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best-winter-vacation-ideasWinter Getaways to Plan Ahead             

Other than traditional holiday travels, we don't often think of winter as vacation season. Why should summer have all the fun? Winter is a great time to travel, especially for busy families that find the summer months overloaded with activities, camps, sports practices and family reunions. We have the best winter vacation ideas for trips you can start planning now.

Vacation in the Winter    

Winter may not come to mind as vacation season, but it’s actually a great time to travel whether you want to escape the cold or embrace it. There are a lot of wonderful discounts available during the winter, and often you'll beat the crowds.

For the best winter vacation, you should start planning now. You'll save money if you can avoid the busy holiday travel season, but even if you can't there is still a winter vacation that is right for your family. Where you go largely depends on whether or not you want to run from the snow.

Cold Winter Vacation Spots

Domestic: Salt Lake City, UT

Utah is a winter wonderland, especially for skiers, snowboarders and winter sports enthusiasts. Salt Lake City is minutes from some of the world's most famous ski resorts including Alta, Powder Mountain and Sundance. Thanks to the 2002 Winter Olympics, the city also has a host of more exotic winter sports like bob sledding and a speed skating oval.

Downtown is a food-lovers paradise with lots of locally owned and operated eateries ranging from exotic ethnic foods to comfort classics. For families, Salt Lake has a world class children's museum and planetarium, both conveniently located in the Gateway shopping complex. A 30 minute drive will take you to Thanksgiving Point, home to one of the world's largest dinosaur museums as well as other attractions.

International: The British Isles

Won't the weather be horrible, you ask? Of course it will, but weather has never been fair Britannia's strong suit. Avoid the masses of sweating summer crowds and hit London, Dublin or Glasgow during the off season winter. Hotel and air rates are rock bottom, and the friendly natives will make you feel like family—something they may be less inclined to do when you're competing with thousands of other tourists.

Warm Locations to Vacation in Winter

Domestic: Santa Fe, NM

Everything is a little hotter in Sante Fe—the weather, the colors, the food and the nightlife. Thanks to a high altitude, Santa Fe is warm but not sweltering in winter like some other destinations in the Southwest. Here you'll find mountain trails to explore, Indian pueblos to visit, and plenty of local arts and crafts.

Be sure to visit the historic Sante Fe Opera House, the historic Plaza in the center of town, and the Museum of International Folk Art. Along with those staples, Santa Fe offers world class dining and culture. Street fairs and art markets abound, making this one of the best places in America to find unique gifts and decor items.

International: Thailand

Thailand is a popular place to escape the winter blues, and for good reason. Tropical Thailand is warm and welcoming when the snow is falling outside. A friendly, open culture makes communicating easy for foreigners, and there is plenty to see and do—unless you just want to lie on the beach. What's more, Thailand is family friendly with many places welcoming children and honoring special requests whether they be dietary or comfort related. Do some research and you'll see that you can live on as little as $20 a day in Thailand. Of course, there is plenty of luxury available too for those that can afford it.

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