The chilly winds doth blow, Winter Storm Decima (what kind of a name is Rudolph for a reindeer? What kind of a name is Decima for a winter storm?) is bearing down on the Midwest, the Target parking lot has a traffic pattern that resembles downtown Bangkok, and are you tired of “Santa Baby” yet? We sure are.
The sum total of these experiences is that the holiday-travel season is in full force, and it’s time for us to deal with it.
There are a couple of things to bear in mind as you approach the 2016 holiday travel season, and we’re here to cover every angle. Let’s start with the Great White Elephant in the room, namely …
The weather. The next couple of days are not going to be very nice east of the Mississippi. The Upper Midwest is expecting upwards of a foot of snow, and that will be tracking east through the weekend. Coming fast behind the snow is a nasty blast of arctic air that will send temperatures plummeting. You like the idea of -5 for a high? Welcome to your weekend. There’s good news beyond, though; the government’s Climate Prediction Center notes that temperatures are forecasted to moderate across the country into the next week, and the travel forecast for Christmas looks pleasantly benign, if a bit moist. However, as the weather skeptics are fond of saying, it’s early.
The destinations (domestic). If you’re thinking of a last-minute – and we mean last-freaking-minute – getaway for the holidays, there are still some nice domestic destinations in play. As we mentioned in an earlier blog post, the whole area from Laguna Beach down to San Diego is always fine this time of year, and there’s always Florida, though we’d scoonch it up a bit and recommend the Mobile area. Looking to ski? Fly into Salt Lake City and radiate.
The destinations (international). As we mentioned in a different earlier blog post, the islands are doing their very best Jimmy Buffett impersonation right now, and we are listening with both ears. Samoa, Bermuda, and Nevis are tops on our list, though right behind (and not mentioned in the previous post) is Anguilla, an island noted for its extreme laid-back-ness, which sounds so good right now. We’ll pass on Santorini for now, since it’s mostly closed for the duration, but Iceland? Sure; we’ll gladly trade some cold for fewer tourists. It’ll make those hot springs feel even warmer than usual.
The getting there. The internet says there are deals to be had. Google Flights says it’s $187 on Frontier from Chicago to Miami if you travel Friday to Friday. California? It’s $316 from Chicago to Santa Ana on American and $393 on Spirit from Chicago to LAX. That ski trip to Salt Lake starts at $296 round trip out of Chicago, courtesy of Delta. Stuck on the East Coast? It’s $158 on Spirit from LaGuardia to Fort Lauderdale – or, if you feel like splurging, $258 on JetBlue. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg dealwise; sites like AirfareWatchdog are always turning up remarkable fares to equally remarkable destinations.
The travel insurance. Yeah, we’ve got this one wrapped up and tied in pretty paper, with a big ol’ bow on top. Holiday travels demand travel insurance; there’s just too much at stake, starting with your sanity. Flying cross-country? AirCare protects your flights for cheap, starting at $34. ExactCare covers the whole enchilada, including the enchiladas. It’s what you want for those last-freaking-minute getaways. And both AirCare ExactCare come with 24/7/365 travel assistance, because we know how much tires love to go flat at this time of year.
The holiday travel season has arrived! Cue the record! Be safe!