Many travelers are itching to ‘get out of Dodge’ after the COVID-19 pandemic grounded flights around the globe – especially now that many countries are starting to open again. But if that sense of freedom has you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of which bucket-worthy locale to next check off your list, narrow the field by looking for the biggest discounts.
There are some incredibly good deals you can snag right now for travel later in the year; From FOMO-worthy spots like Greece to off-the-beaten-path countries like Ghana, you can get many flights for close to 40 percent off if you book now. Fares to some countries, like Haiti and Tonga, can be had for as much as 58-67 percent off the typical price – if you know where to look.
While every day there's new announcement on which countries are open – and from which countries they'll accept travelers – there’s usually no harm in snagging a cheap fare months in advance, especially when so many airlines have adopted very flexible cancellation and refund policies. Just be sure to check the exact policy of the airline you're flying with when you book your flight.
For travelers departing the United States, these destinations boast the biggest discounts. Snag your own savings by checking out fares from your nearest departing airport using our flight booking tool.
Percentages reflect the discount off the average price of the ticket. If you purchase through links on our site, Lonely Planet may earn a commission from the retailer.
Haiti: 67% off
Haiti is already a pretty affordable destination, full of lush mountains, warm Caribbean culture, and intriguing history and art. Catching a flight later in 2020 gives you a chance to nab further discounts at the tail end of the off season (which typically lasts through October) and avoid the first chill of winter in the northern hemisphere.
Learn more: Ten things to know about visiting Haiti
Tonga: 58% off
It's rarely a cheap proposition to fly from the US to the far-flung islands of the South Pacific, so a steep discount on fares to Tonga are especially enticing. Humpback whales are known to gather in local waters through October. And until the rainy season starts up in December, you'll have pleasant, dry weather to make the most of the kingdom's glimmering beaches for diving, snorkeling, kayaking, and sunbathing.
Learn more: How to choose a South Pacific Island
Oman: 53% off
Oman might conjure up images of desert oases and winding wadis more than dive sites and sea turtles – but this Middle Eastern gem has plenty of both. From the coasts of Ras Al Jinz to the ancient Al Hoota Cave, Oman boasts an array of natural wonders well worth a flight. Start planning now, as conditions are never better than between October and April, when temperatures drop and the famous green sea turtles arrive.
Learn more: 10 must-see natural wonders in Oman
Ghana: 51% off
It's easy to experience a little of everything in Ghana, from Cape Coast Castle on the rim of the South Atlantic to Mole National Park, where elephants roam the savanna. For a country where you already get a lot of bang for your buck in the vast array of landscapes and cultural experiences available, getting a great deal on airline tickets is the cherry on top.
Learn more: How to live like a Local in Accra, Ghana
Nicaragua: 48% off
Nicaragua has become a hip destination in recent years, resplendent with volcanos and rum, prime surf spots and the irresistible scents of carne asada and maduros wafting from casual cafes called fritangas. There's few better times to visit than from November to April, though you'll beat some crowds by showing up earlier in the fall. With the money you save on your ticket, you can splurge on a decent rain jacket in case of stray showers.
Learn more: Travel to Nicaragua: what you need to know
El Salvador: 48%
El Salvador isn't at the top of many "best of Central America" lists and that's a shame – you can find excellent surfing, coffee, hiking, and photo opportunities with the crowds (and higher prices) of better-known spots like Costa Rica and Nicaragua. Whether you're hoping to hike volcanoes or explore colonial-era plazas, El Salvador might be just the ticket, at a more than fair price.
Iceland: 47% off
Iceland has been through tourism boom and, thanks to COVID-19, bust in the past decade. But if you were feeling like you missed out on the land of fire and ice when all of your friends and coworkers were coming back with enviable tales of Goðafoss and the northern lights, never fear. Iceland may have reputation for being spendy, but getting a good deal on a flight will leave you with that much more to use when ordering Reykjavik's famous hotdogs eina með öllu (fully loaded).
Guatemala: 46% off
If you're looking for a change of scenery, it's hard to think of a better view than the contrast between Guatemala's ancient Mayan pyramids, its weathered colonial architecture, and the rugged Cuchumatanes mountains and swimming holes that punctuate Guatemala's emerald landscape. Spend what you save on inexpensive airline tickets by getting your adrenaline pumping on a paragliding tour, zipline adventure, or tackling some Central American whitewater.
