Some Like It Hot: A Guide to Escaping Winter

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There is something warm and inviting about the holidays, but it’s not usually the weather in North America, Canada or Europe.

Nothing makes me crave a tropical beach and heat more than having to bundle up for winter. I am just not the snowboarding, hot cocoa drinking, bundle-up-by-the-fire kind of girl.

Some like it hot, I guess you could say.

In fact, I dread winter so much, that I’ve made a travel career out of chasing the sun. I’d choose a bikini and sunscreen over coats and boots any day, and I usually do! So, where can you go this winter where forecasters predict 80 degrees and sunny from December through at least March, without breaking the bank?

  • Central America: Countries in Central America are great getaway destinations: they are, demographically, closer to North America and Europe than South America, and have much to offer. From Mexico to Panama, weather is divided into two distinct seasons – wet and dry. Lucky for you, lovely traveler, the dry season in most countries runs from December through April, so pack light!
  • South America: Take a trip just about anywhere below the equator, and you fly right into summer. Coastal cities in Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, Peru, Ecuador and Colombia are most enjoyable during this peak season, as there is water to jump into when the summer months become, well, a little too hot to handle. Think Rio de Janiero, Brazil, Mancora, Peru, Punta Del Este, Uruguay, or Cartagena, Colombia. Dale!
  • The Caribbean: Weather is generally warm and sunny in this region of the world year round. Avoid September and October, however, as many accommodations and businesses close down during this time to remodel and take their own vacation.
  • U.S.A.: The Pacific Southwest is usually a beautiful place to spend your winter; southern California and Arizona, especially.
  • Southeast Asia: The high season in this region of the world runs from December through February, coinciding with the dry season. The flight will be somewhat pricey, but once you get there, living on the cheap is easy. For more information on Thailand specifically, check out the Go! Girl Guides guidebook!

Other Things to Know:

  • Book flights in advance. The travel industry is well aware of our desire to escape winter, so flights can be somewhat expensive. Sign up for travel alerts on sites like kayak.com or momondo.com to receive daily emails on deals. These search engines check all other forums (priceline, cheaptickets, expedia, etc.) before quoting a price. Quite efficient.

If you’re looking for cheap airfare to Colombia, check out spiritair.com.  This Colombian airline offers exceptional deals year round; most of the time direct.

Expect for popular destinations to be crowded, and for prices to go up, especially around major holidays.

Book your first few nights of accommodations in advance if possible until you can find a cheaper, more quaint place to stay in the destination of your choice.

  • February and March tend to be cheaper than December and January.

Don’t forget about Mexico: Currently, it’s less expensive to fly to Mexico than many other countries in Central and South America. Some speculate it’s an effort to boost travel and stimulate the Mexican economy.  Win, win?

How about you? Where do you go to warm up? Have you ever chased summer?

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About Author

Ellen wanders. She wandered her way through Europe in 2007 during a semester abroad in Madrid, then through parts of the South Pacific after college graduation, and spent a year in South and Central America during 2010. Most recently, she went on a solo adventure south of the border to research and write the travel guidebook Go Girl Guides: Mexico.

8 Comments

  1. I love the winter and snow but am ready to escape it towards the end of January and February. It’s so much fun to fly into summer from winter! Kind of hard to plan your travel clothes, though. One of my favorite things to do in the winter is head out on a long Caribbean cruise; it’s fun to see all the different ports – and have someone wait on you on the ship!

  2. Many places I’d love to visit, but for the Winter Holidays, I am definitely the curl in front of a roaring fire with cocoa and a good book, while I watch the snow fall kind of girl. “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow.”

    Enjoy the sun!

    Emme

  3. Travel clothes can be tricky if you’re going from snow to beach! I usually wear layers of things I want to take with me underneath a coat – jeans, tank top, long sleeve, hiking boots or flats and a hat and gloves if it’s really brisk outside. I’m headed to Mexico in a few weeks and am so looking forward to stripping off the layers once I land! Jan what is your favorite cruise line? I’d love to take a trip through the Caribbean. Any recommendations?

  4. I’m fully with you! I can’t handle cold weather, and I also try to avoid it as much as possible. I really don’t like being anywhere that will get below 80 degrees F. You’ve got some great suggestions for places to avoid cold weather!

  5. This Christmas, I’ll be heading to Phuket, Thailand, so I’m really excited about that. It’s already cold here in Korea, and I feel like I didn’t get a real summer due to the rainy season. So I’m making up for that!

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