The best US travel deals for January

Though much of our focus recently has been on securing the best Black Friday and Cyber Monday travel deals, the deals don’t stop in the new year. In fact, January is a prime time for budget-conscious travelers to continue saving money.

From New York City to Napa Valley (and many destinations in between), there are many places across America that you can visit on a budget when the first month of the year rolls around.

Here’s how to save even more money when traveling in January.

New York City: Hotel Week

Although it seems like New York City is always expensive, NYC Hotel Week offers travelers the chance to save up to 23% at more than 140 properties across the five boroughs for stays between Jan. 3 and Feb. 12.

The discount is for standard room rates at brands like Hyatt, Marriott and Hilton, among others.

For example, with the promotion, cash rates for a stay on Jan. 3 at the Hyatt Centric Times Square New York in a standard room with a king-size bed start at $216 (excluding taxes and fees). The same room on that date would otherwise set you back $234 for the member rate, $247 for the World of Hyatt members advance purchase rate and $280 for the standard nonmember rate. So, you could save $64 by choosing this special promotion.

WORLD OF HYATT

To take advantage of this promo, visit NYC & Company’s official website. From there, you will be directly linked to special booking pages for each hotel where the promotional code should already be applied. If a code is not automatically entered, try using the code “HTLWK” to view Hotel Week prices.

Related: These are the best New York City hotels for families to check out

If you end up visiting the city for Hotel Week, be sure to check out NYC & Company’s other NYC Winter Outing offerings from Jan. 17 through Feb. 12. During this time, visitors and locals can get special reservations at the city’s top restaurants during NYC Restaurant Week, two-for-one Broadway tickets during NYC Broadway Week and two-for-one tickets to popular attractions and museums during NYC Must-See Week.

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The average domestic round-trip airfare for January 2023 is $230, but the average flight to New York City in January costs $190, according to data provided by the booking site Hopper.

Some of the airports with affordable round-trip flights to LaGuardia Airport (LGA) and Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in January include:

  • Nashville International Airport (BNA), starting at $77 on Spirit.
  • Boston Logan International Airport (BOS), starting at $138 on JetBlue, American Airlines, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.
  • O’Hare International Airport (ORD), starting at $148 on both United and Delta.
GOOGLE FLIGHTS

Related: 1st look: Newark’s stunning new terminal is enough to change the airport’s reputation

Other domestic cities: Chicago and Los Angeles

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Though generally less expensive to visit than New York City, Chicago is also an option in winter; January is the cheapest month to fly to the Windy City. During January, flights drop an average of 33% in price, according to booking portal Kayak, which says to book at least two weeks before departure to score a flight priced below average.

The average round-trip flight to Chicago in January is $187, while the average hotel room costs $140 per night, per Hopper data.

Last month, we found flights from across the U.S. to Chicago at the start of the year for less than $200 round trip, including on United, American, Delta and Southwest. Those flights are still available at the same price.

For example, you can currently book round-trip flights to ORD from the following airports:

  • BOS and Bradley International Airport (BDL), starting at $118 on Delta and United.
  • Denver International Airport (DEN), starting at $68 on Frontier.
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH) and Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), starting at $114 on American.

With your well-priced flight in hand, consider the below Chicago properties, which have starting rates at a little more than $100 per night:

  • Hyatt House Chicago / West Loop-Fulton Market, where rates start at $113 per night.
  • Hyatt Centric Chicago Magnificent Mile, where rates start at $127 per night.
  • The Drake (Hilton), where rates start at $131 per night.
  • Hyatt Regency Chicago, where rates start at $147 per night.
  • Swissotel Chicago (Accor), where rates start at $152 per night.
  • LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton, where rates start at $168 per night.
  • Hilton Chicago/Magnificent Mile Suites, where rates start at $168 per night.

Related: Book this, not that: Get the most value from your hotel points in Chicago

If Chicago in the winter is too cold for you (frankly, there is a reason flights are cheap), consider Los Angeles; flights to the City of Angels are nearly half off their normal price tag, according to Kayak. Those who prefer Northern California will find a slight drop in flights to San Francisco in January as well, Kayak reports.

Though the average round-trip flight to LA is slightly more expensive than to Chicago ($228), the average cost of a hotel room in LA in January is just $118 per night, per Hopper.

Escape the cold of Chicago for sunny LA with round-trip flights to Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) starting at $158 in January on United and American. Or, fly from EWR to LAX for as little as $180 with Alaska, United or JetBlue.

