There's a terrible feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when your coworker leaves for vacation. That feeling gets especially more terrible in the winter time.
Let's call the coworker Betty-Sue. As you stare out the window at the cold, gray sky, lamenting how much work you have, Betty-Sue gets up and starts talking about her upcoming trip to Breckenridge, Colorado. She makes it sound magical, like it's the only place you should be from December through February.
You look up flights because you want Betty-Sue's life. Problem is, at this point, everyone and her mother wants to go to Breckenridge. That's reflected in ticket prices, which have skyrocketed because of supply and demand.
There are certain posh places everyone talks about visiting in the winter: Breckenridge, Colorado, and Park City, Utah, for skiing; Punta Cana and Miami, Florida, for tanning. But looking for affordable trips to those places this late in the game is a fool's errand. And besides, those destinations will only offer the same photos everyone else is posting on your newsfeed.
Why not think outside the box and hit up one of these unique winter getaways?
Trade in your snow shoes for a pair of cowboy boots. The Music City has become a hot travel destination for Millennials looking for a cheap, good time. You'll find good, old-fashioned fun at the honky-tonk bars on Broadway downtown, and there's always a cowboy ready to teach some new moves.
If you want the skiing of Vail but the crunchy-granola vibe of Portland, look no farther than Manchester, Vermont. In addition to two of your standard ski resorts, the New England town boasts a network of picturesque Victorian inns and some impressive local cheese offerings.
At the end of the famed 17-mile Drive in Northern California is the quaint, European-inspired town of Carmel-By-The-Sea. Known to locals simply as Carmel, the town is only one square mile, with zero traffic lights, parking meters and even street numbers. Apart from its unparalleled natural beauty, Carmel also has major street cred thanks to a former badass mayor: Clint Eastwood.
If you have your heart set on Colorado, opt for the road less traveled and visit Telluride, a ski town with a lot of character and none of the pretension. While you're at it, save your money to purchase a custom set of skis from one of the local expert shops.
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is the perfect island destination for those who want to feel like they're in the middle of nowhere without actually being in the middle of nowhere. When you're done lounging on the beach, you can explore the beautifully preserved buildings and cobblestone streets of Old San Juan.
New England sea towns might be known for their cuteness. But Greenport, settled on the North Fork of Long Island, gives them a run for their money. Come for the local artisan vibe, stay for the burgeoning vineyard scene.
Cape Cod, MA
If you're hungry for New England charm, off-season Cape Cod will satisfy your appetite. House rentals are much cheaper, but the beaches are just as beautiful — and the seafood just as delectable — during the winter months.
Athens is everything you want in a southern town. Football-loving SEC school? Check that box with the University of Georgia. Reputation for fine southern cooking? Check out the city's many farm-to-table restaurants. Neo-classical architecture and mansions? Check again. Add to that a live music scene that produced the legendary band REM, and you've got a fun weekend on your hands.
Zion National Park, UT
If you're looking to find your center and get your hike on, take your vacation to Zion National Park. The vistas are as stunning as the Rockies, but you'll get a wider variety of landscapes with Angel's Landing and the waters of The Narrows.
Corpus Christie, TX
One doesn't necessarily hear the state “Texas” and think of the shore, but Corpus Christie's proximity to the Gulf of Mexico proves you should. A twenty-minute drive will get you to Padre Island National Seashore, which showcase beaches, sand dunes, mud flats and grasslands ripe for exploration.
Las Vegas, NV
Let's call a spade a spade: Vegas is a good idea in any season. When you're bored in your everyday life and need some drama, Vegas is THE destination for glitz and glamor. Come for the slot machines, stay for the shows, and eat at some out-of-this-world buffets in the meantime. You won't go back to your normal life with any regrets (unless you got married in one of those quickie chapels).
Compensation for this post was provided by Discover it® via Elite Daily. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Discover it® or Elite Daily.