Every now and then — say, when your part of the country is recovering from a polar vortex or coping with the effects of deadly avalanches — the idea of escaping winter and heading to a warm-weather paradise can be a comforting thought. However, many of us are paying down our generosity over the holidays, which tends to put a crimp in the travel budget, so a trip to a tropical clime may be more fantasy than reality at the moment. Still, voyages of the imagination are free, and, as Albert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” With that in mind, let’s ponder a few ideal (and reachable) tropical vacation destinations this winter.
Miami, Florida. Miami is a common winter favorite for U.S. travelers — for good reason: Average temperatures in January range from a high of 74 degrees to a low of 61 degrees. Whether you want to relax on a beach or explore the vibrant nightlife, Miami offers a variety of events for virtually every vacationer. Plus, if you’re up for a short road trip, Key West is a scant, scenic 161 miles away by car.
Hawai‘i. There’s never a bad time to visit Hawai‘i, but it’s a particularly attractive destination in wintertime. The higher holiday rates tend to drop in mid-January, and there’s a lot to do once you get there: the Cherry Blossom Festival; the Maui Chinese New Year celebration; the Hawai‘i Chocolate Festival; and much more. (Of course, you’re more likely to head to Hawai‘i for its beaches, and who could blame you?)
Palm Springs, California. Long known as “Hollywood’s playground,” visitors to Palm Springs can enjoy free activities ranging from the “Walk of Stars” to a wildlife sanctuary, tennis-court time, dog parks, and more. If you’re willing to pay for your Palm Springs fun, you can test your golf game on four courses, test your luck at several casinos, or simply indulge in the nightlife. (Unfortunately, it’s too late to catch the celebrities at the 2014 Palm Springs International Film Festival, but maybe next year ….)
Turks and Caicos Islands. Located 230 miles north of the Dominican Republic, the Turks and Caicos Islands comprise eight inhabited islands and an additional 32 islands and cays. U.S. visitors will be pleased to discover that the official currency is U.S. dollars (you’ll still need a passport, though). Better yet, the average temperature in the “colder” months is 80 to 84 degrees, with a water temperature of 70 to 74 degrees. Tourists have a wide range of pastimes to pursue, from whale and bird watching and limestone caves to golf, kayaking, beach fun, and more.
When cold, snowy weather brings you down, a winter vacation to a tropical destination can help warm your spirits. Travel Plus members can also warm their travel budgets with 5% cash back on flight, hotel, and rental-car reservations and rebates on all sorts of travel perks and comforts. Let us know your ideal winter vacation destination in the Comments section.