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Cheap Places to Fly in 2020

By Maya Stanton, Lonely Planet Writer
November 22, 2019
Japanese Temple At Sunset Reduced
Tomas1111 | Dreamstime.com
​There are trips you take to a specific destination because it’s a place you’re dying to see, and then there are trips you take because the opportunity to see said destination presents itself, and you’d be remiss to turn it down.​

An unexpectedly cheap flight can facilitate the latter, and to help travelers plan for adventure in the new year, Scott’s Cheap Flights has crunched the numbers, examining new and existing airline routes, historic pricing trends, and fare data from 2019 to forecast 20 cheap destinations to look for in 2020. “Travel is always a top New Year’s resolution, but the cost of flights deters many of us from making those dreams a reality,” founder Scott Keyes said in a press release. “Fortunately, we are living – right now – in the Golden Age of cheap flights. Far from affordable flights being impossible to find, it’s never been as cheap to fly internationally as it is today.”

To be clear, these aren’t necessarily bargain-basement fares – they’re good-value destinations that should become less expensive than in years past. Places like Japan, for example, saw new routes to additional gateway cities in 2019, which brought down prices and increased competition – a trend that looks set to continue next year, especially factoring in interest generated by the summer Olympic games and the launch of even more routes between the US and Tokyo’s Haneda airport.

The email subscription service also expects to see a bump in deals to East Africa – and to Nairobi specifically – in 2020. That’s thanks in large part to Kenya Airways’ enrollment in the Air France/KLM partnership and daily flights from Paris and Amsterdam that resulted from the partnership, which made it easier to connect via Europe than ever before. Deals to the volcanic archipelago of Cape Verde, or Cabo Verde as it’s also known, are expected as well, thanks to TAP Air Portugal’s continued expansion between the US and the island nation.

In the Southeast Asia market, Malaysia tends to represent a better bargain than its regional neighbors. All Nippon Airways is known for running deals (in partnership with United) from US cities like Chicago, New York, Houston, Seattle, and Washington, DC via Tokyo, and as the hub for budget carrier AirAsia, you can often find flights from Kuala Lumpur to nearby locales like Bali, Myanmar, and Phuket for less than $100 roundtrip.

Much of Europe feels like well-trod territory at this point, but the tiny principality of Liechtenstein is a somewhat unexpected option, with fairytale-fodder castles and a national trail network that makes it easy to trek from one end of the 160 sq km country to the other. At approximately nine times the size of Washington, DC, it’s so small that it doesn’t have its own airport, but Zürich is a short train ride away, and good fares are often available from the US – a likelihood that should roll over into 2020 as Swiss International Air Lines adds direct flights from DC.

Stateside, 2019’s fare war between Delta and Alaska Airlines brought a plethora of deals to routes between Seattle and Alaska, and that shows no signs of abating in 2020. Look for low prices from Delta hubs like Minneapolis and Detroit to Anchorage and Fairbanks, as well as bargain fares from Alaska’s west coast hubs.

For the full list of the 20 places to go on cheap flights in 2020, visit scottscheapflights.com.


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Luckily for the budget conscious, flying coach and carpooling is also better for your wallet – all the more incentive to take part. In most studies, trains come out on top as the most environmentally friendly mode of transport per passenger; in areas with good train infrastructure, this can also be a solid budget option. To cruise or not to cruise? Cruising is an immensely popular mode of travel around the world, with cruise lines building bigger and bigger vessels every year. However, these megaships are notorious for their pollution output, and many big-name brands have faced criminal charges for dumping fuel waste, sewage and other pollutants into the water. From a socially sustainable standpoint, cruises can exacerbate problems with overtourism at port cities, with tourist dollars largely going to the cruise companies rather than local businesses. Sustainable-minded folks should probably avoid large cruise ships with long itineraries in favor of small, regional boats. These do not create (or expel) as much waste and, they support local businesses at their ports of call. Check out these scores before booking your cruise vacation. Stay close The best way to reduce your carbon footprint is to explore areas nearby; instead of traveling across the country to that big national park, check out your nearby state parks. Try your hand at cycling routes or multi-day hikes instead of expansive road trips. Traveling slow and local can also reduce the bills flying out of your pocket thanks to reduced fuel and lodging costs. Resist the call of the all-inclusive All-inclusive hotels are popular, valued for making vacation planning easier and presumably being a more budget-friendly way to travel. While package deals undoubtedly can offer appealing prices, the negative social impact of these large resorts can be significant. Some questions to ask before booking: is this hotel locally owned? Do they pay their employees a fair wage? 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