#1 Cancun/Playa Del Carmen - Looking to get away from the cold this holiday? The Mayan Riviera that encompasses Cancun (more commercial) and Playa Del Carmen (more authentic) are a fabulous choice:
- Warm beautiful beaches and fantastic resorts are perfect for couples, families and even singles. Many resorts offer all-inclusive deals on food and drinks so it can be stress free once you arrive in paradise. All-inclusive resorts are also a great way to save money.
- Many offer world-class spas and amenities so it's perfect for relaxation. Check with the hotel concierge to se what packages are available as they may be running special deals that are not normally advertised. Also, look into using your hotel points if you belong to hotel membership clubs to help win you free goodies.
- For adventure seekers, there are terrific options from exploring the Mayan ruins, zip lining through the jungles and even snorkeling beautiful "cenotes" (large underground swimming holes).
- For deals on Cancun/Playa Del Carmen, check with travel agencies located in the hotels to see what package deals they can offer. A lot of the times you can get 2 excursions for the price of 1! Funjet is offering great all-inclusive flight & hotel deals right now as well starting at $650 for 3 nights in Cancun.
2.) New York - Want to get away but still want that authentic holiday experience in one of the world's best cities? New York City is the place for you:
- Perfect for holiday travelers who are looking to really experience the holidays the way you see them in the movies: Ice Skate in Rockefeller Square, see the Rockettes, Stroll central park, etc. A wonderful choice for families as well as couples with a wide array of things to do. Look for local Groupons and check with the hotel concierge for special event deals
- For foodies, New York can't be beat with the abundance of fabulous, world class dining and restaurants run by world-renowned and celebrity chefs that will take your taste buds around the world without having to leave the city. Many folks leave the city this time of year to get away from the cold so restaurants, bars and hotels run all sorts of specials to keep people warm and in the city.
- Keep warm and take in some culture by visiting the numerous art galleries and famous museums or treating yourself Broadway show.
For deals on New York, many museums are free but be sure to check on using AAA, student and military discounts on tickets. LastMinute.com is a great resource for flight & hotel packages to New York, starting at $539.
3.) Thailand - is an amazingly beautiful, culturally rich and adventurous destination located in Southeast Asia and is known as the Venice of the east. The 3 regions of Thailand offer everything you'd want in a vacation: the fishing village tranquility and pristine beaches of Southern Thailand to lush rainforests, majestic rivers and breathtaking mountains of Northern Thailand to the cosmopolitan city of Bangkok in Central Thailand that mixes the traditional with the new where you can see over 400 Buddhist temples. People don't realize all the diversity that Thailand offers.
- Average temperatures range from 75 to 90 degrees, and the high weather season is over by October. So feel free to take advantage of the river rafting in Southern Thailand, where they boast class 3/4 rivers.
- Elephant Hills Luxury Tented Camp in Southern Thailand. Sleep in luxury tents, eat communal meals and can feed and bathe elephants. Elephant interaction experience in Northern Thailand conservation camp. Learn about and ride elephants in the jungle.
- Learn about the Thai culture with Traditional Thai Puppet Show in Central Thailand - elaborate, beautiful, life-size puppets, takes 3 people to control the puppets, they train with the puppet for 3 years. Amita Thai Cooking School - learn how to cook delicious, authentic Thai food in Central Thailand
Want to enjoy Thailand on the cheap? Thailand is a great value because the dollar goes a long way. The exchange rate is 25 baht (the Thai currency) to the dollar. Shopping is fantastic; shoes, suits, jackets made in Thailand are sold in amazing deals. Elephant Hills is $700 per person that includes the accommodations and all meals (4 days, 3 nights). Children will be half that price. They also have a lakeside camp. Hotels are luxurious and affordable. The Sukothai in Bangkok is beyond luxurious and is $146/night at Orbitz.com. Airfare is going to be the largest expense and some of the least expensive flights are $880.00 on American Airlines. A week in Thailand can cost you approximately $1500-$2200.
4.) Alberta - A province located in Western Canada and is considered the Canadian Rocky Mountain playground. Edmonton is the capital of Alberta and Jasper is the home of the beautiful Jasper National Park.
- The highest elevation is 12,294 ft, temps in the winter range from -5 degrees to 20 degrees F. Mountain sheep, bears, wolves, elk, and mountain goats all have a secure home in Jasper. Snow biking on Marmot Mountain's rugged terrain. Special skis that attach to the bike. Ice Walking in Maligne Canyon in Jasper. Cleats are attached to the snow boots. Deepest limestone canyon in the Canadian Rockies, 33 ft off the bottom, ice falls 85 ft high. Feels like you're going to fall through the ice.
