How to plan a winter vacation

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If you're thinking about booking a vacation over the holidays, it helps to know some insider tips for getting the vacation you really want. Amy Ziff, Travelocity's Editor-at-Large, has great ideas for how to plan a winter vacation.

How to plan a winter vacation
  • When planning winter vacations around Christmas or New Year's, you’re more likely to find tickets and rooms when the holiday falls mid-week.
  • Think about what kind of winter vacation experience you’re looking for before choosing a cruise. Private luxury vacation with lots of service? Try a smaller ship: some carry as few as 200 passengers.
  • Larger ships offer a wider array of activities like rock climbing, basketball, and even golfing.
  • Look for bargains with winter vacation packages; combining car, hotel and airfare into a single booking can save you a bundle. No pun intended.
  • Be cautious when choosing lesser-known airlines, rental car companies or hotels.
  • Look for user reviews online for unbiased information. Many travel websites now encourage travelers to post their opinions about destinations, hotels and other travel experiences.
Transcript DENISE: I’m Denise Richardson, this is howdini.com. We have Amy Ziff with us who is the editor-at-large for Travelocity.com. Cruises, flying, good time Christmas?

AMY: It does depend on when the holiday falls. We tend to see like if the holiday falls, like Christmas on a weekend and New Year’s on a weekend, everybody’s trying to take the same week in between off. That’s not as good as when they fall in the middle of the week and then some people take the week before and some take the week after, and of course, that changes from year to year. So it’s something just to take a look at and consider, hey could we maybe take the kids out of school a day early and take this other week and then we’ll have fewer people on the ski slopes, you know, more things to do and a little bit less of a sort of fever when we get to the airport and all of that.

DENISE: While people are making this consideration, when should they consider a cruise, not everybody is a real cruise person.

AMY: Absolutely, but there are all kinds of ships out there so I think the question is, to really get to, what kind of an experience do you want? Maybe you want to be on a small, luxury ship that has about 200 passengers and a staff ratio that’s going to be at least 2 to 1. Maybe you want to be on a mega-ship that’s going to have golfing and basketball and a climbing wall and all kinds of activities and that’s going to have three or four thousand people on it. So, there’s every experience in between. And what’s important is that you can’t forget where that ship is sailing to. So, in the winter very, very popular are the Caribbean sailings and of course the Mexican sailings. Places to those hot spots.

DENISE: Well, the cold spots, the ski spots, great time for skiing, and so there are packages out there.

AMY: There are packages and you can actually customize your own package and that’s probably the best thing that you can do is to realize that you don’t actually have to wait for somebody else to you and say, well, we’ve created this package. You can actually go online and make your own and touch into all those savings that a package can off rather than, you know, buying all of these things a la carte, and yet, you can save and go exactly where you want.

DENISE: Some people will try, well let me just try that bargain airline. Do they ever get burnt trying that bargain airline?

AMY: Well, I always suggest that you go with a reputable carrier, a reputable agency if you’re booking with a travel agent, whether it’s online or off. A reputable carrier if you’re flying, a reputable hotel, you want to know that other people have gone their and have had a good experience. I mean that’s really critical and if you don’t know someone who’s used them or gone on there then again, this is where online reviews put the customer in the power of citizen journalism and it’s really going to be critical and helpful.

DENISE: Your blog can be very helpful to people. You provide so much information.

AMY: Absolutely, they can check out my blog at thewindowseat. Or they can check a social networking site like igougo.com which is i-g-o-u-g-o.com which has all kinds of information; you can sort by travelers by the way they are. But winter travel is a wonderful time to get away. There’s all the winter wonderlands which I personally love, getting in the snow, but then, you know, a beach vacation: you can’t beat that.

DENISE: Oh geez, you make it sound so exciting. Thank you so much for being with us.

AMY: I’m always happy to be here.
meet theexpert
  • Amy Ziff

    Amy Ziff Editor-at-Large, Travelocity Amy Ziff, Editor-at-Large, Travelocity, is a travel and media insider. She has shared her expertise and trending research with numerous national print and broadcast outlets throughout the country. more about this expert »

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