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VOL. 131 | NO. 23 | Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Wiedower

Lance Wiedower

Valentine’s Ignites Travel desires

By LANCE WIEDOWER

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February is the shortest month of the year, but it’s also one that presents travel opportunities for couples looking to celebrate Valentine’s Day on a quick getaway.

Valentine’s weekend provides extra motivation to consider traveling in 2016 thanks to President’s Day that Monday, setting things up as a three-day weekend for the lucky few who don’t work that day.

Even schools are in on the fun, with Monday, Feb. 16, a school holiday. And some are closed the previous Friday, making it a four-day weekend.

So before you consider buying roses and a nice dinner out for your valentine, consider travel for the weekend, or even take the whole family on the road for a quick getaway.

First, let’s assume you’re not booking a flight two weeks out. So if travel is a possibility, a car is the likely mode of transportation. Gas prices are at lows not seen in years, meaning real savings for longer road trips.

Yes, hotels are likely to be booked over Valentine’s weekend; anytime Valentine’s Day falls on a weekend it means bed-and-breakfast inns, nice hotels and restaurants are booked weeks, if not months, in advance.

But you’d be surprised at the availability of rooms at those cute B&Bs in the Arkansas Ozarks or in East Tennessee. Sometimes it’s the smallest room that’s less desirable. But people also do cancel rooms.

And if you can make it a quick one-night getaway and take Monday off work, room availability is better on Sunday nights, even if that is the technical holiday this year. Most B&Bs and small inns require two-night stays on weekends and holidays, but that rule rarely applies to Sunday nights.

February also is a good time to visit Disney World. Again, if you haven’t already booked your trip, restaurant reservations and character appearances, that might be walking on the wild side to some Disney fanatics. But actually, that’s why February is a good time to head to Disney.

The long Valentine’s/President’s Day weekend might not be the best time, but if you’re willing to take the kids out of school for a couple of days, the months of January and February are some of the best times to visit Disney. It’s after the crazy Christmas season and before spring breakers head to Mouse Land, meaning crowds are more tolerable.

Instead of heading south to warmer destinations, if you own a parka, a warm hat and gloves, consider driving north to Chicago. Trivago’s Hotel Price Index shows the cheapest lodging rates in the Windy City are in January and February.

I’ve been to Chicago in January. It was cold. Really cold.

But we also walked everywhere we went. If you have a car or use public transportation you really don’t have to be in the elements that long.

I love Chicago in the summer, but it’s also really expensive. Chicago in February can’t be that bad.

But if saving on a hotel room isn’t what motivates you, may I suggest a visit to New Orleans next week for Mardi Gras? It might be expensive, but boy, it will be fun.

Contact Lance Wiedower at tripsbylance.com.

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