With the holiday season upon us, U.S. travelers may be wondering about the best domestic destinations where they can enjoy a seasonal getaway without breaking the bank. To that end, online travel agency Priceline has delved into its proprietary data to create some insightful advice about where vacationers may want to go on their wintry escapes.
To help travelers maximize their brumal break periods, Priceline has released a list of places that are likely to prove popular over the coming months based on a number of factors, including their affordability quotient. According to data, obtained by Travel + Leisure, the season’s most in-vogue and budget-friendly destinations within the U.S. represent an assortment of chilly locales for snowy getaways and warm-weather spots for escaping the cold.
Claiming the top position is Branson, Mo., which boasts an enticing average hotel price of just $107 per night during December. While it may not be the first city that springs to mind, it has several attractions for visitors to enjoy, such as Dolly Parton’s Stampede and the Silver Dollar City amusement park.
The next most popular U.S. destinations with ultra-budget-friendly hotel rates are Jacksonville and Kissimmee, Fla.; Atlantic City, N.J.; and Houston, Texas. These four cities all offer hotel accommodations at a more than modest average cost of $128 per night.
Claiming the next stops in the ranking are Austin, Texas; Pigeon Forge, Tenn.; Las Vegas; Portland; and Seattle, all of which feature hotels priced under $145 per night during the winter months.
When it comes to places travelers can fly at the most budget-friendly prices, Priceline selected Orlando, Fla., as the best bang for your buck, with round-trip air tickets costing an average of $213. And, the end-of-year holiday season happens to be an ideal time to visit the theme park capital of the world if you want to experience Walt Disney World’s newest festive celebration, Jollywood Nights.
Orlando is trailed by two other destinations in the Sunshine State: Tampa and Fort Lauderdale, where the average hotel costs less than $221 per night. Next on this list is Las Vegas in fourth position, where you can fly round-trip for an average of $245. Next up are Chicago; Philadelphia; Miami; Atlanta; Fort Myers, Fla.; and Denver, all major cities with round-trip flights priced at under $262.
For folks who are still looking to save on holiday travel, Priceline advised that the cheapest day to fly is Dec. 24, Christmas Eve. If that’s cutting it a little too close for comfort, timing your air travel between Dec. 18 and Dec. 20 could help you save up to 15 percent, compared with nearby dates.
While this year’s prime holiday travel deals may have already passed us by, Priceline recommends booking early next year to snag substantial savings. Historical pricing data indicates that the best deals are typically available in September and October.