Hipmunk Hotels: Budget Stays In The South

The post below was originally published on Samantha En Route on May 21, 2016 by Samantha.

Photo by Esther Levy on Trover.com

Huntsville, AL

There are few major attractions in Huntsville, AL, including the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and Alabama Constitution Village. Being a low-tourist city means that pricing for accommodation is relatively low year-round. The La Quinta Inn Huntsville Space Center has rates starting at around $50 per night (where guests can enjoy a pool, complimentary Wi-Fi, and free breakfast), while the Huntsville Knights Inn starts at $44 per night and includes free breakfast. Boutique and charming hotels, such as the Embassy Suites Huntsville Hotel & Spa and the Homewood Suites by Hilton Huntsville are also available at around $110 per night.

Tuscaloosa, AL

Off the beaten track and not one of the more famous southern cities that draw travelers,Tuscaloosa, AL still has plenty to offer tourists with its up-and-coming feel in the form of live music, events, museums, and more. Many cheaper accommodations also exist, such as Home-Town Suites Tuscaloosa for around $54 per night, Days Inn Suites for around $58 per night, and even the Hampton Tuscaloosa East for around $94 per night. Since Tuscaloosa is becoming a bigger tourist city in the summer, it’s recommended to visit after the peak season to avoid any crowds.

Hot Springs Village, AR

Jacuzzi-goers will love a weekend getaway to Hot Springs Village, AR, where tourists can take in the city’s natural hot springs on Bathhouse Row or even enjoy it pumped directly to their hotel. To continue basking in the outdoors, fishing and boating are also popular activities in the area. Many accommodations are more than budget-friendly, including the Economy Inn Hot Springs at $43 per night, the Shamrock Motel at $58 per night, the Best Western Winners Circle Inn at around $77 per night, and even AirBnB accommodations at $100 per night or less for a simple room.

Little Rock, AR

Being one of the northernmost southern cities means that Little Rock, AR will have a mild climate year-round, perfect for touring. Most tourists visit in the fall to see the autumn colors. Cheap accommodations are abundant in the city, including the Rodeway Inn and Suites, the La Quinta Inn Little Rock West Medical Center, the Comfort Inn West, and the Courtyard Inn Little Rock West, which have rates from $50-$80 per night. Airbnb rooms average $83 per night and can even go down to $20 for a simple overnight spot.

Pompano Beach, FL

Fly directly into Fort Lauderdale from many US destinations and rent a car to the lesser-knownPompano Beach, FL. With great beaches and Florida sunshine but less popular than its more famous neighboring cities, beach-goers can often find a great deal to stay within a budget. The Budget Lodge runs for about $100 and the Executive Economy Lodge typically is about $80 per night. Airbnb rentals average about $50 per night or less, while higher-end properties are still on the less expensive side at around $200 or less, such as at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Pompano Beach Resort and Spa.

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Airbnbs: Breakout Star of Spring Break 2016

The post below was originally published on Hipmunk’s Tailwind Blog on February 25, 2016 by TheHipmunk.

By: Hipmunk Staff

Ah, Spring Break. That annual week of respite from school, from work, from responsibilities. (Hey, we can dream, right?) The point is, Spring Break is for everyone– not just coeds.

But since the holiday is so widely marketed to college students, we wondered whether traditional party locations really dominated the Spring Break vacation market and how the rise in popularity of vacation rentals such as Airbnb affected hotel bookings.

To find out, Hipmunk analyzed the most-booked Spring Break destinations for airfare and hotels, which we defined for our purposes as beginning Friday, March 18, 2016, the week preceding Easter (although the dates can vary widely). To break it down further, we also looked the most popular destinations for Airbnb vacation rentals and compared that to the same week the year before to see how those numbers had changed.

Here’s what we found:

Perhaps unsurprisingly, major US destinations, popular year-round, dominated the list, with Orlando, Las Vegas, and Los Angeles claiming the top spots for most-booked flights.  Yet simply looking at destinations where one must take a plane doesn’t fully reveal the most popular Spring Break destinations, as many travelers choose to vacation in locations that are a drivable distance from where they reside.

