Ideally, we'd be able to jet across the world for every long weekend, but in reality, the cost of travel can be a major deterrent. Once you've settled on the destination, finding a reasonable flight that doesn't involve multiple stopovers or cost your entire paycheck is the next big hurdle. If you've exhausted Hopper and The Flight Deal and still can't find a good deal, don't worry—there's one more hack worth trying.
Frequent flyers swear by one handy method that could cut the cost of your flight in half: booking "neighbor" airports. By flying into a lesser-known nearby airport, rather than a central city hub, you're able to access cheaper flights for the slight inconvenience. For example, those who fly to Fort Lauderdale instead of Miami and take a quick ride-share often pay less (saving more money for poolside margaritas).
Not sure how to hone your search? We tapped travel forums and Facebook groups to find out about the lesser-known cheap airports to fly into. Your next vacation awaits…
Best Airport: Fort Lauderdale
Flights to Miami in peak season can soar as travelers flock to the beaches to revel in the warm weather, so if you're searching for cheaper flights, try Fort Lauderdale. The airport is smaller, so it can be quicker to pass through security, and a cab to South Beach takes less than an hour.
Best Airport: Dubrovnik
Bosnia and Montenegro are emerging as key summer travel destinations, but both can be difficult to access. Opt to fly into Dubrovnik, Croatia, to start your trip—It's easy to cross the border.
Best Airport: Venice or Zagreb
Slovenia is a nature lover's paradise, but as Ljubljana isn't a major international airport, flights can be costly. "Prices round-trip from my hometown were $1600 because Ljubljana isn't a major hub," a user on a closed Facebook group told us. "So instead I found round-trip airfare to Venice, Italy, for $520. Even with the rental car, I'm saving money. And it's only a 2.5-hour drive away—worth every penny."
Destination: New York
Best Airport: La Guardia
When Cheapflights analyzed data from 101 popular U.S. airports, it found that La Guardia is one of the cheapest in the country. It was ranked the fourth best airport, with average airfares costing $251.
Destination: San Sebastian
Best Airport: Bilbao
Craving a summer vacation but can't figure out the logistics to reach San Sebastian? Switch your search to see flights into Bilbao, a port city in northern Spain. It's easy to get a shuttle, train, or hire a car to San Sebastian, which is about an hour away.
Best Airport: O'Hare
We asked frequent flyers in a closed Facebook group to share the best domestic airports to save money. One user swears by booking O'hare over Midway for cheaper flights. "Just take the 10- to 30-minute Uber to wherever you need to be when you land—simple," they told us.
Destination: San Francisco
Best Airport: Oakland
Oakland is located just across the Bay Bridge from downtown San Francisco, and according to locals, it offers more competitive flight prices. If you're heading to the Financial District or Union Square, Oakland might also be closer than SFO.
Have you flown into any of these airports? Tell us if you saved money.