PhotoThe period between Christmas and New Year's Day is the busiest travel time of the year, with airports crowded and hotels overflowing with guests.

And with the economy gaining strength in the 4th quarter, growing at 5%, more consumers may be packing their bags this year. Switchfly, a travel technology company, surveyed consumers and found most who were traveling were headed for a family home.

Where would they prefer to be going? New York was the choice of 21% while San Francisco was a close second at 20%.

People not traveling to see family said they were either headed for a sunny beach, a city known for great food or someplace with a casino. People traveling to those types of destinations for New Year's Eve should be prepared to pay a little extra.

Big bucks in the Big Easy

New Orleans is, without a doubt, a city known for great food and great restaurants. According to, it's also the most expensive New Year's destination, based on the cost of lodging.

The publication compared 30 major U.S. destinations and established the minimum amount visitors will have to spend on December 31 to stay overnight in a double room in an at least 3 star hotel.

Judged that way, New Orleans is the most expensive New Year's destination with a room rate of $359. But once arrived, there are plenty of things to do for free, including watching a giant fireworks display fired off from two barges in the Mississippi River.

Other free events include a fleur-de-lis drop from the rooftop of Jax Brewery and people watching on Bourbon Street. The restaurants aren't free but some of the neighborhood joints, away from the French Quarter, serve up great food at a very reasonable price.

An expensive bet

The second-priciest destination, according to TravelMag, is Atlantic City. It seems counter-intuitive since the city is struggling and hotel rooms should be a bargain. They might be at other times but New Years Eve apparently is a different matter.

TravelMag puts the minimum cost of a double room in Atlantic City New Year's Eve at $350. All the hotels and casinos have scheduled New Year's Eve parties and other entertainment.

New York is the third most expensive place to find a nice place to sleep on New Year's Eve. The average three-star room in the Big Apple goes for $345.

The big New Year's Eve draw in New York, of course, is the ball drop in Times Square, which costs nothing if you can brave the weather and the crowds.

Least expensive destination

At the bottom of the list is where you'll find the relative bargains. A three-star hotel room in Indianapolis on New Year's Eve goes for just $89.

New Year's Eve revelers in Indianapolis can attend the Masquerade Ball at Union Station, where general admission tickets are $49. For $169 you get dinner and VIP treatment, including admission to all the parties.

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