Travel experts reveal 7 vacation destinations for warm seas and winter sun

Winter is just around the corner, which means many are preparing for the stress of the holidays while hunkering down for the freezing weather. But some adventurous spirits seek to break the monotony of shoveling snow by traveling the globe to a paradise of warm seas and winter sunshine.

Sally French, travel expert at NerdWallet, wrote to Newsweek with some tips for winter travel.

“Sometimes adjusting your travel schedule by just a day or two can save you hundreds of dollars in airfare,” French said. “Especially if you’re able to work remotely, extending your trip and slathering on that work can be worth it (and allow you to spend more time in the warm).”

When traveling to hot regions, the French encourage looking beyond booking a standard hotel room, where resort fees are often added. Check out Airbnb as a cost-effective alternative, she said, adding that “the more adventurous might try renting an RV.”

“If you’re traveling somewhere warm, you won’t need all the boots and jackets you’d otherwise wear in December,” French said. “Take the opportunity to get rid of the suitcase on wheels, which can become cumbersome at the airport.

Bulky checked bags and carry-ons can also cost you money and cause you to compete for space in overhead bins, she added.

“Take advantage of your warm-weather weekend to experience backpack-only travel,” she said. “You’ll find that you can get around more easily and won’t get stuck waiting for your luggage at the baggage carousel.”

Newsweek also spoke with three other travel experts for their top seven winter travel destinations.

View of a beach in Cayo Largo del Sur, an island in southern Cuba, on May 6, 2022.
Yamil Lage/AFP/Getty

Ravi Roth

This travel influencer likes to explore destinations near water, whether it’s an ocean or a pool. Ravi Roth said Newsweek that lively LGBTQ+ scenes and delicious vegetarian meals feature in most of its choices.

It’s a great time to travel now that the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided, Roth said.

“I think we’ve all realized that we don’t have to wait until we’re 40 or 50 to get to this must-see destination,” he said. “You don’t have to wait until you have a certain amount of money in the bank, because nothing is guaranteed.”

  1. Santiago, Chile – The bustling city of Santiago has a rich history and offers nightlife to die for and tons of delicious food, Roth said. It is also a short drive from the colorful port city of Valparaíso and the breathtaking Andes mountains.
  2. Palm Springs, California— “It’s a city that accepts everyone,” Roth said of Palm Springs, Calif. “Always hot and epic hotels with pools. A great place for families, solo travelers or couples.”
  3. South Beach, Miami— Partygoers will love Miami, where you can “swim all day and party all night,” Roth said. But the city is also famous for its wide range of ethnic cuisines, storied history, fun thrift stores and cutting-edge haute couture.
  4. Los Cabos, Mexico — Roth said resorts like Hacienda Del Mar are the perfect escape for those looking for “the ultimate blue water, divine sunsets, and a pampered experience.”
  5. Uluwatu, Bali — “Yes, getting there has a cost, but once you’re in Bali it’s so affordable,” Roth said. “Highly recommend Uluwatu for the vegan/vegetarian food, yoga and meditation, surfing – although I can’t surf – the beautiful temples and a great place to recharge during the winter months.”
  6. Cape Town, South Africa – Although flights to Cape Town can fetch high prices, Roth said when you land, you won’t regret it. This South African city offers hiking, wineries, beaches and high fashion, and it’s quite affordable once you get there, thanks to the exchange rate.
  7. Kauai, Hawaii— Going anywhere in Hawaii can be a wonderful experience, Roth said, but sunny Kauai is something else entirely. There you will have fun “carrying on the adventure” and “making your Instagram look like you IndianaJones meets jurassic park.”

Annie Davis

As President of Palm Beach Travel, Annie Davis got many stamps in her passport. His boutique travel agency is a favorite of celebrities and the ultra-wealthy elite.

Davis said Newsweek that the allure of winter travel is to escape the freezing air to pursue warmer climes – and this is a time when many people are looking to go abroad.

“Our phones start ringing when the first snow falls in the north,” Davis said.

