Affordable Last-Minute New Year’s Eve Destinations
To help you find the best places to spend New Year's, GOBankingRates.com looked at the hottest, most affordable destinations of 2016. From budget-friendly international flights to inexpensive New Year’s Eve packages, here's a look at the best destinations for a last-minute trip.
This year, New Year's Eve falls on a Saturday, which means you can take a quick trip out of town without using any precious vacation hours. But traveling last minute isn't always cheap — airfare skyrockets and affordable hotels book up fast during the holidays.
To help you find the best places to spend New Year's, GOBankingRates.com looked at the hottest, most affordable destinations of 2016. From budget-friendly international flights to inexpensive New Year's Eve packages, here's a look at the best destinations for a last-minute trip.
1. Mexico City
Live big on a small budget in Mexico. A U.S. dollar is the equivalent of 20 pesos. Travelers can find round-trip flights from San Francisco to Mexico City for $460, or $536 from New York City. If you're in Southern California, you can fly out of Tijuana using the pedestrian bridge that connects travelers in San Diego to Tijuana's A.L. Rodriguez International Airport. From there, you can find flights for about $120 each way.
Mexico City's main square and the area around the Angel of Independence are hot spots for New Year's festivities. There, you can enjoy live music, dancing and street performers. You can find hotel deals for $60 a night or rooms on Airbnb for as low as $17.
2. Reykjavik, Iceland
With its striking beauty and inexpensive flights, Iceland is one of the hottest travel spots of 2016. Wow airlines has round-trip flights from New York to Reykjavik from $650.
Multi-day New Year's Eve packages range from $996 to $2,240 and include activities like soaking in geothermal spas, touring glaciers and watching fireworks and the Northern Lights. Accommodations in Reykjavik are on the pricier side, costing well over $200 per night. To save money, you might want to skip the pricey New Year's Eve tours and watch the city's annual fireworks show put on by residents.
3. Bangkok, Thailand
Bangkok is an affordable city to ring in the New Year. Although it will cost at least $1,000 to get there and back, once you land, expect to see rock-bottom prices on nearly everything. Hotels average $6.67 per night. Transportation, meals and entertainment are just as inexpensive.
The Chaophraya River is a popular place to ring in the New Year. You can book a dinner cruise with a seafood dinner, open bar, live music and fireworks for under $100.
Also Read: Cruising Secrets Only Insiders Know
4. Belize City, Belize
American Airlines has round-trip flights from Chicago to Belize City starting at $710. Once there, you can find affordable hotels, food and entertainment, with each U.S. dollar equal to BZ$2. According to Lonely Planet, you can expect to spend between $50 and $100 on mid-range hotel rooms and $7.50 to $17.50 on dinner and drinks each day.
If you want to avoid New Year's Eve crowds in Belize City, try heading to budget-friendly Caye Caulker, a nearby island.
5. Turks and Caicos Islands
Just southeast of the Bahamas are the Turks and Caicos Islands, home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, luxury resorts and upscale restaurants. The islands are known for high price tags, but Jet Blue has one-way flights from New York City to Providenciales for under $300.
Major resorts in Turks and Caicos are expensive — over $600 a night — so opt for lesser-known hotels with costs around $125. On New Year's Eve, visit Flamingo's Cafe for a bonfire on the beach, plus local food, music and a fireworks show.
Related: 9 Budget-Friendly Island Getaways
6. Vancouver, Canada
Enjoy favorable exchange rates and an urban winter wonderland this holiday season. Flights from the West Coast are particularly affordable. Fly from Los Angeles for just over $300 round trip, or from Seattle for $230. You can find rooms for as low as $83 a night on Kayak.com or $40 on Airbnb.
The city hosts a massive New Year's Eve celebration with food trucks, entertainment and live music on Burrard Landing and Coal Harbour. Celebrate there for a midnight countdown and fireworks display on the waterfront.
7. San Diego
Fly round trip from Seattle to San Diego for under $250. Pick from numerous celebrations during the holidays, from private yacht tours to huge parties at nightclubs and on the beach. As with other hot destinations on New Year's, hotels aren't cheap in San Diego. Airbnb has rooms for rent for under $75, however. Look for places downtown so you can take a quick Uber to festivities.
For a warmer New Year's Eve celebration, fly nonstop and round trip from Boston to Bermuda for $556. Cambridge Beaches Resort & Spa offers rooms for $240 or more, while Fairmont Southampton has rooms closer to $180. There, visitors and locals watch the Onion drop in King's Square and take in music, food stalls and treats from other vendors.
9. Austin, Texas
Austin hotels start at $80 per night and round-trip flights out of Denver start at $212. Find New Year's Eve packages including entertainment, food, drink and hotel rooms for $279 for two, or get tickets to one of many public parties. Neon Gold dance party tickets start at $50, and Speakeasy's Legendary New Year's Eve Bash costs $49 for general admission.
10. Orlando, Fla.
Orlando is an inexpensive and festive place to celebrate the New Year. Hotels like Days Inn and Travelodge cost just over $60 a night, while flights from New York City are around $220 round trip. The city has a lot to offer, too. Fill your vacation with trips to Universal Studios Florida and the Magic Kingdom. For New Year's Eve, visit Universal CityWalk for a night of live performances, gourmet food and nightclubs.
11. Portland, Ore.
Portland might not be at the top of your list of New Year's Eve destinations, but flights are affordable and accommodations average just under $79 a night. Flights from Dallas cost around $330 round trip. PDX Pipeline in Portland hosts numerous celebrations to ring in the new year, like black tie events and murder mystery shows.
12. Las Vegas
If you're on the fence about what to do on New Year's Eve, Las Vegas will have everything on your list. Unlike other popular destinations, airfares around the holidays are extremely affordable. Round-trip flights from Denver cost around $120, for example.
Hotel costs are higher than average, so stay off the strip and consider taking an Uber to festivities. Nearly every major club will be hosting a New Year's Eve party. On other nights, take in one of the city's famous shows or gamble. If you want to save money on vacation, grab a drink and walk the strip.
13. New Orleans
Although best known for Mardi Gras, New Orleans is an incredible destination for a New Year's Eve celebration. Round-trip flights out of Dallas cost around $220, or about $300 at other major airports. However, hotel rates are higher than what you might find in other cities, with nightly rates close to $190 at the Holiday Inn in downtown. Unless you opt for an Airbnb, look to free events in New Orleans to cut vacation costs. The French Quarter is a hub of activity, with Bourbon Street a popular destination.
14. Havana, Cuba
Restrictions to visit Cuba have eased up during Obama's presidency, and the country has seen record-breaking tourists. If you can make a trip happen for the new year, expect to pay around $330 for a round-trip flight out of Miami. You can find accommodations for between $25 and $40 per night, according to Esquire. Once there, watch live cabaret shows at the Tropicana to round out your Cuban vacation on a budget.
Sun-soaked destinations can be out of reach for many New Year's Eve travelers on a budget, but Cancun is an affordable option. Fly round trip out of Los Angeles for under $375, or from Chicago for around $260. All-inclusive and luxury resorts are particularly expensive, but you can find Airbnb rates for $50 or less. Cancun is known for its nightlife, so expect parties, live music and dancing at all the bars and clubs in the Hotel Zone.
Flight and hotel costs subject to change. Pricing based on trips for between Dec. 28 and Jan. 4.
Michael Galvis contributed to the reporting for this article.
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