Ahead of a winter that will see colder than usual weather across most of the country, according to the latest forecast from the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the personal-finance website WalletHub this month released its 2022’s Best Winter Holiday Destinations report.
Focusing on cost and convenience rather than scenic beauty, WalletHub compared nearly 70 of the largest U.S. metro areas grouped by warm and cold weather. Each destination was analyzed based on 37 key metrics, primarily the expense and hassle of traveling to each location but also on other indicators, such as weather forecasts, safety and variety of activities.
To view the full report, visit: https://wallethub.com/edu/best-winter-holiday-destinations/7930
Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the report’s most interesting findings.
Best Cold Destinations for Winter Travel
New York, NY comes in at the top, rated number one as a cold travel destination. That was followed by Atlanta, GA at number two; Washington, DC; Chicago, IL; St. Louis, MO; Cincinnati, OH; Kansas City, MO; Boston, MA; Albuquerque, NM; and, rounding out the top 10 in the cold weather destinations was Philadelphia, PA.
Best Warm Destinations for Winter Travel
Traveling to a warm destination for winter showed Las Vegas, NV as the top choice, followed by Austin, TX at number two. San Diego, CA was third, followed by Dallas, TX; San Antonio, TX; Phoenix, AZ; Houston, TX; San Francisco, CA; Los Angeles, CA; and, at number 10 on the ‘warm weather’ list was Charleston, SC.
Best vs. Worst
The average flight to a popular cold winter destination costs $396.17, lasts 3 hours and 30 minutes and has 0.28 connections. In comparison, the average flight to a popular warm winter destination costs $521.74, lasts 5 hours and 17 minutes and has 0.57 connections.
Among cold destinations, Omaha, Nebraska, has the lowest price for a three-star hotel room, $55, which is 2.4 times lower than Worcester, Massachusetts, the city with the highest at $133.
Among warm destinations, Houston has the lowest price for a three-star hotel room, $40, which is 5.2 times lower than Honolulu, the city with the highest at $208.
Among cold destinations, Chicago has the most restaurants (per square root of population), 6.157755, which is 6.3 times more than in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the city with the fewest at 0.984751.
Among warm destinations, Orlando has the most restaurants (per square root of population), 7.281483, which is 29.0 times more than in Deltona, Florida, the city with the fewest at 0.250773.
What is the outlook for the winter travel season?
“As tourism gains momentum due to eased travel restrictions, improved COVID perceptions, and strong travel demand, domestic leisure travel spending has already surpassed pre-pandemic levels during the first half of the year. Therefore, the outlook for the winter travel season is positive. Outdoor winter activities are a great way to get away from the indoors and the pandemic.”
Philip F. Xie, Ph.D. – Professor, Bowling Green State University
“There are competing forces at work. People are still looking for a break after curbing some of their travel during the COVID years but higher prices due to inflation will put a squeeze on some of the demand. Also, with postponed travel in recent years, people will be looking to reconnect with family and friends across the country.”
Stephen Pratt – Department Chair, Tourism, Events and Attractions, University of Central Florida
What are the best ways for travelers to save money?
“Travelers ought to consider purchasing their tickets now; airfares are up dramatically from last year. Christmas airfares are going to be higher than in the last five years, up 55 percent from last year and 19 percent higher than before the pandemic. Some are saying that airfares are going to be the highest ever; while we do not believe that they will be greatly elevated. Look to AAA, AARP, and loyalty program deals for hotel and event savings. Amazon … is now entering the travel sphere and is offering some good, introductory deals and discounts.”
Neville Bhada – Adjunct Professor, University of Georgia
What are some logistical do’s and don’t’s for winter travel?
“Visit weather sites in advance and check the forecast. For example, if snow and skiing are your interests, then make sure about the season and the level of snow expected at the destination … Avoid popular holidays and long weekend holidays at destinations. Learn about your weather ‘carrying capacity’ when it comes to cold weather. One should not be drawn by lower rates at the expense of one’s comfort. If warmer weather is your interest, then try to consider places that offer milder weather but much better rates and bargain packages … Avoid air tickets with multiple stops, especially if going through airports with expected stormy weather.”
Zaher (Zach) Hallab, Ph.D. – Professor, California State University East Bay