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The Most Popular Holiday Destinations for American Travelers 2022

couple at holiday market
Allianz - couple at holiday market

Home for the holidays? Not this year. American travelers’ searches for winter holiday getaways were up 17% compared to 2021, according to Allianz Partners USA's Top 10 Holiday Destinations survey.

We reviewed almost 3 million itineraries for roundtrip flights departing from U.S. airports from December 17-29, 2022. The vast majority—89%—of the itineraries were for domestic travel and 11% were for international trips. So, where’s everyone going? We’ll highlight the top 5 domestic and international holiday travel destinations for 2022.  

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Top 5 U.S. holiday destinations for 2022

#1: New York City

New York City continues its reign as the top domestic destination for American travelers this holiday season, a position it has held for four of the last five years. Considering a December trip to New York City? You’ll probably want to see the classic attractions: the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, the Radio City Rockettes’ Christmas Spectacular, and the decorated store windows on Fifth and Madison avenues. When you need to warm up, dine under the twinkling lights at Rolf’s German Restaurant, known as NYC’s most festive restaurant.

Read more in our New York destination guide.

#2: Seattle, WA

Seattle’s known for dazzling light displays around the holidays. A few you’ll want to catch:

  • Garden d’Lights, a walking tour through lights at the Bellevue Botanical Garden
  • Zoolights at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, known for its purple-and-green Flame Tree, 100-foot illuminated octopus, and light tunnels.
  • WildLanterns at the Woodland Park Zoo, where you’ll see beautiful, larger-than-life animals fashioned into glowing lanterns
  • Winter Brilliance, a light-and-music installation at Chihuly Garden and Glass

Two hours east of town is the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, which goes all out for the holidays with its Christmastown displays, performances and bazaars.

Read more in our Seattle destination guide.

#3: Orlando, FL

Orlando’s theme parks go big on winter festivities, making this central-Florida city one of the most popular holiday destinations for American families. (Plus, Orlando sees weather in the low 70s in December, enticing people to escape the cold.) The biggest attraction is Walt Disney World, with holiday parades, light shows and fireworks above Cinderella Castle. If you’re feeling too curmudgeonly for the Happiest Place on Earth, check out Grinchmas at Universal Orlando Resort. There’s a live retelling of the beloved Dr. Seuss story, plus photo ops with the green guy himself.

Read more in our Orlando destination guide.

#4: Phoenix, AZ

Go big on glitter and glitz with a holiday getaway in Phoenix. Christmas at the Princess, an annual tradition at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess resort, promises “the grandest of holidays” with 6.5 million lights, an outdoor ice rink, 128 firepits and igloos, and three unique Santa experiences. For a more serene holiday experience, be sure to see Las Noches de las Luminarias at the Desert Botanical Garden. The garden’s trails are lined with thousands of luminarias—illuminated paper-bag lanterns—and other holiday lights.

Read more in our Phoenix destination guide.

#5: Los Angeles, CA

Everybody loves a parade—Angeleos most of all. The season kicks off in late November with the Hollywood Christmas Parade. Then comes the Spirit of San Pedro Holiday Parade, in which mascot Timmy the Duck leads a line of marching bands, equestrian groups and other performers through Historic Downtown San Pedro. Later in the month are the Marina del Rey Holiday Boat Parade and the King Harbor Holiday Boat Parade, with fireworks and decorated boats. The big finale is the Rose Parade on January 1.

Top 5 international holiday destinations for 2022

#1: Cancún, Mexico

With delightfully warm weather and inviting beaches, Cancún is the most popular overseas holiday destination for American travelers. While most people go for sun and fun, you may also experience traditional Mexican holiday celebrations. Visit Iglesia de San Servacio in the old quarter of Valladolid to see its nativity scene and Christmas decorations. The nine-day observance of Las Posadas begins December 16, with candlelight processions, poinsettias and luminaries called farolitos.1

Read more in our Cancún destination guide.

#2: San José del Cabo, Mexico

This charming city in Baja California has rapidly become a favorite getaway for travelers who shun the big resorts of nearby Cabo San Lucas. December 15 marks the beginning of whale-watching season, when the humpback whales arrive after their annual migration from colder waters.2

Read more in our San José del Cabo destination guide.

#3: London, England

Not every traveler is bound for the tropics. London leaped in popularity this year to become the #3 holiday destination for American travelers. It’s impossible to list all the holiday delights London offers this time of year, but here are a few ideas… Browse the city’s many Christmas markets. Have a festive cocktail in an igloo at Vinegar Yard. Strap on some ice skates at Hyde Park Winter Wonderland. Savor some Claridge’s Christmas Pudding at a holiday-themed afternoon tea.

Read more in our London destination guide.

#4: Montego Bay, Jamaica

This city on Jamaica’s north shore offers a holiday getaway with inviting beaches, delicious food, lively nightlife and abundant shopping. Mobay is an especially good home base for active travelers, who can snorkel in Montego Bay Marine Park, raft the Martha Brae River, go bobsledding on Mystic Mountain, or hike up Braco Hill.

Read more in our Montego Bay destination guide.

#5: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

One holiday highlight in Puerto Vallarta is the 12 days of La Guadalupana in early December, when people honor the Virgin of Guadalupe. Hundreds of processions take place along Juarez Street in downtown Puerto Vallarta. “Mariachi or ‘banda’ live music, folkloric dancers and religious-themed parade floats usually accompany each procession within a festive ambiance,” the city’s official visitor’s guide explains.3 Even if you miss La Guadalupana, this resort city on Mexico’s western coast offers an abundance of fun in December. Stroll the Malecon boardwalk, snorkel or kayak in Los Arcos Marine Park, or shop the many craft markets.

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