The Top Holiday Travel Destinations Of 2023

From sunny beaches to snowy slopes, these are our picks for the best year-end holiday destinations, both domestic and international

A couple takes a selfie in Barcelona.
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Whether traveling to be with family, get away from family, or to visit the sunny shores of Costa Rico or the slippery snowy slopes of Vail, Colorado, odds are you won’t be alone during this most wonderful time of the year. Data has revealed the top holiday travel destinations of 2023, so you can see if your vacation destination made the list. 

Traveling for the holiday season is bigger than ever this year, with AAA  predicting over 115 million Americans traveling 50 miles or more from home over the 10-day year-end holiday travel period — from Saturday, December 23, 2023, to Monday, January 1, 2024. That’s a 2.2% increase over last year. AAA's data collection also including finding the most popular travel destinations, based on flight booking information.

And since this is the season for spreading good cheer, it’s nice to know that gas prices and airfares are projected to be the same or even a bit less than last year. 

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According to AAA, the average price for a roundtrip ticket to Orlando this holiday season is $613, down from $735 last year. A roundtrip ticket to Las Vegas is now $508 compared to $705 in 2022. 

Meanwhile, U.S. gas prices are projected to be in the $3.10 and $3.20 range, while international petrol prices can range from $2.30 up to $8.50 per gallon. 

Here are the top travel destinations in 2023

Not sure where to go? Thanks to AAA’s flight booking data, we now know the top year-end holiday destinations, both domestic and international.

Take a look here:

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Orlando, FL London, England
Anaheim, CASt. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
Chicago, IL Aruba
Charlotte, NCDublin, Ireland
Miami, FLToronto, Ontario, Canada
Atlanta, GARome, Italy
Las Vegas, NVReykjavík, Iceland
New York, NYSan Juan, Puerto Rico
Phoenix, AZ Montego Bay, Jamaica
Houston, TXCosta Rica

Looking for travel destination inspiration?

If you’re strapped for cash but getting away from the hustle and bustle is just what you need, Kiplinger handpicked five bargain vacation destinations off the beaten path just in time for the holidays. 

Instead of pricey Barcelona, which hosts more than 30 million visitors each year, chose Lima, Peru. Or, bypass Vail, Colorado, and get away to Snowbasin, Utah, located just an hour’s drive from the Salt Lake City airport. 

Longing to build a sandcastle instead of a snowman? Florida has dozens of attractive destinations that are more affordable than Miami. Two of the best are St. Petersburg and Delray Beach. St. Petersburg for its "lively downtown, clubs and bars, and Delray Beach for its "thriving life with lots of restaurants, great street scene and beautiful beaches.

Kiplinger also checked in with a professional skier for recommendations on where to ski this winter, if you're looking for those thrills. 

And if you're traveling in retirement, we've got you covered too, with suggestions of great holiday destinations for retirees to check out this winter

When you're talking "let's pack our bags and get the heck out of here" kind of traveling, just remember that roadways and airports are unusually crowded during the holidays, so plan ahead — you don't want to get your tinsel in a tangle.

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Kathryn Pomroy

For the past 18+ years, Kathryn has highlighted the humanity in personal finance by shaping stories that identify the opportunities and obstacles in managing a person's finances. All the same, she’ll jump on other equally important topics if needed. Kathryn graduated with a degree in Journalism and lives in Duluth, Minnesota. She joined Kiplinger in 2023 as a contributor.