By Expedia Guest Author, on November 3, 2016

Holidata 2016: Holiday Travel Analysis Reveals Savings on Major Flight Routes, When to Book and Top Seasonal Destinations

Top spots for Thanksgiving and Christmas travel include Las Vegas, New York, Cancun, Orlando and Punta Cana; Popular New Year’s Eve destinations include Cabo San Lucas, London and Paris. 

BELLEVUE, Wash., November 3, 2016 –Travel analysts from® revealed today holiday travel trends and top destinations ahead of one of the busiest travel seasons of the year. The holiday data or “holidata,” uncovered top getaways offering the highest savings for Thanksgiving and Christmas along with tips for last-minute Thanksgiving travel.

Top Thanksgiving destinations

Based on hotel data[1], travelers will be giving thanks in Sin City, big cities and at the beach this year. Many more will take advantage of the Thanksgiving break to travel abroad, with international destinations such as London and Paris helping round out the list for top destinations. Overall, Cancun is the third most popular destination this year, up from nine last year. Los Angeles, however, dropped off the list this year, down from number four overall last year. The top 15 destinations include:

  1. Las Vegas
  2. New York
  3. Cancun
  4. Orlando
  5. Punta Cana
  6. Playa del Carmen
  7. San Francisco
  8. Anaheim
  9. Honolulu
  10. Chicago
  11. London
  12. Paris
  13. New Orleans
  14. San Diego
  15. Cabo San Lucas


Las Vegas leads the lists of top Thanksgiving and Christmas-time destinations.

Insider holiday travel tips

“You should absolutely consider when to book if you are looking to save money this year for holiday travel,” says Expedia Senior Editor and Travel Expert Sarah Gavin. “Looking at data from last year’s holiday season, we found customers hoping to take to the skies for Thanksgiving festivities should act fast, with some of the lowest prices for flights likely to be secured 21-30 days in advance of travel.[2] As for the December holidays, we found booking air travel 7-13 days in advance of departure could lead to meaningful savings[3],” she explains.

Expedia has long recommended customers book travel as a package and bundling this holiday season is no different. Gavin explains, “If you’re planning to book any combination of a hotel, flight or car rental reservation this holiday season you should absolutely bundle them together. We’ve found that when doing this simple task, travelers can save up to $600. Think of these savings as a bonus holiday gift that can help put a little something extra under the tree or saved away for a future trip. And this year, it’s easier than ever to couple trip components as Expedia recently updated its mobile apps for iOS and Android to support hotel and flight bundle deals.”

Head to Mexico for some holiday rest and relaxation

For travelers looking to skip the traditional Thanksgiving gatherings this year and save money while doing so, Expedia analysts found Mexico is a hot spot for packages. Travelers booking a package to Cancun, Isla Mujeres, Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and Los Cabos can save more than 25%.[4] Average ticket prices for travelers making their way from New York (JFK) or Los Angeles (LAX) to Cancun (CUN) for Thanksgiving cost on average 20% less this year versus last year[5].

Travel analysts for Expedia also found New York, Los Angeles and Chicago to Cancun routes are seeing high year-over-year savings for Christmas-time travel as well[6]. Tickets for Christmas-time flights from New York (JFK) to Cancun (CUN) cost, on average, nearly 40% less this year versus last year. Tickets for flights from Los Angeles (LAX) to Cancun (CUN) cost, on average, over 25% less than last year.


Travelers can expect to save on holiday travel to Cancun, Mexico this year.

Top Christmas-time destinations hotel data shows that top destinations for Christmas travel this year include Las Vegas, New York, Cancun, Orlando and Punta Cana[7]. Playa de Carmen is also a great destination for savings on hotels during this time where average daily rates are down nearly 15% from the same time period last year. The top 15 destinations include:

  1. Las Vegas
  2. New York
  3. Cancun
  4. Orlando
  5. Punta Cana
  6. Honolulu
  7. Playa del Carmen
  8. London
  9. Anaheim
  10. Cabo San Lucas
  11. Kissimmee
  12. Paris
  13. Puerto Vallarta
  14. San Diego
  15. Tokyo

Top destinations to ring in the New Year

Warm-weather and big city destinations lead the top ten lists of domestic and international destinations for ringing in the New Year. Top domestic destinations include Las Vegas, New York, San Francisco and New Orleans while the most popular international destinations include Cancun, Cabo San Lucas, London and Paris[8].

IMAGES: High res images of Holiday destinations are available on the Expedia Viewfinder Travel blog.

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[1] US bookings Jan-Sept 2016; Check-in Dates: Nov 18-24, 2016

[2] US bookings Jan 1 – Nov 18, 2015 for travel from November 18-24, 2015

[3] US bookings Jan 1 – Dec 18, 2015; for travel from Dec 18-24, 2015.

[4] US bookings Jan-June 2016 for travel in 2016 and 2017.  

[5] US searches Jan-Sept 2016; Departure Dates: Nov 18-24, 2016

[6] US searches Jan-Sept 2016; Departure Dates: Dec 18-24, 2016

[7] US bookings Jan-Sept 2016; Check-In Dates: Dec 18-24, 2016

[8] US bookings Jan-Sept 2016; Check-In Dates: Dec 30, 2016-Jan 2, 2017