It's that time of the year when we have to admit to ourselves that summer is officially over. The window for beach vacations might be closed, but don't store away your suitcase just yet! Put your remaining vacation days to good use by planning your next big trip this winter. Winter travel has been steadily picking up momentum over the past few years—and with good reason.
Need some hard evidence? Here are our top 5 reasons why winter travel is giving summer a run for its money.
1. Book Cheap Winter Flights
While flight prices typically soar in the summer, winter dates are a completely different story. Budget airlines are increasingly offering rock-bottom fares to winter-focused destinations like Iceland, Scandinavia, and the U.K. With flights prices dipping under $200 round trip, European travel is becoming more accessible than ever.
Now is a great time to buy as airlines like Norwegian, Icelandair, and WOW air are offering fall sales with plenty of winter dates to choose between.
2. Stay In Unbelievably Cozy Accommodations
Sometimes the best thing about traveling is just cozying up in your hotel. Trust us, we don't judge. With winter travel increasing, some unique and ridiculously cozy hotels have popped up to keep travelers comfortable. Think plush blankets, fireplaces, hot tubs, and oversized chairs to settle in with a good book.
Check out Santa's Aurora Hotel in Lapland, Finland, where all rooms include their own private sauna. If you're looking to splurge, consider booking one of their glass-igloo rooms and experience sleeping under the northern lights.
Source: Santa's Aurora Hotel
3. Explore Holiday Markets And Festivals
If you're planning a winter trip, be sure to look up events happening in your destination. If you're traveling between November and January, don't miss some of the truly amazing holidays markets around Europe, Canada, and even the U.S. Do some shopping, go ice skating, and drink your fill of hot chocolate or mulled wine. What better way to get into the holiday spirit?
Even if you're too late for the holiday season, many major cities offer winter festivals, like Quebec City's famous winter carnival in February. This festival features parades, banquets, an ice palace, and winter sports competitions.
4. Visit Winter-Themed Bars
After an activity-filled day, you might want to warm up with a drink. From ice bars, to igloos, to Game Of Thrones themed bars, winter nightlife has never been so trendy. Find the world's first permanent ice bar at the Icehotel in Stockholm, Sweden. This bar is redesigned every year by ice sculptors—and features a curated menu of cocktails to match the current design theme.
Plus, if you think rooftop bars are only fit for the summer, think again. Check out these igloos at the 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar in New York City. The heated igloos accommodate up to 12 guests and feature a menu of hot alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Boozy Bailey's Hot Chocolate, anyone?
Source: 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar
5. Try Some Winter Outdoor Activities
Summer may have the biggest reputation for outdoor activities, but don't underestimate winter. If you're looking for some adventure, try out skiing, snowboarding, snow-shoeing, dog sledding, or ice skating.
Not your style? Go to a Northern Lights observatory, visit some hot thermal springs, or simply wander around and admire a snow-covered city. Winter travel can offer a great time to see popular destinations at their least crowded (and often most charming). Trust us, you won't run out of things to do.