Travel

What You Need to Know About Winter Getaways

You can still take a cheap trip to Europe or the warm waters of the Caribbean.

1. Put down the snow shovel. Time for a break from Old Man Winter? You're more likely to find a bargain if you're flexible about where you go. "If you have a set destination in mind, it's going to be difficult to make it work at the last minute," says Anne Banas, of SmarterTravel.com.

2. Fire up the PC. SmarterTravel offers daily alerts, including for social-media sales usually found only on Twitter. For example, go to SmarterTravel to see JetBlue's Web-only Cheap Tuesday sales, which start at $10 (one way) for domestic flights. And from Monday through 8 A.M. Wednesday, the site scours the Internet to bring you news of seats that airlines couldn't sell for the following two weekends. LastMinute.com offers packages for most U.S. cities.

3. Pick a package deal. You can often save by booking your airfare and hotel together because travel agencies typically lock in low rates early. For example, if you're keen to see the lights of Paris (or London or Berlin) despite the weather, Go-Today.com offers exceptional off-season packages. The site recently offered a trip to Berlin for $999, including round-trip airfare (but excluding airport taxes and fees), six nights at the four-star Park Inn Berlin-Alexanderplatz Hotel, and breakfast daily.

4. Sip a California red. Napa Valley is a good spot to escape the winter cold. Many hotels are offering rooms at rates that are up to 20% to 30% off their usual rates, plus a three-course meal at one of their Michelin-rated restaurants. For instance, the boutique Maison Fleurie, in Yountville, Cal., recently offered 25% off for one night, including complimentary wine and hors d'oeuvres, breakfast at the Four Sisters Inn, and bicycles to explore the surrounding area.

5. Go to the islands, mon. Cheapcaribbean.com offers all-inclusive vacation packages, which recently ranged from four nights at the three-star Viva Wyndham Fortuna, in the Bahamas, for $349 per person, to five nights at the four-star Frenchman's Reef & Morning Star Marriott Beach Resort, on St. Thomas, for $849 per person. Airfare is more affordable as airlines launch new routes and low-cost carriers expand their Car-ibbean destinations. Starting February 17, JetBlue will fly from New York's JFK airport to the Turks & Caicos islands, and Continental is starting service there from Newark. For accommodations in Turks & Caicos, the luxury West Bay Club resort is offering a fourth night free through April 30 if you book three nights.

6. Fly south of the border. New air-service routes to Cozumel, Mexico City and Guadalajara (far from Mexico's troubled border areas), coupled with discounted vacation packages and lower rates on resorts, offer travelers great value. Southwest Airlines is partnering with Mexican carrier Volaris for air service from many West Coast destinations, and Alaska Airlines is launching routes from San Jose and Sacramento to Guadalajara. American Airlines will offer a new route between Chicago and Cozumel beginning February 12. For great deals on lodging, check Apple Vacations.

Most Popular

Your Guide to Roth Conversions
Special Report
Tax Breaks

Your Guide to Roth Conversions

A Kiplinger Special Report
February 25, 2021
How to Calculate the Break-Even Age for Taking Social Security
social security

How to Calculate the Break-Even Age for Taking Social Security

When it comes to maximizing your Social Security benefits, there are many elements to consider. One factor that can be especially enlightening is your…
August 30, 2021
Spend Without Worry in Retirement
Financial Planning

Spend Without Worry in Retirement

Fears of running out of money prevent many retirees from tapping the nest egg they’ve worked a lifetime to save. With these strategies, you can genera…
August 30, 2021

Recommended

17 Free or Cheap Things to Do With Your Kids During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Raising Money-Smart Kids

17 Free or Cheap Things to Do With Your Kids During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We’ve got lots of kid-friendly activities to do at home that will keep your family safe and your finances sound.
September 8, 2021
Complain and Be Heard
Smart Buying

Complain and Be Heard

Getting our money back for the extended warranty and gap insurance we didn't want took patience and persistence.
August 31, 2021
Credit Cards Offer Travel Insurance
Travel

Credit Cards Offer Travel Insurance

Premium rewards cards that may charge an annual fee generally provide better coverage.
August 26, 2021
19 Things You Can't Return to Amazon
Amazon Prime

19 Things You Can't Return to Amazon

Before tossing these items into your virtual shopping cart, be sure to read Amazon's return policy first.
August 16, 2021