To broaden our scope, we also looked at which destinations were garnering the most accommodation bookings for Spring Break 2016.

Again, major US cities topped the rankings. But by only looking at flights and accommodations, we are still neglecting to highlight locations where vacationers are more inclined to look for rentals than hotels. To discover these destinations we looked first at the locations with the highest net number of Airbnb vacation rental bookings and then compared that number to the total number of overall accommodation bookings in that city for Spring Break to reveal what percentage of those bookings were Airbnbs.

Again, cities such as Miami and Las Vegas return a large total number of Airbnb bookings for Spring Break, but smaller resort towns like Sarasota, FL and Palm Springs, CA, boast a much larger percentage of Airbnbs for their total bookings. Perhaps the one anomaly is Cancun, Mexico, where Airbnbs have claimed 40 percent of Hipmunk bookings for Spring Break 2016.

It seems that when it comes to Spring Break, Florida is the vacation rental king, claiming five of the 10 top spots!

Digging deeper, Airbnbs are continuing to increase in terms of their share of the accommodation market, as more and more travelers see vacation rentals as a viable alternative to hotels.

In 2015, Airbnbs made up 4.4 percent of all Hipmunk’s Spring Break bookings; as of publication date, that number has risen to 9.5 percent.

Indeed, several of the cities that cracked the top 10 Airbnb destinations weren’t on the list last year at all:

Looking year-over-year, every city that made both this and last year’s lists increased their proportion of Airbnb bookings, excepting for New York, which saw a decrease of three percent.

Of the cities that made this year’s list (but not 2015’s), Cancun saw its proportion of Airbnb rentals increase explosively, from just 9 percent in 2015; Sarasota’s proportion was only 19 percent in 2015; Honolulu came in at 2 percent last year; Destin was 30 percent in 2015; and Palm Springs came in at 28 percent in 2015.

In the end, it seems that the Sunshine State is also the 2016 Spring Break Capital, claiming multiple spots in every Top 10 category: flights, hotels, and vacation rentals.

And if these destinations seem just a bit too tame or you want to escape the states, be sure to check out our Spring Break College Cheat Sheet or just shoot an email toHello@Hipmunk.com with all your burning Spring Break travel questions.

Methodology: Hipmunk analyzed its 2016 data for bookings that occurred starting the week of March 18, 2016 (Spring Break) for flight, hotel, and Airbnb bookings, in addition to data for the same week in 2015.

Travel Guide for Your Winter Holiday 2016

 

Winter is a great season and everyone looks for trips with loved ones, time off from work and the daily grind. Well, you too can certainly plan a sneak escape from it all this winter! Wish to beat those winter blues? How about a fantastic holiday! As the days are shorter and darker, taking a quick winter sun break becomes a must but choosing where to go for the sizzling winter sun is still an intimidating decision. Selecting a perfect warm destination to bid goodbye to dark days and chilling temperatures is the real big task. We’ve tried to take the efforts for you.

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Here’s a brief rundown of a few best destinations across the globe that could be just ideal for your winter vacation 2016!

  1. The Canary Islands, Cape Verde

This is quite like a secret paradise! The Canaries has 10 main islands which are scattered all along the coast of Senegal. Miles and miles of creamy white beaches definitely lure you. To add to the delight, you can simply enjoy a dip in the warm, clear emerald waters. Just sit back to relax on some beach, and gather plenty of sunshine!

  1. Sharm Al Sheikh, Egypt

Such an unusual destination! Right? Egypt has a magnificent historical and cultural background. But that’s not all this place has! It has more than historical treasures – miles of warm water beaches, excellent diving sites, fishing areas, and what not. Avoid summer crowds in sunny places and let the sun work out on your tan!

  1. Lapland, Arctic Circle

Lapland, fondly known as the Santa Claus’ homeland, is a lovely vacation destination during winter. Tucked away in the northernmost Finland and deep inside the Arctic Circle, Lapland is no less than a book stuffed with fairytales. Long stretched forests that are snow dusted and super cozy log cabins that seem too pretty make your holiday with your kids memorable. The best thing here in Lapland is that you’ll see more reindeer than people. You can be adventurous with some winter sports and be a part of a few exciting festive winter activities!

