If you’re anything like me, it is right about this time of year when you start questioning your life choices, as in, “Why do I live here?” The turning of the seasons from the warm recent memories of summer toward the colder months ahead always hits with such a shock. It usually only takes until January before us winter-haters are brought to our breaking point. My fantasy vacation shopping hits a peak in February, as I desperately try to find a way to escape the cold.
Bur over the years, I’ve found a few tricks for getting the break I need from Old Man Winter. Here are some great tips to beat the winter cold – even on a budget!
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Go To The Spa
Check out local spas for mid-week specials. Often, you can find a great deal on a 2 or 3 night stay through the week instead of on a weekend. Enjoy a massage, a soak in the hot tub, and a glass of wine by the fireplace and voila, you’re refreshed and ready to face another 6 weeks of the white stuff.
You’d be amazed at how restorative even one day at a day spa can be. Using sites like www.groupon.com or www.livingsocial.com can help you find affordable deals near home. That may be all you need to help refresh your outlook and give you the boost you need to finish the season in one piece.
Take Lots Of Breaks
Instead of taking a one week vacation, why not book Fridays off through the worst of the season? Spend those days relaxing at the day spa or book 3-day weekends at a bed and breakfast. Frequent breaks will help keep things affordable, while helping you get through until spring.
Rent A Cabin
Renting a cabin in a rustic setting can help you get a breather from your urban lifestyle. Imagine relaxing days enjoying nature and cozy evenings spent snuggling by the fireplace. Check out this great list of cabins that rent for under $100.
Take A Mini Vacation
Sometimes all you need is a little break to give you the strength to power through the rest of winter. Cruise companies offer shorter cruises, lasting 2, 3 or 4 nights. You can make it all the way to the Bahamas or Mexico in that amount of time and get the break you so badly need for less. Shop websites like www.cheapcruises.com or www.vacationstogo.com for deals.
Travel At The Last Minute
If you have the flexibility to pack your bags at a moment’s notice, then this is a great way to get a deal on a vacation. Check out websites like www.selloffvacations.com or, www.lastminuteclub.com to see what’s available this month or even this week.
Take A Cruise
By far, my favorite way to travel is by cruise ship. Cruises offer something for everyone. Whether your thing is just sitting in the sun or if you prefer to stay active, you’ll find what you’re looking for on a cruise ship. As an added bonus, you get to visit different world sites while you’re at it.
Websites like www.cheapcruises.com or www.vacationstogo.com are helpful for seeing what cruises are available on any given date, but I find that the best price is usually found on the cruise line’s own site.
A one week getaway on a cruise ship can be had for as little as $479 per person. Considering that your meals and entertainment are included at that price, it’s a hard bargain to beat. Also, the 3rd and 4th passengers in a cabin travel for much less, so grab a few friends, fill the cabin, and divide up the savings.
Take A Drive
Usually, the most expensive part of your winter getaway is the flights. If you have the extra day or two to tack onto your vacation, you can usually drive to save yourself money. For example, if you’re cruising, you might be surprised to know that there are cruise ship ports in Houston, Texas, New Orleans, Louisiana, and New York City, New York, not just in Miami and Los Angeles. Driving to these ports can save you money and eliminate the stress of bad weather potentially messing up your flight schedule.
Also, if you’re off to a sunny location, you could eliminate the cost of one leg of your trip by driving to the nearest international hub instead of flying.
Let The Deals Come To You
Vacation discount websites are a dime a dozen, so find your favorites and subscribe to their email newsletters. Before you know it, cheap holiday suggestions will be pouring into your inbox and you’re sure to find a bargain getaway. Some of my favorites are www.travelzoo.com , www.cheapcruises.com , and www.gate1travel.com .
Learn To Enjoy Winter
If your budget simply doesn’t allow for a sunny destination, you can always just learn to enjoy what winter has to offer. Most major northern cities usually host some sort of winter carnival. Find that crazy friend who actually enjoys hanging out in the cold and you might just get the break you need, even if you don’t make it to the beach. Check out your town’s ice rinks, ski hills, snowmobile trails, and ice fishing rentals. Take a few days off and enjoy some fun-filled days right at home or at a local bed and breakfast.
Admittedly, winter is a long, hard season for most of us, but there are affordable ways to get away from it or to learn to appreciate what it has to offer. Find your favorite way to survive winter and rest assured, you don’t have to break the bank to do it.
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