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Finding the right place to go for the right amount of money always matters. There’s no better time to price shop than in the weeks leading up to December’s “dead zone.”

With the December dead zone front of mind, we’d suggest bargain hunters look to these places for their next leisure junket. Because children are in school knocking out those last few days before the winter break, we’ll assume you’re headed for an adults-only outing. We’ll give a little consideration to the weather, but we’re not going to rule out any place entirely just because it might be cold.


Sounds crazy to mention weather and then to immediately suggest cold-weather Chicago. It’ll make sense if you’ve heard the name of Connor Bedard.

You can take American Airline from XNA to Chicago O’Hare on Dec. 14 and come home on United Airlines on Dec. 18. Total cost is $183.

A primary purpose of this trip could be to see Bedard, the Chicago Blackhawks player who will be on the ice at the United Center on Dec. 17. Bedard is a rookie hockey star, and he’s so good that his signed jersey just a few days ago sold at an auction for $20,100. He’s a generational talent, many are saying.

Las Vegas

Traveling to Las Vegas from XNA on a leisure trip almost always involves Allegiant Air. In the most recent 12-month period, 83 business and leisure travelers a day flew from XNA to Las Vegas. Allegiant carried just over half of those people.

What’s a bit quirky here is we’re not touting an Allegiant flight. American and United both have multiple flights that have short layovers and end up in Las Vegas on lots of days between Nov. 25 and Dec. 19.

We’d leave XNA on Dec. 2 and return home Dec. 5, and the roundtrip fare is $239. American has multiple options that go through Dallas/Fort Worth.

Fort Lauderdale

You can use a combination of airlines to get to Fort Lauderdale on a few days in early December. We’d go Dec. 7-11, taking Allegiant to Florida and flying American home. The roundtrip cost is $240.

With a little luck, you’ll catch some 80-degree days in Florida and you’ll be able to celebrate that it’s probably colder in Arkansas.


If you live in Northwest Arkansas, you’ve heard lots about Austin over at least two decades. It’s one of the metropolitan areas that the Northwest Arkansas Council uses as a “peer region,” and it was prominent in a comparative report about the region that was published this week.

It’s rarely possible to fly there from XNA on the cheap, but leaving on Dec. 9 and returning home on Dec. 12 can be done for $207. Austin has a few Christmas-related things going on that weekend.