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Travelers are shelling out more to escape winter this year

Key Points
  • Airfares from the U.S. to Mexico and the Caribbean rose 3.3 percent from last winter.
  • Fares to those destinations averaged $473 this season and demand rose.
An airplane flying just above beachgoers in Maho Beach as it approaches the landing strip in St. Maarten, 30 March 2016.
Philipp Laage | picture alliance | Getty Images

Adios, polar vortex. Hola, Cancun.

Travelers eager to ditch the below-freezing temperatures that paralyzed a large part of the U.S. last month are paying more for their escape to warmer climes, data released on Thursday showed.

Fares to warm-weather destinations throughout Mexico and the Caribbean rose 3.3 percent to $473 for travel between Dec. 1, 2018, and Feb. 28, 2019, compared with the year-earlier period, said the Airlines Reporting Corp., which tracks airline ticket sales from online and brick-and-mortar travel agencies.

More travelers are flying, too. ARC found ticket sales rose 3.6 percent and that travel agencies sold 3.6 million tickets for the top 10 destinations in the Caribbean and Mexico.

"It shows airlines are able to increase airfares to leisure destinations," said Henry Harteveldt, founder of Atmosphere Research Group, a travel consulting firm.

Despite the uptick in fares this year, they're down from years prior. For example, a round-trip ticket from the U.S. to Cancun, the top destination, is averaging $441 this season, down from $485.51 during the 2016-17 winter season and nearly $500 fares in the 2015-16 season.

Here are the top Caribbean and Mexico destinations for this winter season from the U.S., according to ARC:

  1. Cancun, Mexico
  2. San Juan, Puerto Rico
  3. Mexico City, Mexico
  4. Los Cabos, Mexico
  5. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
  6. Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  7. Montego Bay, Jamaica
  8. Nassau, Bahamas
  9. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
  10. Oranjestad, Aruba