Cheapest Month to Travel

Is January the Cheapest Month to Travel?

Derek Travel Costs, Travel Tips & Advice 59 Comments

Cheapest Month to Travel

It all started last Wednesday when, during an afternoon break from doing some work, I decided to go online and look up random airfares from Bucharest. Always a sucker for the beach, the first destination I looked up was Goa, India.

And the first airfare I found was $340 USD (one-way) with FlyDubai and Air India. I suddenly got excited.

I then decided to continue searching other destinations. Within an hour, I had found airfares to places such as Tbilisi, Georgia ($178 USD) and Male, Maldives ($400 USD) and Warsaw, Poland ($101 USD) and Hong Kong ($505 USD) and Fethiye, Turkey ($115 USD) and Tel Aviv, Israel ($145 USD) and Brunei ($575 USD) and plenty of others, that were, in my opinion and experience, remarkable deals.

Naturally, it got me even more excited.

It wasn’t my plan at all to travel anywhere in January but once the idea creeped into my head during this airfare searching session, I knew it would be difficult to just forget about it.

Then, that evening, I went outside to grab some dinner and despite wearing my warm gloves, I couldn’t feel my fingers after a few minutes because of the -16C (3F) temperature here in Bucharest. By the time I reached the store, whatever had been dribbling out of my nose had turned to solid ice, my face was partially numb and my toes were nearly frozen (the toes problem is admittedly my fault since I’m quite bad at staying warm in winter).

Beach, anyone?

Upon returning to my apartment, I felt as if I had no choice but to continue the airfare search and because I was so intrigued by what I was finding, I also started looking at flights from other locations, simply out of curiosity.

The airfares I soon found would make anyone with even the slightest interest in travel want to purchase a ticket, pack their bags, hand their cat off to their neighbor and get on that plane immediately.

January sure seems like the cheapest month to travel. I never knew.

– NYC to Oslo for $250 USD
– Chicago to Istanbul for $460
– London to Bangkok for $560
– Los Angeles to Medellin for $375
– Paris to Athens for $205

Yes, those are for roundtrip tickets (all found on JetRadar.com and Skyscanner.com). It really can’t get much cheaper.

Of course, I know that last minute travel is not feasible for everyone and to take advantage of some of these fares, you really need to be flexible and ready to leave, well, very soon. But I know that some of you are looking for such a random getaway, some of you have been waiting for the perfect deal to get started, some just want to have a unique international adventure for as little money as possible.

Just think, by next week you could be sitting in a completely different destination, perhaps in Asia or Latin America or Europe. Crazy, right?

I’m not saying you should quit school or quit your job or make some radical decision to leave your current life behind. Nothing like that at all.

All I’m saying is that there are opportunities out there. Perhaps January doesn’t work out for you. Maybe February or May or September will. Keep your eyes open, sit down at your computer from time to time and start typing in random destinations. You never know what airfares you’ll find and one day you just might find the fare that makes sense, the one fare that turns your desire to travel, whether for the first time or for the hundredth time, into reality.

Modern Travel is Simply Amazing

This concept of modern travel still messes with my head. I’ve been traveling for 15 years but when I think about the fact that today I am writing this post from a train in Romania and in two days I could be, well, somewhere else on the planet, maybe India, maybe Italy, maybe Hong Kong, I am just blown away.

Is it not incredible that we can get to the other side of the world for $500 and in less than 24 hours?

And who says you need to go to the other side of the world. Here in Europe, you can bounce over to another country for the cost of a movie ticket.

In my random airfare searches the past few days, I’ve found a flight from Craiova, Romania to Bologna, Italy for $12 USD each way, including all fees. Not bad for a 2 hour flight to a different country. There are flights from Frankfurt, Germany to Barcelona, Spain for $100 roundtrip and flights from Sofia, Bulgaria to Rome, Italy for $110 roundtrip.

