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How Do You Feel About Winter Travel?

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?

Find me on Twitter @StephSpitler

Image via Shutterstock

  • Hilary June

    I love winter travelling! I love winter and the cold. Even the delays and extra time it takes, it’s still my favourite. I spent a year in Australia, half of that in the sweltering north where 45 degrees plus humidity was completely normal. Just stepping outside made me sweat. After that I never want to go anywhere hot ever again. Seriously.

    Hopefully my summers can be spent in Norway or my own Canadian north. I haven’t seen snow in two years! I live in Germany right now and there is no snow where I live. My next big adventure will be an arctic one for sure.

    • Stephanie Spitler

      I LOVE the heat (probably because I’m always cold)!

  • Karen Li

    I’m not a winter person either. Even though I daydream about the tropics (it’s -4ºF/-20ºC in Toronto), I always worry about delays and cancellations. I hate plane de-icing. LOL Time to hibernate like bears! Hot cocoa, a good book, and a cuddly pet.

    • Stephanie Spitler

      I worry about that stuff, too! I’m the kind of person who gets to the airport three hours early, just in case :-)

  • Shealagh Whittle

    I love winter travel! Fewer crowds, shorter lines, etc. Heading to London in a month, as a matter of fact. I will, however, only travel via direct flights in winter.

    • Stephanie Spitler

      Have fun in London (my favorite city)!

  • Bevin Maloney

    I’ve never had to shovel my car out of snow or bundle up in umpteen layers to keep warm. Yes, it gets cold where I live, but nothing compared to much of the rest of the country. This may be why I love traveling in winter. Working most of my life in retail, the “off-season” was usually the best time to get a week off work. I traveled to places with snow & to see friends. New York, Boston, etc. Always fun.
    Travel Tip #1- Always fly direct. It is WORTH every penny. I got stuck in a layover in Ohio over night, woke up to all airports being shut down on the east coast. A lovely desk agent got me on the last flight out to Washington, D.C. where I boarded an Amtrak train to Boston. It ate up almost 36 hours of my trip. Never again!
    Travel Tip #2- It’s bulky, but a coat does not count as a carry on so bring one. Snow boots are great on a plane because they tend to me comfy. Steal a blanket on your way to economy.
    My boyfriend & I are on our way to Seattle soon and I cannot wait. It’s never as cold as you think it will be. Trust. I’ve eaten a deli sandwich in the snow in Central park. You’re on vacation. It’s a beautiful thing either way.

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