When it comes to travel, I’m a committed contrarian. It’s a strategy that serves me well. By avoiding peak travel times, I bypass crowds and reduce stress. By ignoring destination hot spots, I maximize the chances of booking award seats and snagging upgrades. By heading east when everyone else is headed west, I pay less for flights and hotel stays.
It’s not always an option, of course. When the family reunion is in Las Vegas over a holiday weekend, I line up with everyone else, and pay top dollar for the privilege. But when possible, I zig when most travelers zag.
This summer, with its projected extra-long security lines and packed-to-capacity flights, would be an especially apt time to practice contrarian tactics and add some zag to your trip plans.
The Top 10 Summer Destinations
As good a place as any to begin contrarian planning is with TripAdvisor’s list of the 10 destinations of most interest to U.S. summer travelers, based on the company’s site search and booking interest data. Beginning with the most popular, and including the average cost of a one-week trip, they are:
- Las Vegas – $2,224
- Cancun, Mexico – $2,480
- Orlando – $1,932
- Punta Cana, Dominican Republic – $3,098
- Myrtle Beach, South Carolina – $2,304
- New York City – $3,341
- London – $4,056
- Destin, Florida – $2,807
- Paris – $3,579
- Playa del Carmen, Mexico – $2,374
No doubt the list is intended to be aspirational, to encourage even more travel to those destinations, and in the process generate more booking commissions for TripAdvisor. Fine, follow the leaders, if you must.
But I, and my fellow contrarians, will be looking elsewhere for our summer getaways. This summer more than ever.
Reader Reality Check
What’s your strategy for Summer 2016 travel?
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After 20 years working in the travel industry, and 15 years writing about it, Tim Winship knows a thing or two about travel. Follow him on Twitter @twinship.