February 01, 2019 at 11:12AM by CWC
We’ve reached that part of winter where it’s no longer magical or festive—it’s just cold, a little miserable, and overall pretty meh feeling. There’s, therefore, no better time to escape the gloomy routine of your day-to-day life by taking an affordable winter vacation that doesn’t totally undo your 2019 financial goals or blow your budget.
How should you plan a budget-friendly getaway and where should you go? For women always on the go like Ally Betker, editorial director of Away, the millennial travel brand known for its covetable hard-case luggage, it starts with getting “great recommendations through friends and people I follow on my Instagram feed” in addition to finding inspiration from people local to places you might find yourself visiting.
Then Betker says that she usually tries “figuring out a few places that I know I want to visit, and then I’ll set up flight alerts on Hopper to keep an eye on prices.” Betker also recommends having an account on Scott’s Cheap Flights and checking in regularly to find amazing last-minute deals. Once you have your flight locked into place, “Airbnb is great for finding the perfect place to stay at nearly any budget. Try staying a bit further outside the main city to find even cheaper places—you’ll likely find a few places to eat or see that might be off the beaten path, too,” she tells me.
And to get around the Polar Vortex grounding your flight or dealing with painful TSA lines, Betker recommends looking into train travel should you be going somewhere domestic. Not only will you be uninhibited by much of the stress surrounding air travel, but it could actually be a beautiful, scenic trip.
With that information in your back pocket, you can set off to find your own affordable winter getaway. Or—you can take advantage of the fact that I’ve done all the legwork for you and rounded up a number of local and international spots that are affordable AF during the winter months.
Here are 9 affordable winter vacations that’ll tide you over ’til spring.
1. Asheville, North Carolina
A combination of sprawling nature and urban settings, Asheville is a perfect getaway for when you sort of want to be in nature but you also want the restaurant and nightlife options offered by a city. During the winter, hotels in Asheville are 23 percent cheaper than average according to TripAdvisor.
2. Nashville, Tennessee
Nashville is brimming with more healthy hotspots than you probably knew existed making it the perfect place to stage a quick getaway. You’ll get a break from the hustle of your everyday life without having to forfeit your plant-based diet or boutique fitness classes. Flights to the city tend to be affordable from urban centers and hotel rates are down by 16 percent during the winter months. Should you want an Airbnb, you have a ton of travel-worthy options for $100 or less a night.
3. Vancouver, Canada
If you’re looking to spend some time mountainside, decked out in aprés ski apparel, Vancouver is a great escape. It’s home to a slew of peaks, including Whistler and Blackcomb, where the 2010 Olympics were held. Even if you decide to stay in the main city area, you can visit the breathtaking Capilano suspension bridge and get in a scenic bike ride through the city’s revered Stanley Park. Although Vancouver can be pricey, during the winter, hotel rates are down by 20 percent according to TripAdvisor.
4. Paphos, Cyprus
So the flight to Cyprus is a little longer than if you choose to take a domestic vacation but Paphos is home to beautiful beaches and numerous archeological sites for the history buff. Plus during the winter months, hotel rooms are 35 percent cheaper, making them less than $100 per night on average.
5. Bologna, Italy
All of Italy is astoundingly picturesque and Bologna is no exception. The city in northern Italy is full of old churches, architecture, and artwork from the Renaissance and so much more. Although their Airbnb offerings seem to be scant and expensive, according to TripAdvisor, during the winter months, hotels are 29 percent cheaper and average $120 per night.
6. Athens, Greece
If you’re going to end up in the Mediterranean, you might as well make the most of your trip and venture into Athens, Greece where you can bathe in olive oil while actually (and very easily) living on the Mediterranean diet.
7. Miami, Florida
For the past couple of months, it’s felt like everyone I know has either just gotten back from Miami, is in Miami, or is about to leave for Miami. Apparently, this is a real thing as Betker says that “for domestic travel, you can’t really beat Miami. I’m headed there in March and will be exploring Little Havana and Little River, as well as the new Cadillac Hotel in Miami Beach.”
If you plan your trip correctly, you can get a roundtrip flight to the Floridian city from airports in cities like New York, Boston, Ohio, Dallas, and more for $150 or less in the month of February.
8. Marrakesh, Morocco
Flying halfway across the world may not seem like the most obvious way to get in an affordable vacation but it actually can be. Roundtrip flights from the U.S. can be as low as $480, and once you get to Marrakesh the U.S. dollar is worth about 10 Moroccan dirhams, which means you can definitely find a crop of affordable luxury riads, a type of traditional Moroccan building that tends to have a courtyard, water features, and gardens.
9. Mexico City, Mexico
Another place Betker recommends is Mexico City since you can usually find affordable and direct flights from most major city airports. Mexico City is also a bustling urban center for people whose idea of a getaway is not idleness or beach lounging. Spend your time in the city eating everything in sight and exploring sites like Frida Kahlo’s infamous studio, Casa Azul, and making your way through the numerous Diego Rivera murals.
Before you jet off here’s the surefire way to make sure you don’t miss your flight and the healthy flying tips flight attendants swear by.