With so many travel restrictions in the past year, many people might be itching to get away.
If you think it’s too late to plan an affordable winter escape, it’s not—there’s still time to get in that ski trip or escape the cold at some warmer destination. Whether you want a beach, ski slopes or culture and entertainment or some family fun, there are still some bargains to be had.
“One way to save some cash on travel this winter is to check out last-minute deals,” says Jeffery C. Kreeger, director of tourism and hospitality studies at Central Connecticut State University. “If you and your travel party have a flexible schedule, you can Google last minute cruises or last minute (fill in the blank).”
“If you can handle the uncertainty, you can grab some good bargains,” Kreeger says.
To find the best winter holiday destinations, WalletHub compared 69 of the most populated U.S. metropolitan statistical areas, or MSAs, across six key dimensions:
- Travel costs and hassles
- Local costs
They scored and ranked each city using 39 relevant metrics graded on a 100-point scale, with a score of 100 representing the most ideal winter travel conditions.
Each MSA was classified as either a cold or warm destination, cold if the average December temperature was lower than 46 degrees F and warm if it was higher than 57 degrees F. Except for the largest metro areas, place that were in between those temperatures were eliminated. The largest metros were assigned to the climate group with the nearest average winter temperature.
Some of the warm weather activities in the evaluation include: restaurants, amusement parks, shopping centers, music venues, food festivals, coffee and ice cream shops, bike rentals, golf and tennis.
Some of the cold weather activities included were proximity of ski slopes, ice skating and spas, as well as restaurants, music venues, coffee shops and food festivals.
Based on WalletHub’s ranking, here are the best cities for either a warm winter getaway or cold winter getaway.