Within one country, airfares also border on the absurd at the moment. Flights within Turkey are as low as $20 USD with Pegasus Airlines, within India, you can fly from one corner of the country to another for less than $50 bucks on several airlines. Bangkok to Chiang Mai, Thailand on Bangkok Airways will cost you $51 USD. Nuts.

I need to stop looking up flights.

On another note, today was a bit of a tease. The temperatures here in Romania shot up a good amount and I would almost venture to say that it was a ‘warm’ day. The snow and ice are melting, I could walk around without my winter hat on my noggin and my toes were wiggling around with joy all day.

But man, I keep coming back to one thing – $340 for a ticket to Goa, and I could be there tomorrow, in a nice little hut right on the beach.

What would you do?

Have you found any unbeatable deals lately?

Anyone want to meet in Goa?


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Comments 59

  1. Mike | VagabondingMike

    January does seem to be the ‘time to travel.’

    Everyone just got back from their holiday (Xmas) travel and are taking a break before spring break. There definitely are airfare deals to be had.

    November and January/February seem to have the most killer deals due to low demand.

    Enjoy Goa!

  2. Jasmine

    Oh wow, flights in January do seem cheaper – although i was planning to fly in Jan and decided against it because it was the holidays here in Hong Kong and flying out of the country was more expensive than other times.. Here now, chinese new year, the prices are like 5 times the price for some short haul flights!! Crazy!! i didn’t know about jet radar until you mentioned the site, i will have to check this one out , thanks for the great post, def some travel inspiration and destination ideas for me 🙂

  3. Uptourist

    I have to agree. I don’t know that it is the same all over the world. But I guess the deals are due to the sudden decrease in customers after the holidays. They want more people to travel thus the deals.

  4. Jimmy Dau

    I love a good last minute deal. In june I found a great price from Hanoi to Scotland and left a few days later. I think as long as you have about four or five places in mind that you’d go to, it makes the decision making process even easier.

  5. Eduardo Valencia

    Earl, i’m about to travel around the world working on a cruiseship, the reason for this is that i´m really bored over here , i´m really decided to do it and right now im at interviews.

    Thanks to your postsi have been able to keep up my courage and determination to do it!

  6. Victoria@ The British Berliner

    Have an awesome time in Goa Earl. It’ll be grand LOL! I prefer winter in Europe myself but I did snag a flight from Barcelona to Berlin for €47.00 over the Easter weekend with Norweigian Air. A bargain if I ever I saw one. It would have been €20.00 cheaper too but I hesitated for a few days…!

  7. Jeff Bronson *Kraven*

    Hey Earl – I did actually leave a fantastic job, been working towards living a more inspired life for 10 years now!

    I look forward to seeing you in Goa, I’ll be staying in Arambol as of Feb 1st! (we spoke on FB briefly…). Cheers!

  8. John Rodgers

    I am not sure if it is the cheapest but we are in Barcelona until the 22nd of April, after reading your posts I checked some prices. We were going to India next and I was able to get two tickets to New Delhi for only $278 each.

  9. Zascha Friis

    Just a couple of weeks ago I got a flight ticket from London-Copenhagen (return!) for only £39.98!!!
    That same trip was over £340 back in December.
    So yeah, there must be something about January.
    Ah, wish I was sat on a beach right now – enjoy Goa! 🙂

  10. Geeky Explorer

    January is probably the cheapest month to travel in Europe and the US. Not sure about the southern hemisphere.
    Many of my european travels were done in Jan/Feb because the flights are ridiculously cheaper (Lisbon-Copenhagen for 30EUR!!).

    I see you couldn’t resist going to Goa, very nice choice!
    Happy travels!

  11. Nigel

    I was in India for 5 months last year. Unfortunately I didn’t get to Goa. I thought the new E Visa scheme would include British passport holder but we weren’t 🙁 otherwise we would have finally met in person! I’m in otres beach, cambodia so I can’t really complain too much 🙂

  12. Saravana Kumar

    I think that the air fares are cheaper in Jan month due to the people who would have exhausted all their money in new celebration and would have returned home right after. Less people travelling means less demand and cheaper tickets. Nice findings!

