As the song goes, there’s no place like home for the holidays. But if you prefer to get away, there are plenty of cheap holiday trips you can take.
To help you pinpoint where to spend your Thanksgiving or Christmas without breaking your budget, GOBankingRates looked at six factors in popular destinations: the cost of hotels, holiday flights, food, drinks, transportation and entertainment. Click through to see the best and worst places to visit during the holidays.
Least Affordable Places to Visit During the Holidays
If you’re looking for cheap Christmas vacations or Thanksgiving getaways, cross these cities off your list of prospective destinations. We found that visiting these places can put a big dent in your budget during the holidays.
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15. New York City
At any time of the year, New York is one of the worst vacation cities for your wallet. This holds true even during the holidays. Although the costs of lodging and airfare to the Big Apple are reasonable compared with other expensive destinations, the cost of food, in-city transportation and entertainment is the third-highest in our rankings. Entertainment is especially expensive, averaging $77 per event or attraction.
14. Rio de Janeiro
Winter is the peak tourist season in this large city on the coast of Brazil. So if you’re looking for cheap Christmas flights, Rio is not an ideal spot. It has the third-highest airfare for holiday flights, but low lodging costs help compensate for exorbitant airfares. Rio has among the lowest average nightly hotel rates in our rankings — about $50 during Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Holiday flights to Paris are pricey. The average airfare from Atlanta around Christmas is nearly $1,400, and the average cost of a flight from Los Angeles is $1,065. Flights during Thanksgiving are a little cheaper, but lodging costs are actually higher.
Plus, you’ll likely find Paris is one of the most overrated, pricey destinations. You can find more affordable Christmas vacations in other European cities.
12. Hong Kong
This former British colony that is now an autonomous territory in China is not a cheap holiday destination. Lodging costs are relatively low compared with other expensive places to visit during the holidays. But airfare is among the highest in our rankings. A flight from Atlanta during Christmas costs an average of $1,764, and a flight from Los Angeles costs $890.
Where you’ll really break your budget is on drinks. The average daily cost of alcohol is $21.
11. Buenos Aires, Argentina
September through December actually is a shoulder season in Buenos Aires, when crowds and hotel rates are more reasonable. But that doesn’t make it a cheap holiday vacation. In fact, holiday flights to the capital of Argentina are the third-most expensive in our rankings.
The average cost of a flight from Atlanta to Buenos Aires around Christmas is $1,976, while the average cost of a flight from Los Angeles is $2,027.
If you do venture to Buenos Aires, food, transportation and entertainment are cheap here. The average cost of daily meals — just $6.14 — is the lowest in our rankings.
10. Orlando, Fla.
Thinking of taking the kids to Disney World for Christmas? Then don’t expect a trip to Orlando to be a cheap holiday vacation. High food, transportation and entertainment costs make this Florida city one of the least affordable places to visit during the holidays.
At $50, Orlando has the highest average cost for daily meals — along with Park City, Utah — among domestic destinations. The average cost of daily entertainment at $163 is the highest in our rankings. To keep costs down, take advantage of cheap things to do outside of Disney World.
Holiday flights to London are cheaper than to Paris. But you’ll pay more, on average, for a hotel in the capital of the United Kingdom than in the capital city of France. Food, transportation and entertainment costs also are higher in London than in most of the other cities in our rankings.
Plus, London is crowded in December because it’s a popular holiday destination, according to U.S. News & World Report. You might find fewer tourists and better deals in the fall.
8. Copenhagen, Denmark
If you want to visit Copenhagen during the holidays, you’ll find better rates on hotels during Christmas, but flights are cheaper during Thanksgiving. Plus, you’ll have to endure cold weather if you visit the capital of Denmark in winter.
Also expect to shell out a lot for food and transportation. In fact, Copenhagen has the third-highest transportation cost — $65 a day — in our rankings.
7. Belfast, United Kingdom
Getting to the hub of Northern Ireland can be pricey, which is why it’s one of the least-affordable places to visit during the holidays. Belfast has the fourth-highest cost of holiday flights on our list. If you’re looking to save money, opt for Thanksgiving travel rather than Christmas because flights are cheaper then.
What really might hurt your wallet in this city, though, is the high cost of food. The average daily cost of meals is $53 — the highest among the most expensive cities in our rankings.
Holiday flights to the Japan’s capital can be pricey, but it costs about half as much to fly out of Los Angeles than Atlanta — $791 compared to $1,755 during Christmas. You also can save money by traveling to Tokyo during Thanksgiving rather than Christmas. Not only are flights cheaper, but also the average nightly hotel rate is $107 compared to $159.
If you plan to drink, watch out. The average daily cost of alcohol is $32 — the second-highest in our rankings.
Honolulu is one of the most expensive tourist destinations in the U.S. Winter is the peak tourist season, making it one of the least affordable places to visit during the holidays. During Christmas, the average nightly hotel rate is $241 — the third-highest among the most expensive places in our rankings.
