The best time to travel depends on your destination.

The best time to travel to popular vacation cities

If you’re planning a vacation this year, it’s worth knowing you can save big on your hotel if you travel at the right time.

The travel site Hotwire.com has just released its first-ever State of Travel Report. It found that visits in a certain month are, on average, 20 percent cheaper per night across the 14 most popular destinations. The survey picked those destinations and collected other data based on the responses of more than 2,000 adults. Here’s what else it found…

  • More than one third of Americans plan multiple short trips in 2014, while just under a third plan to take one (or two!) large vacations.
  • Younger adults are more likely to take big vacations this year: 34 percent of adults under 35 say they will, versus 26 percent of those over 45.
  • In general, that younger demographic is more likely to travel a lot and to spontaneously travel.

Where to go and when

Below are the top travel destinations and how much you can save off-season versus visiting in peak season. The savings might not be big enough to change your plans to visit, say, Las Vegas or Washington, D.C. But vacations involving Miami, San Diego, or Anchorage might justify another look at the calendar.

Destination Best month Average price per night Percent Savings
1. Las Vegas, Nev. June $84 6%
2. Honolulu, Hawaii September $127 16%
3. New York City, N.Y. December $181 21%
4. San Francisco, Calif. April $134 22%
5. Orlando, Fla. January $59 13%
6. Washington, D.C. September $90 8%
7. Miami, Fla. May $108 34%
8. Los Angeles, Calif. February $98 13%
9. New Orleans, La. November $100 21%
10. San Diego, Calif. March $83 30%
11. Chicago, Ill. October $86 14%
12. Boston, Mass. May $129 13%
13. Anchorage, Alaska September $82 44%
14. Seattle, Wash. April $91 27%
Note: The Best Month to Visit, Average Price Per Night and Percent Savings were calculated by comparing Hotwire Hot Rate average hotel prices, across all star rating categories for stays between 1/1-12/31/2013 for each month in each respective city.

Getting there cheaply

Of course, it doesn’t help if the hotel is cheaper and the airfare is more expensive. For trips to Orlando and Los Angeles, you should probably book right now.

Hotwire doesn’t say when peak season is, so we can’t compare flights. Departure city is also a factor in the best time to travel. But just for a rough idea, here are some sample fares from Google Flights. They’re for one week in the middle of the recommended month for each major travel destination, flying out of Atlanta…

  1. Las Vegas, Nev. — $404.
  2. Honolulu, Hawaii — $771.
  3. New York City, N.Y. — $278.
  4. San Francisco, Calif. — $307.
  5. Orlando, Fla. — $259.
  6. Washington, D.C. — $260.
  7. Miami, Fla. — $180.
  8. Los Angeles, Calif. — $301.
  9. New Orleans, La. — $273.
  10. San Diego, Calif. — $328.
  11. Chicago, Ill. — $308.
  12. Boston, Mass. — $161.
  13. Anchorage, Alaska — $724.
  14. Seattle, Wash. — $317.

Good luck to the folks planning two vacations this year. Especially if you’re hitting Hawaii or Alaska.

 

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