  13. Jack Johnson

    January is definitely the cheapest month to get flights that I’ve seen.

    I was just checking around and you can get 4 days in Vegas including flights from Canada for $400! crazy!

  14. Daria

    Hey Earl! From the comments I see you are already enjoying Goa – how is it there in January? I dream to skip snow and rain here, the sooner the better!
    I would also love you checking out my photoaggregation project carde-app.com and sharing your thoughts on it!
    Happy travels ! Daria

  15. Alex

    Hey man, I just spent a month in Goa and am cruising through Karnataka on my Enfield. Will be heading back up through Goa in early Feb, if your around would be great to meet ya. Let me know!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Alex – I should be here until February 4th I think so if you make it back by then, be sure to let me know! Enjoy the ride for now!

  16. Britt Jeffs

    Such good deals.
    January is summer school holidays in Australia so its not cheap to travel at all! One of the more expensive months, especially domestically.
    My sister and I managed to pick up $450 return flights from Melbourne-Bangkok for February which we thought was a pretty good deal!
    I wonder what the Australian equivalent of your January is

  17. Alana from Texas

    Have I told you lately… that I love…your blog! No, really, excellent post. You’re such a wordsmith, too! Middle Eastern oil prices have been steadily going down lately, which is bad news for American oilfields but great for travelers. I’ve been itching to go on a road trip across the States. Ideal time to do it. Happy trails to everyone!

  18. Christine | The Traveloguer

    Damn you Earl, I’ve just got back from a trip to Berlin that was the resullt of a random flight search binge- now you have me itching to get searching again! If I had any money, I dont think I could resist the temptation of a trip to Goa. Goa is always the best idea! 🙂

  19. Julia

    this is exactly how I ended up in Romania a week and a half ago (just arrived in Bucharest!) and also how we ended up with plane tickets to morocco on Sunday. Total cost of flights, consisting of Germany (okay fine, Eindhoven, but that worked even better for our post New Years getaway/road trip to Belgium) – Romania (Cluj-Napoca), Bucharest – Germany, then Germany Marrakech and back? Not even $300..

    If you’re interest in meeting up in Bucharest let me know!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Julia – That’s an unreal deal…enjoy those travels! And I would have loved to meet up in Bucharest but I hopped on a plane and flew to Goa in the end, just arrived this morning 🙂 Enjoy Romania!

  20. Jo (The Blonde)

    I could never look up flights alll the time. I wouldn’t be able to stop myself from buying them.
    My sister does that all the time and she is a walking encyclopaedia when it comes to airfares and airlines.

  21. Shane

    I’m headed to Bali from Christchurch, flight was $400 with Virgin Australia (thank you Kayak), then to Phuket, flight is $99 with Tiger Airlines (Kayak) and then to Manila out of Bangkok for $150 (Cebu Pacific website). Four months of holidays From Canada to NZ to Indo to Thailand to the Philippines and back to Canada = $2050 Cad…

    Avoiding the Canadian winter for a change = Priceless!

  22. Nick

    Hey Earl! I found a great deal recently that is sparking a trip to Europe and the Middle East. I’m flying from San Francisco (out of Oakland) to Stockholm for $188! Then after a week, because it will be way to cold for me to survive Sweden in winter, I’m hopping on another flight to Tel Aviv for $67. $255 from west coast USA to Tel Aviv with an added week in Stockholm ain’t bad! Norwegian Air seems to be the cheapest way to hop the pond. Especially from the west coast.

  23. Michele

    The beach sounds so good right now! We have a major cold front just leaving and another moving in soon. Escaping to warmer weather would be incredible! lol Enjoy!!

  24. Ashley

    Wow, such good deals! I need to learn to be more flexible with my destinations so I can snag a super cheap fare like the ones you found. And I’ll be in Goa the second week of February 🙂

  25. Ash

    I was reading your post about Goa yesterday (for the third time) funnily enough because its so cold here, not that I can travel just yet but a guy can dream 🙂

  26. Tatiana // The Happy Jetlagger

    From my experience as a flight attendant for over 14 years now, I can say that January is one of the most quiet months in aviation in Europe. Planes are empty and the number flights are reduced, too.
    Doesn’t surprise me that fares are so low at the moment.
    Enjoy your trip!

