VOL. 130 | NO. 8 | Tuesday, January 13, 2015
The Daily Traveler
Discovering Winter Hotel Deals
By LANCE WIEDOWER
I’ve never been a big fan of winter travel. I don’t care for snow and cold, and I’m not really interested in paying heftier prices for tropical destinations. But I have experienced a regional city from time to time, like Atlanta in February last year.
There are plenty of hotel deals to be found this time of year. In fact, there are some downright steals if you’re willing to deal with the cold.
I’ve become a fan of trivago.com. It might have something to do with their creative marketing campaign with the “trivago guy.” But I also like the trivago Hotel Price Index, which lists average prices for a standard double room in the top U.S. metro areas.
The best average prices this month, according to trivago, are San Antonio ($109), Salt Lake City ($117), Indianapolis ($118), St. Louis ($123) and Houston, Orlando, Las Vegas and Phoenix, all at $136.
None of those are exactly “wow” deals, but there are some gems. Take New York City. The average hotel rate in December was $401. It’s expected to be $243 this month. January and February usually are the two most affordable months for hotel rates in the Big Apple, so if you can find a decently priced flight and can manage the cold temperatures, now is the time for a New York City getaway.
Chicago’s rate is $154 per night, the lowest of the year. The high is $291 in June, so bundle up and catch a Southwest flight to the Windy City and spend your time indoors at a Blackhawks game or the Field Museum.
Regional cities like Dallas and Atlanta have rates that stay pretty level throughout the year, hovering in the $140s in Dallas and $150s in Atlanta. But the $164 per night in Atlanta this month is up from $144 per night in December.
January is a good time to visit New Orleans, with an average rate of $189 before rates skyrocket next month for Mardi Gras.
The busy tourist season is heating up in Miami with an average rate of $243 compared to $196 in December. If rate trends hold true from 2014, it might be good to hold off on visiting Miami until the late spring or even early summer before hurricane season heats up. The highest rate in 2014 was the $252 per night in March.
Las Vegas is projected to be $156 per night this month, up from $116 in December and $136 in January 2014. Phoenix, at $154 per night, is also up from $115 in December and $136 in January 2014.
I’m curious about the price trends Denver is experiencing. This month’s rate of $175 is up from $158 in December and $153 in January 2014. The highest rates in the Mile High City tend to be in the summer months, with price hikes from June through October last year. So maybe consider combining a night or two in Denver with your ski vacation this winter?
Speaking of snow, I’m interested in trying to get up to the Hidden Valley Ski Area in St. Louis. The city’s hotel rate of $126 a night is virtually the same for the other winter months. That, along with its close proximity to Tennessee, make a visit to St. Louis this winter seem appealing.
Managing editor Lance Wiedower’s column appears every other Tuesday in The Daily News and The Memphis News. For more travel inspiration, read his blog at tripsbylance.com or follow him on Twitter at @tripsbylance.