Winter is a great time to take a vacation, especially when you’re in cold and dark Scandinavia. The New Year is upon us, meaning that airfare is cheaper, so it’s a great time to check out some affordable winter destinations. Here are some great winter destinations for travelers on a budget:
Dubai: With low prices and moderate temperatures, now is the best time to visit Dubai. The temperatures, low but not too hot, are ideal for enjoying the legendary Persian Gulf beaches. It’s not a cheap place by any means, but Dubai offers great relative value in the warmer months. Some points of interest include the Dubai Food Festival, the Burj Khalifa, desert safaris, indoor skiing at the Mall of the Emirates and the Mall of Dubai.
Dallas: One of the best winter destinations in the US, Dallas in the winter features plenty of free attractions, walkable neighborhoods and museums, minus Texas’ infamously hot weather. Air and hotel prices are low as well.
Kenya: While winter is a popular time to visit Kenya, that’s because it’s affordable, thanks to good prices for flights and safaris. Temperatures are warm, and the weather’s mostly dry so it’s easier to see more wildlife (they’ll be congregating around watering holes). It’s also birthing season, offering plenty of chances to see baby animals. On the coast are some exceptional beaches as well, offering hot temperatures, scuba diving and exotic islands.
Las Vegas: Even if you don’t like to gamble, Vegas has plenty to do. In addition to the casinos, there are plenty of clubs and shows, the weather is decent and hotels are cheaper. If you come in March, you can catch NASCAR weekend.
Madeira: Off the coast of Africa lies the semitropical archipelago of Madeira. It’s a great year-round destination, but is least crowded in the winter. It’s not as great a time to visit the beaches, but you can still experience the lush landscapes, wine and European-style villages.
Turkey: Turkey is a popular destination for Russians, and for good reason. The food is delicious, there’s plenty of history to see in Istanbul and beyond, and even if it’s typically a summer destination, it’s still great in the winter. It’s significantly cheaper in the winter, there aren’t as many tourists and the country is absolutely gorgeous.
Amsterdam: Cozy cafes and snow-lined canals make Amsterdam a beautiful place to visit in the winter. It’s also pretty cheap, with low airfare and hotel package savings. Don’t miss the city’s museums, breweries, cafes, pubs and canals.
Tokyo: I love Japan, so I’m always excited to visit any time of the year. I think the best times to visit are the fall and spring, but winter is great because everything is a whole lot less crowded, and few things feel better than a hot bowl of ramen in the cold. If you do go, be sure to bring a coat.
Quebec: Yes, Quebec is cold, but Quebec City is also filled with plenty of old-world charm, and some of the best Carnaval celebrations in the world. And since it’s so cold, airfare is cheaper, and there’s a very favorable exchange rate. In addition to Carnaval, Quebec City is filled with historic sites and great shopping destinations.
Ireland: The weather in Ireland is notoriously unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to carry around a coat and umbrella with you wherever you go. Yet it’s also much cheaper this time of the year, both in regards to airfare and hotel rates. The best place to visit is the south of the island, specifically around Cork and Kerry, whether it’s visiting historic sites or having a pint in the pub.