Houston is ranked No.5 for best US vacation destinations during the winter, according to a new WalletHub report. While other rankings focus on each destination’s scenic quality, WalletHub says this report looked at cost of travel, affordability and convenience as well as the number of attractions and activities available to keep you busy and entertained. 

The report created a ranking system to help Americans plan their travels for the colder months ahead by analyzing over 69 metro areas and grouping them as either, “warm” or “cold” destinations. The list was determined using 39 key metrics, some of which include two weeks of flight data, safety indicators and weather predictions using The Old Farmer’s Almanac forecasts.

As for Houston– whether you’re taking an open-air tram tour of NASA’s Johnson Space Center or visiting the Museum District for a full day's worth of culture and history– you can expect low costs and endless attractions making Houston an ideal destination for the winter months ahead.  

When deciding on the best place to go for winter holiday travel, Chay Runnels, Interim Director and Professor at Stephen F. Austin State University, says to look for destinations that offer a nostalgic experience. 

As a country, we have just been through 18 months of trauma. Travelers are looking for cozy, comfortable places where they can unwind with their families,” Runnels said. “Visiting friends and relatives is one of the top reasons people travel. Accommodations that can provide family suites or places for families to relax and unwind together will have an advantage.” 

If you’re traveling by plane, Runnels suggests giving yourself plenty of time between connecting flights and if you are traveling by car, to pack a “go-bag” with water and snacks if there is traffic due to iced-over highways.

“In Texas, we saw heavy snow and ice last year during January and early February. I think that definitely took travelers by surprise,” Runnels said. 

Whether the climate is warm or cold, travelers should check their destinations COVID protocols while planning out their vacation.

“I think travelers can feel reasonably safe traveling as long as they are willing to continue the habits they formed during the pandemic. Most large lodging operators are still requiring their associates to wear masks and follow enhanced cleaning protocols. Wash your hands, do not travel if you are ill and take basic precautions and travel should be safe,” Runnels said. 

Other Texas cities that ranked in the top five warm-weather destinations include the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown area at No. 1 and the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area at No. 4.

 To learn more about the ranking and methodology, visit wallethub.com.

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