Not sure where you can find the cheapest flight for your next vacay? Scoping out the most affordable domestic destinations in the US means a lot to consider, and the airlines don’t exactly make it easy.
When you plan your next vacay, the last thing you want is to miss out on incredible deals and savings. That’s why we’ve stripped back all the nitty-gritty details to give you the need-to-know info on nabbing the best domestic flights in the US and its territories.
Time to strap in and put your tray back to its upright position. We’re about to take off on a savings journey!
Table of Contents
- 7 Things You Need to Know to Find the Top Deals on Cheap Domestic Flights in the USA
- 1. What Is the Cheapest Airline for Domestic Flights?
- 2. What Time of the Year Is Best for Finding Cheap Domestic Flights?
- 3. How Far in Advance Do You Need to Book to Get the Best Deals?
- 4. What Days Are Cheapest to Book Domestic Flights?
- 5. What US Cities Are Cheapest to Fly Into?
- 6. What Islands Are Cheap to Fly to Right Now?
- 7. What’s the Easiest Way to Find Great Deals on Cheap Domestic Flights?
7 Things You Need to Know to Find the Top Deals on Cheap Domestic Flights in the USA
Before you jump headfirst into tracking down the cheapest flights to destinations in the US, save yourself the headache and read through our top tips for your search. You’ll also get some destination tips for where to plan your next affordable domestic adventure!
1. What Is the Cheapest Airline for Domestic Flights?
If the question is which US airlines offer the cheapest flight tickets, then low-cost carriers are the answer. Though they offer fewer amenities and comforts, the savings speak for themselves. Here are the best budget airlines of 2022:
- JetBlue Airways
- Southwest Airlines
- Allegiant Air
- Frontier Airlines
- Spirit Airlines
You’ll find that many of these airlines offer fewer services, origin cities, and destinations than legacy carriers. Still, if they provide departure options near you, they can be a cheaper alternative for buying domestic flights than flying with a major airline.
Just bear in mind you’ll need to pack light, as the heftiest costs often come from baggage fees.
Important: If you’re planning a trip to Guam, the following budget airlines do not fly routes there.
Headquartered in New York City, JetBlue offers over 100 destinations to choose from, with some noticeable exceptions. So, if you’re looking for a budget airline to fly to popular cities around the contiguous US, as well as flights to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, you’re in luck.
However, if you’re hoping to snag a cheap round trip fare to Hawaii or Alaska, you’ll have to look elsewhere.
Check out JetBlue’s full route map here.
With JetBlue, you can combine flights with hotels or access discounts on accommodations and car rental bookings through their website.
Southwest is headquartered in Dallas, Texas. While it also offers around 100 destination cities, these locations are mostly centered in the contiguous US. However, they do include cities in Hawaii and Puerto Rico.
On the other hand, you won’t find any flights on Southwest to Alaska or the US Virgin Islands. Thankfully, other budget airlines offer those routes!
Check out Southwest’s full route map here.
With its headquarters in Las Vegas, Allegiant provides flights to over 130 destinations. These destinations don’t include Hawaii or Puerto Rico, but they do have seasonal flights to Anchorage.
Allegiant typically flies in and out of smaller, more regional airports, and they only schedule flights on the days most people travel.
This ultimately adds up to more savings in your pocket. But, it comes with less flexibility for when you can travel and which airports you can fly into.
Check out Allegiant’s full route map here.
Allegiant is another budget airline that gives the option of combining your flight with a hotel and car rental bookings. Depending on your travel plans, this could help you access discounts and score some additional savings.
Frontier, based out of Denver, Colorado, is an excellent option for some of the cheapest round-trip fares around. As long as you don’t mind cutting out the standard frills of legacy airline services.
With flights to over 100 domestic cities, you can fly to several destinations, including Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. Unfortunately, the obvious exception here is the Hawaiian Islands.
Check out Frontier’s full route map here.
One thing to note with Frontier is they don’t offer vacation package bookings through their website. Instead, you can take advantage of a few discounts available with their car rental partners.
Spirit Airlines is the last big-name, low-cost carrier, and it’s based in Miramar, Florida.
With the lowest number of destinations out of this list of budget airlines, it still offers services to over 50 destination cities, including some in Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Notably, Spirit Airlines does not provide routes to Alaska or Hawaii.
Check out Spirit’s full route map here.
With Spirit Airlines, you can also check out vacation package bookings that include flights, hotels, and car rentals for instant savings offers.
Keep in mind if you can’t find what you’re looking for on a budget airline, you’re not out of options. Legacy carriers like American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and United Airlines frequently run deals on their domestic flights.
