Have you started thinking about your vacation plans for next spring break?
It might seem like a long way off, but Southwest Airlines is encouraging travelers to think about their long-term travel plans by extending their flight schedule through April 8, 2024.
This includes launching 3 brand new routes to popular international destinations.
This can be a smart move for budget travelers as generally the earlier you book the lower the price of your flight will be. Last-minute flight deals are the obvious exception to this rule.
- Baltimore/Washington to Belize.
- St. Louis and Los Cabos, Mexico.
- Austin and San Juan, Puerto Rico.
All 3 of these new routes will launch on Saturday March 9, 2024 and will be non-stop services that run on Saturdays. Saturday is considered a peak travel day, and Southwest has chosen these time-saving non-stop services to complement their existing daily flight connections for the time-poor to take advantage of.
Each route is to a destination that is already popular and well-established in the American travel market. These aren’t new destinations. They’re journeys that many American travelers are already taking, and they can also visit Puerto Rico without needing to pack a passport.
Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and technically not an ‘international’ destination for Americans, but visiting certainly feels like another country altogether with its gorgeous beaches and stunning historic buidlings.
Here’s everything you need to know:
The most recent figures from 2022 show that 219,000 visitors a year choose Belize. And 65% of those tourists that visit Belize are from America.
Before the pandemic, Belize saw an all-time high of 1.7 million visitors, and tourism figures are on the rise again in 2023. New direct flight routes may help to grow these figures.
Belize is a friendly country with a reputation for adventure travel. It boasts lush tropical rainforests and pristine white sand beaches perfect for adventure activities.
It is also home to the longest barrier reef in the Western Hemisphere, and there are dozens of snorkel and scuba spots along the reef.
There aren’t many direct flights from the U.S. to Belize, so the announcement that Southwest is adding an additional route to this destination is particularly significant news.
Los Cabos, Mexico
25 million Americans arrived in Mexico from the United States last year.
That’s a huge majority of the international visitors that travel to the country. In second place was Canada, with a much smaller 5.4 million visitors.
A significant percentage of those travelers choose to visit Los Cabos. In 2021 Los Cabos received 2.8 million international visitors and visit numbers are growing quickly this year.
Los Cabos is on the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula and it has long been a popular choice for American visitors. Many travelers visit the beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters.
It is a well-known destination for nature and adventure travel but is also a great place to relax and unwind, enjoy high-octane nightlife, and it is considered an affordable destination too.
Southwest has also confirmed a direct route from Baltimore and Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos for next spring.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Tourism is an important source of income in Puerto Rico, so the tourism industry is promoted widely. In 2022 Puerto Rico attracted just over 4 million tourists, which is impressive given the country only has a population of 3.2 million.
Travelers from the U.S. don’t need a passport to visit Puerto Rico, which makes it a particularly attractive destination for American visitors that don’t have the time to complete the passport application process.
Cruise ship tourism is popular in Puerto Rico, but it is also a beautiful country to visit in its own right, rather than as part of a wider cruise tour.
Puerto Rico offers pristine beaches set against a backdrop of beautiful beaches. It has a rich history and culture to boot. All of this means that everyone from adventure tourists to travelers looking to flop on the beach and relax can enjoy time in Puerto Rico.
Being able to fly to San Juan directly will make this attractive destination even more attractive to many travelers. You can spend less time on the plane and more time on the beach!
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com