Travelers looking for a cheap winter getaway are likely to find there's plenty that works in their favor this year—provided they're willing to be flexible.
"There are some great deals out there, just staggering deals," said George Hobica, founder of deal sites AirfareWatchdog.com and Tingo.com. Some stem from the strengthening dollar, which is up almost 22 percent against the euro over the past year, and up 15 percent against the yen. Others reflect cheaper oil prices, with airlines slashing fuel surcharges.
Bottom line: You might find that a wider array of destinations is now in budget. (See the chart below for some of the cities with the biggest price drops.) To scout the deals, try a flexible travel engine like Hopper, Adioso or Hipmunk. They'll tell you the best-priced destinations based on your home airport and when you're hoping to depart. Flexible timing can help, too, to avoid price spikes when everyone in the area is on spring break.
Airfares tend to increase a week or so out from departure, so consider packages as well as fare sales if you're booking at the last minute, said Hobica. "The packaged airfares don't have the same advance purchase restrictions," he said. "They're a different fare class." You might be able to wrap in a few nights' hotel stay for only a little more than the cost of the flight itself.
One factor that may not work in your favor: The cold. A 2014 Hopper study found that travel demand increases 1.9 percent for every 1-degree drop in temperature, a dynamic that can push up prices, too.