Norway, Cuba, Puerto Vallarta, New York and Canada rate as Travelzoo’s 2016 Wow Deal destinations, places where travelers can pocket up to 60% savings.
It’s that time of year when travel booking sites tempt would-be vacationers to reserve rooms and flights by informing them of budget-stretching locales.
“In New York and Puerto Vallarta, hotels have to fight for travelers’ dollars,” says Gabe Saglie, Travelzoo senior editor. “And the strong dollar is not only making international travel affordable—to Canada, Norway, and Cuba but also domestic travel affordable. As Britons, Canadians, and Brazilians pull back on visiting the Big Apple, Americans can reap the benefits with steep discounts on flights, hotels, and attractions.”
Sites use varying metrics to come up with their picks. Travelzoo emphasizes consumer buzz and national events as well as increased inventory and a strong dollar.
Travelzoo’s Winter Bargain Destinations
Norway: Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA, a.k.a. “Norwegian,” is the first low-cost carrier to fly non-stop between the US and Scandinavia. Non-stop fares from New York to Oslo can be as low as $144 each way, according to Travelzoo. Such bargain rates not only make travel to Norway and other Scandinavian countries affordable, but travelers can use Norwegian to land at top spots in Europe as well as the Caribbean.
Seats from New York to Paris can be as low as $203 in December. And not every good deal is off-season. One-way travel from New York to Martinique in December and January starts at $69. In the US, Norwegian Air Shuttle departs from Baltimore/Washington, Boston, Fort Lauderdale, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York, Oakland/San Francisco, and Orlando.
Cuba: The reduction of travel restrictions to Cuba caused a spike in interest to this formerly difficult-to-visit destination. Travelzoo reports a 205% increase in travel searches for Cuba compared to 2014. To compete for clients, companies offer “aggressive deals,” states Travelzoo. “Packages that cost $3,000 last year are now priced at $1,599—a 47% decrease for 2016 travel dates.”
American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and JetBlue Airways’ have added flights to Cuba, thereby creating more availability and sometimes lower airfares. Cruise lines and people-to-people cultural offerings are increasing as well.
Puerto Vallarta: The relative strength of the US dollar versus the Mexican peso continues to make Mexico a budget-stretcher destination. Recovering from a recent hurricane and a downturn in visitors due to past security warnings, Puerto Vallarta offers good deals to fill its increasing number of hotel rooms. Travelzoo quotes rates at a 4-star resort averaging $147 a night in peak season and $81 in low season, an 18% decrease from 2013.
Travelzoo anticipates that the number of flights to Mexico will increase after January 2016 when the US and Mexico bilateral aviation agreement is updated. Additional flights should result in lower airfares.
New York: Hotels and attractions, in general, have lowered rates by as much as 60%. Travelzoo cites the cause as a combination of the strong dollar lowering the number of visitors from Europe and South America as well as the Big Apple’s addition of 30,000 rooms in the last seven years. Instead of paying $290 a night, the average hotel fee in 2013, travelers can find a room in a 4-star property for $109 from January through March.
Canada: Credit the strong dollar for a 25% savings when exploring Canada. A 4-star hotel in Vancouver starts as low as $76 during winter and $168 during summer and a similar property in Toronto offers rooms from $89 in winter and $150 in summer. Like to ski? Then think Whistler Blackcomb or Mont Tremblant instead of Vail or Killington.
What’s the best deal you’ve gotten on off-season travel? Share your comments below or connect with me on Twitter, @familyitrips.
Images courtesy MD Magazine and Travelzoo