For most of the country, we rang in the New Year with champagne and sprinkles (of snow, that is). Yup, once the bubbly wore off we all woke up and remembered that it’s January. And January sometimes (or usually, depending on where you live) means snow.
I can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of newly fallen snow, the way it covers everything with a pristine blanket of white, outlining tree branches and making the perfect backdrop for the cardinals and blue jays that visit the trees outside my window. The beauty of a snow-covered meadow is captured in countless paintings and Christmas cards and cookie tins. But, for me at least, the beauty only lasts for as long as I can stay inside. Once I have to lace up my boots and venture out into the frozen tundra, that beauty fades. There are cars to be scraped and walks to be shoveled, and let’s not even talk about the sight of days-old snow, shoved to the side of the road, the pristine whiteness now tinted a smoky grey by car exhaust and dirt and gravel.
As you can probably guess, I’m not a winter person. I get cold in anything below 70 degrees, and the thought of driving in bad weather turns my normal car-related apprehension into full-on anxiety (Stop tailgating! Turn on your lights! Why is everyone speeding?!). Unfortunately, I live in a place with a serious amount of winter. While I re-examine my life choices, let’s talk about winter travel.
Does the season factor in to where you go on vacation? Or whether you go at all? Winter is the off-season for most places, which make the prices attractive but can alter your experience. If you’ve always dreamed of visiting Paris, for instance, you may not have imagined having to lug along a down-filled coat and seeing your breath in the selfie you take while posing in front of the Eiffel Tower.
Then again, nothing is guaranteed. You could plan a perfect trip to Paris in the summertime and have it rain every day.
So, if you want to take advantage of a less-traveled time of year, the next question becomes: where do you go? Do you jet off on that city break and see a place you’ve always wanted to visit, ignoring the temperature reading? Or do you full-on embrace the season and hightail it over to a winter wonderland, the more snow the better?
I confess, I’ve only taken one real winter vacation my entire life. And while it was fun to go sledding and snow tubing and end every day with hot cocoa, I didn’t ever get used to the cold. The enjoyment was always mixed with the discomfort of a runny nose and frozen fingertips and snow sneaking down inside my boots. But maybe it’s time I give winter travel another shot. A hot tub sounds pretty good right about now, even if it’s surrounded by snow.
What do you think about wintertime traveling?
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