BOSTON (TheStreet) -- Do you really want to spend the last days of the year in Vegas trying to get management to bust up the neighboring hotel room's re-enactment of The Hangover, at a Disney park listening to screaming children drown out fireworks or in New York's Times Square holding a Snapple bottle of your own urine? You can do better.
Much of the general population has trouble just leaving their town on New Years' Eve and Day, never mind their state or country. According to the American Express (Stock Quote: AXP) Spending and Saving Tracker, just 6% of the travelers they surveyed plan to be elsewhere when the clock strikes midnight. That number increases to 10% among the affluent and 22% among young professionals, but the majority have no interest in seeing a bunch of rank amateurs with pointy hats and noisemakers get red-nosed wrecked on Asti spumante. Those fortunate enough to get out are slapped with fare sale blackouts and holiday flight surcharges for their troubles.
"When you're looking at domestic airline tickets for the holidays, it's all about getting a better bad deal," says Rick Seaney, chief executive of travel site FareCompare. "The days that they have the most traffic are the days you'll want to avoid, so the Sunday and Monday after New Year's are going to be the most expensive days to travel."
That pricing is compounded by harsh fees, with American Airlines (Stock Quote: AMR), Continental/United (Stock Quote: UAL), US Airways (Stock Quote: LCC) and Delta (Stock Quote: DAL) all sticking passengers with a $30 surcharge for flying Jan. 2 or 3. A savvy flier knows a few ways around this, including flights on discount airlines such as JetBlue, Southwest and AirTran. Crossing the border for the New Year, however, also bypasses the major U.S. carriers' punitive measures.