Written by: Russel Lang
Sometimes all you need to cure your winter blues is a white-sand beach and sunshine. There’s no better way to get started on your New Year’s resolution to travel more and break out of your comfort zone than to hit the road (or air) for an escape from the dark wintry months from January to March.
Your getaway doesn’t have to break the bank. You can often actually save by planning your vacation during the winter months.
Whether you’re an outdoors aficionado or just want to get away to some sunshine, Costa Rica has something to offer. A relatively brief flight will land you in a tropical oasis. The winter months offer the best weather. You’re less likely to get rained out, and visibility is especially good for those who plan to spend time snorkeling or diving. Costa Rica’s laid-back local culture and myriad all-inclusive resorts makes this Central American country a no-brainer when you’re looking for a relaxing, easy-to-plan trip that everyone in the family will love.
Photo by jmenard48 via Flickr
If you’re going for more of a European destination, the Amalfi Coast might be your best bet — and your ticket to a lower-priced Mediterranean getaway. This 43-mile-long stretch of coastline hugs the Mediterranean just outside of Naples, offering all the sophistication of Italy with the appeal of a beach destination. Plus, you’ll pay much less for accommodations near those sparkling blue waters during the winter months, when tourism is markedly slower. Just take the time to do a bit of research before you go if you plan to hit any specific museums or hotels as many may be closed or in the process of being renovated during the down-season.
Photo by Glen MacLarty via Flickr
Wintertime marks the high season for Jamaican tourism, which means you won’t find steep discounts on accommodations. But Jamaica is still a great getaway and, unlike the Amalfi Coast, you won’t have to worry about hotels and museums closing for the off-season. You’ll enjoy full services at all the hottest tourist spots, as well as mild weather cooled by seasonal trade winds.
Photo by jpockele via Flickr
Puerto Rico offers all the travel conveniences of a destination within the continental U.S. with an exotic flavor. Because PR is a U.S. territory, you won’t have to hassle with customs forms or international flights. Although hotel prices are at their lowest during the fall months, airfare is almost always under $400 round trip from major hubs because of the high demand for transportation to this tropical paradise.
Photo by Fotografia personal via Wikimedia Commons
What to Bring
So you’ve chosen your destination, now what? Here’s a cheat sheet on what you’ll want to pack for your winter getaway:
- Choose sets of luggage that will work well for you and your family, and travel light. You’ll appreciate not having to lug loads of unnecessary items with you on the plane.
- Pack cool-weather clothes, too. You might be tempted to stick with shorts and swimwear, but you’ll want to layer when you travel back. Depending on where you visit, you might want some of those layers at your destination, if only for air-conditioned buildings or higher-elevation adventures.
- Essential documents. Take the time to make a copy of your passport and leave it with someone you trust, along with a copy of your itinerary. Find out what your health insurance will and won’t cover in case something happens while overseas. If you have travel insurance, keep those documents with you as well.
Russel Lang: Russell, originally from Melbourne, loves to travel the world and write about the places he sees and people he meets.