It’s every cold-weather dweller’s dream to trade just a few days of miserable, slushy commuting for a fabulous beach or mountain getaway. Typically, pricing is what prevents us from achieving those ambitions — but thanks to the widespread availability of discount travel options online, affordability is no longer the issue it once was.
We’ve scoured the Internet to find 6 ideas for affordable winter vacations that will have you dipping your toes into the sand (or strapping ‘em onto a snowboard) before you know it. Bon voyage!
1. Orlando, Fla.
Orlando is a perennial favorite among tourists, beloved for its bounty of theme parks, dining options, and moderately priced hotels. You can shave thousands of dollars off the price of a stay here by electing to stay off-site near Walt Disney World or Universal Studios.
Travel and Leisure points budget-conscious travelers to the Caribe Royal Resort Suites and Villas, situated just 1.5 miles from Disney World. The hotel offers a Winter Escape Package that allows guests to book four nights in a room for the price of three, plus various amenities. Rates begin at $169 per night for one-bedroom suites; the deal is valid for travel between January 1 and March 15. Visit Caribe Royal Resort Suites and Villas’ website for details.
2. Charleston, S.C.
There’s a reason — hundreds of reasons, actually — why Charleston has been voted America’s Top City by Condé Nast Traveler readers for three years running (the city’s rich arts, lively culture, coastal vistas, and mild winter temperatures are just a few that spring to mind). Don’t take our word for it, though: Book yourself a reasonably priced trip to find out first-hand what makes this metropolis so well-loved.
Given Charleston’s historical value and sterling reputation among tourists, it’s no surprise that hotel rooms here tend to be in demand. The New York Times directs hopeful visitors to the centrally located Palmer Home, which offers bed and breakfast rates for around $150 per night. Those looking for even greater savings might look to the modest-yet-homey No So Hostel. Situated in the heart of the downtown district, the hostel offers private rooms for as little as $65 per night.
3. Waikiki, Hawaii
Is Hawaii calling your name this winter? Oyster recommends checking out the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel, which presents an array of packages for thrifty travelers. As part of the Ocean Promotion, the Aston offers ocean view rooms to visitors for as low as $195 per night (valid for stays of two nights or more). The deal includes a daily “Breakfast on the Beach” along with other amenities, details of which can be found on the Aston’s website. In addition, AAA members can enjoy a partial ocean view room stay for as low as $144 a night!
4. Colorado’s Rocky Mountains
The Rocky Mountains may not be a warm weather getaway, but somehow we think a ski resort is preferable to a morning-long tussle with an ice scraper. Escape to the Rockies to take advantage of all this snowy season has to offer: Skiing, hiking, snowshoeing, spas, and more await!
The YMCA of the Rockies offers stays at Snow Mountain Ranch in Winter Park, Colo., for as little as $149 per night. Budget Travel writes that this resort offers accommodation options ranging from a 2-bedroom cabin to a 5-bedroom vacation home. Currently, the YMCA is running a “Stay two nights, get a third night free” special in their lodge rooms and family cabins. Visit the YMCA of The Rockies website to learn more about Snow Mountain Ranch’s availability.
5. Cancun, Mexico
Cancun is a top tourist destination for fun in the sun, offering a wide array of activities from simple beach lounging to hiking and surfing, plus just about everything in between.
Booking an all-inclusive vacation is a surefire way to save big bucks in the long run. We recommend trying a trip to the Mayan-inspired Oasis Resort in Cancun, Mexico. For as low as $789, you’ll get round-trip flights plus an all-inclusive 5-day, 4-night stay in one of the resort’s balconied hotel rooms. It’s rare to find a round-trip airfare alone that runs you less than $800 — but tack on a 4-night stay in a tropical resort, unlimited food, and unlimited drinks, and we’re more than sold on the offer! Visit Cheap Caribbean for additional booking information.
The Negril Tree House Resort in Jamaica is a sensational, almost surreal escape from the snow-laden scenery up north. The resort is surrounded by lush forestry and white beaches, offering endless opportunities for waterskiing, snorkeling, boating, and sunbathing. If you’d prefer, work up a sweat playing beach volleyball — or simply hang out at Negril’s beach bars, suggests Oyster. This season, Negril Tree House Resort is offering Garden View Rooms for as little as $160 per night. Book now on the resort website for spectacular savings!