Summer and spring are usually the times of year synonymous with taking trips. But this year, instead of staying home post-holidays, consider hitting the road or taking to the skies. But while a sunny escape may come to mind, consider taking a unique winter vacation that offers a new kind of adventure this season.
Mollie Krengel, founder of Wild Bum, a resource for curated travel guides, says if you want to go far, try heading east. "While the winter months are peak season for travel to some warm-weather faves such as Mexico, Bahamas, or staying stateside in Florida, consider further treks such as Thailand, Penang or Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia," says Krengel. "We also recommend considering off-season travel destinations to save some pennies and avoid the crowds." (Wild Bum has insider guides to all these destinations.)
Jesse Neugarten, founder and CEO at Dollar Flight Club, agrees. "People tend to take vacations and travel in the summer months, however, traveling to popular destinations in winter is the smart move," he says. "Traveling in the winter allows you to save money and experience these amazing places without the crowds. For example, I went to Italy last November and paid $380 roundtrip from Seattle. We experienced fewer crowds, fewer lines, and overall a more enjoyable experience in my opinion."
But if an overseas excursion isn't in the cards, don't worry; there are bound to be road trip-worthy getaways within driving distance of your hometown. "Consider staying closer to home in beautiful Utah [or] explore hidden gems in the Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona," Krengel recommends. You can also head to hot spots that are typically frequented in warmer weather. Think: beach towns, tourist stops, and festival locales.
Looking for more inspo? Ahead, check out six festive Airbnb homes that are ideal for winter travel, both near and far. While there's nothing wrong with a Caribbean cruise, these original ideas will take you off the beaten path.
If you book a stay in this real igloo, you may want to bring your significant other to really cozy up. While this snowy escape is equipped with beds and thermal sleeping bags, the interior temperature stays frigid, a warning for those who don't like to shiver (that said, there are heated cabins nearby).
Still sounds too chilly? Less than two hours away by car, Rovaniemi, Finland is another destination that Neugarten recommends visiting. "Finnish Lapland is one of the most spectacular winter getaway destinations in the world," he shares of the country's northern region. "From northern lights viewing to husky dog sled rides, it will be a trip you'll never forget." As for a toastier accommodation, "We recommend staying at the iconic Arctic Treehouse Hotel for a memorable experience."
Live out your childhood dreams by spending a few nights in this quaint toy store. Since it opens as a pop-up shop between stays, it's fully stocked with toys that are sure to pique your nostalgia. Guests can take a private tour of the place while there, and when you're ready to venture out, downtown Timboon is just outside your door.
Krengel adds that the winter may be the best time to cross any Australian destinations off your bucket list. "Our winter [in the US] is peak season [in Australia], as their summer falls during our winter. It is the perfect time to go — there is so much to explore!"
#3 - Treehouse Retreat near Glacier Park, Montana
Treehouse retreats are a fun, romantic trend in experiential travel, and turns out, they're not just for warm weather. Surrounded by snow-dusted scenery, this off-the-ground accommodation is sure to enchant Airbnb-ers of all ages. Whether you hunker down with hot cocoa or enjoy skiing or hiking nearby, this is peaceful secluded spot to unwind, post-holiday stress.
But if skiing is more your thing, try heading in the opposite direction to the southern part of the state. Says Krengel, "Big Sky [Montana] is the ultimate hidden gem of ski resorts and winter fun."
Does this stunning structure look familiar? No, your eyes aren't deceiving you. This is actually the house used in the Harry Potter movies; it was the wizard's childhood home when he lived with his parents in Godrick's Hollow. In reality, though, this 15th-century hunting lodge is a gorgeous piece of history, and now, it's a bed and breakfast on Airbnb.
"Winter is a beautiful time to visit the UK, with dramatic landscapes and warm pubs," says Kengel. "It's also much more affordable than visiting during the summer months, with the flocks of tourists." Not to mention, she says, "afternoon tea will be extra special during the colder days."
This New England state is full of "laid back charm [and] adorable towns to explore," says Kengel. "It's the perfect place to retreat in nature, playing games with the family, or relaxing by the fire with a good book!"
Find solace in the quietude of the Green Mountains to unwind from the holiday rush. This beautiful schoolhouse was recently renovated but it still oozes rustic charm, and it's located on an organic farm. Come winter, enjoy time outdoors in sun or snow; you'll stay toasty by the fire pit, soaking in the hot tub, or lounging in the barrel-shaped sauna.
Those with a taste for luxury, look no further: This breathtaking French chalet will not disappoint. Featuring a home theater, a spa room, a chef's kitchen, a modern fireplace, and of course, panoramic views of Mont Blanc, a stay in this 5-bed, 5-bath home can become a family affair.
While a vacation like this certainly won't be cheap, you'll save some cash by going in the off-season. "Traveling to France in the winter months means less expensive airfare and fewer crowds," says Krengel. Further, she mentions you'll have no shortage of seasonal things to do. "With festive Christmas and winter markets, skiing, delicious food, you can really explore like a local."