The stereotypical winter getaway is sitting on a beach at a resort that practically spoon feeds you margaritas. I don’t think too many of us would complain about a week of warm sun and ocean waves. However, I want to recommend that you consider some different types of winter vacations. Below are three winter vacations that do not fit the stereotypical winter getaways. As a bonus, all are rather affordable.
1. Visit the Dominican Republic, but stay at a remote Airbnb apartment
The Dominican Republic is known for its resorts, especially those around Punta Cana. That’s great, and you can get good deals there, but I want to suggest something that is a bit more unique. Something that is both extremely beautiful and very affordable. Fly into a different city in the Dominican Republic, such as Puerto Plata, Santiago, or Santo Domingo, and rent an apartment on Airbnb.
Depending on your flight itinerary, you can get airfare for under $500. In fact, right now I am looking at flights out of New York to Santo Domingo for as low as $359 round trip. Entire apartments within walking distance of a beach (or frequently on the beach) are typically well under $100 per night. These apartments, or sometimes whole houses, can be found in remote locations, far away from the hustle and bustle of the big cities and most importantly, far away from other tourists. A hundred bucks a night to have a white sand beach to yourself isn’t a bad deal.
Don’t be afraid of a little “ice” in winter. Click next page to find out why.
2. Travel to Munich via Iceland
Go ahead. Call me crazy. I am not only suggesting going to Germany in winter, but also to a place that has “ice” right in its name. But I have a very good reason for this itinerary. First of all, Munich is a wonderful place to visit for the holidays. Munich is full of Christmas festivals and markets along with Alpine skiing. To top all that off, Munich itself is a fun city featuring plenty of history, beautiful architecture, and more traditional beer halls than you can visit (many, such as Hofbrauhaus, are hundreds of years old). So then, why Iceland?
Icelandair has a program called “Stopover,” where you can stay in Reykjavik, the capital of Iceland, for several nights with no extra cost to your airfare. During winter months, Icelandair even offers a “Stopover Buddy,” which is a local who can help you out while you are in Iceland. Suggested activities during the winter include snowmobiling, baths in natural hot springs, and, of course, the northern lights.
Icelandair flies out of many major U.S. cities during the winter, including Boston, Chicago, Minneapolis, New York, Orlando, Portland, Seattle, and Washington, D.C. Round trip flights with the stopover program to Munich can be snagged for well under $1000 depending on the city and day of week you are flying.
Sometimes in winter you just need some comfort food. Try suggestion #3.
Go to the Foodies’ Paradise of Montreal
Montreal is one of my favorite international cities. It has a very European vibe with a slower pace of life and elegant architecture that is hundreds of years old. Notre-Dame Basilica, the cathedral on the old town square, is perhaps one of the most beautiful cathedrals in North America, with an intricate, hand-carved and painted interior. Best of all, it is a very short and affordable trip from the United States.
Montreal has a lot to offer in the winter. There are a number of winter sports to partake in such as skating, skiing, and ice fishing. Winter doesn’t phase Montreal, as it is a city that is very used to cold weather. However, it is also a city of great food, with some of the best chefs in the world residing there. And the food only gets better in the winter. “Sugar shacks” are restaurants, mostly just outside of Montreal, that mainly only operate in winter. They are exactly as they sound: shacks with lots and lots of maple sugar. You will find all kinds of culinary creations with maple syrup. And once you’ve had enough sugar, you should try the Canadian classic, poutine. It is the ultimate winter comfort food—French fries drenched in gravy. In any case, you will never run out of restaurants or bistros that you will want to visit in Montreal.
What are some unconventional winter vacations you’ve taken that turned out to be affordable? Share below!