The holidays are around the corner now, and with them an onslaught of last-minute online shopping, festive obligations and stress eating peppermint bark. But what if we told you there was a way to escape, if only for a little while. In fact, planning a December getaway increases your chances of avoiding holiday responsibilities by 100%.
To get you started, Cheapflights.com has done our research – looking at average flight prices, rising popularity and weather forecasts – to offer up the best destinations for travelers looking for a little relaxation amid the holiday season. So, read on and start searching for that December getaway — consider it an early gift to yourself and jingle all the way to the airport.
For budget travelers: Cincinnati, Ohio
While Ohio may not be the first place you think of when pondering a holiday season getaway, Cincinnati has a lot to offer travelers. Not to mention, it’s affordable. While overall, December can be a pricey month for airfare, it’s actually one of the cheapest months to travel to Cincy. Check out the Festival of Lights at the Cincinnati Zoo and take a ride on the North Pole Express via LM&M Railroad. You’ll enjoy a scenic 9-mile ride through Warren County, while also getting into the Christmas spirit with a visit from Santa, sweet treats and other festive perks.
For weather watchers: Siem Reap, Cambodia
While December falls in Siem Reap‘s “cool” season, don’t pack the sweaters just yet. With year-round weather that is quite warm, you can expect temperatures in the low 80s, making it one of the best times of year to see the city. While Angor Watt is a must-visit, there are plenty of gorgeous, ornate temples to add to your list. Beng Mealea and Banteay Srei should also make the cut. And, a stop at the Angkor National Museum is a great way to get a feel for the history and culture of the region through an expansive collection of artifacts.
For the best of both: Lisbon, Portugal
Portugal has topped lists of hot destinations in recent years, and with the increased interest leading to great route availability and flight frequency, it’s become a favorite destination not only for culture vultures but for savings seekers, too. While the winter is technically the off-season, this also means deals to be had and flight prices lower on average than the popular summer months. And, while December is considered one of the colder months in Lisbon, being a subtropical climate, temperatures average in the 50s and can be quite pleasant. Explore the city and get into the holiday spirit at the Campo Pequeno Christmas Market.
For trendsetters: Bogota, Colombia
With December flight searches 200% over the monthly average, interest in Bogota travel is on the up this winter, and with good reason. Since Bogota sees most of its rainfall in the summer, December is one of the driest months to go (albeit the weather is always a bit tropical). Traverse the city’s diverse art scene (from numerous galleries and museums to impressive street art), check out panoramic views from Monserrate Mountain and indulge in some culinary exploration (food tours of the area are not hard to find).
For advanced planners: Kona, Hawaii
Give yourself an early holiday present and book the week before Christmas for travel the last week of April to save on a Kona, HI, vacation. April is the start of the dry season in Hawaii bringing pleasant weather and plenty of beach days. Enjoy the sun and get your fill of water sports and relaxation, then take a tour of Kona Brewing Company and indulge in some local brews. You’ll also want to head to Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park, where you can get a feel for the island’s history at the site of an ancient Hawaiian settlement.
Where are you hoping to travel this December? Share with us in the comments.
*Just so you know, the data for this story was compiled on Sept. 25, 2017, and compares the monthly average airfares found a month or more in advance on Cheapflights for travel dates between Jan. 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2017, as well as total volume of flight searches done 90-120 in advance for travel dates between April 1, 2017, and Dec. 31, 2017, from departure points across the U.S. to the destinations above and is intended as a guideline only. Check the latest up-to-date prices and search for flights at Cheapflights.com