Get me outta here!
January 3, 2010 11:39 PM   Subscribe

Is there a website that will find me the cheapest way out of Alaska this April - to anywhere that is warmer than it is here? I want a website that will search fares leaving from a specific place at a specific time, and find me the best vacation bang for my buck.

My situation is this: In April, I will have post-deployment leave time with my favorite soldier, and we want to get the heck out of here and lie on a warm beach for a while. The location of that beach is pretty much not an issue as long as it doesn't cost us a fortune to get there. Flights to Hawaii are pricey, flights to Los Angeles are pricey... but surely there are other warm destinations we are overlooking!

None of the websites I have tried let you choose both your departure city and your time limitations! Airfare Watchdog isn't cutting it, and neither is ITA. Am I dreaming of the impossible, or does this exist?

(If this fails me, my next AskMeFi question will be about exciting west coast vacation options on the cheap, since I will spend so much on air fare just to GET there. Save me, MetaFilter!)
posted by keribear to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Petrot at 11:46 PM on January 3, 2010

posted by sentient at 12:11 AM on January 4, 2010

keribear: “None of the websites I have tried let you choose both your departure city and your time limitations! Airfare Watchdog isn't cutting it, and neither is ITA.”

I don't really know what you mean by this. (And unfortunately none of the suggestions so far offer as many options as ITA, so I don't think we're there yet.) What does "time limitations" mean? ITA allows you to filter flights based on whether they leave before or after noon, or whether they leave during any three-hour increment during the day. I suspect you're talking about "time limitations" in terms of "we want to spend as much time as possible there" - right? So go to the ITA Matrix, click on "Round Trips," choose your "Outbound Date," select the moment you want to depart and make it the "departing at" time, select the moment you want to arrive back and make it the "arriving at" time, and - there you go. ITA has all the information all the other sites listed have, and usually more. I recommend skipping them and sticking with ITA, unless there's something I'm missing about the question.

What, erm, option exactly are you needing? Maybe if you were more specific about that...
posted by koeselitz at 1:50 AM on January 4, 2010

Ah - rereading again, are you just asking for a web site that will show you all the round-trips available out of Anchorage (or wherever you're departing from) given a set of dates, or all of them that are to warmer places? In the sense of: you don't want to pick a destination, you just want all of them so you can choose the best deal?

Hmm. That's a tougher one. If that's what you want, probably the best bet would be for us to think of cheap destinations for you in that time period, and we can refine the search. I know that ITA allows 300-mile search radiuses, but that's not very huge.
posted by koeselitz at 1:56 AM on January 4, 2010

On the other hand, that 300-mile radius on ITA can be handy, too.

Try searching bumping the radius around LAX in the destination on ITA to 300 miles. Flights to San Diego around that time are about $200-$250 cheaper than flights to LAX, for some reason.
posted by koeselitz at 2:02 AM on January 4, 2010

[i.e. ANC (anchorage) - SAN (san diego) = around $581, dunno if that's good or not for what you want but to LA it was $800+]
posted by koeselitz at 2:04 AM on January 4, 2010

Best answer: lets you search very flexibly for this kind of travel. All you have to put in is your departing city, and you can choose departure date limitations, potential destinations, etc.
posted by honeybee413 at 4:41 AM on January 4, 2010 [5 favorites]

Are you familiar with Space-A (Space Available) travel? Military can travel free, or nearly free, on DoD flights if there are seats that would otherwise be empty. You could potentially go somewhere unexpected and interesting, based on whatever's available.

Two links to more info:
FAQ from
Space-A Travel Index (links to an extensive FAQ)

Here's the contact info for Space-A travel questions at Elmendorf AFB, and here's Eielson.
posted by illenion at 9:14 AM on January 4, 2010

Response by poster: Thank you to Koeselitz for your thoughtful answers... that's what I've been doing with ITA and hadn't had much luck yet, but I'll keep trying - that $580 is unfortunately the lowest-priced fare I've head of yet! And seems to be *exactly* what I was looking for... although it hasn't found me any deals yet, I know it'll come in handy in the future. :)
posted by keribear at 12:52 PM on January 4, 2010

Hmm. I posted skyscanner since it lets you enter an origin city and specific dates and then shows you applicable fares for all destinations. (I was so happy to come across it when I was trying to do the same kind of flight search as you, and it seemed like no sites allowed it.) But... I just checked it for ANC with random dates in April, and it gives a lot of "--"s instead of prices, for some reason. Just picking a month or year seems to make it show a few prices. It looks like this happens with some origin cities and not others. Doh.

Some other thoughts:
- previously (especially the suggestion to post to flyertalk.)
- illenion's idea reminded me of an ad about discount airfaires for people in the military and their families. Maybe after finding ok fares on the right dates using other sites/resources, go and check if those same flights happen to be cheaper on (or other similar sites).
- mobissimo seems to let you search for airfare with just dates, origin city, and "activity." The activities include United States as well as Beaches (!). This would be perfect except that it looks like your date selections have no impact on the dates of the airfares it shows you. Weird. I wonder if they realize that.
- ITA lets you search for multiple destinations at a time by entering as many cities or airport codes as you want, separated with semicolons. You could do the 300 mile radius thing and enter many (coastal) airports in the (non continental) US, in order to cover the whole US or at least all of the beachy/warm regions. (You could include international destinations too.)
posted by sentient at 5:00 PM on January 4, 2010

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