Airport Booking Strategy

The Hottest Holiday Destinations for 2015/2016

Here are the most popular trips during the holidays.

As the holidays quickly approach, travel anxiety peaks—crowded terminals, delayed flights, and congested highways are all part of the holiday routine.

But some routes will be more challenging than others this holiday season. Sojern has analyzed trends from recent searches to determine the most popular trips during the holidays. And Kayak has also released a similar trend report analyzing search data for holiday travel.

RELATED: The Best Black Friday and Cyber Monday Travel Deals

Using these two reports, we’ve come up with the top destinations for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s—so if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em … or avoid these destinations altogether for some peace and quiet.


According to Q3 stats, travelers were two-and-a-half times more likely to travel on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving and three times more likely to travel on the Wednesday before the holiday as opposed to Thursday (Thanksgiving Day). Trip searches yielded an average trip length of four to five days.

Top 5 Searched Destinations for 2015:

  • New York City
  • Chicago
  • Miami
  • Dallas
  • Los Angeles

Top 5 Origins for 2015:

  • New York City
  • Los Angeles
  • Chicago
  • Washington D.C.
  • Miami

Top 5 Most Expensive Airports to Fly From for 2015:

  • JFK, New York
  • San Francisco International Airport
  • LAX, Los Angeles
  • Philadelphia International Airport
  • Logan Airport, Boston

Kayak recommends departing on Thursday and returning on Friday for lowest fares in North America, and booking at least two weeks in advance.

Holiday Season (December 15-January 1)

Again looking at Q3 stats, travelers are looking to take slightly longer vacations (eight days or more) this year compared to last year. The most popular departure dates are December 23, 19, 18, 22, and 24 (in order of demand) for North American travelers. Check out some other statistics for travel during this period.

RELATED: The Secret Way to Book a Cheap Holiday Flight

Top 5 Destinations Booked in Q3: (from North America)

  • New York City
  • Los Angeles
  • London
  • Miami
  • Dallas

Top 5 Holiday Escapes: (based on growth comparison from 2014)

  • Hong Kong
  • Taipei
  • Rio de Janeiro
  • Chicago
  • Tokyo

Kayak recommends departing on a Thursday and returning on a Saturday for holiday travel in North America and booking one to three weeks in advance.

More from SmarterTravel:

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram @ashley_stravel for more advice on travel hacks and destination ideas.

(Photo: Thinkstock/iStock)

By Ashley Rossi

Ashley Rossi is always ready for her next trip. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram for travel tips, destination ideas, and off the beaten path spots.

After interning at SmarterTravel, Ashley joined the team full time in 2015. She's lived on three continents, but still never knows where her next adventure will take her. She's always searching for upcoming destination hotspots, secluded retreats, and hidden gems to share with the world.

Ashley's stories have been featured online on USA Today, Business Insider, TripAdvisor, Huffington Post, Jetsetter, and Yahoo! Travel, as well as other publications.

The Handy Item I Always Pack: "A reusable filtered water bottle—it saves you money, keeps you hydrated, and eliminates waste—win-win."

Ultimate Bucket List Experience: "A week in a bamboo beach hut on India's Andaman Islands."

Travel Motto: "Travel light, often, and in good company."

Aisle, Window, or Middle Seat: "Window—best view in the house."