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5 Travel Hacks to Land Last-Minute Mid-Winter Getaway Deals

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Suffering from the mid-winter blues? When it’s cold outside, the sun seems like a distant memory, and the holiday excitement has given way to the 9-to-5 doldrums, a mid-winter holiday may be just what the doctor ordered.

Mid-January to early-February is sometimes referred to as an "airfare dead zone". The rush of holiday travel has ended, school is back in session, and many people won’t have time off again until President’s Day weekend in mid-February. This means there are deals to be had on everything from airfare to hotel rooms if you know where to look.

Whether you’re dreaming of an adrenaline-pumping winter adventure or a relaxing week on the beach, a little pre-planning can help you land great deals on your mid-winter escape. Keep these tips in mind when planning your winter vacation:

1. Time it right.

When it comes to saving on your mid-winter escape, it’s all about timing. Savvy travelers have long scooped up flight deals by opting for mid-week, late night or early morning flights. When booking online, use a flexible travel date search to compare prices across several sites. The savings from taking a later flight could cover an extra day at your dream location or help offset more costly activities. If you're flying into a large metropolitan region, broaden your search to include multiple airports. Depending on the airline and your origin city, it may be less to fly into Long Beach than LAX or Newark than JFK. Keep your options open!

2. Visit off-season destinations.

Sure, walking through the streets of London or Paris in January may not seem as appealing as strolling through them in July, but for two cities that are notoriously expensive, opting to visit in the off season could help you save a bundle on everything from airfare to accommodation prices. Plus, if you’re off on a romantic escape, what could be more fun than snuggling with your plus one in front of the fire after a long day exploring the city?

3. Hack your airfare.

Dreaming about the beach in Thailand or Bali? A flight from the U.S. to these exotic locales won’t come cheaply, even in January. One option: Fly to a nearby “hub” city and then transfer to a regional budget carrier. For example, carriers like Air Asia and Tiger Air may offer low-cost flights to popular Southeast Asian beach destinations from cities like Tokyo and Singapore. You’ll need to factor in extra time for the connection (you’ll have to check in with the operating carrier after customs and re-check your baggage), but the savings could put that winter beach escape within reach.

4. Split costs with friends.

Renting a house for the weekend with friends or family members can get you more bang for your buck. Time Magazine reports that you’ll get on average 1,850 square feet of home rental space for the same price as a 352 square feet hotel room. Plus, you can save even more by cooking your own meals rather than eating out three times a day.

5. Snag a last-minute deal.

Ready to get out of town for the weekend but left the planning to the last minute? All is not lost. Check websites like Skyscanner and HolidayPirates for last-minute flight and vacation deals. If you’re willing to roll the dice, the app Hotel Tonight can offer significant day-of savings on boutique and luxury hotel rooms in major cities across the U.S.

Finally, no one wants their relaxing vacation to turn into a travel nightmare. Remember that identity fraud and electronics theft can happen anywhere - even at your all-inclusive resort. Check with your insurance agent to learn whether your home or auto policy offers coverage benefits while traveling.

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