You’ve been working hard all year, and you’ve got a boatload of accumulated paid time off to use. Sure, you could take a “staycation,” and hang around at home for a week, but wouldn’t it be more fun to go somewhere with your best friends?
A lot of companies have a use-it-or-lose-it policy regarding PTO, so your friends may also be thinking about what to do with their time. Pick up the phone, call your besties and start talking about some winter vacation plans!
Picking a place
If you and your friends live in different parts of the country, try to settle on a destination that’s easy for everyone to get to (as in, don’t make your friend in Los Angeles fly to New York, unless she really doesn’t mind a long flight).
Popular tourist destinations like Las Vegas may offer discounted hotel rooms around the winter holidays, and airfare may be lower around that time, too. Airfare tends to be cheaper when you fly to a popular destination, because so many airlines are competing for customers.
Looking for a beachy getaway? You could meet up in Cancun, Mexico, where many hotels offer all-inclusive packages. And you can find plenty of activities that are great for groups — like interactive dolphin adventures, horseback riding and jungle tours.
International travel does require a bit more planning. You’ll all need passports, and you should get a travel insurance policy that will cover your medical care in another country. So if you’re going to Mexico or some other international spot, start planning several months in advance; it can take a month or so for your passport request to be processed.
Embracing the snow
Ladies, one of the best things about winter is getting to show off your collection of outerwear, boots and scarves. And if you’re more ski bunny than beach babe, head to Colorado for a cozy winter retreat.
You can find good deals online for skiing and winter activities. Remember that at most ski resorts, you’ll have to pay extra for use of the chair lift, so look for chair lift discounts.
Colorado weather can change quickly in the winter, blanketing roads in snow. So you may be better off sticking to one general area, rather than trying to cover too much ground on your trip. The last thing you want is to be stranded on the side of the road, where no one can admire those fabulous fur-lined boots you just bought.
Shopping as a team sport
Assuming your friends are OK with flying to New York, schedule your vacation to coincide with big holiday sales. You’ll enjoy seeing the impressive window displays, decorations and twinkling lights — not to mention deep discounts on high-end fashion! You know shopping is more fun with friends. Plus, your besties will keep you from buying something that’s on sale, but not necessarily flattering for you.
These are just a few ideas for how you can use that PTO and spend some quality time with your friends. Start a conversation with your friends now about an end-of-year getaway!