My Trick For Beating The Winter Blues

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Once the excitement of the holidays ends, and the thick of winter sets in, it's easy to get stuck in a funk. With little to no signs of spring, it's hard to imagine that warmer weather and happier days will ever be a reality again. When cold weather, short days, and gray skies are the norm, it's essential to have something big to look forward to.

As part of their Christmas present, my husband and I decided to surprise our daughters with a spring break trip to Phoenix and Tucson, Arizona. A trip somewhere warm gives all of us something to look forward to when we are in the doldrums of winter. For the past few years, we haven't gone away over spring break, and the winter has certainly seemed to drag on forever when we've had nothing significant to look forward to.

It took some careful budgeting and planning to pull off this trip. Here's how we did it and how you can too.

1. Plan Ahead
Book airfare and hotel well in advance to avoid unnecessary fees. After we returned from our annual trip to Florida in November, we decided that we wanted to take the kids to Arizona. We immediately began planning and saving for the trip. If you can plan more than 6 months in advance, the better.

2. Use Hotel and Airline Points
We are fortunate in that my husband travels A LOT for business. He accumulates points quickly. If you have accrued points, use them wisely. Rather than splurge on a corner suite, we'd rather add a day or two on to our trip. If you are planning a short stay, however, a room upgrade may be worth the extra points.

3. Inquire About Special Getaway Packages
Many hotels offer special packages that include free or discounted admission to local attractions, restaurant discounts or vouchers, and hotel services, such as spa treatments, etc. When bundled with the room rate, these packages can save you hundreds of dollars.

4. Make Lunch Your Big Meal
Experiencing the food of any destination is a huge reason why I love to travel. Restaurants are notorious for jacking up dinner prices. Often you can get the same or similar entree for lunch at a fraction of the price. Decide what restaurants you want to try and make reservations in advance. Be sure to ask if there are lunch specials, one that might include a tasty cocktail or dessert.

5. Opt For a Staycation
Jetsetting isn't always a feasible option for everyone. When you can't hop on a plane and get away, play visitor in your hometown and or nearby town. I live along the New Jersey coast. Any of the neighboring coastal towns would make a suitable getaway, but if we are looking for a complete change of pace, Philadelphia and New York are just a short drive or train ride away.

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