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Hawaii for under $200 and 11 other cheap travel ideas for San Franciscans in 2024

Two palm trees overlook a clear tropical beach.
French Polynesia is one of the destinations with airfare deals from SFO during 2024. | Maryann Jones Thompson/The Standard

Living in the land of $15 salads and $12 glasses of house Chardonnay, San Franciscans know traveling anywhere will be cheaper than staying at home. 

But some journeys are looking especially affordable for Bay Area travelers in the new year: Think sub-$100 campsites, sub-$200 airfares and sub-$300 cruises.

The Standard poked around the Internet to compile this list of a dozen ideas for the most appealing and least expensive places to go in 2024.

Cheapest Places to Ski the Rockies 

Both United and Delta offer round-trip fares from SFO to Salt Lake City on late-January weekdays for as little as $128. Or ski Big Sky in Montana with a $138 round-trip flight to Bozeman on Alaska or United from SFO.

Skyscrapers with a bridge and a ferry boat on a river in the foreground.
The Grand Princess cruise ship makes its way past the Bay Bridge in San Francisco. | Source: San Francisco Chronicle/Hearst Newspapers via Getty Images

Cheapest Ways to Sail Away

Ever wish you could hop aboard one of those skyscraper-sized ships docked at the Embarcadero? For just $248, you can take a three-night Princess cruise to Vancouver. In fact, a five-night trip to San Diego and Ensenada is only $339, while longer cruises to Mexico, Hawaii and Trans-Panama Canal destinations average out well under $100 per night. 

Cheapest Isles to Escape Winter

Want to trade rain for sunshine? In the early months of 2024, Bay Area travelers can fly American round-trip from SFO to the Eastern Caribbean isle of Anguilla for $345 or to Grand Cayman for $368. And just $584 will get you to French Polynesia and back on France’s discount airline, French Bee. 

But Hawaii flights are even cheaper! Both United and Alaska show round-trip fares from SFO in the $180-$199 range to Honolulu, Lihue and Kona from January to March—with some deals running into May.

Cheapest Way to See Yosemite, Lassen and Joshua Tree

Planning to road trip around California next year? It pays to plan ahead. Buy a National Park Pass and you’ll get entry to every national park in all 50 states for just $80. An annual pass to all the California State Parks and Beaches is $195—or get just NorCal parks for $125.

Cheapest Way to Do Spring Break in SoCal

Departing San Francisco in March, budget travelers who are willing to sacrifice time for money can book a one-way FlixBus/Greyhound ticket to LA for $43 and to San Diego for $62. 

Cheapest Place to See the Solar Eclipse

If you’ve not yet made plans to see the total solar eclipse crossing the eastern U.S. on April 8, you can still fly to Dallas that weekend for $469 round trip—and even cheaper if you can stay longer.

Pyramids with grass and trees.
The Mayan ruins at Tikal National Park are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Guatemala. | Source: Kobby Dagan/VW Pics/Universal Image Group via Getty Images

Cheapest Flights for a Summer Abroad 

Checking fares for June, July and August from all Bay Area airports, SFO offered the most affordable trips. The least expensive international flight from the Bay Area is $286 round-trip from SFO to Guatemala City on Avianca. The Colombian carrier also shows a $655 round-trip to Panama City but it's cheaper to go to Bogota on United: In August, a round-trip ticket is only $364. 

SFO fliers can also consider the following summer round-trip fares:  $325 to Calgary on Delta/WestJet, $876 to Sydney on Fijii Airway/Quantas, and $720 to Tokyo on Japan’s new budget carrier, ZIPAIR. 

Cheapest Deals for Sports Fans

With the Olympics in Paris, the Euro soccer championship in Germany and the EuroGames  LGBTQ+ meet in Vienna, sports lovers are dying to get to Europe in summer 2024. Luckily, there are plenty of affordable round-trips still available from SFO in July 2024, including fares like $702 to Barcelona on American, $779 to Copenhagen on British Airways and $876 to either London or Paris on Air Transat.

Cheapest Campsites Near San Francisco

HipCamp compiles listings for tent, RV and glamping sites on public parks and on private property. A look at Bay Area options for an August 2024 weekend includes a $50-per-night ranch in Livermore, an $85-per-night retreat in the Santa Cruz redwoods and a $40-per-night tent site in Calistoga

Cheapest Time to Get to India

Autumn is a lovely season in the Punjab. You can fly Air India from SFO to Amristar for just $605 round-trip in September or October with a single stop in New Delhi. 

Two people stand a river fishing.
Fly fishermen enjoy the fall foliage in southern Maine. | Source: John Patriquin/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Cheapest Flights to Fall Color

Head to Portland Maine from SFO in late September for $254 round-trip on either American or United. Or aim for the foliage outside Montreal on the Canadian city’s carrier, Air Transat, for $493 return.

Cheapest Months for the Big Easy

Desperate for a dose of jazz? From July through November, Delta shows $248 round-trip fares to New Orleans from SFO.