Welcome to the Dead Zone. No, it's not a creepy, new Netflix show—we're talking about the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas, known to people who like a deal as the absolute best time of the year to travel. It's an absolutely magical time, one when even the most overpriced, overcrowded places in the world can often end up going begging.
It doesn't take a genius to figure out why—these few, short weeks between the two busiest holiday travel periods of the year aren't very popular with holidaymakers; kids are in school, costly family obligations are just around the corner, or maybe you'll just be recovering from Thanksgiving, who knows.
Either way, from your favorite theme parks to sun-drenched beaches to top European cities, the roads (and the rails, and the skies) will at times feel pretty much free and clear. Just how clear? Just how close to free? We've rounded up the best deals in some very popular destinations—take a look, and maybe go discover for yourself why early December travel is perhaps the best kind of travel—anytime, anywhere.
With cheap flights aplenty from most major American hubs, slightly smaller crowds at Walt Disney World and Universal (both all decked out for the holidays, and then some), temperate weather and an absolute wealth of hotel deals, Orlando at this time of year is an absolute tease—if you can possibly swing it, this is when you come. Don't get too excited, though—you won't be the only one in town, because deals like this are apparently too good to pass up.
Sample Deal: $84 per night for a one-bedroom suite at the well-rated Wyndham Cypress Palms, near the town of Celebration, from Dec. 10-15.
The locals might be bundled up, but you'll love those dry, cool, sunny December afternoons—a nice respite from the usual dark and cold in so many other places right now. The city's big night (New Year's Eve) is still weeks away; right now, you'll find Strip is busy as always, but that being here costs a lot less than normal, particularly on weekdays.
Sample Deal: $97 per night on many December dates includes free breakfast, internet, parking and no resort fee at the Spring Hill Suites Las Vegas Convention Center, along the Las Vegas Monorail.
With non-stops on Southwest making it even easier (and often cheaper) to get there, Uber drivers pretty much always around the corner looking to help you make sense of the sprawling resort district and city at shockingly low rates, plus a ton of sunshine to brighten up some of the darkest days of the year, what else will it take you to get you to drop your phobia of Mexico's biggest tourist destination and go have a little fun? Oh, right—great deals.
Sample Deal: $101 per night at the Aloft Cancun, at the heart of the Zona Hotelera, Dec 3-7.
New York's a pretty marvelous sight at the height of the holiday shopping period, but it'll never compare to the happy chaos of London in early December—the relatively weak pound and waves of new mid-priced accommodation flooding are making the city more accessible than ever to American travelers.
Sample Deal: $63 per night including tax at the Premier Inn London Woolwich, Dec 7-12.