Christmas And New Year's Travel Forecast

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New York City's Rockefeller Center
The New York region may get a welcome boost this holiday season with the Big Apple ranking as one of the top travel destinations for both Christmas and New Year's Eve.

The New York region may get a welcome boost this holiday season with the Big Apple ranking as one of the top travel destinations for both Christmas and New Year's Eve.

According to Orbitz, New York is the second most popular destination for both holidays, trailing just behind perennial family favorite Orlando, Fla.

Overall, airfare for travel during the holidays is up this year by 8 percent, while travelers headed to New York, in particular, can expect to pay about 5 percent more for airfare than last year. Orbitz believes this is yet another indicator of a strong NYC travel market, despite the setbacks of Hurricane Sandy.

The higher prices this year may come as no surprise to many. A separate survey conducted by Orbitz and American Express Publishing found that 71 percent of Americans think the cost of travel has risen since 2011, though just 12 percent are planning to cut back on their holiday travel spending. The survey estimates that 68 percent of Americans will travel this holiday season with the average person spending $2,446.

“The demand for holiday travel is clearly outpacing any effect of higher prices in some markets," said Jeanenne Tornatore, senior travel editor for Orbitz.com. "For many Americans, travel is now part of the holiday tradition, whether visiting family or treating themselves to a great getaway.”

One of the reasons Orlando took the top spot on the Orbitz survey is because prices have dropped by about 4 percent for airfare and 7 percent for hotel stays. Other great holiday travel deals this year can be found in San Juan, where hotel prices have dropped by about 12 percent. Similarly, warm weather destinations such as Fort Lauderdale and Miami, Fla., and Las Vegas, Nev., have varying year-over-year decreases in average hotel rates for New Year’s Eve, as does winter sports hub Denver.

Prices in Cancun, Mexico, and Los Angeles, Calif., meanwhile, have gone up by 17 and 14 percent, respectively, for New Year's Eve.

Orbitz rival Kayak has some advice for travelers looking to snag the best deals on airfare. After analyzing more than 1 billion search queries from last year, Kayak devised a few combinations that will offer the biggest savings.

Dec. 22, 23 and 26 are expected to be the busiest travel days this year, and those departing Saturday, Dec. 22, and returning the following Saturday can expect to pay 27 percent more. Kayak recommends departing on Christmas Day and returning on Friday, Dec. 28, to save up to 21 percent on domestic flights. For international flights, you can save at least 20 percent by departing on or close to Christmas Day and returning on or close to New Year’s Eve.

For New Year’s travel, Kayak recommends departing on New Year’s Eve and returning on Thursday, Jan. 3, or Friday Jan. 4 to save up to 27 percent.

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