Whether you’re headed up to the snowy ski slopes of Colorado or going south to the Bahamas to bask in warmth and sunshine, winter is a popular time for a luxurious getaway.
But holiday travel can be a headache if you don’t know what to plan for.
Between seasonal crowds, endless security lines at the airport, and high prices for lodging and airfare, it takes some savvy to plan a winter getaway that minimizes your stress and maximizes your relaxation.
Use these tips to avoid seasonal travel snags that could turn your dream winter getaway into a nightmare.
1. Check the Weather
If you’re looking for a snowy getaway in the mountains, like a ski resort in the Rockies or a cabin in Yosemite, be sure to check the weather forecast before you book.
There’s nothing like looking forward to a string of blue-bird ski days on the slopes and being met with the disappointment of a winter storm.
On the other hand, if you can’t get enough snow, checking the forecast can help you plan your trip around a snow storm so you can enjoy a week of fresh tracks.
Although weather forecasts aren’t perfect, they can help guide your vacation planning to try and choose a week or weekend that suits your weather preferences.
Or if you’re headed to a tropical destination for a change of scenery, make sure it’s not the rainy season at your destination so you stay dry and warm while you lounge on the beach.
2. Choose a Safe Route
Sometimes the journey can be more fun than the destination. If you and your family are planning a scenic road trip this winter, make sure you’re prepared for all possible weather hazards.
Driving in winter weather can be dangerous. Poor visibility and black ice could potentially pose a threat to you and your family’s travel plans — and your safety.
Check the US Department of Transportation’s website to find out about the road conditions for your planned dates.
Check into alternative routes to your destination to get around dangerous driving conditions if need be.
3. Don’t Overlook a Rental Home
Hotels aren’t always less expensive than renting a vacation home or apartment for your stay.
Many people rent out their vacation homes or their own homes while they’re away on their own winter getaway — and often for cheaper than a hotel room at peak travel times.
These apps can help you get a great deal on a luxury accommodation, often with better amenities and more privacy than a hotel room — like private outdoor hot tubs, swimming pools, pool rooms, indoor spas, and more.
4. Don’t Fly on the Wrong Day
Flying on the wrong day could be both costly and a huge headache for you and your family.
From endless security lines to rushing to your gate to catch your flight, flying on a busy day during the holidays can take your travel stress to the next level.
As a general rule of flying, Tuesdays and Wednesdays are historically the two cheapest days to fly year-round.
In terms of seasonal flying, the cheapest days to fly are usually the off-season for tourism in your destination, the “shoulder-season” (the seasons between the busy season and the off-season at your destination), or non-holiday travel dates.
Avoiding flights during peak travel days like Christmas Eve, Black Friday, and the day after Christmas will also likely save you some coin on your winter getaway.
5. Choose Comfort and Luxury: Fly Private
The best way to skip the hassle of airport crowds and spikes in airfare this season is by flying private.
During the winter, the private charter industry books 30-60% more flights than during the rest of the year — and it’s no surprise why.
Commercial travel during the holidays can be a nightmare, even if you’re flying first class.
Although you’ve got a lot more freedom and flexibility when it comes to booking your private flight this holiday season, it’s best to book early. Flights can fill up quickly this time of year.
If you’re planning to bring along ski gear, be sure to let the jet charter know ahead of time so your boarding process is quick and easy.
Looking to shred some of the world’s most exclusive slopes this year? Check out these 5 premier ski destinations with a private airstrip >