It's easy to forget about your lust for travel when it's cold outside, but now is the time to be planning winter getaways! Now that the weather has definitely changed and German winter is swiftly approaching, it's so easy for me to want to go into hibernation. But I've never been one to give up on travel just because of the weather, if anything, now is the time to be planning in trips for the season ahead. After all, who wants to stay in their home for the next few months hiding from the cold? Not me! It's a perfect time to be exploring a whole new bucket list - after all, there are some places that are actually even more spectacular to explore in the snow and cold. Don't believe me? Well this post is all about the ways I find inspiration for winter travel and how you can too. So get out those travel brochures and start searching for flights, because if this post doesn't convince you that you need to book some winter travel immediately, I'll eat my woolly hat!
How I find inspiration for planning winter getaways
Cheaper travel in off-season
I love traveling to countries outside of peak season. Not only is the country empty of tourists, but you get to see a different side to the people and the culture. When I traveled to Sri Lanka last November, it was the rainy season which might have put some people off visiting but in my opinion was the most beautiful time to go! Why not get busy booking winter getaways to those countries you've always dreamed of visiting? You can get away for a week or two and get to explore a whole new country, while saving a lot of money because you're avoiding peak season. In Sri Lanka we saved a fortune on accommodation, travel and flights all because we traveled out of season. You could do the same and that means more money for cocktails on the beach!
Escape to the sunshine
If you're a summer baby at heart, you'll be dreaming of escapes to sunnier climes and getting away from Jack Frost. But why not make this a reality? Do what I did and chase the sun, avoid winter altogether! Browsing Skyscanner the other night, I found flights to Portugal for £14, Turkey and Morocco for less than £30, Dubai and Gibraltar for £100, and even to Cuba for £170. I even found £200 flights to Mauritius which were very tempting! Seriously, once you start looking, it gets addictive. But if you're flexible on when you take holiday, you can get some amazing deals. Go to Skyscanner, search "Everywhere" and put in "Whole Month" then see the deals fly in.
Get active and enjoy a skiing holiday
If you're more of a snow bunny, then grab your ski goggles and head for one of the amazing ski resorts you can find dotted around Europe for a winter getaway you won't forget. I know so many summer babies who have been on one ski or snowboarding holiday and have loved it so much it became an annual event, making beach holidays a thing of the past! I've not yet had the pleasure of trying skiing but have always thought I would love to try snowboarding. With amazing resorts across France, Austria, Switzerland and Italy, perhaps I'll be lucky enough to go while living in Europe. Whether you prefer downhill skiing or fancy trying your hand at cross-country skiing, there are plenty of amazing locations to try them out including across Norway, Finland and even Lapland, which has over 300km of cross country trails.
If skiing isn't for you, there are plenty of other ways to get active and enjoy the winter season. Why not try dog sledging and experience a real winter wonderland as you fly across the snow. Or you could romance your loved one with a horse-drawn sleigh ride through the snow for a more relaxing way to get outside. Of course, there is always winter walking or even snow-shoeing which are great ways to stay active and enjoy the beautiful landscapes during your winter getaways. Germany offers all of these options across the Bavarian Alps, or you could head to Switzerland, where you can even take the world-renowned Glacier Express through the heart of the Alps for something completely different. For those looking for a more relaxing break, try booking a slow holiday to offer winter getaways to remember at the pace you prefer.
Pick a winter destination
There are some destinations that come alive in the snow. Why not embrace the cold and see the beauty in it? Head to a northern country such as Norway, Iceland, Greenland or even Canada and see real snow, amazing landscapes and, if you're lucky, the Northern Lights. Take the children to visit Santa in Lapland, Finland, or another northern country where they can enjoy sleigh rides and all the fun of a traditional Christmas. I recently saw photos of some other travel bloggers' winter getaways to Alaska and, oh my, it's breathtaking. There are so many amazing places to visit, and sometimes it's best to brave the cold if it means getting to see a country at it's finest and most magical.
For those who might not have much money at the moment for travel, Christmas can be an expensive time. But why not use the festive period to your advantage and catch up with friends and family? If you know people who live in another city, or even another country, you could take the time to go and visit them. This way, you get to see old friends or family that perhaps you don't see enough, and you get to visit a new place with a tour guide and free accommodation (if you're lucky!). I'm doing exactly that lately, instead of me going to visit others, I'm inviting friends and family to come and visit, but it's so lovely to catch up with them and to be a tour guide. Plus then, they can return the favour by hosting you in their own country/city. My sister and I have planned to spend money on flights to go and visit each other this year instead of buying Christmas presents, and I think it's a far better use of our money than buying useless stuff.
Who doesn’t love the festive atmosphere and old tradition of a Christmas market where the scents of roasted almonds, hot chestnuts, cinnamon and hot wine fill the air? I'm very excited because the Christmas markets open in Hamburg this weekend! It's that season and living in Germany, I can't wait to delve into all the Christmas traditions and, of course, plenty of glühwein. We're lucky and have countless markets taking place across the city, but for those living in the UK or elsewhere, you could plan a weekend away to a UK city offering markets. Or, you could even plan a weekend away in Germany, or elsewhere in Europe, that holds the Christmas markets. Munich and Berlin would hold amazing ones I'm sure, but I'm biased and always repping Hamburg. It's a great idea for a romantic weekend away with your loved one, or even winter getaways for the girls! If you're planning a trip, why not do a journey by rail between Austrian cities, Innsbruck, Salzburg and Vienna, or head to Austria’s Lake District where the villages on the shores of Wolfgangsee have beautiful markets for all.
Just go anyway
Are there all these places on your bucket list that you've been longing to visit, but now it's winter you don't think it's the right time? Why wait for summer? Every country has something to offer for every season, you just have to find it. Just because Italy is gorgeous in the summer, doesn't mean it can't be fabulous in the winter. If it's city breaks you're thinking of then really, why wait? A city can be just as much fun in winter as it can in summer. Hamburg for instance has been having gorgeous autumnal weather lately with plenty of sunshine and gorgeous orange leaves on all the trees. I actually think autumn has been Hamburg's best season so far! If you're planning winter getaways then you can read my guide for planning a weekend away in Hamburg here. Basically, my best advice, don't let the weather put you off, just do it anyway!
What winter getaways are you planning this year? Are you put off traveling during the winter? Why?