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I haven't been to California since I was a baby, but I have no particular reason / occasion that I want to go for. I'd like to go to the San Jose - San Francisco area; since the weather there is often nicer than it is here in New York, I'm totally flexible about when I go. However, due to the limited number of vacation days I have to spend, I will probably just go for a long weekend, so I don't want to spend a lot of money on plane tickets.

Jet Blue often has tickets for about $300 round trip. Is this the cheapest option for flying (preferably direct)? Is there a particular time of year when flights from NYC to CA are cheaper than this (on a predictable basis, rather than hoping there will be an airline sale)?

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When going to the Bay Area, one should probably worry more about the cost of the hotel, than the airfare. For example, for weekdays, it's not uncommon see hotel prices way into the triple-digit numbers (even in San Jose), although weekends are generally much more relaxed (at least in San Jose, not so in San Francisco). –  cnst May 3 '13 at 22:32
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I used SkyScanner to check from New York (any airport) to San Francisco International for a period of one year. SkyScanner reports these figures using fares found by its website users within the past 10 days. Surprisingly it appears months further in the future are selling at higher rates while dates closer are selling at ~$300 range. Not exactly sure whether this is indicative of actual rate fluctuations or whether airlines adjust fares offer lower rates to increase passenger load closer to flight date.

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It isn't just how far in the future, but also the time of year. Summer is much more popular for holiday travel so prices are higher. –  g . Sep 28 '11 at 20:44
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