When the snow flies and the wind is cold enough to take your breath away, a vacation someplace warm sounds just about perfect. Unfortunately everyone else is thinking the same thing, and the demand can push travel and accommodation prices out of your budget range. Take a winter getaway without going broke - here's how:
Book in advance...or late in the season Many flights, rental cars, and travel companies have discounts available for early booking, and you'll have a better choice available for seats and hotels. If, on the other hand, you're already well into winter before the travel bug grabs you, look for deals in late winter or early spring. Travel season in winter destinations is winding down during the season change, and you might find a great deal by being patient. You can also look at spring break destinations, which are often deeply discounted during the first three months of the year.
Packages and points You can often find a better rate for your airfare, rental car, and hotel room if you book all three together. You'll find these deals on third-party sites such as Expedia or Orbitz (great places to look for deals even if you choose not to bundle). If you have a rewards credit card, you can often get great discounts by using your points on your travel or hotel. Some hotel chains and airlines have their own rewards programs that allow you to earn points toward future trips.
Choose a lower-cost destination Finally, you can opt to avoid the expensive tourist destinations and go with a lower-cost option. Here are a few ideas:
Phoenix, Arizona provides a lovely, warm winter climate and plenty of activities (including museums and outdoor fun like horseback riding). Best of all, airfare is usually cheap compared to other winter destinations.
Cruises in the Caribbean are a popular choice, and for good reason: They often come as an inexpensive package that includes everything except your travel to the starting point. Look for sites online that offer cruise discounts to save even more money.
Flights to Puerto Rico are often cheap. It has gorgeous weather, plenty of cheap activities and food.
By doing a little research and planning well in advance, find great deals that will let you get some sun and still come home with money in your wallet.
About the Author: Freelance blogger Angie Mansfield covers a variety of subjects for small business owners and consumers. Her work covers topics from business growth to marketing to finding cheap hotels in New York.