Let it Snow, Let It Snow … and Other Winter Getaways

The winter months offer the perfect excuse to plan a fabulous getaway, and you don't have to travel far to find something that fits your vacation expectations.

If you need to flee from the cold depths of winter, there are plenty of beaches in Florida and California, and warm desert landscapes to enjoy in Arizona and New Mexico that will warm you up and give your skin a bit of summer glow.

Picture yourself playing tennis in the sun, or lounging by the pool with a book while the kids are splashing around in the water.

Here are tips on how to best plan your warm-weather winter vacation:

· Look for deals during the slow months. Because January and February are so close to the holidays, but too early yet for spring break, hotels and resorts tend to offer special discounts to encourage traveling.

· Pack sunblock, even if you've been "tanning." Also make sure your travel bags include sun shades, a hat with a brim and a water bottle. Nothing makes a vacation more uncomfortable than sunburn and dehydration.

· Add a jacket to the luggage. Nights can get chilly, and if the wind blows in a rain cloud or two, you'll be glad you have that jacket to ward off the goose bumps.

Maybe you like to play in the fluffy white stuff and can't wait to schedule downhill skiing in Colorado, snowshoeing in Maine or ice fishing in Minnesota. The images you'll take home this winter include majestic mountains covered in snow, your daughter pulling a 360 while snowboarding down a half-pipe or even a moose with a full rack of antlers on his head browsing for vegetation along a back country road.

Tips for planning your snow vacation include:

· Figure out if you're going to take your gear or rent it at your destination. While looking into this, determine if your vehicle can carry all the gear, or if there are any restrictions barring you from taking it on the airplane. If you plan to rent, call ahead of time to reserve your equipment.

· Pack many layers of clothing. Many snow activities can make you warm, but once you stop moving, you're going to want the heavier layers back.

· Again, don't forget sunblock, goggles, shades or hat, because the sun glaring on snow can easily burn your skin and eyes, and winter rays can be just as damaging as those in summer.

Once you have your destination picked and travels planned, there's one more step to ensure your winter getaway is successful. While away from home, having your health and safety front-of-mind is very important so you are prepared for emergencies like falling and breaking a bone while swishing down a ski slope, or suddenly discovering you have seafood allergies. 




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