how to see the 2024 eclipse

How to Book a Last-Minute Eclipse Trip



March 15, 2024

5 min read

The last total solar eclipse the US will see until 2044 happens in just three weeks, on April 8. If you’re interested in seeing this amazing solar event in person but haven’t yet made plans, you’re definitely late to the game, but that doesn’t have to mean you missed your chance. 

While three weeks is out of what we call the Goldilocks Window for cheap flights (not too far in advance, not too late), with some creativity and flexibility, you can see this few-times-in-a-lifetime phenomenon without breaking the bank. 

Where to see the eclipse

map of 2024 eclipse

The path of totality—where the moon completely blocks the sun—stretches from the west coast of Mexico to the east coast of Canada, running across the US from Texas through the Midwest to New York State and Maine. 

According to Outside, based on historical cloud cover, the clearest skies—and therefore, best spots to view the eclipse—will be in Mexico and Texas. 

The cheapest places to fly to see the eclipse

Flight prices are obviously going to vary depending on where you are flying from, your dates, and when you buy your tickets, but based on historical data from Going’s deals, the cheapest cities along the path of totality to fly to are: 

list of cheapest cities in eclipse path

The most expensive places, on average, to fly are Mazatlán, Mexico; Jackson, Mississippi; and Montréal, Canada. 

Some examples of deals we’ve sent members to spots in the path of totality specifically for the eclipse dates include NYC to Indianapolis for $197 roundtrip and Chicago to Dallas for $83 roundtrip. Both of those were sent just about two weeks ago. 

Read more: How to find cheap last-minute flights 

Got points? Points and miles can be another great way to snag a last-minute fare for cheap. Our resident expert Kurt has the scoop on how to do it. 

Read more: How to use points for last-minute flights 

Alternate airports to look for savings on flights

If flights to the airports closest to where you want to see the eclipse are exorbitant, consider a road trip from a near-ish major airport where prices are experiencing less of an eclipse surge. 

For example, as of this writing, flights from Los Angeles to Austin for April 7-11 are an eye-popping $800 roundtrip, while flights from LAX to Houston are under $300. You’ll need to drive three hours from Houston to the prime eclipse viewing in Austin, but for $500 savings, it may be worth it. 

Here are some alternate airports to consider based on your desired eclipse-viewing spot, and how many hours you’ll need to drive:

list of alternate airports

Of course, be sure to look at the cost of a rental car or other alternate transportation to make sure the roundabout way to get there is worth the savings. 

No matter where you fly, book ASAP if you want to make your last-minute eclipse dream happen. Airlines almost always raise fares at the 21-, 14-, and 7-day marks before a flight. 

Where to stay and what to do

Of course, getting there is half the challenge, and in many cities, hotel rates have skyrocketed, or hotels are sold out. HipCamp (like Airbnb but for camping, cabins, and RV spots) has a list of its sites in the path of the eclipse, and AFAR has a list of state and national parks to consider. 

If seeing an eclipse isn’t high enough on your cool meter, Outside has a list of ways to make the experience even more memorable. From viewing the eclipse from a tube in a Texas river to seeing it from the top of a Vermont mountain with a Pink Floyd soundtrack, these experiences up the ante on an already exciting event. 

If you’re a flight enthusiast really ready to splash out on this rare event, Delta has a special flight along the eclipse path from Dallas (DFW) to Detroit (DTW) on April 8. The most recent fares for one way in main economy were around $900. If that one won’t work, Smithsonian has a list of other options that will have views of the eclipse at some point during each flight. 

Published March 15, 2024

Last updated March 15, 2024

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