Learn more: Guatemala for first-timers
South Korea: 46% off
South Korea has been one of the great success stories of the pandemic – and a destination many travelers are sure to feel quite confident about visiting once travel restrictions clear. It's also a fantastic deal right now, making its temples, microbreweries, street food, and spas all the more irresistible. Visit in the winter, and you'll have a chance to catch the first powder of the season on Korea's ski slopes before warming up in the country's famous bathhouses.
Learn more: Seoul's best autumn walks
Jordan: 43% off
If you know nothing else about Jordan, you surely recognize the famous City of Petra from movies like Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. You can live your own action and adventure flick in Jordan's many canyons, hiking trails, historic sites, and scuba diving spots – this is a country rife with opportunities for active travelers.
Albania: 43% off
If you're craving Mediterranean chill, Albania is off the beaten path, away from the crowds lining more famous Rivieras. Further inland are misty Balkan peaks, enigmatic ruins, dappled vineyards and outdoor adventures that cater to a variety of travel styles, whether you want to work up a sweat or just bask in that special light that falls on this corner of the world.
Learn more: Lezhë to Lundër: northern Albania for foodies
Czech Republic: 42% off
Prague has earned a reputation as party central in recent years (something that the Czechs want to change), but this jewel box city's best look is early in the morning, when the mist is rising off the Vltava River and dawn is casting a rosy glow on Prague's cobbled Old Town. There's so much more to see in the Czech Republic than its capital, however. Find similar ambiance in small Bohemian towns like Český Krumlov, stroll retro Brno, or sip your way through Plzeň – the birthplace of pilsner beer.
Learn more: Olomouc: the Czech Republic's best kept secret?
Hungary: 40% off
If you want to unwind, there are few better ways than by soaking in Budapest's gorgeous thermal baths, which feel a little like splashing back in time. Travelers often feel similarly transported by the city's romantic coffee houses. But like the Czech Republic, there's far more to experience than just the capital's historic charms. Head to Debrecen, where you can still enjoy natural hot springs and thermal pools and Hungarian's rich cuisines, but also see the countryside, including Hortobágy National Park.
Learn more: Top 10 winter destinations in Europe
Austria: 39% off
So much of Austria feels like a fairytale, from its Baroque palaces and narrow spires to its dramatic mountains, rivers, and lakes. From Christmas markets to ski slopes, castles to the coffee houses, spas to sweets, Austria is a feast for the senses – and is especially lovely in fall and winter, when the whole country seems to have an extra glow.
Learn more: The 7 best things to do in Vienna with kids
Greece: 39% off
The Greek islands have at the top of many travelers' bucket lists in recent years, the blue and white skyline of Santorini elevated to nearly as iconic a status as Athens' Acropolis. But you can still beat the crowds in Greece despite its perennial popularity. There are plenty of under-the-radar destinations where you can have the country's historic wonders more to yourself, as well as foodie magnets like Limnos, and even hidden neighborhoods in the ancient capital, where tiny hole-in-the-wall tavernas and ouzerias boast old-school eats.
Learn more: Top five things to do in Greece in winter
Chile: 39% off
There's buena onda (good vibes) aplenty in Chile, where you'll find bold wines, the epic scale of the Andes and boundless Pacific in Chilean Patagonia, and brilliant swaths of stars in the night sky. Despite the narrow footprint of Chile's borders, it's stunningly diverse, and you'll find plenty of room to roam in its rural communities and national parks. From October to March you'll find warm weather, too, as the southern hemisphere enters its welcoming spring season.
Costa Rica: 39% off
Even one of Central America's best-known destinations is especially affordable right now. Costa Rica has become practically synonymous with ecotourism, conjuring up visions of ziplining through the jungle, relaxing on beaches with fresh juice and experiencing the invigorating pura vida.
Morocco: 39% off
Morocco became famous as a budget travel destination on the Hippie Trail decades ago, and thanks to the Instagram set has stayed at the top of many wanderlust wish lists. Its colorful souks, mysterious desert dunes, and laid-back beaches continue to intrigue visitors. Indeed, one of the hardest things about visiting Morocco is choosing where to begin, from the medinas of Marrakesh to feasting in Fes to sipping tea in Tangier to the street art of Rabat to the quiet wilderness of Oualidia.