Traveling during late November and December from the US and Canada can put a strain on your wallet. This is peak holiday season when many Americans and Canadians travel locally to visit family or take family trips abroad to celebrate holidays abroad. The increase in demand naturally increases the cost of flights and accommodation options in many places around the world. However, these 10 destinations remain relatively affordable during the holidays and can be the perfect last minute vacation getaway.
10 Tamarindo, Costa Rica
Costa Rica is easily accessible from many major travel hubs in Canada and the United States, including Toronto, New York, Houston, and Los Angeles. This coastal town in Costa Rica is the perfect vacation getaway during December, allowing families, couples, or solo travelers to enjoy the sun, surf, and delicious restaurants all in one place. Car rental is one of the most expensive parts of visiting Costa Rica, so staying in one city and staying there for the duration of the trip means costs can be cut drastically.
9 Riviera Maya, Mexico
Riviera Maya, Mexico, is full of luxury all-inclusive resorts for travelers to enjoy at affordable prices. The good news is that while prices may go up or availability can be limited during the holidays, spending 5-7 days in this part of Mexico is still budget-friendly during this busy season. From the Riviera Maya, travelers can easily take day trips to Mayan ruin tourist attractions such as Chichen Itza or the famous Isla Mujeres.
8 Salt Lake City, Utah
To keep costs low while traveling during the holidays, consider staying within the United States, which is affordable for Canadians and Americans. Flights from Toronto, Vancouver, Los Angeles, and New York to Salt Lake City remain reasonable during this time. It’s not as demanding as other major cities around the country, but it still boasts plenty of activities to enjoy during the month of December. Enjoy a ballet performance at the Capitol Theater and enjoy the Christmas lights displayed throughout the city.
7 Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
The Dominican Republic is an affordable travel destination year-round, so even during the holiday season, it’s a great choice for families, couples, or solo travelers to escape the cold. Soak in some sun, go snorkeling, horse riding, or swim at one of the many resorts around Punta Cana.
6 Montego Bay, Jamaica
Jamaica is another Caribbean gem that stays within reach during the months of November and December. In particular, Montego Bay is a great destination for travelers looking for affordable all-inclusive resorts. The weather is incomparable, with average temperatures during the month of December ranging from 22°C to moderate highs of 30°C.
5 Banff, Canada
Canada can be an expensive country to travel, but avoiding the major cities of Toronto and Vancouver can help visitors maintain a realistic budget. During December, a beautiful escape to the Rocky Mountains in Banff National Park is a great option that offers great opportunities for hiking, sightseeing, and hot spring bathing. Reserve a spot in advance to beat the seasonal rush and avoid price hikes due to limited last-minute availability.
4 Mexico City, Mexico
Travelers who want to experience the authentic side of Mexico without staying at a resort during the holiday season will love exploring Mexico City. The country’s capital, Mexico City, is a common stopping point for many airlines that fly passengers to other cities in Mexico and Central America. For travelers with layovers, consider extending it to make the most of the time there, or simply plan an entire trip around this affordable and lively Mexican destination. There are many neighborhoods to choose from, but one of the most cost-effective and trendy places to book an Airbnb in Mexico City is nearby La Condesa or La Roma.
3 Havana, Cuba
Havana is a vibrant city in Cuba that deserves more international attention. While many travelers choose to stay at resorts in Varadero or Cayo Coco when visiting Cuba, they may find these packages more expensive during holidays. To beat the tourist rush, travelers can instead book a flight to the capital, Havana, and stay in a low-cost Airbnb. Explore the city with a local guide, take a food tour, and see a side of Cuba that people staying at the resorts don’t experience.
2 Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico remains an economy travel destination for people departing from Canada and the United States in the evenings during the holidays. Flights are easy to find for as little as $350 round trip from travel hubs like New York City or Toronto. A trip to San Juan means vibrant bar scenes, great beaches, casinos, nightclubs, and more.
1 Las Vegas, Nevada
It’s always a good time to visit Las Vegas, and the holiday season is no exception. Traveling to Las Vegas, Nevada, between Thanksgiving and Christmas could mean slightly higher airfares and larger crowds, but the highlights of this destination remain the same. Accommodation in Las Vegas is relatively affordable since the cost of living there is lower than other cities in Nevada, such as Henderson or Boulder City.