The Top Destinations for Last-Minute End-of-Summer Deals

August 2, 2016
Candyce H. Stapen

Want to get away before summer winds to a close? Try these cities for last-minute savings.

Want one more vacation before summer’s end but your budget is low? The least expensive US city for a getaway before Labor Day is New Orleans, according to the TripIndex Cities, a cost-comparison study issued annually by TripAdvisor, the travel planning and booking site. The most expensive city is Orlando, FL, even though it is in the south, a region TripAdvisor tags as offering the least costly three-night getaways.

TripAdvisor analyzed costs by comparing the June to September fees for three nights in a four-star hotel, a visit to three attractions, lunch and dinner daily, and the cost of an Uber or taxi ride to and from the nightly restaurant for two travelers. Using those parameters, vacations in the south came to $1,250 on average, or nearly $600 less than a similar trip in western cities.

“Hotels represent a significant portion of the travel budget and savvy travelers who book their accommodations in one of the least expensive cities can save 30% on average compared to hotel prices in the most expensive cities,” says Brooke Ferencsik, TripAdvisor’s senior director of communications.

Least Expensive US Cities (Based on TripAdvisor’s three-night comparisons for two people traveling)

New Orleans, 3-night getaway as described above, costs $1,148

Houston, $1,190

Las Vegas, $1,195

Atlanta, $1,296

Dallas, $1,315

Miami, $1,359

Washington, DC, $1,406

Philadelphia, $1,483

San Diego, $1,491

Minneapolis, $1,516

Most Expensive US Cities (Based on TripAdvisor’s three-night comparisons for two people traveling)

Orlando, FL $2,217

Honolulu, $2,088

Seattle, $1,917

Boston, $1,840

New York City, $1,826

Los Angeles, $1,814

San Francisco, $1,756

Denver, $1,634

Portland, OR, $1,568

Chicago, $1,516.

At this price, Chicago seems to tie with Minneapolis for the 10th least expensive city. Hmm.

Least Expensive International Destinations

Sometimes big data driven surveys lack common sense. You wouldn’t likely choose to visit three of TripAdvisor’s top five least expensive international destinations on a summer vacation because you would be soaked by the monsoons and heavy rains in Vietnam, Thailand, and India. The hotel rooms are cheap, but I wouldn’t call that a bargain trip. With that caveat, here’s TripAdvisor’s top five picks:

Hanoi, Vietnam, $497 for 3-night getaway for two

Mumbai, India, $565

Cape Town, South Africa, $583

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, $627

Bangkok, Thailand, $645

New York City, $1,826. Average hotel rate in summer, $369

Tokyo, Japan, $1,519. Average hotel rate in summer, $267

London, UK, $1,41. Average hotel rate in summer, $268

Cancun, Mexico, $1,364. Average hotel rate in summer, $329

Paris, France, $1,232. Average hotel rate in summer, $254

Happy end-of-summer vacations.

Has this list given you any ideas? How often do you make a last-minute vacation? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter, @familyitrips.