  1. The Exotic Caribbean

The Caribbean is the land of exotic beauty. It makes a perfect destination for a winter sun holiday and relaxation. The daytime temperature typically remains well above 200C so you can sit and relax under a palm tree in Antigua or cruise around Barbados. Reach the peak of pleasure and relaxation at a spa resort in St Lucia. Pristine beaches, serene sea waters, amazing tropical flora, charming holiday resorts, and beachfront royal boutique hotels make the Caribbean a blissful relaxing escape from the rest of the world.

  1. Dubai, UAE

Dubai is no doubt one of the top holiday spots in the world. This ultra-modern city is set upon miles of shining golden sand and offers the best of luxury to everyone who visits. Everything in Dubai is spectacular and luxurious including its skyscrapers, hotels, and shopping malls. In winter, the weather is just perfect for holidaying. Wander around the modern and the old city, eat at the best restaurants and street food joints, shop in huge malls as well as traditional souks, and visit the most desirable structures and mysterious museums! Apart from all this, there are a few must do things including the best desert safari in Dubai. Desert safaris, especially overnight camping is an unforgettable experience to cherish for the rest of your life.

  1. Abu Dhabi, UAE

Abu Dhabi, popular for its culture and more luxurious than Dubai, makes an ideal holiday destination in winter. Unlike Dubai, Abu Dhabi offers more true luxury and less of glitz & glam. The typical Middle East character of this city is worth admiring and it bridges between the Western and the Eastern worlds. Marvellous beaches, world class adventures sports, magnificent world-class museums, shopping malls, impeccable restaurants, and what not; Abu Dhabi is worth checking out!

  1. Florida

You’ve no doubt heard of Walt Disney World, Busch Gardens, and Universal Studios? Yes, Florida is the place! A superb destination stuffed with a plethora of natural and manmade attractions, Florida makes a wonderful vacation destination and has a lot more to offer its visitors – Orlando, the famous Seven Mile Bridge, fascinating amusement parks, lakes, waterways, stunning coastline, forests, fantastic hotels, great shopping spots, virgin beaches, gorgeous coral reefs, exciting water sports, rocking night life, and top notch tourist facilities.

  1. Reykjavík, Iceland

In spite of being one of the coldest spots across the Europe, Reykjavík in Iceland has plenty of natural hot water springs to warm you up! It’s a fantastic winter holiday place offering a plethora of winter sports, spectacular celebration festivals, geothermal swimming pools, and of course, those most sought after warm water springs.

  1. Prague, Czech Republic

If the both of you are seeking a super romantic, fairytale vacation this winter, Prague is that destination! Indulge in stunning architecture, pretty old town, snow-capped spires, and fascinating winding streets. The best thing about Prague is that it’s almost tourist free during the winter months. Wonderful restaurants and cozy cafes help you plan a few romantic evenings with the love of your life.

  1. Nagano, Japan

This former Winter Olympics host city is a lesser known vacation spot among tourists. Nagano is a fabulous base for adventure freaks who wish to explore ski resorts located nearby. After a hectic day on the snowy slopes, it’s quite worthwhile to enjoy in the natural hot water springs. A few of the sites you must cover include beautiful, snow-covered Buddhist temples and the Togakushi Minzoku-kan folklore museum where the ninjas were once trained.

Inghams Ski Winner #2

Here’s the checklist you should keep handy while planning a winter vacation!

  • Figure out what exactly you want from the vacation
  • Set a firm budget for the tour
  • Do your research properly – places to see, eat, and stay at
  • Sort out all your clothes that you must pack for the tour and confirm if it fits within the luggage allowance
  • Confirm your transportation
  • Check out what holiday extras you can manage well in advance
  • Get up-to-date with your passport and any visa that may be required

So, are you ready to fly somewhere sunny, hot, and too beautiful?

Book your favourite tour and start packing your bags!