Beat the crowds—and the high prices—of peak travel season by escaping on one of these three U.S. vacations this month.
Originally published by Money
Photo: Peter Unger/Getty Images
What’s your least-favorite holiday tradition around Christmas and New Year’s? It’s probably reflecting on how much it has cost you to travel at this time of year. Or maybe it’s sitting at home lamenting that the seasonal spike in airplane and hotel costs has priced you out of a vacation.
But good news: If you have the luxury of vacationing in January instead, your savings will add up. Here are three of the best deals you’ll find if you give yourself a belated holiday gift.
Hit the Slopes (65 percent savings)
At the Keystone ski resort, less than two hours west of Denver, $169 a night will get you a studio at Riverbank Condominiums that sleeps four and has a gas fireplace and full kitchen (keystoneresort.com). Christmas week, by comparison, costs upwards of $483 a night. (Be warned, though: January rates can almost double in price over New Year’s and Martin Luther King weekends.)
When compared with sister mountains Vail and Breckenridge, Keystone is heralded for its approachable prices, especially for families. January lift tickets are $105 ($61 for kids) a day, vs. Vail’s $149 ($103 for kids); get even better deals by buying a $459 5-day ticket ($266 for kids).
Take a City Break (20 percent off)
With daytime temps in the 60s, New Orleans has mild weather in January, but the city sees a lull in visitors between the December holidays and late February or March, when Mardi Gras and other events send hotel prices higher (up 20 percent, according to data firm STR).
Skip the well-trodden French Quarter to find some of the Crescent City’s best values. Bed down at the new 234-room Ace Hotel New Orleans, located in the gallery-filled Warehouse District. Rooms start at $135 a night, down from $169 in late December (and $349 over New Year’s).
Jump on Board (58 percent less)
“You’ll see some of the lowest cruise prices of the year in the first two weeks of January,” says Bob Levinstein, CEO of CruiseCompete.com. One Caribbean deal is a 4-night sailing from Miami to Cozumel: $184 per person for an inside room on the Carnival Victory, available via aggregator Cruiseline.com. That same trip on December 26 runs $434.
Prefer the Pacific? A 10-day trip to Baja on the Grand Princess, out of San Francisco, will cost you $1,099 for a balcony room, down 21 percent from late December. Older, smaller ships like these offer the best prices, says Simon Duvall of Cruiseline.com: “They’re an excellent value for your vacation dollar.”