Hate crowds? Skipping holiday travel during what seems like the busiest time of the year may be one solution. But a better strategy may be knowing when and where the crowds are all year long.
If you don't want to bump elbows with tons of tourists, skip the top 10 most-visited domestic travel destinations, according to the State of the American Traveler survey: Las Vegas; New York City; Los Angeles (hard if you live here); San Francisco; Orlando, Fla.; Washington D.C.; Chicago; Napa County, Calif.; Boston; and New Orleans.
Instead, if you want to go to New York City, for instance, go in January and February or July or August (when business travel slows), according to NYC & Co., the city's tourism agency.
You'll still have plenty of company: NYC had 53.4 million visitors in 2013 and is expected to have 55.8 million this year.
Las Vegas tracks hotel occupancy only on the weekends, a more discrete period that is also often the busiest.
Though the International Consumer Electronics Show is a sure bet for insanity (the next one is Jan. 6-9), it's mostly a weekday event.
And March Madness? It is madness in Las Vegas. The March 22 and 23, 2013, weekend during the college basketball extravaganza in Las Vegas brought hotel occupancy to 97.9%, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.
Next year the championship games are set for April 4-6.
The second most-packed 2013 weekend in Vegas: June 21 and 22, when the city filled 97.6% of nearly 150,600 hotel rooms, mostly because of the Electric Daisy Carnival. (The next festival will be June 19-21.)
FOR THE RECORD
Dec. 1, 5:57 p.m.: An earlier version of this article said that dates for the Electric Daisy Carnival had not been announced. Those dates are June 19-21.
Sticking closer to home? The San Diego Tourism Authority says the middle to the end of July attracts scads of visitors, especially those coming to Comic-Con, set for July 8-12.
Springtime, the second busiest season, brings a constant stream of events: the Del Mar National Horse Show (April 16 to May 3), the Carlsbad Flower Fields ranunculus season (which usually begins in March), the San Diego Crew Classic Regatta on Mission Bay (March 28 and 29) and Cinco de Mayo in Old Town San Diego.
Palm Springs gets hot, touristically speaking, with weekenders celebrating Valentine's Day, Presidents Day (Feb. 16 next year) and Modernism Week, which observes its 10th anniversary from Feb. 12-22.
You've been warned.