Here in the PNW we have made it through January and we see the promise of longer days ahead with it being light outside until almost 5:30 pm! That is a huge deal for those of us who are ready for some sunshine and warmer days ahead. If you are feeling the itch to plan a last-minute winter vacation but have not booked anything yet, never fear! Planning a last-minute winter getaway is still possible if you are willing to be flexible. The great news now is that many people have the option to work remotely, providing more flexibility to sneak in a long weekend or a mid-week departure/return.
Here’s how to search airfares like a pro to find a sunny escape that fits your budget and three winter warm-up getaways from my home base in Seattle on Alaska Airlines. (I have not been paid for this post or asked to write this – just want to help you plan your sunny escape)! You can do the same search with your own favorite airline or airfare search website.
Start with the Airfare
One of the first places I start when planning a last-minute trip is with the airfare. While so far in 2023 we have yet to see a lot of “deals,” there are always airfare sales and offers as airlines flex to meet demand – especially for less popular destinations on off-peak times. When I’m planning a trip, I bookmark a few of my favorite airlines and airfare search sites, set up notifications to be sent to my phone, and scroll them at night when we are binge-watching Netflix to monitor changes.
For this example, I will use my hometown airline, Alaska Airlines, but you can sub in your favorite airline or do a broader search on your favorite airfare search site.
Alaska Airlines always has its “One Way Fares” from [your city] and its worth perusing to see if your dates match up with your destination. Alaska Airlines’ flexible date calendar helps you easily see what date combinations will yield you the lowest fare. You can see by this search as of Feb 1, 2023, flying out late February 22 (Wednesday) and returning on February 28 (Tuesday) will get you from Seattle to Austin for $109/$109. With taxes and fees the total for that airfare would be $217.80. One note – this lowest fare is a “Saver” fare, which comes with more restrictions than a “Main” fare (no seat selection, non-refundable, no changes, etc.) This is all a personal choice – this flight gives me the option to upgrade to “Main” fares for $40 – something that I’d do for the added flexibility. Read all about the differences between Alaska Airlines saver and main fares here.
Seattle to Honolulu
Flying out Tuesday, February 28 ($179), and returning Tuesday, March 7 ($179) you can fly Seattle to Honolulu for a week for $357 per passenger. Have a companion fare? That would mean you could fly to Hawaii, last minute for a week’s stay for around $500.
Seattle to Phoenix, Arizona
Spend the week in Phoenix, Scottsdale, or Sedona Arizona. Flying out Sunday, February 26 ($69), returning Saturday, March 4 ($69) for a total of $137.79
A few last airfare search tips:
- Set airfare alerts: Google Flights, Expedia, Kayak and the Hopper app allow you to track prices on your dates/itinerary to see if prices go up or down.
- Check nearby airports – flying to Los Angeles? Check Long Beach or other nearby airports to compare flight prices.
- Book one-ways: Compare the price of two one-way fares with your round-trip search to see if you can get a better price.
And don’t forget to check those airline miles, and companion fares! If you get creative, stay flexible and be willing to keep your destinations open, a sunny getaway is within your reach! Happy Travels! xxoo Anne