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8 Direct Flights From LAX, Starting Under $300

Los Angeles Airports + Flying
by Chelsea Messina Mar 21, 2023

Los Angeles International Airport, more commonly called LAX, has an average of 645 commercial flights daily. It’s the top origin and destination airport in the world, meaning more people use it as a final or starting destination – rather than a place to connect – than any other airport worldwide.

Direct flights from LAX can bring passengers to 42 countries, so the options for adventures abroad are almost limitless. Residents of Los Angeles ready to leave the city can fly to Liberia, Costa Rica, in just six hours, or head to Norway for a ski trip for about $600 – a price almost unheard of from elsewhere in America.

But it isn’t just direct flights from LAX that can take you abroad. With John Wayne International Airport in Santa Ana and the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank, almost everyone in Los Angeles is within half an hour of an airport (if the I-5 is actually moving). That means jetting off to a new and exciting country is strikingly easy. And better still: there are plenty of direct flights from LAX under $500 round-trip – and some as low as $260.

Flights are in order from least to most expensive, though remember that flight prices can be impacted by everything from when you book to what day you fly to whether you’re visiting during that country’s peak season.

Liberia, Costa Rica

liberia costa rica direct flights from LAX

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Winter is the best time to visit Costa Rica as it’s the dry season, so most most attractions are open and accessible. Liberia is the spot to go for reaching many of the best Guanacaste beaches and is known for being a gateway to the region. Take a direct flight from LAX to Liberia, and you’ll be near some of the best beachfront resorts on the west coast of the country. Liberia is also a great home base for exploring top spots along the Pacific Ocean shoreline.

If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, Costa Rica is probably already on your bucket list. You can hike past volcanic pools at the Rincón de la Vieja Volcano, hike to La Leona waterfall for a swim, or visit Parque Nacional Palo Verde; it’s one of the best spots to see tropical birds and monkeys in Costa Rica.

Read more about Costa Rica:

Calgary, Canada

Calgary alberta downtown- direct flights from LAX

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  • Flight time: 3 hours, 10 minutes
  • Airline(s): WestJet
  • Lowest round-trip price in 2024: $108 (February)

Canada might not top the average just of exotic destinations, but it’s not to be overlooked. Calgary is just outside Banff National Park, which means it’s ideal for winter travel if you want to get an adrenaline rush at Banff-Lake Louise or Sunshine Village ski resorts, or would rather do a summer trip hiking in the mountains and enjoying the lively nightlife scene in the evenings. Or you can skip the city entirely, hiking on trails like the Fairview Lookout, canoeing on the Bow River, and camping in Clearwater Tipi Park.

Getting around Calgary is easy, as it’s also home to one of the largest urban bike path networks in North America. There’s also a number of beautiful parks nearby, such as Prince’s Island Park, where you can ice skate on a frozen lake come winter (and attend awesome festivals in the summer).

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Bogotá, Colombia

bogota colombia direct flights from lax - lizard on beach

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  • Flight time: 7 hours, 50 minutes
  • Airline(s): Avianca
  • Lowest round-trip price in 2024: $276 (February – June)

Bogotá is Colombia’s sprawling, high-altitude capital with a cobblestoned center, spotlighting colonial-era landmarks history buffs will love (including the neoclassical performance hall and the 17th-century Iglesia de San Francisco church). Popular museums you won’t want to miss include the Museo Botero and the Museo del Oro (Museum of Gold), where you can see more than 55,000 pre-Columbian gold and metal pieces. Tours are in English and Spanish.

If you want to spend time outdoors, head to Tayrona National Park. The 58-square-mile park is a mix of tropical forests with breathtaking views, plus spectacular beaches. Popular hikes include the Pueblito Loop (a three-mile hike pat the park’s archaeological sites) and the El Mirador Trail — a roughly 1.1-mile hike to a scenic viewpoint overlooking the Caribbean Sea.

With more than a hundred years of tradition, Colombia’s Carnival season is the longest in the world. It arrives in early February and lasts until early March. The wildest celebrations are in the beautiful Caribbean city of Barranquilla, which rivals Rio de Janeiro in terms of who parties harder.

Read more about Colombia:

Georgetown, Grand Cayman

Direct flights from LAX - grand cayman scuba

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  • Flight time: 6 hours
  • Airline(s): Cayman Airways
  • Lowest round-trip price in 2024: $536 (March)

Grand Cayman Island is known for its sparkling Caribbean waters and powdery, white beaches, checking all the boxes for a classic Caribbean getaway. If you’re looking for a beach vacation with amazing water activities you can reach on a direct flight from LAX, this is the place for you.

