Guy's Guide: Last-minute warm weather getaways

GOLDEN VALLEY - When the calendar shows President's day in your rear-view mirror and the meteorologists are talking about the worst snowstorm of the season, followed by the return (again) of the dreaded and all-too familiar Polar Vortex, even the most ardent winter supporter has to be looking for the escape hatch.

Generally Minnesotans don't need a lot of encouragement to escape Minnesota's winter confines, but what if you said a winter trip wasn't in the cards this year, and now you regret it? Is it too late to find a deal on a warm-weather destination?

Nora Blum from Travel Leaders says, "No", at least if you know how to play a last-minute getaway. Blum says if you're looking for a warm weather getaway with the guys your best bets remain a couple of popular destinations.

Blum says Las Vegas is great because it works as either a short or long getaway. Mid-week trips are less expensive, and there are many choices in terms of hotels and resorts, plus entertainment options from gambling and golf to food and nightlife.

As for Mexico, Blum says it remains a great value, particularly booking as an air/hotel package or (as most people do) booking an all-inclusive resort. Guys can take advantage of great fishing opportunities (far different from those here at home on the lake). All-inclusive resorts are great in terms of budgeting (costs are taken care of up front for hotel, food, drink and some activities. Golf is sometimes an included item at all-inclusive resorts – check with your travel agent for details.

Now, if you're planning your escape with your significant other Blum says great options at reasonable prices include Las Vegas, Mexico and various Caribbean destinations (Jamaica, Punta Cana, etc.

When it comes to Las Vegas, there is/are great dining, shopping, shows, spas and fabulous pool to soak-up some Vitamin D. Also, a short drive away from The Strip and there is hiking and outdoor activities.

When it comes to Mexico and the Caribbean, Blum says all-inclusives allow couples to relax and not worry about the details; it has all been taken care of. There are adult-only all-inclusives, which will allow you to relax and reconnect. Again, food, drinks, and certain sports/activities are included. Plus there are a range of options all the way up to luxury and ultra-luxury all-inclusives.

Finally, while guys tend to think they can do things better by themselves, Blum says it's wise to use a trusted travel agent. Consider, they are your advocate and can work with you to find the right vacation for your budget. What you think is a great vacation may be completely different than your next door neighbor. Your travel agent will get to know you and wants to understand more about what you (and those traveling with you) so he/she can plan a vacation that is a great investment of your time and money.

Bad weather has been impacting flights. By using a travel agents, they are working on your behalf to make alternative arrangements for you, should those be necessary. You won't have to stand in a long line at the airport, and no waiting on hold forever calling into an 800-number. Your travel can work to snag you the last seat on the last flight, if necessary.

And finally, Blum says to buy travel insurance. It is a very small fraction of the cost of your trip, but could save you, literally thousands (or tens of thousands) of dollars in the event of an emergency.


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