According to a new study by WalletHub, the Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington area is among the top five best warm winter holiday vacation destinations in the United States.
One of the reasons the DFW metroplex ranked high was its number one rating when it comes to travel cost and hassle. Part of this rating came from the fact that it is easy to travel to DFW from the top six airports across the country.
“The fact that the DFW area has mild weather during the winter is what caused it to rank so high,” said Jill Gonzalez, an analyst with WalletHub. “It’s also easily accessible to whoever wants to visit because it has fairly short direct flights at reasonable prices.”
WalletHub’s 2021 Best Winter Holiday Destinations ranked DFW in the 4th spot, followed by Houston at No. 5, San Antonio at No. 6, and Austin at No. 1.
“Compared to Dallas, Austin has a lower share of delayed flights, a smaller average price for a two-person meal, and an overall lower cost of living, making it a bit more affordable,” Gonzalez said. “Austin also ranked higher than Dallas for safety. To catch up with Austin, Dallas would need to be a little more affordable, have more attractions and offer more activities, but also be safer for its residents and tourists.”
Roundtrip flights to DFW are as low as $270, and the cost of a Dallas-area three-star hotel room is $68, which is slightly lower than the cost of $283 for a roundtrip flight to Austin and $69 for a comparable hotel in Austin, according to the study.
“Traveling to Dallas is very convenient,” Gonzalez said. “The shortest flight is less than 2.5 hours, but delayed flights definitely have an impact on travel hassles. This is where Dallas ranked a bit lower, at number 15, with 19% delayed flights. For simplicity, we only recorded the longest leg for a flight’s duration. The departure date was selected as December 24 with a return date on January 2, 2022.”
DFW outranked Houston because the flights to DFW are cheaper and shorter, according to the data.
“Dallas has lower taxi-fare costs and milder weather,” Gonzalez said. “It also offers more coffee and tea shops, music venues, tennis courts, public golf courses, and baseball diamonds per capita and is an overall safer destination. To improve its score, Houston would need to have milder weather and more coffee and tea shops and golf courses per capita. It would also need to be a safer city.”
According to Gonzalez, the fact that three metro areas in Texas ranked among the top 5 means more tourists are likely to travel to the Lone Star state for the holidays.
“Texas can benefit economically from having tourists,” she said. “The travel industry can reboot, and the money tourists spend can turn into tax revenue for the state.”
The study further found that DFW scored higher in the number of music venues per capita, the availability of affordable, high-quality restaurants, and the quality of its parks.
“The metro area has anything from sights, landmarks, museums, concerts, and parks to shopping and nightlife,” Gonzalez said.
DFW dropped to a lower spot on the list this year. In 2018, it landed the No. 2 spot compared to No. 4 in 2021.
“The metrics that were the same for the two reports, and where Dallas dropped [this year] are hotel costs, the cost of a two-person meal, taxi fare, and the number of coffee and tea shops, restaurants, shopping centers, baseball diamonds, basketball hoops, and bike rental facilities per capita,” Gonzalez added.
View the results of this survey and the parameters WalletHub used at their website.