Winter officially arrives on Dec. 21 and in most areas of the country the forecast is for above-normal temperatures and more rain than snow, according to the Old Farmers’ Almanac.  It’s also the time of year when airlines, hotels and other travel-related businesses jack up prices for you the traveler.

If you are indeed planning a winter vacation you might want to know where the best values are before you give your boss the dates that you will be gone.

The 2018’s Best Winter Holiday Destinations report might come in handy if you haven’t the foggiest as to where you might want to go. Are you hunting for a bargain or simply a beautiful place where you can kick back without a care in the world?

Honing in on cost and convenience instead of scenic beauty, the website WalletHub compared nearly 70 of the largest U.S. metro areas grouped by warm and cold weather. Each destination was analyzed based on 36 key metrics, primarily the expense and hassle of traveling to each location but also on other indicators, such as weather forecasts, safety and variety of activities.

Here’s a list of some of the report’s more interesting discoveries:

Best Cold Destinations for Winter Travel Best Warm Destinations for Winter Travel
1 Chicago, IL 1 Las Vegas, NV
2 Washington, DC 2 Orlando, FL
3 Atlanta, GA 3 Los Angeles, CA
4 Cincinnati, OH 4 San Diego, CA
5 New York, NY 5 Dallas, TX
6 Boston, MA 6 Austin, TX
7 Portland, OR 7 Houston, TX
8 Denver, CO 8 San Francisco, CA
9 Philadelphia, PA 9 Tampa, FL
10 Pittsburgh, PA 10 San Antonio, TX

Best vs. Worst

  • The average flight to a popular cold winter destination costs $279.09, lasts 3 hours and 32 minutes and has 0.27 connections. In comparison, the average flight to a popular warm winter destination costs $416.61, lasts 5 hours and has 0.53 connections.
  • Among cold destinations, Chicago, Illinois and Columbus, Ohio have the lowest price for a three-star hotel room, $42, which is three times lower than Worcester, Massachusetts, the city with the highest at $126.
  • Among warm destinations, Dallas has the lowest price for a three-star hotel room, $49, which is 4.7 times lower than Honolulu, the city with the highest at $230.
  • Among cold destinations, New York has the most restaurants (per square root of population), 7.42, which is 7.1 times more than in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the city with the fewest at 1.05.

Among warm destinations, San Francisco has the most restaurants (per square root of population), 4.91, which is 18.2 times more than in North Port, Florida, the city with the fewest at 0.27.

Wherever you decide to visit this winter season be sure you have all your import travel documents, insurance and other key items for a safe trip. Also, be sure you inform a relative or associate as to where you’re headed in case there is an emergency back home and someone needs to reach you pronto. Bon Voyage!

To view the full report and your metro area’s rank, click here.