Now that the obligatory holiday trips to see family have wrapped up, consumers hoping for a more leisurely getaway may want to keep their suitcases handy. Experts say the travel deals available in late December and early January are often some of the best offered all year. And this sale season, lower-than-usual snowfall in many parts of the country has added a few peak-winter destinations to the mix.
In general, travelers can expect to pay more for airfare and hotel stays this year. Average daily rates for U.S. hotels rose 4.2% in 2012, to an average $106.23 in November, according to Smith Travel Research. Domestic airfare increased 4.5%, adding from $2 to $10 per trip on roundtrip flights, reports FareCompare.com. And forecasts suggest more of the same this year.
Travelers booking in January — whether for last-minute getaways or a trip later in the year — may be able to score deals that negate those rising prices and then some. Many of the offers are for travel by February, but some extend well into the fall. Some offer a range of extras (like ski lessons or fancy on-site dinners) that, if unneeded, may make the total tab higher than it would be if each element were purchased separately.In particular, experts say, travelers should look for deals in these seven destinations:
It’s a destination that sees traffic drop off between the December holidays and March Spring Break traffic, says Kari Dilloo, a spokeswoman for Bing Travel. Marriott’s Waiohai Beach Club on Kauai has two-bedroom villas for as little as $480 per night, a 40% discount, through the end of February. On Maui, Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa offers $389 per night on select dates through June, 25% off regular rates. Most deals require booking by mid January to claim.