Winter tends to be shoulder season for a lot of places, which is when a destination isn’t at its most popular but you can get a much better deal especially after the holidays than you’d be able to get in the summer. Additionally, the off-season means cheaper deals on flights and more hotel availability. Hotels are a little more willing to budge on price and offer you a deal you might not be able to get otherwise.The trick to planning a winter trip on a budget is to watch for flight deals by using apps like Hopper or Skyscanner. If you’re looking to take a budget trip usually your biggest expenditure is going to be a flight so if you can save there you’re going to save everywhere!
Some destinations to keep in mind:
With budget airlines expanding to the city, Asheville saw a 40 percent drop in airfares according to CheapOair. Enjoy the Blue Ridge Mountains for great value into the early winter months of 2019. Walk around the Art Deco downtown area, take a rooftop bar tour with amazing views, drink up at some of the city’s 33 breweries in the South Slop District, or even take a winter hike (here are five to choose from.)
It’s low season right now for the Bahamas, which makes it a perfect time to go and get some sun.You won’t have to pay as much as you would during peak season, so if you’re looking for a deal, it’s still warm, the ocean is perfectly turquoise and you can enjoy the white sand beaches. From the east coast, flights start at $250 round-trip, and hotels and all-inclusive resorts could be as little as $100-$200 per night. All-inclusive resorts also offer food, drinks and activities, making it a perfect option for budget-savvy travelers.
Taos, New Mexico
For skiers and winter enthusiasts, Taos is a little bit under the radar and it’s not quite as popular as Aspen or Vail. It’s a lot more affordable if you’re looking for a ski vacation and there are also day spas and art museums and all kinds of cultural activities. From the east or west coasts, flights are around $225 round-trip, and while hotels and condos are a little pricier at the ski resorts, there are plenty of options to find a rate that will fit in your budget.
With roundtrip flights from Boston, Chicago, and Baltimore to Vienna at near-historic lows—like $500 low, as found on Airfarewatchdog—this popular skiing country in Europe makes for a great affordable winter vacation this year. Hit the slopes in the Austrian Alps with tour operator Contiki on the Austria Ski package, a weeklong ski trip starting at $685 (including accommodations, day trips, and most meals). Based in Hopfgarten, it’s the perfect base to explore the SkiWelt, Austria’s interconnected ski slope network. The country embraces cold weather with famous Christmas Markets, ice skating rinks, roasted chestnut and potato wedge stalls, mulled wine, and the best opera season.
According to CheapOair, Poland and its capital Warsaw are cheapest to travel to in the winter, with early 2019 prices about $580 roundtrip. Whether you’re looking to celebrate the holidays in Europe or experience a world-class European city on the cheap, Warsaw should be on the top of your list. Classic wintertime activities include ice skating in Old Town Square, strolling through the outdoor illumination exhibit, visiting The Royal Garden of Light, and soaking in the outdoor heated pools at Wodny Park.
According to KAYAK and CheapAir.com, Las Vegas is one of the cheapest places to fly this winter, with a median airfare of about $200 roundtrip; or head to Reno-Tahoe for about $300 roundtrip from most major U.S. cities. Nevada is an affordable winter vacation spot that sees mild weather and offers a variety of activities, from casino-going to outdoor activities like hiking and skiing. Peppermill Resort offers prices as low as $80 per night in the winter, and has geothermally heated outdoor pools that are open year-round. The Peppermill and other resorts in the area also offer ski packages to North Lake Tahoe’s world-class ski mountains like Mt. Rose and Diamond Peak, including accommodations, shuttle service, ski rentals, and lift tickets all for prices about $280.