Monday, December 08, 2008

Las Vegas Tops List as Most Popular U.S. Destination as Orbitz Looks Back at Travel Trends in 2008

T2F Note: Congrats to Atlanta for making the top 10. Of course, we've always been attracted to the city.

/PRNewswire/ -- As 2008 draws to a close, Orbitz (, a leading online travel site, takes a retrospective look back with its latest Insider Index to offer insight into when and where Americans spent their travel dollars this year.

"By looking back at travel data in 2008, we can identify trends that will help consumers make smart decision in travel planning for the year ahead," said Jeanenne Tornatore, public relations director for Orbitz Worldwide. "For example, those who want to travel when they can find bargains should look to the slower travel periods when destinations have fewer crowds."

Busiest Travel Weeks

While last year (2007), the July 4th week topped the Orbitz list of busiest travel weeks, Thanksgiving has historically been the busiest travel period of the year, and 2008 was no exception. For travelers looking to avoid the long lines at the airport, the slowest travel week of the year is still upon us, with the week of December 29 coming in as the least busy travel week of 2008.

The busiest travel weeks of 2008(1) were:

1. Thanksgiving
2. July 4th
3. Christmas
4. Memorial Day
5. Third week of March

(1)Based on hotel and package (air + hotel) bookings as of

Top Holiday Weekend Destinations

With the long-weekends becoming an easy way to escape for more and more Americans, the Index also examines where these weekenders spent their time and travel dollars in 2008. The Orbitz Index looked at travel over a four-day period for Presidents' Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day and Labor Day.

Top Holiday Weekend Destinations(2)

2008 2007

1 Las Vegas 7

2 New York 1

3 Chicago 2

4 Orlando N/A

5 San Francisco 9

6 Washington, D.C. 4

7 Miami N/A

8 Los Angeles 3

9 Boston 8

10 Atlanta 6

(2)Based on hotel and package (air + hotel) bookings during
1/18/08-1/21/08, 2/15/08-2/18/08, 5/23/08-5/26/08, 7/3/08-7/6/08,
8/29/08-9/1/08; based on Orbitz hotel and package (air + hotel)
bookings as of 11/26/08

Top Domestic Destinations

With so many enticing deals to this destination in 2008, it's no surprise that Las Vegas lured the most travelers, moving this vibrant city up six spots to top this year's list. The Big Apple and Windy City round out the top three most popular destinations.

Top Domestic Destinations(3)

2008 2007

1 Las Vegas 6

2 New York 2

3 Chicago 1

4 San Francisco 9

5 Miami N/A

6 Los Angeles 3

7 Orlando 10

8 Washington, D.C. 4

9 Boston 8

10 Atlanta 7

(3)Based on hotel and package (air + hotel) bookings as of

Most Popular Airfare Routes for 2008

With so much volatility in the airline industry in 2008, from rising gas prices to decreasing capacity, the fluctuating price of airfares was a focus of much discussion among consumers. This retrospective Orbitz Index reveals the average prices travelers actually paid for airfares on for some of the most popular flight routes in 2008, ranging from $156 to $404.

In June, Orbitz announced the launch of a new service, Orbitz Price Assurance, created to help ease travelers' concerns about the fluctuating prices of airfares. With Orbitz Price Assurance, if the price drops for a plane ticket booked on and another customer subsequently books the same airline ticket on for less, Orbitz will automatically send travelers a cash refund for the difference.

Average Airfare for Top Routes(4)
Rank Departing Airport Arrival Airport Average Airfare for 2008

1 Los Angeles
Airport JFK International Airport $404

2 JFK International Los Angeles
Airport International Airport $398

3 O'Hare
International McCarran
Airport International Airport $246

4 La Guardia Airport O'Hare International
Airport $310

5 O'Hare
Airport La Guardia Airport $293

6 O'Hare
International Phoenix Sky Harbor
Airport International Airport $321

7 San Francisco
International McCarran
Airport International Airport $183

8 Los Angeles
International San Francisco
Airport International Airport $156

9 JFK International San Francisco
Airport International Airport $396

10 San Francisco
International JFK International
Airport Airport $399

(4)Based on bookings as of 11/26/08

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