Wondering where to go for the best vacation experience in November or December? Since this is a challenging time of year for travelers, it's advisable to be well-informed about the weather and other factors that can affect your journey.
The Good News...
Hurricane season officially ends on November 30, so it's safe to visit the Caribbean again. There's good news for skiers, too, since most of the northern hemisphere is heading toward winter as the year comes to a close and mountain regions become dusted with snow.
Couples who prefer a warm-weather vacation in November or December will have to travel south to encounter balmier temperatures — and prices begin their uphill climb toward high season.
The Bad News...
In the USA, the last two weeks in November and in December are peak travel periods because of the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. If you can arrange to schedule your trip for the first two weeks in November or December, those are the best dates to find what you want is available.
If you're determined to travel during the holiday periods, though, book your vacation flights, hotels, and cruise far in advance. If at all possible, avoid traveling during weekends, on the days right before or after the holiday and late in the day; then it's not only crowded at airports but northern storms can wreak havoc and create weather delays that cascade across the system.
- If it works with your schedule, fly on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas day; those are the least crowded days of the holiday season.
- Even better, do something different during Thanksgiving if you plan to spend the holiday alone together at home — and leave for vacation at a less-crowded time. Consider treating yourselves to a meal in a good restaurant, having a movie marathon or volunteering to help the homeless.
The further you go south or toward the desert, the warmer it will be.
That makes November and December prime time for visits to Florida and Arizona. And except for the last week in December when prices peak the closer you get to New Year's Eve, Las Vegas is a fun destination.
- Southeastern US
- Northeastern States
- Ski Resorts
For sun, warmth, and great beaches, look south.
Whether you are black-diamond skiers, bunny-hill beginners or simply hot chocolate connoisseurs, being surrounded by snow-tipped mountains at a ski resort during the last two months of the year can be incredibly romantic.
Skiers are advised to make early reservations at resorts out west in Colorado and Utah. Locations that offer mountain thrills as well as plenty of après-ski fun include:
November and December are also prime time for skiers in Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. And do consider the mountains of Canada, which span from Mont Tremblant in the east to Whistler in the west. Note that Canadians celebrate their Thanksgiving before the United States does, which makes our neighbor to the north a particularly good place to visit during that holiday.
- Year-round, the weather's usually lovely in Hawaii.
- Somewhere around the world, every month of the year, a cruise ship is sailing some place wonderful.
Beat the Crowds
- Try your luck in Las Vegas, which clears out during family holidays, then goes into overdrive New Year's Eve.
- Many resorts and cruises are childfree during the first two weeks of November, before schools break for holidays.
Not the Best Time to Visit
- Despite its popularity as a honeymoon haven, Bermuda is no place to visit in the winter. It's cold and windy and there's not much to do until the weather warms.
For Cold-Weather Lovers
Find out more about traveling during these very popular months.
Check Another Vacation Month
Know where to go when airlines and hotels are less crowded than during this time of year.