Five cheap holiday destinations

Golden Gate Bridge, San FranciscoGetting away for the winter holidays provides a break from family tradition -- and tension. Who stresses about gifts while taking in a new museum or exploring an unknown city? So instead of spending on gifts, consider traveling to one of these five cheap holiday destinations. For the biggest bargains, travel Nov. 21-27 and Dec. 19-27, according to Gabe Saglie, a senior travel editor at Travelzoo who shared these holiday deals.

Atlanta -- Where can you sleep in a four-star hotel for less than $100 per night? Atlanta. If you visit in November, tickets to two NBA Hawks basketball games are 35% off. Through December, venture two hours outside of Atlanta to a spa resort in the mountains for $155 per night, including a $15 food credit and either a free round of golf or an hour horseback riding.

San Diego -- The average high temperature in November is 70 degrees and in December it's 66 degrees. Bring your swimsuit and head to the beach. Sneakers will come in handy, too, as there is plenty to see and do on foot. If you are a military vet, admission to Sea World is free.

Chicago -- High-end hotels are booking at less than $150 a night as business travel bottoms out during Thanksgiving and the winter holidays. More modest hotels hover around $100. The Hard Rock Hotel is 50% off select dates in December and the Allerton Hotel is $85 per night -- $100 off the normal rate.

San Francisco -- Pack your coat and head to foggy San Fran, where a four-star hotel on Union Square ranges from $100-$129 per night. Use your hotel savings to visit the newly remade California Academy of Sciences. Sky high rain forests, an underground aquarium, and a white alligator await you. Tickets are $20-$30, but the splurge is worthwhile.

New York City -- Four-star hotels that commanded $350 during the summer high season can be slept in for about $200 a night. Three star hotels hover around $160. Flights in can be cheap, especially if you travel on a Tuesday or Wednesday, because of the volume of flights that go through JFK, La Guardia, and Newark. Once you get there, take advantage of free museum entry days, discounted theater, and very cheap street food.

Caveats: fees and taxes may apply to hotels, flights, and attractions.

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