- Royal Alberta Museum takes visitors on a journey to explore the history of Western Canada; aboriginal culture (500 generations), wild Alberta, Natural history gallery
- West Edmonton Mall - Alberta's #1 tourist attraction and North America's largest indoor shopping and entertainment complex: world's largest indoor water park, world's largest indoor amusement park, a sea lion show, 2 miniature golf courses, an exact replica of the Santa Maria ship and an NHL size ice rink. Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, located on 903 acres amidst the wilderness. Lodging in the grand Canadian style, 451 guest rooms - oversized guest room, fire places, Jacuzzi tubs, cabins, few places in the world that have welcomed both a sitting king and queen in the Outlook Cabin, elk grazing outside my room.
For deals in Alberta, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge rooms are as low as $168/night and Fairmont Hotel Macdonald (Edmonton) are as low as $223/night at Orbitz.com. Airfare to Canada is as low as $356 per person roundtrip on Air Canada from Los Angeles. A week in Alberta can cost you approximately $2500 - $3000 for a family of 3.
5. San Francisco - When temperatures cool down in the City by the Bay, the cheer heats up. With an infinite number of fun winter activities and things to do, it’s an ideal Winter Escape for couples, families and friends.
- First of all, it’s a beautiful, walkable city! With all kinds of attractions: Fisherman’s Wharf, the Iconic Ferry Building, Pier 39, SF Moma, Alcatraz of course … not to mention some of the best dining and entertainment west of the Mississippi!!
- San Francisco is one of the best cities to be for HOLIDAY!!! Holiday Ice Rink at Embarcadero Center and the Rink in Union Square... so many fun Skate night themes (Singles night, Bikini Skate - it's hilarious) Cable Car Holiday Nights and Sights tour. Starts in Fisherman’s wharf, wear Santa Hats and sip hot cocoa and see the city in all its festive holiday sparkle! Nutcracker under the dome at Westfield Centre.
- Just an hour or two, easy drive from the SF – makes a perfect day trip or overnight trip to get outside the city. And great time of year to go as it’s low season and rates are low – and it’s actually show-stopping this time of year, as it’s mustard season. Bushy yellow blossoms fill the fields – making the setting a photographer’s fantasy. And the food and drink is still top notch and doled out. Not to mention it’s especially cozy and romantic – while it can rain, the weather is usually crisp and fresh this time of year.
Deals for San Francisco: the San Francisco City Pass! One of only a few cities in the US to do this. Gives you almost 50% discount on some of the major attractions, including the Cable Cars, The Exploratorium, Bay Cruises, the California Academy of Sciences and even Alcatraz if you want it. Jetsetter.com has great deals on SF and Bay Area Hotels, or visit one of my favorite hotels in the city – The Hotel Drisco.
6.) Jackson Hole, WY - To ski, to explore… or for just a cozy, winter holiday!! What separates Jackson Hole in the winter from other Mountain Resort communities?
- With over 109 inches of snow to-date, Jackson Hole is leading the Rocky Mountain Region with total snowfall and depth this year!! Attention Snow Bunnies…. Here there is the most snow anywhere! Last Friday, 12/5, the Jackson Hole Mountain Resort opened the entire mountain accessing 4,139 ft. of vertical and 2,500 acres of terrain. Snow King Ski Resort is one of the most affordable in Jackson Hole, fun for the whole family, they have affordable lodging, ice rink, alpine slide for kids --- and historical to boot - was Wyoming's first ski resort.
- Access to two National Parks, Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Park. Both provide limited winter access, but allow wildlife viewing and exploring the natural environment like no other destination. Grand Teton can be accessed via vehicle, (some parts), and on the snow via cross-country skiing and snowshoe. Yellowstone can be accessed via Snow Coach, Snowmobile tours and of course, human powered via snow shoes and cross country skiing by way of the South Entrance at Flagg Ranch.
- AND MOST OF ALL.... THE Wildlife!!! With one of the largest winter habitats and preservers for the Jackson Elk herd and home to some Bison herds, the National Elk Refuge offers endless wildlife viewing on the edge of the town of Jackson.
Want to enjoy Jackson Hole, WY on the cheap? THE LODGE AT JACKSON HOLE - Ranked in Top 5 hotels in Jackson Hole on Tripadvisor.com $145 a night, Stay free/Ski Free Deal on their site if you book for 4 or more days! http://lodgeatjh.com/lodge-at-jackson-hole-ski-free-stay-free/
For more info, deals, and vacation packages: www.visitjacksonhole.com