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Some of the most popular destinations for celebrating New Year's Eve are also among the most expensive. But you don't have to spend a mint to have fun in these cities.

Some of the most popular destinations for celebrating the new year are also among the most expensive. Think New York City’s Times Square.

WalletHub reports that the cheapest hotel rates in New Orleans and Atlantic City, New Jersey, have been known to rise by more than 300 percent and 500 percent, respectively, for New Year’s Eve.

Savvy travelers can save money by choosing destinations and details like travel dates wisely, however.

To help, WalletHub ranked the 100 biggest U.S. cities based on 17 factors, ranging from the prices of hotels and party tickets to the number of entertainment, dining and shopping spots.

Orlando, Florida, came out on top, ranking especially high based on its entertainment and food offerings and its price points.

One of the best ways to save money might be to wait until New Year’s Day to travel, however.

Jan van Harssel, a professor in Niagara University’s College of Hospitality and Tourism Management, tells WalletHub that waiting until Jan. 1 to travel has multiple benefits:

“[It’s] cheaper, less busy, and you still have the weekend after you arrive (Jan. 2 is a Saturday).”

Postponing travel until later in the month can also cut costs. Van Harssel says that flights, cruises and resort-based stays are “much less” expensive during the second or third week of January.

Being flexible about travel dates is especially helpful for last-minute travelers who are looking to save money, according to Cydna Bougae, an assistant professor in New York University’s Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism.

She tells WalletHub:

“If you are unable to plan in advance, look for last-minute deals, be flexible with your dates, choose a destination that might be considered off-season, plan to stay close to home or plan to stay with family or friends wherever you travel.

“Finally, set up price alerts from travels sites in order to receive those last-minute deals.”

The top-ranked cities in WalletHub’s analysis are:

  1. Orlando, Florida
  2. San Francisco
  3. Atlanta
  4. San Diego
  5. Scottsdale, Arizona
  6. Minneapolis
  7. Portland, Oregon
  8. Cincinnati
  9. Las Vegas
  10. Honolulu
  11. Seattle
  12. Boston
  13. Tampa, Florida
  14. Washington, D.C.
  15. Denver
  16. Pittsburgh

For more help with how to spend Dec. 31, check out:

Where do you expect to spend the final hours of 2015? Let us know below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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