Dreaming of getting away? You’re not alone! Lately, our staff is all abuzz with talk of trips—from family retreats to romantic escapes. So, we decided to track down some experts to get all the answers to their burning questions. Before you book, check out what the team at Sears Vacations is recommending right now.
searsStyle: I have a limited budget, but would love to surprise my husband with a Valentine’s Day weekend getaway. Where could we go?
Sears Vacations: I would suggest a staycation in a city close to your home; you can get away from it all, while staying in your own backyard. Enjoying a hotel stay with your honey in the city is a great way to cozy up in the winter months. Plus, you would be surprised how relaxing and romantic just a quick change of scenery can be. You get to avoid the cost of a flight and the aggravation of a long car ride, and hotels can be found for every budget in most cities.
sS: Time is of the essence. We live in the Midwest and can only get away for a brief (4 days/3 nights) vacay. What’s our best bet this season?
SV: Three to four days is plenty of time to explore most cities, and plenty of time for a quick beach getaway to Florida or the Carolinas. However, depending on your budget, mid-winter is a great time to go to Vegas so you can avoid the summer heat. Aside from the many shows, world-class dining and fantastic shopping, Vegas offers plenty of things to do off the strip—including hiking, skiing and golfing.
sS: I live on the West Coast and travel fairly often, so have already been to Maui, Miami, Cabo—all the hotspots. I want my next vacation destination to be a bit less expected. What’s off the beaten path, yet amazing?
SV: For something a little cozier, I would suggest a getaway in Arizona. Scottsdale has world-class resorts and spas, and near-perfect winter weather. Want to get out of the city? A quick car ride away are the breathtaking red rocks of Sedona, where you can get dirty with exhilarating jeep tours or cleanse your soul with rejuvenating yoga on the rocks. And, don't forget: There are great wineries in the Sedona and Cottonwood areas, as well!
sS: I’m looking for a family-friendly place I can take the whole clan while the kids are on break. What would be perfect this time of year?
SV: My favorite destination for kids in the wintertime is San Diego, where your little ones can experience the best zoo in the country, Sea World and Legoland—all in the same trip. Looking for something on the East Coast? Although it is a little cold this time of year, Washington D.C. is both a fun and educational place to take the kids. And, if you are looking to ski, check out the slopes in Utah. There are “Kids Ski Free” deals at many of the resorts!
sS: What are some of the hottest trends in travel?
SV: The incorporation of technology; you will start seeing technology integrated into every aspect of your vacation. European river cruising is the hottest trend of 2014. Also, international travel to Australia and New Zealand is on the rise. As far as domestic travel goes, expect Vegas to continue to be the most popular destination. And, for transportation while you are traveling, Über is all the rage—as it allows you to zip around any city quickly with a trusted guide.
sS: I have been hearing a lot about all-inclusive trips. Are they the way to go?
SV: In the right property, I am a big proponent of all-inclusive vacations—especially if you are planning on having a few cocktails; you can end up saving a lot of money with this option on your Caribbean or Mexican resort vacation. There are some very luxurious resorts with incredible dining options and all-inclusive packages, and some cheaper options as well. Just make sure you do the research to get the all-inclusive option that is right for you.
sS: Any other insider secrets you can share? In terms of saving money, what are the best days to travel? When am I most likely to experience delays?
SV: The best time for airfare is always in the winter or off-season. This doesn't just apply to airfare; hotels are cheaper too! The cheapest day of the week to fly? Wednesday, on U.S. or Canadian flights. Unsurprisingly, Fridays and Sundays are the most expensive. So, if you want to get away for the weekend, sometimes it is actually more economical to take the extra day off work and fly home on a Monday.