when they don't provide a TV. Look into those before you get on the plane so you’re not stuck without WiFi!
18 Budget Friendly: Rome, Italy
The capital of Italy is, surprisingly, one of the best flight deals you'll find this spring. With flights as low as $357.00 USD on British Airways, you could be eating gelato by the Trevi Fountain in no time!
It's worth noting that Rome also has two airports, Fiumicino and Ciampino with most budget airlines flying into Ciampino which is significantly smaller. International flights typically land at Fiumicino. Make sure you carefully check which airport your flight will be arriving and departing from, especially if you're planning to connect with another flight on the same day via a separate ticket as you might need to find transportation between the two. Travel time to bridge the gap is roughly 25 minutes by taxi or you can take a shuttle bus.
17 Budget Friendly: Martinique, Port De France
Grab your surfboard and your carry-on because this Caribbean destination is now one of the cheapest from New York City. Airlines like Delta are offering flights as low as $496.00 USD in April 2019, but if you book further in advance this route can be as cheap as $200.00 USD.
This French Caribbean destination offers sandy beaches and blue ocean waves for relaxing on your spring break. You’ll also be able to enjoy incredible mountain views and hiking here if you prefer to get active on your time away.
16 Budget Friendly: Toronto, Canada
WestJet and Air Canada both offer flights as low as $187.00 USD this spring if you feel like visiting the neighbours to the North! Don’t let the stereotypes scare you away, by April most of the snow will have melted and you’ll be able to enjoy the city streets comfortably before tourist high season sets in.
Toronto is not a cheap place to live, but accommodation can still be found for less than $50.00 USD per night if you look into Airbnb options. It may not seem like the exotic location you had in mind but the 6ix might surprise you with its extremely wide range of dining options and eclectic neighbourhoods.
15 Budget Friendly: Frankfurt, Germany
Put a pin in your plans for the Germany's capital and try the charming city of Frankfurt instead. While flights to Berlin can cost as much as $ 500.00 USD, opting for the smaller city of Frankfurt opens up options for budget airlines and reduced prices.
A flight from New York to Frankfurt can be found for as little as $ 410.00 USD in the spring of 2019 on WOW air. Not only will you save on the flight by coming here but accommodation is much more affordable than you'd find in Berlin as well.
14 Budget Friendly: San Juan, Puerto Rico
With prices this low how come you’re not already at the airport on standby? You can fly to San Juan for just $282.00 USD on Delta airlines this spring with the flight taking roughly 4 hours.
After rebuilding their tourism industry over the past year, Puerto Rico is back and ready for action, and you’ll love what you can get for your money here. Accommodations are very reasonable with lovely rooms on Airbnb going for less than $40.00 USD per night.
13 Budget Friendly: Pointe-A-Pitre, Guadeloupe
This destination can be reached for as little as $403.00 USD on Delta airlines in 2019, but the catch is a super long haul flight of 17 hours with multiple stopovers. Sometimes, this is the price you pay to save a couple hundred dollars.
If you are a traveller who doesn’t mind going the extra mile (or thousand) to save some money then this might be a worthwhile location for you to visit next year! Rooms can be found for less than $25.00 USD per night on this island paradise, definitely worth the lengthy flight.
12 Budget Friendly: Copenhagen, Denmark
This might not be a vacation destination on most people's radar, especially if it's sand and sun you're looking for, but for a cultural European experience, the Danish capital has you covered.
With flights as low as $339.00 USD on Swiss Air, it's a quick and affordable trip across the pond and visiting in springtime during the off season will ensure lower costs for staying in the city as well. Plus, you'll feel like a local with the reduced number of tourists milling through the streets when you skip the high season.
11 Budget Friendly: San Jose, Costa Rica
Central America offers all the warmth and relaxation of a tropical destination just a few hours from home for travellers in the United States. Flying from New York to San Jose takes only 1.5 hours and on airlines like Copa, you can fly for as little as $357.00 USD this spring.
This destination has everything you could ask for on a budget; not only is it close by which brings the flight cost down but accommodations are extremely cheap at $27.00 a night in some parts of San Jose. Experience the beach, the jungle and the city all in one go with this charming location.
10 We’d Go Broke for: Christchurch, New Zealand
This magical land is one destination that pulls people in regardless of how expensive the plane ticket is. With a flight that takes roughly 23 hours and costs around $1750.00 (Air New Zealand) USD, travellers certainly aren't flocking here for the savings.
However, the breathtaking scenery of Middle Earth is enough to make anyone forget about the dent in their savings. Christchurch is located on the South Island and boasts plenty of free and affordable activities to compensate for the flight costs. You can enjoy a trip to Quail Island via the ferry, shop at the local eclectic markets or visit the Canterbury museum, to name a few. Hopefully if you're traveling the islands by camper van you'll also save a little bit of money by going to the grocery store and cooking meals yourself.
9 We’d Go Broke for: Tokyo, Japan
Tokyo, Japan is certainly an epicentre for wild nightlife and memorable cuisine. With a flight from New York City costing roughly $1500 USD (if you want to avoid multiple stopovers and a 24 hour flight), it's not exactly a destination you can pop over to on a whim. Many travellers dream of Tokyo for years before they've got the funds to visit, but the experience never disappoints.
