How to Handle Winter Vacation Envy
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This time of the year nearly everyone seems to be flying somewhere warm for at least a few days for a winter vacation getaway. Families, couples and individuals alike are busy little bees as they check airline prices, hotel deals and save up their hard earned cash (or pull out their credit cards) in search of a break from the constant stream of Polar Vortexes that are plaguing the U.S. and Canada.
I have to say that I’ve gotten a few cases of warm weather envy over this and have struggled a bit even though I know it wouldn’t be prudent for our family to hop a plane to the Bahamas right now. So, we stay home in the sub-zero weather, eagerly paying off our debt and planning our own cheap vacation for a winter far, far away.
A normal person would just pull out the credit card and head south, his/her YOLO attitude in tow, complete with sunscreen and a beach towel, provided the TSA approves your sunscreen of choice instead of taking you down as if you were a Chicago mob boss’ right hand man or a modern day Bonnie and Clyde.
We, however, as truly frugal people :-), have faced up to the fact that a winter vacation in a warm and sunny climate would probably not be the best choice for our family at this time, and as such, we’ve figured out some ways to help us deal with our winter vacation envy instead of giving in to it.
Take a Nearby “Warm Climate” Vacation
Especially if you’ve got kids, go to a nice indoor waterpark in your area. Indoor waterparks mimic the balmy, warm feeling of a tropical vacation, leaving the freezing cold outside where it belongs. Great deals on indoor waterparks abound, and you can always work up some credit card points to help cover the cost too. Your budget might be happier having a $400 vacation to an indoor waterpark instead of a $3,000 vacation to a sunny South American or Caribbean beach.
What’s that, you say? A waterpark full of screaming kids doesn’t appeal to you? Rent a ski lodge with a warm fireplace, and leave the skiing to the more daring folk, spending your time with a nice read and a glass of wine in front of the fireplace or in the bathroom’s whirlpool tub. Many of these little cabin-style settings include full kitchens too, so if you bring your favorite foods with, you don’t even have to leave for a restaurant. Some friends and I did this one year and I’d gladly do it again. It was awesome, even though I’m not a skier.
Find Ways to Enjoy the Cold
Learn to ski. Buy a used snowmobile or rent one for the weekend. Go sledding. Or ice skating. Spend a day or two at a nearby hotel just so you can get away. Learn to ice fish. If you can’t leave the cold weather, embrace it.
Focus and Save for Future Winter Vacations
Start planning and saving now for the year when you will be able to head south during the winter. What will that look like? Will you rent a house or condo for a couple of months? Will you spend a week in St. Thomas? Will you head down to some sort of all-inclusive getaway for a couple of weeks? What is your dream winter getaway, how much will it cost, and how can you use S.M.A.R.T. goals to get there? You might not be able to take those getaways this year, but planning for the time when you can take them, and putting the financial steps in order to get there, will help take the edge off of winter just a bit.
You may not be able to head to warm weather this year, but by utilizing the tips above, you can pass the time in a fun way until spring arrives again.
Are you going somewhere warm this winter? If not, how do you deal with winter vacation envy?
Photo courtesy of: Faungg