As winter storms continue to move across the US, we are reminded that the official start to spring is still a few weeks away. Even so, the end of February marks the start of spring break season, a time when students and families abandon frigid temps in search of sun, fun and happy hour drink specials.
For those of you still struggling with where to go, Hopper has compiled a list of destinations where airfare is expected to drop in the coming weeks. Using that data, we’ve put together some spring break vacations for every group and every budget.
But first, there are a few tips to ensure you get the best airfare. First, it’s a good idea to set a price drop alert on your favorite booking website. This will allow you to take advantage of the lower airfare as soon as it becomes available. It’s also helpful to book trips that start on a Tuesday, which is the cheapest day to depart. In comparison, Friday is the most expensive day to depart and will cost you 16% more.
Tropical family getaway — Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
Located on the eastern tip of the Dominican Republic, Punta Cana is a Caribbean paradise with miles of beach and tons of sun. According to Hopper, the average round-trip ticket to the island will cost $479, but prices are expected to drop, and you could save up to 42% if you set a fare alert.
The Gran Bahia Principe Turquesa has everything a family needs for their vacation, including bumper cars, a waterpark with slides and daily family-friendly shows (like “The Lion King”). Even better, the all-inclusive resort has rates in March starting at $187 a night.
If you’re willing to spend a little more dough, consider a stay at The Reserve at Paradisus Palma Real. Named a TripAdvisor Travelers Choice hotel for 2017, this all-inclusive resort comes with a golf course, spa and pool. The fully equipped “kids zone” is designed for children under 12, and comes with a kiddie pool, slides and a paddling pool for toddlers. Guests can even opt for a family concierge who will coordinate activities for your kids (eco tour, pizza making, water sports), so you can focus on relaxation. All of this starts at $542 a night.
Romantic escape— San Juan, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico was named the No. 1 US island in USA Today’s 2016 Reader’s Choice list, and for good reason. The tiny island is packed with history, culture, music and incredible cuisine. Grab your partner and relax on the beach, go boating or sip on rum during a tour of the famous Bacardi facility. The average round-trip ticket to San Juan currently hovers around $277, and prices are expected to remain steady or even drop in the coming weeks. And remember, US citizens do not need their passport.
If you’re looking for a little history, stay at the Hotel El Convento, a former convent for the Monastery of Our Lady Carmen of San Jose. Today, the boutique hotel has 58 rooms, a plunge pool, Jacuzzi and 24-hour fitness center. The best part about Hotel El Convento is that its location in Old San Juan puts it in walking distance from attractions like the San Felipe del Morro Fortress and the Galeria Nacional. Room rates start at $265 a night.
If rest and relaxation are what you crave, head to the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, an elegant resort ranked as the No. 1 hotel in San Juan on TripAdvisor. Live it up with access to a beach club, golf course and casino, or take it slow with a romantic couples massage at the spa. Afterwards, head to dinner at the 1919 Restaurant where Michelin Star-rated Chef Juan Cuevas will prepare your meal. We were able to find rooms for $398 a night, but travelers can save even more by bundling flight and accommodations through a site like Orbitz or Expedia.
Girls/guys trip — Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Daytona Beach and Panama City are often thought of as the spring break party destinations in the US, but don’t forget about Fort Lauderdale. While it’s certainly more tame than other spots, Fort Lauderdale attracts thousands of college kids every March looking to dance and sip fruity drinks while lounging next to the pool. At the same time, families and other vacation groups also fill the beaches, making it a place that truly has something for everyone. The average round-trip plane ticket is currently $155 (about $64 cheaper than to Miami), and prices could drop as much as 35% in the coming days and weeks, according to Hopper.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Premiere hotel is the retro building façade — it’s downright charming! Inside, the rooms are simple and clean, equipped with Wi-Fi, kitchens and direct TV. Located about a block from the beach, the Premiere has rooms starting at $162 a night.
Step up your game with a few nights at the W Fort Lauderdale. This oceanfront hotel is modern, and has every amenity you could think of, including a spa, infinity pool and daily yoga and bootcamp workouts on the beach. End the day at the Living Room, the W’s swanky bar with beautiful oceanfront views. Rooms start at $388 a night.
Nature lovers — Phoenix, Ariz.
While the city of Phoenix isn’t necessarily a tourist attraction, the natural beauty surrounding it makes it an unforgettable destination. The biggest attraction is, of course, the Grand Canyon, whose south rim is about a 4-hour drive from Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Other nearby national parks include the Petrified Forest National Park and the Saguaro National Park, which is home to America’s largest cacti. The average round-trip ticket to Phoenix is $190, making it an affordable option for spring breakers looking to explore the great outdoors.
Keep things simple with a few nights at the Red Feather Lodge. Located in the small town of Tusayan, this quaint hotel is about a mile from the Grand Canyon’s South Rim. While it’s not dripping in luxury, it does have Wi-Fi, pet-friendly rooms and onsite laundry facilities to wash your hiking gear. Rooms start at $150 a night.
The Grand Hotel is a 3-diamond property located in Tusayan, just one mile from the south entrance of Grand Canyon National Park. Renovated in January 2016, the 121-room property is perfectly rustic, and boasts a heated swimming pool and spa. Need help planning an excursion? The hotel can help you to coordinate Jeep, mule and helicopter tours. Rooms start at $359 a night.
Brittany is a writer at Yahoo Finance.