Couple takes a selfie outside in their winter coats while on vacation.

Winter 2020 Travel Trends

September 24th, 2020

It is hard for most of us to believe that in just a few months winter will be upon us and holidays at our door. Where did summer go? If you were someone who made the decision to forego a vacation over the summer months, you no doubt are now in great need of a getaway to refresh and recharge.

Although there are still many unknowns regarding travel-what is open, how safe is it to visit, have the rules changed since we last visited, etc., you are probably are ready to make the move to get out of town and spend some quality time relaxing in a different location.

A lot of people share mixed feelings when it comes to getting back out on the road or up in the air on a plane-uncertainty, a bit of anticipation and possibly some guilt for not staying home and “staying safe.”

But the truth is we all have choices to make regarding how we continue to live our lives and there is irrefutable evidence suggesting that regular breaks and recreational activities do wonders to boost immunity and overall mental and physical well- being. And it is possible to take that trip and still be responsible as long as you do your research and travel prepared.

So where can you travel to this winter that will offer what you are looking for in a fun, cold season break?

If you are someone who traditionally prefers to run from cold weather and seek the warmth of the sun, there are plenty of resorts in the Caribbean open for guests. The big difference this year is the demand for private villas versus hotel rooms and suites.

Families or groups of friends still wanting to travel are seeking out ways to do so while still honoring the state of the world regarding the pandemic. When you rent a fully equipped villa, you have the security of knowing who you are sharing the space with and can exact greater control over cleanliness and sanitation.

Another bonus is being able to prepare your own meals which also provides vacationers more say in their vacation experience.

Opting for a villa in the Caribbean is a fantastic choice for a getaway this winter-you still have the sun, sand and resort amenities such as spa, golf and watersports but with much more authority regarding personal space and interaction with fellow guests and staff.

Some favorites already seeing reservations are Cap Juluca located on the island of Anguilla. These luxury villas are beautifully appointed with kitchens, private pools and your own villa host.

On the island of Jamaica, villas are abundant in several styles and budgets. Franklyn D. Resort in Runaway Bay, is perfect for families-included in every stay is a “vacation nanny,” who greets you when you arrive and is assigned to your family for the duration of your stay. They will care for and entertain your little ones (all highly trained and vetted) as well as keep your suite clean and your refrigerator stocked. The suites are 2 and 3 bedrooms all with full kitchens and beachfront or pool views.

If you do not have a passport, or it needs renewed, unfortunately there is a significant delay right now for these services, but you can still plan a tropical escape to Puerto Rico or the U.S Virgin Islands, neither which require passports for U.S citizens and both offer villas.

While we are all still adjusting to homeschooling, working from home and navigating the ever- changing climate, our thoughts are turning to the things that calm us, restore peace and provide a sense of stability in the charged atmosphere.

Yoga and spa retreats are the go- to this winter to get back to ourselves and spend some quality time in meditation and reflection. Our bodies and our minds are seeking the things that make us feel good inside and out-massages, hydrotherapy pools, renewing facials, reflexology and aromatherapy.

Luckily, there are still many places, some probably in your backyard, offering plenty of chances to immerse yourself in an indulgent spa week. Although you might find some treatments limited during this time, most spas are fully operational and offering everything on the spa menu while practicing stringent safety protocols.

The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale Arizona, boasts an award winning spa , “Well and Being,” that will pamper and relax you with specialty massages like the “Alpine Arnica Deep Tissue,” and the “Magnesium Massage.”

The spa is not just all about unwinding, they also provide nutrition classes and acupuncture treatments. The surroundings are gorgeous with the McDowell Mountains providing the backdrop. Six pools, golf courses and a beach top off the experience. You can pick from packages or create your own for a highly personalized winter retreat.

There are those who love the cold, cheer for snow and pray for blizzards, and those winter trips are still ready and waiting for you. Skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling are exhilarating activities that get the blood pumping and the adrenaline running. This kind of getaway is a staple for many over the colder months on the calendar and thankfully will still on trend this year as well.

If your family has always taken to the mountains for your annual vacation, there will be plenty of options and availability this winter. Outdoor activities still rank as one of the most desirable ways to spend vacation time during the pandemic and winter sports will continue to carry over that trend from the summer camping and kayaking trips.

Your options on where to go when it comes to ski and snow trips are endless-Vermont, Colorado, Utah are home to some of the best choices of slopes and après ski activities. If you have traveling companions that maybe aren’t as into the frigid temps as other members of the group, they will no doubt be very comfortable in the lodge sipping hot chocolate by the fire or indulging in a spa treatment.

One of the favorite places to spend a ski vacation is The Lodge at Breckenridge nestled in the mountains of Colorado. Even though it is not a ski in/ski out resort, the 3.5 miles drive to the slopes is nothing in comparison to the total immersion in the wilderness feeling you will get when you stay here.

The Lodge has both standard rooms that are anything but with some offering balconies and fireplaces as well as private home rentals with full kitchens. The amenities are unsurpassed with gorgeous views of The Rockies, hot tubs, a luxury spa and as a bonus the whole property is dog friendly. Your favorite winter outdoor activities are just a shuttle ride away and the Lodge has plenty of storage for your skis and snowboards.

And finally, it looks as though the theme park adventures put on hold in the spring and summer will see a resurgence in popularity come winter. All the major theme parks are open for business with strict mask and Covid-19 sanitation protocols in place. The most popular them parks closed at the height of spring break, forcing many to forego their annual pilgrimage to their favorite fantasy escapes.

Now that we are craving familiarity, the theme parks offer us a beacon of normalcy and routine in a sea of constant change. People that have been vacationing at the parks for years are finally able to return and are anticipated to do so in higher numbers this winter break.

The Four Seasons Orlando at Walt Disney World has tapped into our current struggles between staying home and getting away by creating a “Schoolcation” package for families with school age children who are learning virtually.

When staying at the resort, parents can continue to get their work done while their children attend structured learning sessions with teams of supervising staff in the hotel’s event space. Session take place in morning/early afternoon which leaves the rest of the day for families to enjoy the parks. They are also offering “Phys Ed” classes (golf, tennis, aqua fitness in the lazy river) and Culinary classes for the young chef.

The Omni Amelia Island Resort in Florida, also has “Edu-Cations,” which are not supervised by staff members and do require a guardian to attend, but this program also offers a place for virtual schooling during the day complete with a quiet place to work, school supplies and snacks. The hotel also gets kids involved in getting out into nature with their “Field Trip Passport,” program which encourages them to explore their surroundings to complete activities to earn credits towards the purchase of nature books.

These are great ways to get the kids (and you) out for a change of venue which can help inspire creativity and break up monotony.

Everyone is looking for a way to get a break in the coming months as well as a change of scenery. Savvy travelers will still have plenty of choices for winter getaways and the trends point to closer to home options just as they did in the summer months. Plenty of places are open for business and are really looking to draw in leisure travelers with great deals, innovative packages and creative onsite amenities.

No matter what you choose to do, it is important to do your research and make sure that you are prepared with whatever you need to travel. It also important to check to see if you need to do anything prior to leaving home such as file your plans online or have a negative Covid test ready to present when you land if you are flying.

Travel does look a little different us this season, but that shouldn’t stop you from going. Rest and relaxation are more important today than ever to keep up spirits and boost morale and good feelings.

Take the time to change up your surroundings and get out to do something different or get back to a place that fosters fond memories and instills a sense of nostalgia and peace. You will be so glad that you did and so glad that you didn’t pass up a chance to get away this winter.