It’s winter. There’s a chill in the air, the skies are grey, and your eyes are looking for the slightest hint of green. Think of it. You sit at your desk at work after a commute through traffic that drives you crazy and count down the hours until you are able to get outside – but going outside is a bit dreary these days. Pretty picture? Perhaps not.
Winter doesn’t have to feel like a run-on sentence that has no end. It can actually be one of the best times to take advantage of those vacation days you’ve been racking up and get away for a bit. Doesn’t a relaxing vacation – especially in the dead of winter – sound amazing?
There are a number of reasons why a vacation in winter is ideal. Here are 10 reasons that will help you decide to plan a winter getaway today:
1. Lower Pricing
Sometimes your dream vacation is cost-prohibitive. When that happens, shift your strategy and bring on the off-season of that faraway land. Hitting your favorite vacation spots in the off-season can mean landing some great deals for hotels, airfares and event tickets, making it possible to finally get that stamp in your passport or fly through the air on that roller coaster.
Sites like Groupon Getaways and Kayak can help you land winter deals quickly, so if you are ready to get out and get moving, hit them now. You could find yourself in a dream location in less than three weeks.
2. Burn More Calories
Did you know that shivering in the cold can actually help you burn more calories? Research shows that people who keep their space at cooler temperatures actually see an increase in their metabolic rate – by as much as 30 percent.
So huddling up under blankets — though deliciously warm — is keeping you from enjoying the fat busting benefits of a few good shivers. Who knew, right? So head outside this winter, experience the brisk air, and find vacation spots that will allow you to explore the outdoors with renewed and cooled spirits.
3. Fewer Crowds
If you’ve been dreaming of those Paris cafés but are balking at the price of airfare in June, you’re in luck! Travel costs go down in the cooler months. Along with the price drops, expect to see fewer crowds in some of the summer hot spots, as well.
Being by the water in the winter may not sound very bikini-friendly, but the beauty of winter water is one not to be missed. For theme parks, you can also expect to see less people, meaning less time in line and more time getting the most out of your money.
4. Boost Your Mood
Getting out and getting moving – especially in the cold – can help boost your mood and brighten your day. Why? The power is in the happy hormones, also known as endorphins. Exercise can bring on a rush of endorphins, so rather than stay sedentary, put on some layers, pack your bags and head out to experience winter and a burst of happiness.
5. Reconnect With Close Friends and Family
Life gets busy. Sometimes it feels like everything and everyone is whirring by you in a haze of activity. Going away for a long weekend this winter will allow you to hit the pause button – even if only for a few days. Getting this recharge opportunity can mean having time to reconnect with the friends and family who mean the most.
6. Experience a Roaring Fireplace
This should be enough to send you packing your bags and closing up your house for vacation. A toasty fireplace is one of the supreme comforts of winter and something that can only be thoroughly enjoyed when there’s snow on the ground and the temperature is below freezing. If you’ve forgotten the sound of a fire crackling while playing a rousing game of checkers, book your spot now, because you’re missing out on winter’s greatest gift.
7. Use Paid Time Off
Americans have a great ability to get things done for the sake of progress. This crazy schedule – though great for commerce – means Americans tend to waste their vacation days. If you feel guilty about using up your vacation time, you shouldn’t. There’s a reason it’s given, and it’s meant to be taken. Paid time off exists to help employees achieve greater family/work balance, an essential part of maintaining positive rapport with your employer and your family.
8. Experience Seasonal Sporting Opportunities
There’s something to be said for what winter has to offer. It’s the only time to really get an opportunity to try out your favorite winter sports. Anything from tubing to sledding to skiing to ice skating is at the ready when there’s a chill in the air. The exhilaration of learning a new sport or kindling excitement for an old favorite will bring you closer to those around you, which will help you gain unforgettable memories.
9. Sunny Weather
Sunshine is known to have numerous health benefits, including beating the winter blues. If the winter blues have got you down, go outside. Even if it’s a cloudy day, you’ll be seeing more of the sun’s glad rays than indoors.
If you’re lucky enough to land a deal that sends you to a warm and sunny location, expect to feel a lift in mood, energy and an increasing ability to get those sweet hours of sleep you need so much.
10. See Something New
Regardless of the season, getting out and seeing something new can be good for you. Winter can produce a feeling of monotony if not embraced properly. If this is how you are starting to feel, it’s time for a break, and it’s time to see something new. You’ll feel reenergized and be able to see your world in a different context.
A winter getaway is a great way to make it through a season which doesn’t get enough credit for all it has to offer. Travel is a wonderful thing, and traveling in winter can be wonderful, too. As Saint Augustine put it, “The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page.” Get out there. Get traveling. Book your winter getaway today.
Jennifer Landis is a freelance writer and healthy living blogger. She drinks tea in excess, has a collection of peanut butters, and is a super nerd at heart. Find more from Jennifer at her blog, Mindfulness Mama, or follow her on Twitter @JenniferELandis.