The polar vortex is over, now treat yourself to a budget-friendly warm travel spot
What a winter that was! If you survived flooding, incessant rain or the polar vortex the past couple months, time for a treat. Bring on the warm temps and beaches, only at an affordable price. (Acapulco can wait for another year, for sure.) Whether you’re heading out for spring break, couples time or family vaca, here are five cheap warm weather destinations to consider:
George T. Bagby State Park Lodge, Gainesville, Georgia
While the water may not be warm enough for swimming, lots of Georgia state parks are already balmy and blooming by early spring. The lodge at this one rests in rolling hills and offers a private pool, golf, beach volleyball and a chance to rent canoes or kayaks or fish to your heart’s delight.
The price for this R & R is relaxing, too. Lodge rooms with two double beds start at $70/night, lakeside cabins with two bedrooms $150/night.
Ah, the skin-warming, lung-refreshing desert air and sun. There’s no better place to enjoy this post-polar vortex phenomenon than in Mesa. It’s part of the metro Phoenix area, which means flights are inexpensive from big U.S. cities. In L.A., round trip tickets can sink as low as $90 round trip, so bargain hunters from the Southeast or Midwest might want to consider a bargain flight to L.A. first. The Mesa weather is on point, too, particularly for the sun-starved. (Remember the desert chills down at night, though.) And you can go cheap on sweet accommodations, from around $150/night at the Sheraton Mesa Hotel. If glamping’s your thing, you’re in for a treat. Schnepf Farms books out retro Airstream trailers. Even if you don’t stay there, they also have a winter-banishing pick-your-own produce operation that always has something in season.
One of One of Forbes’ recommended “38 Cheapest Places To Travel In 2019,” Valparaiso has a Latin vibe (literally) and Pacific Coast beach towns like Concon or Reñaca. They boast inns that cost as little as $35 per night, just 30 minutes by car from wine valleys. There are so many inexpensive ways to pass the (warm, sunny) time you may never need to pay for further entertainment. Start with strolling the city’s 42 hills, or watching fisherman do their thing from the Caleta Portales. Valparaiso also has charming little parks and lots of performance artists strolling about.
When you do pull out your wallet, use your funds for Creole food, dance spots that play Latin American music and funiculars that take you to panoramic views of the hills below.
There’s going South for sun in the spring, but this is heading to South America and it’s marvelous. One of the western-most islands of the Leeward Antilles in the Caribbean, Curacao is an early spring bargain and full of diving and snorkeling spots. If you’re heading out from Northeast cities like New York or Philly, the round-trip airfare can run between $300-$500. Expand on the frugality theme with a boutique hotel (under $100/night during this “shoulder” season) and taking meals from some quirky, talented food truck vendors. Keep in mind that most of your fellow tourists will be Dutch, so the evening meal happens late and luxuriously. Relax, unwind and, if there’s not a cloud in the sky, pass a pleasant hour or so seeing if you spot the Venezuelan cost from the beach.
San Ignacio, Belize
Belize is always a beautiful place to sun and swim, but from November to April it’s also a prime warm weather travel bargain. Round-trip bargain fares from NYC or LA to Belize City may be as low as $400-$450. The dollar exchange rate in the tiny country also tends to favor the U.S. big time. If your heart is set on a tour, March-ish is also a great time to look into Belize tours for less than $1,00 from vendors like Intrepid Travel.