GOOGLE FLIGHTS

Once you find a flight, know that there are many Hilton-affiliated properties in central LA for less than $200 per night throughout the month, including:

  • DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles Downtown, where rates start at $180 per night.
  • The Wayfarer Downtown LA, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, where rates start at $191 per night.
  • Hilton Checkers Los Angeles, where rates start at $193 per night.

Two Hyatt properties are available at similar rates. Hotel Figueroa has rooms for as little as $141 per night, while Tommie Hollywood rooms are bookable starting at $185 per night.

Although IHG and Marriott properties are more expensive, you can still find good rates with these brands, too, including:

  • The Westin Bonaventure Hotel & Suites, Los Angeles (Marriott), where rates start at $203 per night.
  • Hotel Indigo Los Angeles Downtown (IHG), where rates start at $212 per night.
  • Sheraton Grand Los Angeles (Marriott), where rates start at $229 per night.
  • InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown (IHG), where rates start at $244 per night.

Related: From downtown to the Westside and beyond: Los Angeles hotels you can book on points

National parks and winter-themed activities

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Not only can you usually get a reprieve from the usual national park crowds by visiting during the winter months, but you may also enjoy more comfortable conditions when visiting certain parks, such as those in desert settings that can see temperatures climb above 100 degrees in the summer.

Related: 10 of the best national parks to visit during winter

From Joshua Tree National Park and Death Valley National Park in California to Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona, there are several national parks in the U.S. that feature desert landscapes.

Because most national parks welcome fewer visitors when temperatures drop, you’ll usually find flight deals.

For example, Kayak reports that January is the cheapest month to fly domestically to larger airports by Yellowstone National Park, including Casper-Natrona County International Airport (CPR), Salt Lake City International Airport (SLC) and Billings-Logan International Airport (BIL). Oftentimes, these airports are less expensive to fly to than smaller regional airports closer to the parks.

Similarly, United currently has round-trip flights in January from EWR to Bangor International Airport (BGR) — the closest major airport to Maine’s Acadia National Park — that start at $188.

Time your visit to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day and you may even be able to enter for free: The holiday is one of five dates when entrance fees are waived. For 2023, the holiday falls on Jan. 16.

An added bonus to visiting in January is that there are winter-specific activities only available at certain parks during winter. For example, at Yellowstone, you can take a guided snowmobile tour. You can also go skiing, sledding, snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice skating and snow tubing at a number of parks, including Acadia, Yosemite National Park in California, Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado and Olympic National Park in Washington.

Related: The 20 national parks every traveler needs to see at least once

Wine country in winter

LEA SUZUKI/THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE/GETTY IMAGES

Northern California’s wine country — specifically Napa Valley — is also far less crowded and cheaper to visit in January, as the fall harvest season is over and temperatures have fallen.

Beyond saving money, you’ll have the chance to enjoy some timely events specific to winter, including Napa Valley Restaurant Week, which takes place from Jan. 20-29 in 2023. You’ll also find special deals from wineries, such as the Winter in the Wineries Passport, which allows visitors to taste and tour 16 wineries for only $75.

If you plan to stop in San Francisco as part of your Napa Valley visit, you can save some bucks along the way — hotels there often cost less than what you’ll pay to stay in the Napa area. The following are just a few San Francisco hotels currently showing availability in January for less than $250 a night:

  • Hilton San Francisco Union Square, where rates start at $160 per night.
  • Parc 55 San Francisco — a Hilton Hotel, where rates start at $174 per night.
  • The Westin St. Francis San Francisco on Union Square (Marriott), where rates start at $201 per night.
  • Kimpton Hotel Enso (IHG), where rates start at $216 per night.
  • JW Marriott San Francisco Union Square, where rates start at $228 per night.
  • InterContinental Mark Hopkins San Francisco (IHG), where rates start at $244 per night.

Related: Book this, not that: San Francisco hotels

Bottom line

The average hotel room in the U.S. costs $230 per night in January, according to Hopper, and it can be hard to find ways to cut expenses when you travel, even during historically slow seasons like winter. Fortunately, there are some domestic destinations that you can visit without breaking the bank.

To help you stick to a smaller budget, start your search with Google Flights to see if you can find a timely flight deal. Remember to look for limited-time offers for reduced rates at hotels, too, such as the annual NYC Hotel Week deal for properties throughout New York City.


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