The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.Marcel Proust
If you’re in the USA right now, you’re probably wearing half your wardrobe just to go outside and contemplating how much time you really need to spend outside when the temperatures drop below freezing. Yes, some Americans live in places that stay warm year round — looking at you Florida — but this post really isn’t for them. It’s for the people who dream of warm vacations when they’re bundled up looking like the kid from A Christmas Story and are still cold. I don’t know why my body refuses to produce a normal amount of heat, but I always find myself dreaming of warm weather vacations during the winter. Below are just a few of the many options for you. As an added bonus, I added a budget rating to help you better prepare in case you venture off to these locations for an adventure.
Average Temperatures: High 83, Low 70
Budget-Friendly Rating: 9/10. Most of Puerto Rico is delightfully inexpensive, except for Old San Juan.
What Makes It Special: The flight and hotel/Airbnb prices make you happy before you even arrive. Once you get there, you’re treated to pristine beaches (lots of semi-private ones too!), inviting people, insanely delicious food, and so many activities to fill your days to bursting if that’s what you love during your vacations. Spend a day learning about history in Old San Juan and spend other times lounging on a beach in Luquillo, hiking in the El Yunque Rain Forest, or kayaking in the bioluminescent bays just to name a few. While the more touristy places can get very crowded during the peak of the season, most places in PR are delightfully free of hordes of tourists.
Average Temperatures: High 87, Low 75
Budget-Friendly Rating: 7/10
What Makes It Special: This South American city is located right on the water, but there are very few beaches. However, you can go island hopping to experience the full adventure of the Colombian islands. While Cartagena is one of the more expensive cities in Colombia and in the region, it’s entirely possible to visit on a major budget without compromising on an amazing vacation. Cartagena is all about the vibe and just oozes culture. Find local foods, walking tours, museums, street food, and so much more no matter how large or small your budget may be.
Canary Islands, Spain
Average Temperatures: High 69, Low 59
Budget-Friendly Rating: 7/10 depending on which island or city you’re visiting
What Makes It Special: Beach bums, get your booties ready for 42 miles of sandy beaches. You can park yourself there and never leave or you can visit Teide National Park for lots of volcanic site seeing or you can take a drive through snowy peaks after a day of lounging in the sun. The Canary Islands are about 40% cheaper than mainland destinations, making it a great way to visit Europe for much less. Tenerife is the most popular destination on the islands and tends to be the most crowded and expensive. You really can’t go wrong no matter which locale you choose since they are all warm, full of experiences to be had, and feature lots of great food.
Average Temperatures: High 75, Low 58
Budget-Friendly Rating: 4/10
What Makes It Special: While Dubai isn’t super friendly on your wallet with its higher prices it is a fantastic place to visit. I love how Dubai offers something completely different and unique from most warm-weather destinations. Sure, you can sun yourself on a beach, but you can also go sand boarding in the desert, explore the gold and spice souks (market/bazaar), and then get a taste of winter at the indoor ski slopes. Don’t forget to explore the museums, peep the Burj Khalifa, and make your way to the city center.
Average Temperatures: High 84, Low 41 depending on which part of Mexico you visit.
Budget-Friendly Rating: 7/10
What Makes It Special: Whether you’re visiting Tulum, Cancun, or Cabo San Lucas, there’s no denying that Mexico is a worldwide favorite for travelers during the winter months. Unfortunately, you will be among hundreds, if not thousands, of other travelers as the winter months tend to be the most popular. The food, culture, and adventures set Mexico apart from the rest. After all, who can deny the deliciousness of Mexican food? The area is rich in historical and archaeological sites to see. If you venture out early you can even beat the crowds.
Average Temperatures: High 75, Low 67
Budget-Friendly Rating: 8/10
What Makes It Special: There’s a little something for everyone in Florida and it stays warm all year long, making it an ideal place to visit no matter the time of year. You can have lots of variety by visiting markets, event venues, amusement parks, museums, and so much more. Then you have the variety of the nature from beaches to the everglades. If you want a little more adventure, the scuba diving in the keys (Key West and Key Largo) are definitely worth traveling for. Better yet, take a road trip along the Florida coast to hit the major cities and see all of different aspects the state has to offer.