Well, they're not flying in a V formation - but this is the time of year that snowbirds flock to sunny locales; searching for endless sunshine, balmy beaches or a place that offers a little fun in the sun mixed in with a few wintertime activities.
When sitting down to write this blog, I contemplated what criteria are needed to make the perfect winter escape from shoveling driveways and navigating treacherous icy highways. Having lived through a few frigid winters in the Midwest to living where the sun almost always shines, I feel I can offer a fairly good prospective on what would make a good winter escape when that day comes for my husband and me to kick back and relax.
I tried blindfolding myself and throwing a dart at a map of the United States in order to give equal opportunity to every state, but I found out that I'm a lousy dart thrower and my family got tired of dodging the darts. So, I had to resort to good old fashioned research and what follows are my three top choices based on my in-laws advice that sunshine, shopping, restaurants and good medical facilities are the basics to finding the perfect winter escape.
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This market down-turn is affecting us all. I'm afraid to open my 401k statements these days. Even with the economy in the dumpster, there are adventure travel opportunities that won't break the (piggy) bank. Here are three. The first is wild and the second one is tame.
1) Climb in Pakistan for 50% off - now is the best time to go on a climbing vacation to Pakistan! According to this report at Everest News, the Ministry of Tourism has announced that climbing fees have been reduced by 50% for 2009. Clearly Pakistan is planning ahead to climbers' dreams alive and keep the mountains accessible to everyone. Thank you Pakistan. Speaking about good deals, most western hotel brands have super opulent hotels in the capital city of Pakistan at cut-rate prices. The Best Western Islamabad sports a marbled-floored lobby and a snappily dressed staff. Tell the manager, Pariq Mumtaz, that we sent you.
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As much as I love road trips, at some point during the trip I end up in a gas station in the middle of Anywhere, USA asking for directions. I've tried hand plotting my routes on a map, but that inevitably creates more confusion and extra hours of travel time. I've used MapQuest® and Google Maps, but let's be honest, once you miss an exit you're already past the point of no return. My newest travel gadget has changed the way I travel--the portable GPS.
I recently acquired a Garmin nuvi® 260 Portable GPS Navigator this holiday season from my wonderful fiance. We figured there was no better way to test it out than on a road trip to the heart of the American Southwest: Las Vegas. The setup process couldn't have been easier. Stick the GPS against the windshield with a nifty suction cup, plug it into the 12-volt cigarette lighter (or use its 5 hour lithium battery), power up, and go.
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Cut back. Trade down. Freeze. Scrutinize. Reduce.
As the economy continues to slide, those words are increasingly used as part of the corporate clarion call to trim travel spending. No company or industry is exempt.
You'd think it was the end of business travel as we know it. But it doesn't have to be.
If you want to maintain the level of travel to which you have grown accustomed, it's time to burn off some of those miles and points to offset the cost of business travel.
With nearly every major hotel loyalty program offering gigantic bonuses this winter, you don't have to worry much about depleting your accounts.
For example, members of Best Western Rewards earn double points when they stay two nights, triple points when they stay three nights and quadruple points when they stay four nights now through February 14. (Details)
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January 12 2009 by BW Innsider
Share your MUST TRAVEL destinations for 2009 with us and enter for a chance to win a $100 Best Western Gift Card.
It's a new year with the promise of new possibilities, places to see and things to do. As you look forward to 2009 what are the travel destinations that are definitely on your list (or wish list)? Is it a warm weather retreat, cultural experience, family gathering or something else all together? Let us know!
To submit your MUST TRAVEL destinations for 2009 (and at the same time enter for a chance to win a $100 Best Western Gift Card), select the Comment button and enter in your response to the question, "What is your MUST TRAVEL destination for 2009?" Once you enter a comment you are entered into a random drawing for one commenter to win a $100 Best Western Gift Card!
The contest promotion ends on January 25, so submit your travel destinations today.
"Take a Trip" is one of the most popular New Year's resolutions. I think it should be the most popular resolution. Here's the list published by the U.S. Government. "Take a Trip" is such an awesome goal, and way more fun than so many others.
Some other top items on the list are "lose weight," "eat right," and "get fit." Those sound so vague, non-time bounded, and not so much fun. My advice in 2009 is to put away the Slim Fast and the Ab Roller, and take a trip.
My preferred type of trip is an outdoorsy trip.
For a simple trip, try this:
Step 1: Turn off TV or Computer.
Step 2: Drive/walk/run to the nearest forest, beach or lake.
Step 3: Discover the beautiful flora and fauna that lives through quiet observation.
Step 4: Breathe a sigh of relief as you realize how much nicer that was then the Ab Roller.
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Sleigh bells ring, are you listening,
In the lane, snow is glistening
A beautiful sight, we're happy tonight,
Walking in a winter wonderland.
The holidays are over and I'm not going to hear that song playing anymore...but listening to it really got me thinking about how much fun it can be to get out of the house and into the snow!
The winter can lose some of its charm when the holidays fade and you are facing just the snowy months ahead, so to get us all excited for January, February and more snow, I'm going to suggest a few places in the U.S. that offer amazing terrain for winter walks - on snowshoes or skis! Snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are, perhaps, less popular activities than snowboarding or downhill skiing, but they can be a great escape. You can enjoy nature, see the real beauty of winter and get an unforgettable workout. If you have ever tried either snowshoeing or cross-country skiing you quickly learn that you are using every muscle in your body. Enjoy these winter wonderlands:
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Hitting the road this month? I can't think of a better time to be traveling on business. Prices for anything travel-related are at historic lows. Families with kids are back in school and travel industry front-liners thankful to be employed during tough times are more accommodating than ever.
Here's what I mean:
We are paying about half as much for a gallon of gas as we were this time last year. According to the US Energy Information Administration, the average price per gallon is now $1.68, down from about $3 in January 2008. The total cost to fill up my 15-gallon tank is now about $25; last summer I paid $60.
Airfares have sunk as fast as gasoline prices, especially into leisure-oriented markets like Florida, Colorado, California and Hawaii. However, new fees for things like checked bags or advance reservations for certain coach seats which were imposed last summer are here to stay, I'm afraid.
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January 6 2009 by BW Innsider
Best Western's winter promotion is on now through February 14. Best Western Rewards (formerly Gold Crown Club International) is offering up to 4x the rewards. Stay 2, 3 or 4 qualified nights and you can earn double, triple, and yes, even quadruple points when you pay with your MasterCard®. Better yet, book online at bestwestern.com and earn an additional 250 points. That is a lot of points. You can use your reward points for free nights, car rentals, gift cards and more.
If you are traveling this winter, it is a great way to rack up the rewards.
For more details, check here.