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7 Direct International Flights From the Bay Area, Starting at $300

San Francisco Airports + Flying
by Sarah Mcdonald Mar 31, 2023

Though Californians are spoiled for choice when it comes to vacation spots within the state, it’s nice to know you can jump on a plane and land somewhere exotic within a few hours. West Coasters have a little further to go to get to Europe and the Caribbean compared to those on the Eastern Seaboard, but the beaches of Hawaii and Mexico are only a few hours away. And the best San Francisco flights will get you there without any stops.

Plus, travelers flying from SF-area airports can look even further than Hawaii. You can take a direct flight to Japan, Australia, or Fiji from the Bay Area, three incredible destinations that would require a stopover from most other states.

The San Francisco Bay Area is fortunate to have three international airports, all with their own pros and cons. San Francisco has its delay-inducing fog, but more than 100 routes to destinations across the globe. San Jose’s compact footprint makes for quick and easy transit, while Oakland boasts low fares to cities across the US and beyond.

Below are just some of the great direct San Francisco flights from Bay Area airports, listed in order of cost by airport. Despite inflation, there are great deals out there, especially if you’re willing to fly in the off-season. From a round-trip to Hawaii for under $300 to Tokyo flights for less than $700, here are some of the most exciting destinations to fly to from the Bay Area this year.

Lihue, Kauai

san francisco flights - waterfall on kauai

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Basic economy tickets from Hawaiian Airlines include a carry-on bag, a personal item, a meal, a snack, and beverage service. Despite the low price, nothing about the onboard service feels basic.

Kauai, Hawaii’s fourth-largest island, is known as the “Garden Island” for its verdant landscapes and stunning beaches. Much of the island is undeveloped, accessible only by sea or air, making it the perfect destination for outdoor adventure enthusiasts.

Take a boat cruise to Fern Grotto, a natural lava cave surrounded by lush vegetation reserved for Hawaiian royalty until 50 years ago, when riverboats were permitted to visit. And be sure to head to Wailua Falls, another must-see. You can see the 80-foot-tall twin cascades from the road or admire them from the base after a muddy one-mile hike.

Thrill-seekers can take a multitude of tours, including ziplining through a tropical forest, taking a heart-pounding open-door helicopter ride, or floating on an innertube through mountain tunnels. Accommodations range from high-end hotels like the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort in Poipu Beach to low-key vacation rentals hosted on organic farms.

Read more about Kauai:

London, England

london buses - san francisco flights

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British Airways offers two types of economy fares: “basic,” with a carry-on and assigned seat, and “standard,” which includes one checked bag and seat selection. Both tickets include in-flight meals, snacks, and entertainment.

London is at its best in spring when the city’s parks are in full bloom but the summer crowds have yet to arrive. San Jose International Airport has year-round flights direct to London Heathrow with British Airways, with normally reasonable fares — this year is a bit of an exception, price-wise.

Jump off your San Francisco flight to London and head to world-class museums like the British Museum, home to 8 million artifacts from around the world, including the Rosetta Stone and the Parthenon Sculptures. The Natural History Museum is great for families, with a huge collection of dinosaur skeletons, plus a blue whale. There’s also the Tower of London, where you can see the Crown Jewels up close and learn about the tower’s gruesome history.

Aside from London itself, the city is a great starting point for exploring other European countries. You can hop on the Eurostar and arrive in Paris in two hours or Amsterdam in about four hours.

Read more about London:

Mexico City, Mexico

mexico city - direct san francisco flights

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Volaris is Mexico’s most popular low-cost airline. A basic fare includes a personal item and a carry-on bag, but no snacks or meals (though you can buy them onboard).

A direct flight from Oakland will get you to Mexico City in under five hours, where you can explore world-class museums, fine art galleries, colorful outdoor markets, and delicious street food vendors.

Mexico City was built by the Spanish over the ruins of the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Remnants of the ancient capital remain across the city, like Templo Mayor in the UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic center. There’s even a shrine to the serpent god Quetzalcoatl inside a subway station (Metro Pino Suárez).

Mexico City’s art scene has also been gaining attention in recent years. Aside from visiting Frida Kahlo’s famous Casa Azul, you’ll find a slew of contemporary art galleries in the artsy neighborhood of Roma, and colorful street art throughout the city.