  27. Chrissy

    Great post, Earl!

    Christmas morning is also a great time to find cheap flights. This Christmas I found a roundtrip ticket Chicago-Abu Dhabi for $218! I wasn’t able to snag it because it was only for certain days/times that didn’t work out for me, but what a deal for those who the timing was right! I just found this out this year when I had nothing going on Christmas morning. Sneaky airlines!

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Chrissy – That is quite a deal and I know a couple of people who took advantage of it. I think it was one of those ‘mistake’ airfares…that’s about as low as it could possibly be!

  28. Emily

    I am definitely wanderlusting right now – the temperature in Toronto today is mildly better at -7 degrees Centigrade…on the weekend it dipped to -29. Yuck!

  29. Renuka

    I was in Goa around the New Year’s. Have a fantastic time in Goa. After the cold in Romania, the warmth of Goa should please you! Yeah, I too think that January is the cheapest month to travel. And you are right, one should keep looking at airfare deals and random destinations. If you just care to travel, why care about the destination as long as you have a cheap flight deal!

  30. Mark

    Hey Derek,
    As you know I was in Goa a few weeks ago, and seems a bit quieter this year, everyone says less Russian traveler’s (know what’s up with that I hear they canceled up to 400 charters) Did venture up to North Goa to Anjuna and the flea market & Baga. I would defenetly give them a miss again unless your interested in dealing with the touts, or interested is seening 2000 Indian men swimming in their underpants! Ha Ha
    Palelome and Patnam are the best.
    Sounds like you need some warmth sand between your toes can you travel to warmer climes yet re: the dengue?
    Sounds like you have already made up your mind, $$ look great, you would never find prices even close coming from Western Canada, believe me I’ve looked.
    Cheers, happy new year Derek

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Mark – I just arrived today and am at Havana Palolem huts…seems like we missed each other by a few weeks only. It’s definitely quieter here than usual…it’s very quiet in town actually. The warmth is what I needed and I look forward to hanging out here for a bit again!

      1. Mark

        Enjoy Derek!
        I stayed at Cressida two doors down for 700 not bad? They have new Nepalese cooks good chicken fried noodles enjoy

  31. Dominic

    Not sure I would pick Goa as my go-to beach (although Palolem Beach is no doubt good for a bit of relaxation). I’d probably pick the Philippines, but you won’t be flying there so cheaply from Europe!

    Recently booked my ticket LHR – MAA (Chennai) – round trip for £350 (529 USD) – good airline, no ridiculously long stopover – dream come true!

  32. Sharon

    Go to Goa!! Being from Australia, January is the most expensive time to travel since it is our holiday period. There is also less reason to travel – I love an Australian summer (yet here I am in Bali!).
    I also can’t believe how cheap travel is now though. I had my first round the world airfare in 2000 and it is so much different now. I generally live in Melbourne (have just taken off semi permanently now though), and Air Asia has changed travel completely for me. I have flown to KL multiple times for only $99 (Australian too so cheaper than USD$99). thats an 8 hour flight from Melbourne – just crazy! We had originally planned this Bali trip to be a holiday and bought our flight home via KL (so 11 hours of flying) for $277 in total for our famil of 4 – yes 4 tickets long haul for AUD$277. Its crazy.

  33. Pete @ Backtotravel

    Goa looks pretty attractive right now from my office cubicle in London. It’s not -16 here but it’s pretty chilly. How can your resist it for $340?
    Goa is going to be our first destination when we quit our jobs in 2016. One more year to go! Can’t wait to get out there.

    1. Wandering Earl

      Hey Pete – I couldn’t resist and now I’m in Goa! You’ll be here soon enough it seems…not a bad place to start your adventure!

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