  1. British Virgin Islands – Davis wrote to Newsweek that more than 50 islands, cays and coves make up this magnificent Caribbean nation. You’ll love your time there, whether you’re in a treehouse at a secluded resort, unearthing a gold coin on a snorkeling excursion, or lounging on a beach with quiet caves.
  2. The Florida Keys — “Whether you land in Miami or Key West, you already feel like you’re in the tropics,” Davis said over email. Bridges connect the islands that make up the Keys, and it’s fun to rent a car and pop into local bars, shops, and waterfront restaurants. It is also ideal for people of different price levels.
  3. Cuba — This destination has become fashionable these days. “With so many flights and unique cultural tours, visit Cuba while it’s still brimming with charm, history, art, color and personality,” Davis said. There you can rest in a unique vacation home, discover historic hotels and visit places where Hemingway and other stars of old used to dance the night away sipping Mojitos.
  4. Tahiti— Davis explained that Tahiti is the most populated island in French Polynesia. “Walk through waterfalls in dense, lush rainforests and cool off in one of the many clear blue lagoons,” she said. “A quick flight to Bora Bora and a stay in an overwater bungalow should complete your must-do trip.”
  5. Maldives – Every year since 2020, the Maldives has been the world’s hottest place to travel, Davis said. It includes over two dozen natural atolls and a reef that could rival the Great Barrier Reef in terms of diverse marine life and vibrant corals.
  6. dubai “Dubai is synonymous with luxury, and rightly so,” Davis said. You don’t want to miss shopping in the massive Dubai Mall, said to be the largest in the world, and basking in the opulence of the city. You can even go on an adventure on a desert safari. “Insider tip: visit the top of the tallest building in the world, the Burj Khalifa,” she added.
  7. Fiji — Fiji lies southeast of Hawaii and north of New Zealand, and less than a third of its more than 330 islands are inhabited, Davis said. An “untouched paradise”, she noted, Fiji offers “world-class diving, water sports, pristine white sand beaches with crystal blue waters and lush rainforests”.

Catherine Fleischmann

Travel journalist and journalist, Katherine “Kat” Fleischman is an American living in Italy with extensive knowledge of the world’s best resorts, luxury hotels and villa rentals. His public relations firm, Do Tell PR, focuses on travel, fashion and food “inspired by the modern millennial global citizen lifestyle,” according to its website.

fleischman said Newsweek that winter travel is perfect for those who want to avoid exorbitant temperatures on a summer getaway abroad.

“It’s nicer to do this activity in the sun, but not like scorching heat,” she said, “so I think that’s one of the benefits of traveling on vacation.”

  1. Nassau, paradise island, Bahamian— A trip to this paradise makes you feel like you’ve been “transported to another universe,” Fleischman wrote to Newsweek. “A turquoise paradise with translucent waters, a laid-back vibe, delicious cuisine, and an entirely new and exciting culture, Nassau Paradise Island is the perfect luxury vacation stop in December.”
  2. Mexico – For the perfect getaway to escape your cold-weather prison, visit Mexico and its inviting waters and warm sun, Fleischman said. She noted that partiers will love Tulum, and those looking for a laid-back vacation can unwind in Holbox. Meanwhile, the Blue Caves of the Riviera Maya are breathtaking.
  3. Phi Phi Islands, Thailand — Fleischman describes the Phi Phi Islands in Thailand as “one of the rarest natural paradises on Earth”, where the water is crystal clear and warm. “It has fine sand and white sand beaches overlooking an emerald sea, and if you like snorkeling and scuba diving, an incomparable coral reef and dramatic cliffs,” she said.
  4. El Nido, Philippines — Escape the gloomy US holiday weather for the warm waters of El Nido, Fleischman said. There you can take a traditional boat for a fun adventure at sea and gorge yourself on authentic food. Those looking to unwind can also sign up for an “ocean view massage.”
  5. Miami, Florida – Considering it’s his hometown, Fleischman knows a thing or two when it comes to beautiful Miami. She describes it as a bustling city rich in culture, and home to some of the trendiest clubs and restaurants.
  6. Cape Town, South Africa – Like Roth, Fleischman picked Cape Town, South Africa, as one of his top seven spots. “Whether it’s taking the cable car up Table Mountain, or spotting penguins at Boulders Beach, exploring Nelson Mandela’s cell on Robben Island, or touring wineries or game drives, you can always count on perfect temperatures during the December season,” she said.
  7. Cartagena, Colombia — This gem offers plenty of warmth and sunshine, making it perfect for a nice boat ride, Fleischman said. Many travelers choose this place to ring in the New Year “because the colorful streets are lined with restaurants and local culture, and there’s a ton of nightlife and beaches during the day.”

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