Read more about Mexico City:

Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

cabo san lucas - san francisco flights

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Alaska Air’s lowest-priced ticket to Cabo includes a free carry-on bag and non-alcoholic drinks, but any snacks and food (or booze) are extra. “Saver fare” passengers are seated last, so on a full flight, you may be forced to gate-check your carry-on.

This easy San Francisco flight takes off in the morning and arrives in the Mexican resort town of Cabo San Lucas in time for lunch. A favorite with Hollywood celebrities like the Kardashians, you’ll find fine dining, high-end spas, and a dozen golf courses spread out at dozens of luxury resorts. But look beyond Cabo’s glossy image, and you’ll find pristine waters ideal for ocean adventures.

In Cabo, you can scuba dive or snorkel with whale sharks, the largest fish in the world, or kayak and paddleboard next to dramatic cliffs. You can sign up for sailing or kayaking tours to see sea lions, or wake up early for a sunrise surf session. Or if you prefer to appreciate nature with a cocktail in hand, take a tour of a tequila factory or sign up for a sunset boat cruise.

Read more about Cabo San Lucas:

Tokyo, Japan

San Francisco flights - tokyo

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You can fly on basic United from SFO to Tokyo, though sometimes, you may be able to find seats for a bit cheaper on ZipAir, a low-cost airline based in Tokyo. Checked bags and in-flight meals cost extra, but onboard internet is included, and upgrading to a lie-flat seat is an affordable indulgence.

Tokyo is a thrilling mix of traditional and modern. Travelers can immerse themselves in a stunning digital garden at teamLab’s Planets art installation, then visit a real-life zen garden at Shinjuku Gyoen. It’s easy to lose yourself in the narrow alleyways of Golden Gai, where red lanterns and neon signs beckon travelers into tiny dive bars late into the night. The next morning, if you need to relax a bit, enjoy some quiet away from the frantic pace of Tokyo life at one of the city’s Buddhist temples.

Read more about Tokyo:

Viti Levu, Fiji

san francisco flights - viti levu

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  • Flight time: 11 hours, 10 mins
  • Airline: Fiji Airways
  • Lowest round-trip price in 2024: $707 (February – April)

Fiji Airways includes carry-on luggage, meals, snacks, and onboard entertainment in its lowest-cost tickets. You can get a San Francisco flight directly to Fiji with Fiji Airways for a surprisingly low price if you’re flexible with dates.

With soft white beaches, lush forests, and year-round warmth, Fiji is the tropical paradise of your dreams. The South Pacific has more than 300 islands, most of them uninhabited, and is famous for its stunning natural beauty. Though December is warm, it’s also the rainy season, so expect frequent downpours during your stay. If you don’t mind getting wet, the off-season is less crowded and offers a more relaxed flavor of island life. It’s also far less expensive.

The international airport is on the island of Viti Levu, a tourist hub with a plethora of resorts and activities. Fiji is known for its spectacular diving and snorkeling opportunities, with more than 1,000 fish species living around the archipelago. Honeymooners may want to stay at Outrigger Fiji, which offers luxury beachfront bungalows with butler service, while those seeking an authentic Fijian experience should head into the mountains to Namosi Eco Retreat for an off-the-grid getaway. And Nanuku Resort has sprawling beachside villas with private pools and hot tubs.

Read more about Fiji:

Sydney, Australia

san francisco flights - sydney

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Long-haul trips on United include in-flight meals, and if you’re lucky, ice cream, too. The cheapest economy ticket also includes a carry-on bag, plus onboard entertainment. And WiFi is only $8 for the flight if you join Star Alliance.

You can escape to the Australian summer in November or December with one of the longest available San Francisco flights: a non-stop flight to Sydney. Though prices rise toward the end of the year as revelers gear up for the biggest party of the year on New Year’s Eve, flight prices dip at the beginning of the month.

Sydney is as fun as it is beautiful. You can catch a concert at the famous Sydney Opera House, sail on the bay, and walk across (or if you’re brave, climb) the Sydney Harbour Bridge. And don’t miss the chance to browse the Christmas markets in your flip-flops.

Sydney is also a great basecamp for exploring Australia’s extraordinary east coast. It’s easy to take a short flight to Queensland, where you can snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef, sail around the stunning Whitsunday Islands on a sunset cruise, or explore the rainforests of the far north on foot.

Read more about Sydney:

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