You won't find many cheap options within the city either, a meal costs roughly $25.00 USD and an average hotel room can be as much as $215.00 USD a night, but if you choose to travel with a group splitting an Airbnb can be a money saver, or consider staying at a capsule hotel.
8 We’d Go Broke for: Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Tanzania draws attention for its amazing safari wildlife and most notable mountain, Kilimanjaro. But the main city of Dar Es Salaam is where the majority of flights are routed to, costing roughly $900.00 USD.
Because it's a long haul flight, airlines like KLM and Turkish Airlines usually offer reasonably comfortable economy class options that include a meal and a TV screen for your entertainment. The cost is worth the thrill for adventure seekers in this exciting African nation and you’ll be able to save on accommodation with comfortable rooms on Airbnb going for less than $25.00 USD a night.
7 We’d Go Broke for: Antananarivo, Madagascar
The capital of Madagascar is not a place most people can say they’ve been, so if you’re looking for an experience where you’re not surrounded by other tourists, get your passport ready! Located in the Central Highlands of the island, this city centres around Lake Anosy and while there’s pollution and heavy traffic, there is a rich history here to be discovered.
Flights can be found from New York in April 2019 for roughly $950.00 USD which might seem like a lot, but when you consider how far across the world you’re going, to reach a land unexplored by many in North America, you'll realize it is the path less travelled that you're paying for.
6 We’d Go Broke for: Kathmandu, Nepal
Have you heard of Everest Base Camp? This trek is making its way onto a lot of world travellers’ bucket lists and for good reason - an epic adventure up Mount Everest to 17, 600 ft above sea level awaits those who are willing to endure the physical strain. But you've got to get to Nepal before you can begin the adventure. Though flights to Kathmandu from New York City cost roughly $1200.00 USD (though at certain times cheaper options can be found), that's not the only leg of the trip. You'll have to fly 50 minutes on a very small plane from Kathmandu to Lukla to reach the starting point of the trek. Worth the travel time for a hike you’d never forget.
5 We’d Go Broke for: Singapore
Singapore is a country that evokes images of serenity, where nature and modern architecture merge to create something beautiful. Night markets full of amazing food and stunning gardens are only a couple of the reasons it attracts tourists' attention.
With flights from New York costing around $1100.00 USD in the spring it's not the most affordable travel option, particularly if you also consider the high cost of accommodation. For a more cost-efficient option, maximize the dollars spent on your flight by adding a few more stops to this trip once you've already ventured to this side of the world - Malaysia or Indonesia can offer options to offset Singapore’s high costs.
4 We’d Go Broke for: Perth, Australia
Perth Australia is lesser known to most than the more popular Sydney or Melbourne, but this gorgeous city has plenty to offer travellers as well.
You can visit the art gallery, walk through Kings Park and botanical gardens, spend the day at Cottesloe Beach or enjoy the variety of trendy restaurants in the city. Though the flight will cost you roughly $1150.00 USD from New York City on Cathay Pacific, Delta Airlines or China Eastern (to name a few) in early 2019, the land down under has countless answers to your question of if the cost is worth it.
3 We’d Go Broke for: Istanbul, Turkey
Turkey has become a coveted tourist destination with images of hot air balloons in Cappadocia and Mosques in Istanbul gracing social media feeds more and more each day.
While it's not cheap to visit with tickets costing roughly $1072.00 USD on Turkish Airlines and Lufthansa, your comfort is valued on these airlines and you should find hot meals and in-flight entertainment to tide you over. Istanbul’s architecture and markets as well as the vast variety of tasty street foods are reason enough to put your money to work here, plus this city is both in Asia and Europe which is not something you'll find in any other capital in the world.
2 We’d Go Broke for: Tel Aviv, Israel
The light blue waters of the Dead Sea tempt many to make this a holiday spot, regardless of how costly the flight may be. El Al Israel Airlines offers flights for $1033.00 USD in early 2019, which while not super expensive, is certainly no small sum of money.
Of course there are some additional tricks to “travel hacking” for your cheapest possible flight. Booking on a Tuesday afternoon is a great way to snatch up the best deal as most airlines put out their cheapest tickets at this time. Setting your arrival and departure on Monday - Thursday rather than a Friday, Saturday or Sunday can also sometimes knock as much as a few hundred dollars off your ticket price. Play your cards right and this out-of-reach vacation may actually become ultra affordable, one travel hack at a time.
1 We’d Go Broke for: Muscat, Oman
This lesser-known destination offers cultural enrichment through its ornate buildings and desert landscapes. Visiting The Souk or the Grand Mosque are two absolute musts for travellers coming to the city for the first time.
But how much will it cost you to get here? Though venturing off the beaten path is worth every penny to a travel addict, the astronomical flight prices may cause you to do a double take. Turkish Airlines flies to Muscat in spring of 2019 for $835.00 USD, certainly a hefty sum, but if you're chasing the wanderlust, you're likely to find yourself satisfied upon arrival.
References: Exploretrip.com, Googleflights.ca, Skyscanner.com, Londontoolkit.com, Rometoolkit.com, Backpackerguide.nz, Japan-guide.com, En.wikivoyage.org, Himalayasguide.com, Lonelyplanet.com, Leeabbamonte.com , Airbnb.ca