6 Affordable Year-End Destinations to Spend Unused Vacation Days
The holidays are fast approaching, and chances are, you have a few vacation days left to use before the year comes to a close. In fact, according to Expedia’s 2018 Vacation Deprivation Report, American workers received an average of 14 vacation days and only used 10, resulting in more than 653 million collective days left on the table this year. Don’t let yourself be part of this statistic! Check out these six affordable destinations that are perfect for a last-minute year-end escape…and use them before you lose them.
Early season ski values in Colorado
Early in the ski season (post-Thanksgiving, pre-Christmas week) is one of the best times to hit the slopes to find deals on lodging, fewer crowds and some fantastic snow conditions so far this year! Look for early season lodging promotions and lift ticket deals like “Kids Ski Free” at Crested Butte Mountain Resort, where all kids age 12 and under ski or ride for free, no strings attached, no lodging stay or parent ticket required, from Nov. 22 – Dec. 13, 2018.
And consider a long weekend stay in Denver at one it its historic boutique hotels enjoying the city’s burgeoning culinary and craft brewery scene. Then take the famous Amtrak Winter Park Express Ski Train that is so popular with locals and runs direct from the historic Denver Union Station to the base of Winter Park for a ski day on the mountain. This year, the ski train has added the most roundtrip dates it has had since it re-launched in 2017 with fares starting at $29 each way.
Warm days & cool nights — Sedona, AZ
There’s no better places to enjoy warm days, cool nights and plentiful sunshine during the winter season than in Sedona. Just 90 minutes north of Phoenix, this destination is both relaxing and adventure-filled, and during this slower season is the perfect time to have it all to yourself. Marvel at the Grand Canyon, just a 2.5 hour drive away, and traverse over 200 miles of trails in the area via hiking, biking, horseback riding and Jeep tours. Take a sunrise hot air balloon ride, plan a day trip to the “largest ghost town in America”, ride the Sedona trolley, or simply enjoy the spas and grounds of the many beautiful resorts dotting this stunning part of Arizona.
Surf, sand & sun — San Diego, CA
As San Diego enters its quieter tourism season, and the business of convention travel slows down for the holiday season, you’ll find affordable hotel prices even in hot areas like the Gaslamp District, and of course, the beautiful, warm weather that draws us there. It’s also whale-watching season in San Diego with lots of discounts to spot them. Visit beautiful Coronado island and tour via bike to take in the natural beauty for which it’s known, while stopping at the quaint shop and restaurants along the way.
Country Christmas in Nashville, TN
Every year, holiday events set throughout Music City offer joyful celebrations and beautiful decorations. And this smaller city is the perfect weekend escape to get in the spirit of the season without the big holiday price tag. From the candlelight open house at the Belle Meade Plantation to A Country Christmas at the Gaylord Opryland hotel, where a visit to the ICE attraction is a wintertime must for families, there’s something for everyone here. Plan early to get tickets for Christmas at The Ryman, the annual Amy Grant & Vince Gill holiday show at the historic Ryman Theater and set aside an afternoon for historic home yuletide tours and shopping the boutiques of the town’s charming neighborhoods.
Festive European-style winter escape –Quebec City, CA
Take advantage of favorable exchange rates and visit this French-speaking, 400-year-old walled city with a distinct European ambiance that lights up like no other during the holidays. The charming Quartier Petit Champlain is one of the most magical parts of town with its thousands of lights and Christmas decorations and dozens of boutiques. Discover over 1,000 local products at the Old Port Christmas Market and stop by the outdoor ice rink at Place d’Youville where visitors can skate to the sound of Christmas music. Be sure no to miss the open-air German Christmas Market, where shoppers can sample German mulled wine, cookies, gingerbread, roasted chestnuts, Bratwurst and local products. It’s like Christmas Europe without the jet lag!
Seaside relaxation along Central Coast Cali – Carmel-by-the-Sea, CA
Truly escape from the holiday rush in this quaint coastal region of California, where everything moves at a more relaxed pace. Take in the breathtaking views of the state’s famed central coastline and peruse the farmer’s markets, boutiques and art galleries of this long-time artisan community. Eat farm-to-table in its many great restaurants and find your favorite wine in one its local tasting rooms. Hike, bike, run, paddle – the options for outdoor activities are endless here and the weather is perfect this time of year, as are the hotel rates.