Despite the high cost of fuel and other travel expenses, an estimated 63.5 million Americans are planning to travel at least 50 miles or more from home this Christmas and New Year. Hotel rates are up nearly 15% at some popular destinations, yet bookings are full or nearly full.
So where do all of these people plan to go?
According to AAA of the United States, here are the top destinations based on the number of bookings for each location.
Orlando is the top destination for fairly obvious reasons but Ft. Lauderdale is also in the top ten. Florida offers a wealth of activities and options for families, singles, and all types of traveler. Perennial favorite Disney World will attract hundreds of thousands of visitors between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, while other Florida attractions like Gatorland, Kennedy Space Center, and the Everglades will also be popular. It is also common for the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale to be filled with vacationers during the holiday season, which is second only to spring break in terms of number of tourists.
It is not too late to check out some of the great last minute deals throughout Florida. With a little research and a willingness to be flexible, you can still enjoy Florida this holiday season.
California has three cities in the top ten travel destinations this holiday season — Los Angeles, San Francisco and San Diego. All three offer a wide range of activities for tourists of all ages, and the generally pleasant December weather in California makes it a favorite place for vacationers from colder climates in need of sunshine.
The Los Angeles area is the gateway to Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm, two extremely popular amusement parks. Just a short drive to the south and east is San Diego, a relaxing area that is home to a laid-back lifestyle of beaches, surfing, and shopping.
If an urban experience is more to your liking, opt for San Francisco, where you can enjoy international culture, a ride on the famous cable cars, a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge, and a winding trip down Lombard Street, touted as the “crookedest street” in the world.
Other great holiday escapes
Some of the other most popular holiday escapes in the United States include New York City, Chicago, Boston, Nashville and Las Vegas.
The holidays are legendary in New York City, with ice-skating in Central Park and the elegant decorations around Rockefeller Center. In Chicago, visitors flock to the Navy Pier Winter Wonderfest as well as the famous holiday window display at Marshall Field’s department store. You can’t beat Boston, though, for a traditional New England holiday vacation. Check out the Prudential Center Christmas Tree, walk the Freedom Trail of historic Revolutionary War era sites, or do something entirely different and take Boston Duck Tour on a World War II era amphibious vehicle.
Looking for something a bit different? Consider Las Vegas for the holidays, where the abundance of holiday lights dwarfs even the normal profusion of neon and color. Every casino along the strip works to outdo the others with lights and decorations, with some of the most amazing displays located at Caesars Palace, the Bellagio and the Monte Carlo.
One of the most relaxed holiday destinations in the U.S. is Nashville, home to the “down home country Christmas” festivities at the Opryland Resort and Grand Ole Opry as well as special holiday programs at the Country Music Hall Of Fame. Nashville’s historic homes are also dressed up for the holidays, so think about taking a bus tour of the city to enjoy the spectacular lights and decorations.
International travel is always popular around the holidays, and Americans are flocking to destinations all over the globe this holiday season.
It is icy and cold across much of the northern United States, but summer in Australia! For cultural attractions and urban festivities, tourists stop in Melbourne and enjoy some Christmas Carols at the Myer Music Bowl, or visit the famed Opera House in Sydney.
Since Christmas falls at the beginning of summer in Australia, many holiday visitors spend their vacation at a spectacular beach location such as Shark Bay, where diving enthusiasts can swim with dolphins and sharks, or along the Queensland Gold Coast, an area with over 30 kilometers of beautiful sandy beaches plus great restaurants, shopping, and an ever-present nightlife.
If you want a truly amazing holiday experience, go to Australia’s Christmas Island, a pristine island that is largely a National Park and home to amazing plants and animals. You can scuba dive with whale sharks, enjoy the peace and quiet of a bird watching excursion, or seek adventure with a sport fishing trip in search of sailfish, tuna and wahoo.
This is one of the jewels of the Mediterranean, offering an amazing array of food, activities, and traditional holiday celebrations. Corsica is famous for its hospitality and beautiful lands, so it definitely belongs on your “short list” of exotic holiday getaways.
Corsica is home to varied landscapes, ranging from sparkling beaches and Mediterranean ocean reserves to towering mountains and nature parks. Traditional holiday festivals include the renowned Fiera di a Castagna, or Chestnut Fair. This annual event attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, who are treated to arts, crafts, food and entertainment related to one of the islands main products, the chestnut. It is a holiday tradition for tourists from across the European continent, and well worth exploring on your holiday vacation.
