Looking Back, Shifting Forward

As expected, the busy 2007 travel season ended with a flurry over the winter holidays. According to AAA, an estimated 65 million Americans traveled 50 miles or more from home at the end of the year; that's in addition to the approximately 38 million who ventured out over Thanksgiving and the near-record sum of travelers who weathered a real record number of flight delays to vacation during the summer.

It was indeed a roller-coaster year for travelers, but millions endured the wild ride — especially on long weekends — which continue to be the most popular type of leisure travel, according to a number of industry sources.

So where did travelers go?

For long weekend travel, New York City was the most popular destination of 2007, followed by Chicago; Los Angeles; Washington, D.C.; and Denver, based on bookings on Orbitz.com.

Rounding out the top 10 were Atlanta; Las Vegas; Boston; San Francisco; and, yes, even Newark, N.J.

The list also included the top travel overall destinations for the year, based on it its bookings, and found Chicago to be first for 2007. New York and Los Angeles were second and third, respectively.

Perhaps Chicago claimed the top spot for the second year in a row because it's more centrally located, and offers more affordable hotel options than its big city brethren in New York and California.

The rest is comprised of Washington, D.C.; Denver; Las Vegas; Atlanta; Boston; San Francisco; and Orlando, Fla.

One final surprise from the year in travel: Data shows that July 4 topped Turkey Day as the busiest travel week of the year, followed by Memorial Day, with Thanksgiving fifth.

If you're looking for a quiet time to travel when things might be less hectic, try the first week of December. Not surprisingly, the first two weeks of December were the two slowest travel weeks of the year.



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