Plan an exciting vacation without spending an arm and a leg.

By Claire Trageser
Updated January 03, 2020
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Have a destination on your bucket list that’s just out of your budget? You might be able to book that trip for less than you think, depending on the time of year you visit. For example, go to Japan in the winter, not during cherry blossom season, to save a few bucks. Or go to Hawaii during the shoulder season to enjoy warm weather without paying peak prices.

Kayak.com’s “Travel Hacker Guide” tells users when airfare to certain destinations is cheaper, picking a handful of destinations for each month of the year.  By using this tool and traveling during a low season, you can save hundreds (or even thousands) on your dream trip. Need a little more travel inspiration? Check out our list of the 50 best places to travel this year.

These are the cheapest places to travel for each month of the year.

Related: More trip ideas

January: Osaka, Japan

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Flights to Osaka, Japan are 35 percent cheaper in January (starting at around $600), according to Kayak.com.  Accommodation is cheaper at this time of year, too — you can book a hotel room for $40 to $60 a night, according to Expedia.com. These are the lowest prices of the year, thanks to a post-holiday dip and colder weather. Spend the money you saved on a day trip to Kyoto or a visit to Shochikuza, Osaka’s only Kabuki theatre, which has a brewery hidden underneath.

February: Zurich, Switzerland

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In February, flight prices to Zurich, Switzerland drop by 15 percent on average (to under $600), according to Kayak.com. While in the city, visit the shops and cafes on Bahnhofstrasse, the city's upscale shopping street. Get out of the city and enjoy mountain views by taking a day trip to ski in nearby Elm or Braunwald.

March: Melbourne, Australia

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In March, you can book a flight to Melbourne, Australia for 16 percent less than usual, with prices starting around $1,000 on average. Autumn begins in March, so you can expect colder, wetter weather. Even though you might not be able to enjoy the beaches, there's still plenty to do. Wander through the Royal Botanic Garden, or if it's raining, visit the covered Queen Victoria Market or the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium.

April: San Juan, Puerto Rico

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In April, take a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico— you'll find airfare is 30 percent cheaper than usual, coming in at $250 on average. While you are in the city, explore the Paseo del Morro, which has beautiful views of the ocean, and the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a citadel that dates back to the 16th century. Snap your Instagram-worthy shots at Calle Fortaleza, known as the Umbrella Street because it is covered with brightly-colored umbrellas.

May: Santorini, Greece

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Head to the island of Santorini in the Aegean Sea in May for flights that are 45 percent cheaper, coming in at around $740 on average. Spend the money you’ve saved at romantic seafood restaurants like Throubi Restaurant or Lycabettus Restaurant, which both offer stunning views of the ocean.

June: Belfast, Northern Ireland

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You can travel to this Northern Ireland city at the start of the summer for 26 percent less than usual, with average flight prices coming in at $740. Once you’ve arrived in the city, explore Belfast’s Botanic Gardens, and then stop by the Ulster Museum, which has a range of exhibits including artwork, dinosaur skeletons, and an Egyptian mummy. Also check out the docks where the Titanic was assembled — there’s a new museum that uses digital technology to recreate the experience.

July: Cancun, Mexico

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In the middle of summer, you can fly to Cancun for 16 percent less, with fares at around $375 on average. Go take in the white sand beaches and turquoise waters, and enjoy activities like scuba, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, and boating. You can even take a day trip to visit nearby ruins.

August: Reykjavik, Iceland

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August is the right time to fly to Iceland, where you can score airfares at 23 percent less than usual, costing around $440 on average.  With all the money you saved, you can splurge at Dill Restaurant, which was the first restaurant in Iceland to earn a Michelin star, or Snaps Bistro, which serves French-influenced cuisine.

September: Hawaii, United States of America

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September is a great time to fly to Hawaii, especially Kailua-Kona — you can find flights for around $400, which is 32 percent less than other months. Traveling at the end of the peak summer season means you may also find cheaper rooms. The weather is still fantastic in September, so you can go snorkeling and scuba diving and enjoy the many beaches.

October: Belize

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Visit Belize in October to take advantage of off-season prices. Flights come in at 25 percent less than usual, costing around $385 on average. While in the area, you can explore the Xunantunich and Cahal Pech Mayan ruins, or take a tour of a cacao farm to see how chocolate is made.

November: Mexico City, Mexico

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Affordable accommodations, cheap airfare from major U.S. cities, and good weather make Mexico City an ideal destination for the month of November.  By November the rainy season is over, so you can expect weather that’s suitable for exploring this culturally rich city. Best of all, if you visit at the beginning of the month, you'll be able to experience the famous Day of the Dead festivities.

December: Calgary, Canada

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December can be an expensive time to fly most places, but not Calgary, Canada, where you can book airfare for 27 percent less than usual. While you are in the city, you can explore the Calgary Zoo or Heritage Park Historical Village, Canada’s second largest living museum. Plus, enjoy Christmas lights and holiday festivities, or get outdoors and go skiing or tubing.