Flights aren’t cheap, either, but you’ll actually find lower fares during Christmas than Thanksgiving.
4. Kihei, Hawaii
This city on the southwest shore of the Hawaiian island of Maui offers great beaches and surfing. It’s not a cheap place to visit for the holidays, however.
Lodging is especially expensive during Christmas, when the average nightly hotel rate jumps to $362 from $190 during Thanksgiving. In fact, Kihei has the second-highest lodging costs during the holidays in our rankings.
You’ll also have to shell out more for food here than in most other cities on our list. At $44, the average daily cost of meals puts Kihei at No. 4.
Christmas might seem like an ideal time to visit Sydney because it’s actually summer in this Australian city south of the equator. But December is peak tourist season here, which means prices are higher and crowds are bigger.
The cost of traveling to Sydney is what puts the city among the most expensive holiday destinations on our list. The average fare for a flight from Atlanta during Christmas is $2,666, with the average Christmas flights from Los Angeles costing $1,609.
2. Park City, Utah
If you want to visit a world-class ski resort during the holidays, Park City might be at the top of your list. Winter is peak season in this haven for skiers, who relish the city’s annual snowfall of 300 to 400 inches. But if you are looking for an affordable Christmas vacation, Park City isn’t it.
Flights to nearby Salt Lake City are actually cheaper than flights to most other places in our rankings. However, lodging costs can put a big dent in your travel budget if you plan to visit Park City during Christmas.
The average nightly hotel rate jumps from $116 around Thanksgiving to $534 around Christmas — the highest lodging cost of any place in our rankings. Daily transportation costs of $87 also are the highest on our list, and only Orlando has higher entertainment costs.
1. Cape Town, South Africa
Winter is actually summer in South Africa, which makes it the peak season for tourists. As a result, it can be expensive to visit Cape Town during the holidays.
Flights are the biggest cost of visiting this cosmopolitan city on Africa’s Atlantic coast. It costs more to fly to from Los Angeles to Cape Town during Thanksgiving — $1,341 — than any other city on our list. During Christmas, the price jumps to $1,952. And a flight from Atlanta to Cape Town during Christmas costs $2,262.
Food and alcohol also are expensive. The average daily cost of meals is $48, and the average daily cost of drinks is $24.
Most Affordable Places to Visit During the Holidays
You don’t have to spend an exorbitant amount on a Thanksgiving or Christmas vacation. If you visit these affordable destinations, you can save money on your holiday travel.
15. Amsterdam, The Netherlands
If you’re looking for an affordable Christmas vacation in Europe, consider Amsterdam. Food, transportation and entertainment costs are low in the capital of The Netherlands.
To save money on a flight to Amsterdam, travel during Thanksgiving rather than Christmas — airfares are about $300 to $550 lower, depending on the U.S. departure city. Plus, the weather could be better in November than in December.
14. New Orleans
New Orleans is known for its Mardi Gras parties in February, but you should consider visiting the city during December. The crowds are smaller, and you can find cheap Christmas flights to New Orleans.
You can fly from Atlanta to New Orleans for just $108, making it the ultimate affordable holiday flight. Hotel rates also are affordable during the holidays. The average cost of alcohol is the highest in our rankings, however, at $48 per day.
Although flying to Rome is more expensive than flying to the most affordable places in the U.S. during the holidays, lodging in the Italian capital is incredibly cheap. The average nightly hotel rate during Thanksgiving is $43, and the average rate during Christmas is just $44. Plus, by visiting Rome in November or December, you’ll avoid the crowds.
The cost of flying to Toronto is cheaper than the airfare to some U.S. cities on our list. Although lodging isn’t cheap in Canada’s largest city, you can save money on a hotel by visiting during Christmas rather than Thanksgiving because the nightly rate falls to $140 from $192.
In general, winter is the best time to visit Toronto to save money and take an affordable Christmas vacation, according to U.S. News & World Report.
If you’re looking for cheap holiday trips that offer fun in the sun, Miami is a good option. The average cost of airfare from Atlanta to this South Florida city is just $223 during Christmas, which is one of the least-expensive flights in our rankings.
However, lodging costs increase from an average of $132 per night during Thanksgiving to an average of $179 per night during Christmas. You can save money on hotels in Miami — and other cities — by staying on weekdays rather than weekends, asking hotels to match competitors’ prices and using apps such as HotelTonight to get last-minute deals.
10. Los Angeles
Flights to Los Angeles are cheaper than flights to most of the other cities in our rankings. However, lodging is more expensive here than any of the other affordable places to visit during the holidays. Entertainment also costs more than in most cities.
But you can save money on a trip to Los Angeles by visiting legendary landmarks that are free, such as the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the Griffith Park Observatory, the Getty Center or Venice Beach.