Scuba divers can explore an underwater shipwreck, dive with sharks, and encounter an abundance of sea life like nurse sharks, parrot fish, and stingrays. For non-divers, activities from snorkeling to snuba to catamaran tours and banana boat rides abound.

Back on the mainland in a lush, tropical forest in Northside, Cayman Crystal Caves is the island’s newest nature attraction. The caves formed over millions of years and were under the sea at one point, as evidenced by fossilized shells and animals in the caves. As sea levels changed, the caves became dryer and rooms formed from erosion, creating the now three-chamber cave.

Read more about the Cayman Islands:

Oslo, Norway

oslo operaa house direct flights from lax

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Dubbed the “newest capital of Nordic cool” by the Wall Street Journal, Oslo has everything from innovative architecture and world-class museums to hip bars and tasty eateries like the Norwegian restaurant Sofies Mat & Vinhus.

The recent expansions and renovations of two of the best art museums in Europe (the Munch Museum and the National Museum) and the city’s outdoor sculpture parks have made Oslo a must-visit destination for art lovers.

April is Norway’s first month of spring and brings warmer temperatures and budding flowers, while the snow melt creates roaring waterfalls near the city. This is when locals will enjoy the first utepils (beer enjoyed outside in the sun) of the year, while others opt for activities like bar-to-bar mountain hikes.

If you’re enticed by the thought of spending a day on a scenic fjord, go island hopping just outside Oslo. The ferries from Rådhusbrygga (the City Hall pier, near Aker Brygge wharf) offer a quick and inexpensive connection to many islands that make great day trips. The islands are some of the best places near the city to go for a (likely chilly) swim, picnic with friends, or simply soak up some rays by the water’s edge. And if you have energy left, don’t miss out on Oslo’s rather lively nightlife scene.

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Barcelona, Spain

direct flights from lax - barcelona festival

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Barcelona one of the liveliest cities in Europe. The city’s culture is all about bright colors, high energy, and late-night socializing, and there’s always something going on for visitors to experience. Barcelona is one of the best direct flights from LAX for travelers who want to have an energetic vacation mixed with a rich history. The city was established in the Roman era, but it also has a large medieval area and a fabulous collection of buildings and parks from the 18th and 19th century Neoclassical and Neo-Gothic periods.

While there are must-see monuments throughout the city, from Gothic cathedrals to the Sagrada Familia to Park Güell, it’s the often-overlooked quirks of the city that give the Barcelona real charm — like a cursed skull and bones, a dubious letter-box, and the mysterious “13 geese of the cathedral cloister” are some of the hidden gems to look out for. (Google them — really). 

In September, La Mercè Festival is celebrated for around five days at the end of the month. The streets fill with fun events, dances, and parades for residents and visitors alike, plus even a fire run or two. And don’t forget that Barcelona has great beaches, so you can combine a city visit with a beach vacation.

Read more about Barcelona:

Tokyo, Japan

shibuya tokyo

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Tokyo is the Japan’s cultural melting pot, filled with arts, sumo tournaments, historical sites, and pop culture. Visit the Shibuya District (one of Tokyo’s most popular shopping areas) filled with restaurants, giant shopping complexes, and a stunning cityscape — plus some of the best department store food courts you’ve ever seen in your life. While you’re there, take in the amazing city views from the Shibuya Sky rooftop observation deck, then see the madness/beauty of the famous “Shibuya Scramble Crossing” on the ground.

October is also when Japan’s fall colors come to life and exploring the outskirts of the city will give you the opportunity to experience this magical time of year in Japan’s forests. Called momiji or koyo in Japanese, autumn leaf viewing has been a Japanese tradition since the days of emperors and shoguns. You can see this colorful scenery in Tokyo’s surrounding areas and in the urban jungle of the Japanese capital itself.

Centuries-old forms of performing arts still play on stages, and sumo tournaments draw large diverse crowds of both locals and tourists alike. If you visit in spring, you can join the throngs of Tokyoites headed outside to appreciate the cherry blossoms – a tradition older than the city itself.

Read more about Tokyo:

Helsinki, Finland

Helsinki finland northern lights

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The absolute best thing to do in Finland during the winter is to chase the northern lights. In northern Lapland, the aurora borealis is visible more than half the time, provided it’s a clear night, between September and March. In Southern Finland, it’s only visible about 10-20 nights a year. So head north if the night sky looks clear and starry, because you probably have a good chance of seeing Mother Nature’s most colorful show (well, one of them).

But there’s so much more this beautiful country has to offer, such as visiting the Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art, strolling around the central market, eating traditional dishes like karjalanpiirakka pie and salted herring, and taking in the sights at the harbor on the Baltic Sea.

Read more about Finland:

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