Americans want sun and sand this holiday season — and affordable flights.
The Caribbean is enjoying a well-deserved moment in the spotlight. The destination has the travel world buzzing with dreams of white sand beaches, clear water, and warm weather — which are even more appealing as Americans hunker down and prepare for winter.
A Skyscanner report that reviewed user searches between July 8, 2022, and July 8, 2023, found that of the 10 most searched destinations, six were islands. According to data shared with Travel + Leisure from Priceline, the original online travel agency, three of the most popular and affordable holiday getaways for December 2023 were to Caribbean destinations.
To come up with their list of popular and affordable holiday trips, Priceline considered what destinations were trending along with the roundtrip ticket cost for travel between Dec. 1 and Dec. 31. The result provides a glimpse into the minds of U.S. travelers who are clearly looking for a December escape that includes sun and sand.
December holiday travelers can’t seem to get enough of Cancún, which is located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo on the Caribbean coast. The destination has long been known for its beaches, which are made of powder-fine sand, and the hotels, restaurants, and shops that line a long beachfront strip in the Caribbean Sea.
In addition to drawing December travelers in search of warm Caribbean waters and palm-tree-lined beaches, Cancún stood out for its affordability. According to Priceline, roundtrip flights to Cancun in December average $427 — making it a more affordable getaway than many domestic destinations.
On the outer edge of the Caribbean Sea, off the southeastern coast of Florida, is a string of islands that have long been an American playground. The Bahamas, which are not technically in the Caribbean Sea, but are considered part of the Caribbean community, are home to the third largest barrier reef on Earth and a beach so pink, that it makes white-sand beaches look horribly basic. It helps that the capital city of Nassau is a direct, 1-hour flight from Miami, making the destination as accessible as it is beautiful.
The Priceline data ranked Nassau as the second most popular and affordable December holiday destination for 2023, with round-trip flights to the destination averaging $453.
Aruba is located in the southern reaches of the Caribbean Sea, off the coast of Venezuela. It isn’t as easy for U.S. travelers to get to, but upon arrival it offers something unique: a welcoming culture that has become world-renowned, giving Aruba the nickname “One Happy Island.” Beyond the island’s welcoming vibes, travelers rave about its beaches, which are impeccably clean and lined with jade ocean water.
According to Priceline, average roundtrip flights to Aruba this December are $455. That’s a wildly low cost when you consider how far south the tiny island is.
There are a few things to keep in mind when booking your flights to these Caribbean destinations — or any destination around the world — over the holidays. If you’re traveling for the Christmas holiday and are traveling internationally, departing on Dec. 19 can help you save 11 percent on airfare. Returning between Dec. 26 and Dec. 29 can help you save an additional 25 percent. If you want the lowest flight cost — and want to avoid traveling on what are expected to be the busiest travel days — don’t book your flights for Dec. 22 or Dec. 31.
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Read the original article on Travel & Leisure.2023-11-17T21:40:22Z dg43tfdfdgfd