Times Square, New York
Jason Dean | moment | Getty Images
From the Big Apple to the Bay Area, cities and towns across the country expect festive crowds to come Friday as pandemic-weary residents look to put in a good show for 2021.
Amid the latest Delta and Omicron waves of Covid-19 infections, you’d think more people would be ringing in the New Year at home than usual, yet financial website WalletHub claims that’s not the case.
“Surprisingly, no,” said WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez. “The percentage of people spending New Year’s Eve at home is actually the same as in 2019.” Sixty percent of Americans plan to welcome 2022 with family or friends, compared to 24 percent who attend public events or parties, according to the site’s report on the best cities on New Year’s Eve — as it was two years ago, before the pandemic hit the US
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Holiday travel crunch was widely reported over the Christmas weekend, as workers-strapped airlines canceled thousands of flights as more employees came into contact with Covid, but before the omicron wave, weekend travel bookings soared. significantly more than last year, and even stronger than 2019.
Concor’s TripIt found that bookings for domestic flights rose 304% during 2020, and 53% compared to 2019. Car rental rates increased by 404% and 76%, respectively during 2020 and 2019; Accommodation bookings are up 271% and 61%; And vacation rentals 182% and 56%.
Many of those plans were temporary, Jane Moyes, TripIt’s senior product manager, said in a statement. “Some travelers may be concerned as Covid-19 cases rise and news of omicron spreads,” she said. “We heard in a recent survey that more than a quarter (26 percent) of travelers made plans ready to cancel or change.”
WalletHub found that most of us, 65%, charge more than at least $50 to receive 2022. The site didn’t have data for the past year, but it did find that in 2019, 83% of Americans were spending less than $200. “Although the stats don’t quite fit in with the apple, we can estimate that there has been a decrease in the budget compared to 2019,” Gonzalez said.
Whether you’re going ahead with your New Year’s Eve travel plans or you’re lucky enough to live in or near a place with plenty of festive options, WalletHub has some recommendations. The 100 largest US cities are ranked for several factors, including safety, accessibility, costs, and entertainment and dining options. She then averaged it to give an overall score for each site.
The usual suspects in big-city tourism — like New York, Las Vegas, and Orlando, Florida — topped the WalletHub list. However, there were some surprises, such as Louisville, Kentucky, finishing ninth, beating places like Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Chicago in tenth.
“Louisville is a popular destination on New Year’s Eve because it allows for fireworks and has restaurants that rank highly among the top 100 places to eat in the country,” Gonzalez explained. “The city also has the seventh largest number of beer, wine and spirits stores per capita, and you can find affordable fine dining here.”
It took back place this year in celebration of New Year’s Eve, with the 10 lowest cities in the WalletHub: Garland, Texas, with a score of 41.03 out of 100; Aurora, Colorado, at 40.95; Chesapeake, Virginia, 40.94; Hialeah, Florida, 40.85; Cleveland, 40.63; Glendale, Arizona, 40.08; Newark, NJ 39.23; Anchorage, Alaska, 38.93; Fremont, CA, 38.07; And – next to Place No. 2 Sin City – North Las Vegas, Nevada, at 31.56.
(WaletHub compared the 100 most populous US cities across three dimensions—entertainment and food, costs, safety and accessibility—using 28 relevant metrics. Each metric is rated on a 100-point scale, with 100 representing the most favorable New Year’s Eve party terms The WalletHub then determined the weighted average for each city across all scales to calculate the overall score and used the resulting scores to rank the sample.)
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