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Once the exciting rush of planning for (and surviving!) the November and December holidays passes, the cold truth sets in: Winter is coming. January and February, with their frigid temperatures, diminished daylight hours, colorless pallet and dearth of any fun holidays, seem to last much longer than any other months. Spring is still far off and the only thing on the horizon is more of the same. Is that not the perfect motivation to plan a winter getaway? The best part about vacationing in the winter are the options: you can choose a destination to escape the cold or one that embraces it. Alternately, if you’re not looking for either a tropical getaway or a ski holiday, this “off season” is often a great time to score a bargain on travel to the cities of Europe. No matter the goal, here are some great ideas for your next winter vacation.


Chasing the Warmth

Phuket, Thailand: Rife with mountains, rainforests, spectacular beaches, deluxe resorts and phenomenal weather between December and April, Phuket has all of the ingredients for a perfect winter escape.


Dubai, UAE: Dubai offers the perfect combination of ideal winter weather, luxury shopping, incredible architecture, and a fantastic nightlife.


Zihuatanejo, Mexico: Beach lovers will delight in this resort city which lies on the Pacific coast, just northwest of Acapulco.


U.S. Virgin Islands: This Caribbean favorite offers white sand beaches, abundant reefs and up to $1600 in duty-free shopping for visitors.


Winter Wonderland

Quebec City, Quebec: Perched above the Saint Lawrence River, Quebec City holds the honor of the only walled city in North America. While perfect for a visit at any time of the year, it transforms into a majestic fairy tale setting during the winter.


Whistler, British Columbia: Snow-lovers will be thrilled with the options at one of the largest ski resorts in North America.


Stowe, Vermont: The hills are alive with the sound of…beautiful, Vermont-style winter. Mount Mansfield awaits, so grab your poles and skis (or your board) and come visit!


Culture, Culture, Culture

Florence, Italy: The capital of the Tuscany region is a mecca for lovers of Renaissance-era art, architecture and history.


Seville, Spain: Seville’s year-round mild climate makes it the warmest city in all of continental Europe. What better reason does one need to visit the home of flamenco dancing this winter?