Travel

Top-flight for 2011

Where are people likely to vacation this year?

Travel Leaders Group, a corporate travel management company based in Minnesota, surveyed 547 client travel companies and travel experts to determine top domestic destinations, based on November booking data.

1) Las Vegas

2009 rank: 2.

Appeal: Casinos, shows. The recession took a heavy toll on the local, tourism-driven economy; look for abundant deals and discounts.

Fly direct from Charlotte: USAirways, United.

January rates: From around $300 (one stop) and $646 (direct).

2) Orlando, Fla.

2009 rank: 1.

Appeal: Disney, Universal and other theme parks make it a perennial family favorite. The opening of the Harry Potter area at Universal's Islands of Adventure is just the most recent move between the dueling entertainment giants.

Fly direct from Charlotte: USAirways, United.

January rates: From $125 (one stop) and $158 (direct).

3) Alaska cruise

2009 rank: 3.

Appeal: Where else can you take an ocean cruise to a very different land ... and not need a passport? Keep your eyes peeled for package deals.

4) (tie) Honolulu

2009 rank: 6.

Appeal: It's exotic, it's warm, it's distant ... and still America. Little on the islands is inexpensive; do your research to determine how and where to spend your time and money.

January rates: From $800 (two stops) and $870 (one stop).

4) (tie) Kahului/Maui, Hawaii

2009 rank: 5.

Appeal: Maui - east of Oahu (Honolulu) and west of the Big Island - has beaches, mountains, waterfalls and is less touristy than Oahu; attractions include Haleakala National Park and the beautiful Hâna Highway coastal drive.

January rates: From $827 (two stops) and $973 (one stop).

6) New York City

2009 rank: 4.

Appeal: Broadway shows, Times Square, Central Park, Chinatown, great museums ... the to-do list is long. Use the subway system to get around.

Fly direct from Charlotte: JetBlue, Delta, USAirways, United, Continental.

January rates: From $154 (direct).

7) Washington, D.C.

2009 rank: 9.

Appeal: The capital has many free landmarks and attractions - and so many are on or within blocks of the National Mall. The Smithsonian's museums and gardens are incredible.

Fly direct from Charlotte: Continental, USAirways, AirTran, United.

January rates: from $118 (one stop) and $155 (direct).

8) Hawaii cruise

2009 rank: 14.

Appeal: Each island in the archipelago has its own allure. On a cruise, you can sample them - and not have to jockey for hotel/resort rooms on each one you visit.

9) San Francisco

2009 rank: 13.

Appeal: Golden Gate Bridge, Chinatown, cable cars, Fisherman's Wharf and more - and with a climate that's usually more temperate than Southern California.

Fly direct from Charlotte: United, USAirways.

January rates: From $318 (one stop) and $676 (direct).

10) (tie) Chicago

2009 rank: 7

Appeal: State Street, the Magnificent Mile, lakefront parks and museums, Navy Pier and an afternoon at Wrigley Field.

Fly direct from Charlotte: USAirways, United.

January rates: From $213 (one stop) and $404 (direct).

10) (tie) Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz.

2009 rank: 8.

Appeal: The metro area sprawls ... but chances are good you have friends and/or family here. Pro sports include baseball, football, basketball - even hockey and NASCAR.

Fly direct from Charlotte: United, USAirways.

January rates: From $197 (one stop) and $656 (direct).

Note: Airfares are round-trip rates and do not include taxes for Jan. 9-18 flights, as of Dec. 23.

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