Savvy deal hunters can take advantage of price drops that’ll help you save big without the hassle of cutting out standard services as budget carriers do.
Pro-tip: Don’t forget to check out specific discounted fares for seniors, students, and children for additional savings.
2. What Time of the Year Is Best for Finding Cheap Domestic Flights?
Most destinations see a peak time of year when travel is busiest. So, planning your trip around those peak seasons rather than during those peak seasons will save you the most money.
You may think that means the prime season for cheap travel would be the off-season, and you’re not wrong. But while the off-season may offer the lowest prices, you may find your plans stifled by fewer flight routes and closed attractions and businesses.
Your best bet to find cheap domestic flights is to travel in the shoulder season. The shoulder season is the time between peak and off-season and offers terrific prices, fewer crowds, and livelier destinations.
When is the Shoulder Season?
Shoulder season revolves around peak seasons, which vary from summer for most of the US to winter for island destinations.
To score the lowest prices on airline tickets and hotel bookings for most destinations, plan to book your domestic travel during mid-spring (April to May) and early fall (September to October).
Of course, traveling only in the shoulder season may not be ideal. In that case, try signing up for a deal alert service like Next Vacay. That way, you can nab amazing flight deals throughout the year, no matter the season!
3. How Far in Advance Do You Need to Book to Get the Best Deals?
Unlike with international flights, you won’t find yourself needing to book at least six months in advance to get a decent deal. With domestic flights, you have a little more room for flexibility.
Try booking your flight between one to four months before your next domestic trip to get the best deals. Of course, if you’re flying during peak travel times like summer or Christmas, plan to book earlier at two to five months out.
Any later than three weeks out, you’ll start seeing those prices climb the closer you get to your travel dates.
If you start checking out prices around four or five months before your flight, you’ll be better prepared to spot when a deal comes along and take advantage of some significant savings!
4. What Days Are Cheapest to Book Domestic Flights?
For years it’s been a common belief that the best day to book cheap airfare is Tuesday. Not anymore. With airline prices constantly changing and adapting based on complex algorithms, the old rules are out the window. Now, the cheapest day to book is whenever you find cheap flight deals.
That said, you’ll still find proponents for booking on a specific day of the week. For example, a report published by the Airlines Reporting Corporation and Expedia Group Company revealed that travelers who booked on a Sunday and flew out on Friday saved more on cheap domestic flights in North America.
With that in mind, you can peruse for the best prices on a Sunday afternoon, but don’t wait to jump on a fantastic price if you happen to find cheap flights on another day of the week.
5. What US Cities Are Cheapest to Fly Into?
With so many incredible destinations right here in the US, it can be hard to pick one. But if you’re looking to vacation in cities with some of the best cheap flights to get you there, look no further than these airline hotspots:
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
Cheap Domestic Flights to Seattle
Tucked between waters, mountains, and evergreen forests, energetic Seattle is an enchanting blend of rugged outdoors and city-living.
Whether you’re looking to hike to some spectacular views, take a boat ride out on the water, stroll through a historic neighborhood, or enjoy some incredible craft beer and coffee culture, Seattle won’t disappoint.
Spend time at fun, free places like the Pike Place Market and Olympic Sculpture Park, or check out the Seattle CityPass to get discounts on some of the city’s biggest attractions, like the iconic Space Needle and Chihuly Garden and Glass.
With so much to do and so many frequent flight deals, Seattle is a city that invites visitors to come in and come back time and again.
Cheap Domestic Flights to Boston
One of the most English places you’ll find in America, Boston is a treasure trove of US history embedded in cobblestone streets.
You can’t visit Boston without making two important stops along your way at the first public park, Boston Common, and the oldest baseball park in the US, Fenway Park.
Once those visits are over, you can have your fill of art museums, symphony orchestras, and ballet performances at the Boston Ballet. Or, for something a bit more adventurous, plan a day or two of island-hopping around the Boston Harbors Islands.
With all the money you’ll save on your flight to this gorgeous city, your options for entertainment will be endless.
Cheap Domestic Flights to Los Angeles
The City of Angels boasts an incredible resume to entice visitors of all ages and interests for a visit to the west coast. From the sandy beaches to wild amusement parks and some of the country’s most iconic museums, historical centers, and art galleries, LA is a land bursting with adventures and stories.
Of course, it’s hard to expect anything less from the birthplace of Hollywood and the home of the rich and famous.
Being bored on vacation isn’t something you’ll have to worry about in Los Angeles. In fact, you’re far more likely to find yourself running out of time to spend in this remarkable city. So, plan wisely!
