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The days might still be sunny and warm, but try to think ahead a few months. When winter arrives, most of us want to dodge the dreary, cold weather by vacationing in a more temperate setting. You could take a relaxing couple’s cruise from Palm Beach to the Bahamas, for instance, or enjoy a golf vacation in Myrtle Beach, Scottsdale, or Palm Springs.

But even if you enjoy the winter weather, you probably don’t want to spend your days worrying about salting the steps or clearing the driveway; instead, you’ll want to head to a quiet, scenic setting where you can truly enjoy the snow and cold. Winter wonderlands like Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Vail, Colorado may appeal to you for their abundance of outdoor sports—everything from skiing to snowshoeing—or simply for their fine dining, shopping, and spectacular mountain views.

If you start planning now, you won’t have to worry about racking up debt to finance your vacation. First, assess your finances and find ways to save. One of the simplest ways to save is to shave some of the cost off your weekly budget. Never go grocery shopping without a list and cut out coupons to maximize savings. Another great idea is to cut back on entertainment for a few weeks; you’ll be surprised at how much money you will save when you skip a night out to dinner, the movies, or the theater once a week. If you have unwanted items lying around the house—from old electronics to books or antiques—hold a garage sale while the weather is still nice or put the items up for sale online. Designate any money you save or profit you make for your upcoming winter vacation.

Next, strategize ways to get travel discounts. Members of AARP and AAA can take advantage of discounts on hotels, airfare, and car rentals, just to name a few. Check to see if your credit cards offer any special travel perks—such as waived baggage fees, fee-free currency exchange, discounted stays or complimentary upgrades—and how you can access them. Do some comparison shopping to find the card with the lowest interest rate at Rate Supermarket.

You can further reap the benefits of discounted travel by signing up to receive newsletters with special offers from travel websites like Expedia.com and Orbitz, which will help you get the best value for your money. And if you’re really worried about overspending on your trip, a great tip is to look for an all-inclusive vacation package; that way, there will be no surprises when you get back!

No matter where you decide to go this winter, planning is key. Set some savings goals and stick and you’ll be enjoying a winter getaway in no time.

Article publié pour la première fois le 25/08/2012