Spot Hollywood stars and top athletes, enjoy a stroll on the long strands of beach, or fine food all in one of California’s top destinations. Lifestyle and Travel Expert Francesca Page shows off Malibu, which is more affordable than you think.
Valentines Day is around the corner, and travel might be the best way to bring you and your loved one closer. So what travel ideals and deals are there out there we should book now?
The Outdoor Experience – The temperatures might be low, but all the more reason to find a reason to snuggle up with that special someone. Consider booking an affordable but cozy airbnb cabin in the woods where you can get back to nature, or make the most of the snow with a romantic ski trip. Places like Taos, New Mexico or Nevada are more under the radar and thus more affordable this time of year…. from the east or west coasts, flights can be found under $300 round-trip over coming weeks, 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.
The City Break – Yes, you can book a flight to Paris or Rome, but for those who only have a few days to play with, consider US cities like Asheville, NC. 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 romantic winter hike.
The Culinary Experience – Why not make food, or wine, the language of love. Sonoma County and San Francisco are affordable and accessible this time of year, offering top tier food and wine tasting experiences. Most of Sonoma’s vineyards have been upgraded since the 2017 wildfire disaster, and are worth the brief 50 mile drive outside SF to visit….or stay within the city center and make the most of the many new urban wineries and restaurants.
The Tropical Destination – It’s low season right now for many tropical destinations like 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. If you are looking for a ‘hands off’ option, plenty of all-inclusive resorts can be found as low as $200 per night (including food, drinks and activities) so you can kick back for a few days and focus on each-other. =
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.
It’s been longer than I care to admit since I had visited London, and to be honest, I was both nervous and excited for this walk down memory lane. However, some of my newer discoveries in this city, left me with memories of a trip I shall not forget. In a city where the new and modern meets the old and historic, I found these gems worth every penny and every moment.
To Get English Tea: The Montague on the Gardens : It’s impossible to come to the UK and not be offered tea during your stay, but if your’e going to do ‘tea’ you might as well go the whole way, and get a full afternoon tea at a traditional English spot. The Montague on the Gardens in Bloomsbury, is a truly charming hotel, with a tea room and patio garden where once can order a selection of high-teas, with all the works, from champagne to cucumber sandwiches and scrumptious little pastries. They even have a tea of children, with alternative options such as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and home made cookies. At this hotel, the atmosphere, the service and the price are just right.
To Stay: The Devonshire Club: This private members club combines the allure of a West End private members’ club with the chic-cool of East End style. Nestled in a quiet pedestrian square away from the hustle and bustle of the city and just two minutes walk from Liverpool Street, the main building has its own boutique hotel with 68 bedrooms and suites. Spread over 5 floors at the heart of the club is a stunning 120 seat brasserie with a huge marbled seafood counter.
A Champagne bar leads into a wonderful Garden Room and the club has its own secret garden. On the first floor is the Library, the elegant Causerie, drawing room and Cocktail Bar, rich in atmosphere. Service is first class, but nothing feels stuffy. Rooms are airy, spacious and filled with light, yet the club feels comfortable and luxurious, with wood, marble and rich deep color to bring it the kind of warmth that makes staying here, taking a meeting or just having a cocktail – easy, enjoyable, and well worth the visit.
To Dine: The Ivy Soho Brasserie : A spin off from The Ivy of London, this newly opened brasserie was a hit from day one, serving high quality food at a more casual location with a moderate price. In the heart of the quickly developing Soho area, it serves as a buzzing spot to grab lunch, a drink or simply catch up with friends. Dishes such as their Roast Salmon Fillet (served with asparagus spears, baby watercress and soft herb sauce on the side) pair well with salads such as the Roasted Butternut Squash (served with grains Buckwheat, chickpea, pumpkin seeds and pomegranate with crumbled feta, harissa yoghurt and coriander dressing.) Accompanied by a chilled glass of wine and some great company, it’s a spot worth stopping by whilst in town.