Cheap Domestic Flights to San Francisco
San Francisco may constantly battle with LA, but one area that it dominates without question is food.
Put simply, San Francisco is heaven for foodies. From the quality of dishes to their variety, you won’t find yourself so spoiled for choice in any other US city. On top of that, the cultural diversity of San Fran means you can enjoy a delightful mix of dishes from Asian to Mexican and so much more.
If you happen to drag yourself away from the buzzing food scene, treat yourself to bustling shopping districts, museums, and parks. Visit film locations, walk the Golden Gate Bridge, and enjoy the unique character of San Francisco’s charming neighborhoods on display in street fairs and carnivals that run through the spring and into mid-fall.
Cheap Domestic Flights to Dallas
Dallas may not be as big a name as NYC or LA for travel, but it packs a surprising number of draws to pique travelers’ interests.
Affectionately referred to as the Big D by locals, Dallas offers fun in many forms. Sports fans will delight in visiting a city that calls itself home to six professional sports teams. Meanwhile, art connoisseurs can retreat to the largest art district in the US.
Add on to that, you can shop till you drop at one of the many shopping centers spread around Dallas, treat your tastebuds to everything from barbecue to Jamaican, and enjoy the outdoors at Dallas’s many parks, terraces, and patios.
The fact that this vibrant city is so affordable for flights and activities is just icing on the cake.
6. What Islands Are Cheap to Fly to Right Now?
Nothing sounds better than a quick getaway to a beautiful island paradise. These budget-friendly islands don’t require a passport or expensive flights to take advantage of their sandy beaches, sunny skies, and low prices:
- San Juan, Puerto Rico
- St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
- Honolulu, Hawaii
- Kauai, Hawaii
Who’s ready to use some PTO days?
1. San Juan, Puerto Rico
A bit of an overlooked gem in the Caribbean, San Juan is a vibrant city and the second oldest one in the Americas founded by Europeans.
Discover five hundred years of history wrapped up in narrow cobblestone streets, colorful Spanish colonial neighborhoods, and impressive castillos overlooking endless blue seas.
The best part is how little it’ll cost you to get here and explore this historically rich city!
2. St. Thomas, Virgin Islands
Grab your swimming gear because you’ll want to dive headfirst into St. Thomas’s aqua blue waters. This island is a popular destination for its snorkeling locations, gorgeous beaches, and stunning views.
Needless to say, you’ll also find plenty to do away from the island’s shore, like learning about St. Thomas’s fascinating pirate history.
You can score great deals to St. Thomas on carriers from Spirit Airlines to American Airlines.
3. Oahu, Hawaii
You might be surprised to see one of the Hawaiian Islands on a list of cheap destinations in the US. However, you’ll be pleased to find plenty of discount and savings opportunities when flying to Oahu, as it offers some of the lowest fares for domestic travelers coming from both the east and west coasts.
The state capital of Honolulu also provides an abundance of affordable options for accommodations and food, along with free activities and highlights to leave your wallet decently padded considering you just vacationed at one of the most popular getaways in the States.
4. Kauai, Hawaii
We admit it; we might be pushing it with two Hawaiian destinations. Still, Kauai sees great deal prices pop up throughout the year, and the affordability of traveling around this paradise is second to none on the Hawaiian Islands.
You’ll also be spoiled for choice when exploring the scenic gardens, dramatic falls, and jaw-dropping views.
For maximum savings, you should plan your travel dates for the shoulder season to nab the lowest fares.
7. What’s the Easiest Way to Find Great Deals on Cheap Domestic Flights?
The easiest way to find yourself great deals on flights is by signing up for Next Vacay!
Sure, you could set aside time to comb through multiple sites for the best deals available on your own. Or, hop on each airline’s website. Go from American Airlines to United Airlines to Frontier Airlines and everywhere in between to search high and low for their best offers. Then spend hours comparing multiple fares simultaneously, setting up price alerts across different search engines, and on and on.
Or, you can pick the option that will help you save time, money, and some sanity.
With Next Vacay, you don’t have to worry about comparing multiple airlines for the cheapest rates on airline tickets. Or setting up price drop alerts. Or visiting different airline websites. Or any of that nonsense.
All you have to do is spend less than five minutes signing up for Next Vacay. Then, you can enjoy spending your time where it matters.
Next Vacay will take care of scanning the airlines, watching for price drops, and sending the best domestic deals your way as soon as they become available.
With a team of real people screening every deal, you know that every email in your inbox is one that’s met Next Vacay’s high standards for pricing, flexibility, and comfort so that you can make your booking with peace of mind.
Never settle for average fares or worry about finding cheap airline tickets ever again, with Next Vacay!