Winter Getaways, Part 2

One thing folks can cite about winter at the beach is that fabulous food deals make it difficult to justify cooking dinner every night. On the other hand, why cook at all (or search for a restaurant in the cold) if you can take a winter vacation and get away from bone chilling temperatures, dreary greyness, rain, or snow.  

Many of us remember “Snowmageddon” the huge February storm that dumped over 20 inches of snow in many areas from southern Pennsylvania, northeastern West Virginia, Maryland, Washington, DC, and northern Virginia, Delaware, and southern New Jersey Feb. 5-6, 2010. Nothing that drastic has happened since… but you never know.  All the more reason to consider the plethora of choices for short or “longish” winter getaway depending on one’s schedule, pocketbook, and taste. (Note: All-inclusive packages are probably the easiest to navigate.)  

All Inclusive resorts are located in a variety of locations – some domestic and some oversea – and the resorts make selections as easy as possible. U.S. News and World Report just issued a list of the 26 top “adults-only” all-inclusive resorts for 2024.   

Not surprisingly, Punta Cana is at the top of the list. For those who have not been there, Punta Cana is a region in the Dominican Republic that encompasses a variety of individual resorts of all levels and styles. Other recommendations on the list are resorts in Granada, St Lucia, Jamaica, then in Mexico there’s Cabo, Porta Vallarta and Cancun, to name a few, with Austin, Key Largo and Tucson on the US side.

Anyone who charges almost “everything” can take advantage of points accrued so what better time is there but winter? The important thing is to know how the various “voucher opportunities” work. If you want to take a vacation on the cheap, here are some guidelines for getting the biggest bang for your “non-bucks”. Using points can apply to all-inclusive resorts or more action-oriented destinations.  

Those who belong to AARP can take advantage of deals offered by the largest retired person advocacy group in the U.S. The organization lists several little-known winter getaways that can save consumers money.  

Another web site called Stellar Senior Living has a list of still more domestic opportunities such as Phoenix, Palm Springs and Key West.   

Travel sites like Orbitz, Travelocity, and Travelzoo often feature “special or last minutes deals” particularly if it is possible to make plans quickly or if a short vacation is an option. Just Google “last minute travel bargains” and options will pop up. Nerdwallet also offers tips on how to get the best “last minute deals”. If you can make a snap decision on a winter getaway, you are one of the lucky ones 

Operators like Gate 1, Road Scholar, Overseas Adventure Travel (OAT) and its companion business Grand Circle Cruise Line tend to offer longer and considerably more active junkets. The last three pride themselves on including extensive education components to their itineraries.  

Most airlines have a vacation planner department that can help guide you through the process of using points, paying cash, or some combination of the two. They tend to be separate divisions from the airlines themselves. Like regular travel agents and operators, staff can help consumers book, flights, lodging and car rentals seamlessly.  

By Mary Jo Tarallo

Mary Jo Tarallo spent much of her career in public relations with various non-profits and spent 40 years involved with the ski industry s a journalist, public relations director for a national trade association and as executive director of the Learn to Ski and Snowboard initiative. Prior to her ski industry involvement she worked for the Maryland International Center in Baltimore and United Way of Central Maryland. She won a Gold Award for TV programming for a United Way simulcast that starred Oprah Winfrey. She has been cited for her work by numerous organizations. Mary Jo grew up in Baltimore, attended the University of Maryland and Towson University, lived in Washington, DC for 21 years and has been a full time resident of Rehoboth Beach and Milton since May 2019.  

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