You should visit this up-and-coming destination before it gets too expensive — and the holidays are an ideal time to go. During both Thanksgiving and Christmas, hotel rates are cheaper here than in any other city in our rankings — $23 and $35 per night, respectively.
Flights to Thailand aren’t cheap, but airfare to Bangkok is lower than to several of the least affordable places to visit during the holidays — especially if you fly from Los Angeles. The average cost of a flight from LA to Bangkok during Thanksgiving is $636.
8. Nashville, Tenn.
There’s more to Music City than, well, just music. If you visit around Christmas, you can see the extravagant holiday display of more than 3 million twinkling lights at the Gaylord Opryland Resort. Plus, winter is low season, so it’s a more affordable time to visit.
Flights are relatively cheap, with an average airfare from Atlanta to Nashville during Christmas at just $203. But lodging is more expensive here than all of the other most affordable places to visit during the holidays except Los Angeles.
Boston gets cold in the winter, but it’s a good time to visit this city if you want to save money. The average nightly rate for a hotel drops to $108 during Christmas from $119 during Thanksgiving. Flights also can be cheaper, with the average airfare from Atlanta to Boston dropping to $167 during Christmas from $206 during Thanksgiving.
Although Denver is close to ski resorts, winter is the low season for tourism in The Mile High City. As a result, it’s a good place for fairly cheap Christmas trips.
Lodging costs are lower than those in most U.S. destinations in our rankings. And it’s cheaper to fly from Atlanta or Los Angeles to Denver than to most other cities on our list. Plus, in a city known for its breweries, you can drink on the cheap. The average daily cost of drinks is just $4.25.
5. Washington, D.C.
A trip to the nation’s capital can be an affordable Christmas vacation. Plus, you can avoid the crowds that are there at other times of the year. The average nightly hotel rate drops to $85 during Christmas from $97 during Thanksgiving. Christmas flights to Washington, D.C., also are cheaper than Thanksgiving flights and flights to most other cities in our rankings.
While there, you can visit holiday markets and see the National Christmas Tree near the White House, the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree and the National Menorah.
A trip to Seattle during the cold, rainy winter might not seem ideal. But if you’re looking for cheap holiday vacations, you should consider Washington’s largest city.
Holiday flights to Seattle are cheaper than to most other cities in our rankings. Although lodging costs aren’t exorbitant, they aren’t super cheap. The average nightly hotel rate during Thanksgiving is $142, and the average rate during Christmas is $140.
Chicago offers an affordable holiday getaway, but be prepared to bundle up in the Windy City if you go during the cold months of November or December.
You’ll be rewarded for braving chilly temperatures with low average nightly hotel rates of $87 during Thanksgiving and $85 during Christmas. And holiday flights to Chicago are among the cheapest in our rankings.
2. San Francisco
San Francisco might not seem like it would be near the top of a list of cheap Christmas trips because it has a reputation for being expensive. However, The City, as locals call it, can be more of a bargain in winter.
You can find cheap Christmas flights to San Francisco from Los Angeles — just $96. And the average nightly rate for a hotel during both Thanksgiving and Christmas is $121.
San Francisco’s transportation costs are among the lowest in our rankings, and you can see the city’s most popular tourist attractions for free. Those include Pier 39 and the Golden Gate Bridge (if you cross by foot or bicycle). Don’t forget to grab some free chocolate samples at Ghirardelli Square.
1. Playa del Carmen, Mexico
For cheap Christmas vacations at the beach, look no further than Playa del Carmen, Mexico — the most affordable place to visit during the holidays. Located in the most eastern part of Mexico, this popular tourist destination has incredibly inexpensive food, transportation and alcohol costs, as well as the lowest entertainment costs of any city in our rankings.
Aside from Toronto, Playa del Carmen is the cheapest place to fly to among cities on our list outside the U.S. But the average hotel rate during Thanksgiving and Christmas is cheaper here than in Toronto. Plus, the weather is a lot warmer in this tropical locale.
Methodology: GOBankingRates sourced list of popular travel destinations for the holiday seasons and looked at six main factors: hotels, flights, transportation, entertainment, food and drinks. Hotel prices were determined using the three lowest nightly rates for 4-5 star-rated hotels and getting an average cost for Thanksgiving week (11/19/17-11/25/17) and Christmas week (12/21/2016-12/27/2017). Hotel costs were sourced from Hotels.com on 9/14/17. Flight prices were sourced from Expedia on 9/14/17. For each city, the cheapest round-trip fare for each destination was used from the 2 largest airports in the U.S.: ATL and LAX. GOBankingRates pulled flight prices for both Thanksgiving week (same dates as above) and Christmas week (same dates as above). Transportation, food, entertainment and alcohol prices were all retrieved from BudgetYourTrip on 9/14/17. Each factor was given a score of 0-1 (with 0 being the cheapest) and weighted equally against each other for a total combined score.