Best winter getaways on a budget
Now with the stress of the holidays behind you, it's time to plan a winter getaway. Whether you are looking to hit the slopes or want fun in the sun, you can find a number of affordable winter vacation destinations. Check out these top winter getaways on a budget.
Crested Butte, Colorado
Don't break the bank at an upscale ski resort in Aspen, Vail or Lake Tahoe. Instead head to a quieter (and cheaper) ski spot like Crested Butte, Colorado. For the best deals, go midweek rather than on the weekend -- it will be a lot less crowded too. Crested Butte Mountain Resort offers a Fly Ski Stay package that includes round-trip airfare, four nights of lodging and three days of skiing starting at just $599 per person.
If you're looking to escape the cold, head to the Bahamas. You can enjoy scuba diving, snorkeling, fishing, swimming with the dolphins or just relaxing on the beach. Celebration Cruise Line offers a package that includes a two-night Bahamas cruise with a two-night resort stay starting at only $179 per person. Also consider other inexpensive island destinations in the Caribbean such as the Dominican Republic or Puerto Rico.
For a European vacation in the winter, you can't beat Rome. Pack some sweaters and rain gear, but the weather shouldn't be that harsh. In Rome in the wintertime, you'll find plenty to see and do without all the crowds. In general, Italy is a good destination for budget travel in the wintertime. Airfare and hotel rates are also very reasonable in Florence, Venice and other Italian cities in the winter months.
If you're staying in the States, head to San Francisco. This beautiful city offers plenty to see -- the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Chinatown and more. Plus, San Francisco has amazing restaurants -- more than 4,500 of them in a seven-square-mile area. While much of the East Coast suffers through horrible winters, winter weather in San Francisco isn't half-bad. If you don't travel on the weekend, airfare to San Francisco is very affordable -- about $250 round-trip from many major cities.
Budget travel tips
No matter where you're headed, you can save money by following these simple tips.
- Be flexible. Be willing to bend on your travel days and times. Sometimes staying an extra day to avoid traveling on the weekend can save big bucks.
- Don't eat at the hotel. Room service and hotel restaurants are notoriously expensive. Look for economical local eateries instead.
- Skip the rental car. Use public transportation (subways, buses, etc.) instead of renting a car or hailing a taxi. If you must rent a car, get a small one to save money on the rate and gas.
- Don't shop. You really don't need to buy clothes, souvenirs and other items while you're traveling. Spend money on things you actually need.
- Travel light. Most airlines are charging for extra luggage these days, so pack just one bag if possible.
Watch: How to pack everything for your vacation into a carry-on
Want to travel light? With a little research -- and a lot of editing -- you can lose your luggage dependency, one overstuffed bag at a time.