Forget the Bing Crosby song – not everyone wants to go home for Christmas – or Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or New Year’s or the winter solstice celebration.
Holidays can be an opportunity to do some skiing or lie in sun and if you’re looking for vacation destinations that are fun and cheap, we’ve got some ideas.
Listen to travel expert Rick Seaney on the joys of holiday getaways (and the joys of saving a few bucks, too):
Cheapest Christmas Destinations
“If this list of cheap cities looks familiar,” says air travel expert Rick Seaney, “it’s because these are destinations blessed with a lot of low-cost airline competition, a plethora of nearby airports or both.”
- Boston – Logan International is served by airlines from around the world but the key to its cheap destination status is the number of low-cost carriers it attracts including JetBlue, Southwest/AirTran, Spirit, Sun Country and Virgin America.
- Denver and Colorado Springs – These ski meccas also have an impressive array of low-cost carriers and the larger airlines are matching prices to give them a run for their money.
- Los Angeles – Multiple airports is a boon for Southern California travelers, including sprawling LAX, Burbank, Long Beach and Orange County in Santa Ana.
- Miami and Ft. Lauderdale – If you don’t like the prices at one of these Florida airports, check the other, and notice how Ft. Lauderdale is a frequent destination in airlines sales.
- Washington, D.C. – If Reagan and Dulles aren’t cheap enough, look for better deals to the airport in nearby Baltimore.
Also Cheap: Short Flights on Popular Routes
Short hops of roughly an hour or less – between cities with frequent flights – are generally priced the same during the holidays as they are beforehand. So fly the Los Angeles-San Francisco route or the Dallas-Houston run – your wallet won’t know the difference.
Save an Automatic 15-20% on Flights
In most cases, you will save if you fly on connecting flights instead of non-stops. There is what I call a convenience premium on most non-stops of from 15% to 20% during the holidays (and during non-holiday periods, you can pay much more).
Fly the Cheapest Days
You’ll save by flying on Dec. 25, the cheapest day of the holiday period. Other relatively cheap days to fly include dates up to or before Dec. 18 - after that, prices zoom anywhere from 30% to 70%. Prices start dropping again around Jan 3.