For a unique holiday experience, check out the United Kingdom this year. It is a perennially popular spot due to the many places of historical significance as well as culture and the arts. In London itself, you can see Parliament, visit the Tower of London, hear the sounds of Big Ben chiming the time, or ride a famed double Decker bus all around the city.
Visit Windsor Castle, the largest inhabited castle in the world and home to the British Sovereign for 900 years. You can tour this magnificent structure, getting a taste of the history and tradition of the British monarchy. When the Queen is in residence, you will see her standard flying high atop the round tower, visible from all directions as you enter the town.
First of all have in mind Spain is not one but so many: so many places, climates, cultures, languages and so on. So, here are some tips to try to discover at least some parts of some of this Spain.
At first you should decide what type of traveling do you want: big cities, the country, historical towns, catholic experience, mountain, snow, coast, partying, museums… there is a very rich offer about all of this some of then depending of the season.
Madrid is a good base for traveling through Spain cause is near to its geometrical center and is really very well connected by car, bus, train and plane. Madrid have three of the world most important paint museums (El Prado, Reina Sofa and Thyssen) among other ones, the beauty of the old downtown, the marcha (partying specially at night), a true Egyptian temple in the downtown near to the royal palace and is very near to historical and architectural towns to let one day visits to Segovia, vila, Cuenca, Toledo, Aranjuez (you can choose el tren de la fresa -strawberry train-), Alcal de Henares and El Escorial. Is hard to make detailed suggestions for this places because they are full of them.
Car Rental Spain – Other places to visit
I should suggest you to visit Andalucia. Cadiz, maybe the most American of the Spanish cities (La Habana is like Cadiz but with black little people, Cadiz is like La Habana but with more `salero’). Cadiz is the more ancient city of Europe. Seville is well know by its beauty as Cordoba. Granada is a must. You should visit Granada in Spring, and I strongly suggest to read first Washington Irving’s Tales of Alhambra. The rest of Andalucia is plenty of extraordinary places in villages, small towns and country. The well know by Hollywood and TV Almera desert can interest you and the near beachs in Cabo de Gata are a must if you love the coast and scuba diving. The Alpujarras, between Granada and Almera, is a completely different landscape of green and mountains and white towns.
Ibiza is also a great place to visit with beautiful landscapes and sunsets more info can be found at Ibiza Hotels
Remember maybe the half of the country towns in Spain have their fairs in August. So it can be a great opportunity. Bigger cities as (specially) Mlaga and Almera have their fairs in August too.
Another route can be the university cities: old beautiful cities with big important in their economies which implies young cities full of activities: Santiago de Compostela, Salamanca and Granada are a must.
An important tip could be the activities related to Don Quixote. This year celebrates the 4th century of their first publishing and there is an enourmous amount of activities, specially in Castilla-La Mancha.
Like islands? Lanzarote in Canary Islands (with the a lovely weather all the year) and Formentera in Balearic Islands are said to be extremely nice. Ceuta and Melilla are two Spanish cities at the North of Africa with their own personality, mix of cultures and history. In some way this cities are islands in land.
Like the Atlantic coast? Car rental Spain recommends visiting Galicia, Asturias, Santander and Basque Country are plenty of places and country landscapes.
Like Mediterranean? From the French border of Catalua to Tarifa (where Atlantic and Mediterranean meets and create the windsurfing paradise) you’ll find hundreds of coast with beachs and nice towns to visit: Barcelona, Tarragona (the old greek and roman city), Valencia, Alicante (with their main fair at june’s 23th magical night of Saint John) and Almera and Mlaga. In the middle you can discover any kind of places, from the most commercial touristic to the most typical.
More places? Cceres in Extremadura is a very nice medieval city. Len and Teruel, in Castilla y Len and Aragn respectively, are other old beautiful cities.
Don’t forget Lisboa is near of Madrid and that city and the South of Portugal can be a nice complement to a visit to Spain.
And the final tip: any tips list for visiting Spain is always incomplete. Have fun.
Don’t matter the place you are in Spain, try the local specialties and discover the Spanish dishes. You’ll win.