Need a winter getaway? Here are some money saving tips

AAA is seeing a large number of people who are ready for a warm-weather trip
Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 05, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-07 08:34:49-05

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WKBW) — It has been a long winter season for the Buffalo/Niagara region with snow starting in November, a blizzard in January, ice and wind storms in February and frigid temperatures in March.

The weather has taken a toll on many people who are now planning a spring trip to a warm-weather destination.

"It is so cold and so frigid. Everything hurts. You just want to get out of the house and you don't care where," said Lisa Schaff from Lancaster, who decided to book a family trip to Disney and Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida.

The most popular destinations over the next two months (according to the AAA of Western & Central NY):

1. Orlando

2. Caribbean cruise

3. Punta Cana (Dominican Republic)

4. Jamaica

5. Mexico

6. European cruise

7. Aruba

8. California

9. Las Vegas

10. Hawaii

Taking a springtime trip can also be one of the most expensive times of the year due to schools being on spring break and Easter recess.

However there are ways to save, explained Renee Pilley, a travel consultant for the AAA.

1) Be flexible when you fly. Booking flights mid-week, instead of on weekends, can save on airfare. Flying non-peak times, away from school vacations and Easter, can save hundreds of dollars. Remember that the airlines hike prices when they know schools are out and during the weeks around Easter.

2) Expect places like Orlando to be jammed during spring break. Instead, consider other warm-weather destinations that might not be as crowded or as expensive. The AAA is seeing a lot of interest in Myrtle Beach and Charleston, South Carolina this year. Tampa is another area in Florida where you can find deals.

3) Disney Deals. The AAA said Disney has new deals coming out for room discounts. If you wait until after Easter, Disney drops prices for a few weeks before the May travel season kicks in (where prices go back up).

4) Consider a cruise. All your entertainment and food costs are included which can be a big savings over other types of trips where hotel, car rental, restaurants and amusement park prices can add up to a big bill.

5) Book early for the best deals.

6) Use caution when using online travel sites that promise big discounts. While sometimes you can save a lot, the AAA said it has received complaints from people who arrived at their destinations and found they had no hotel room or one in the condition they expected. The AAA said travel agents can usually get the same deals, and better, when planning a trip.

7) Remember gasoline is cheap. According to the AAA, airfare to Orlando runs around $300/person/round trip and that can make a trip expensive for a family. However, the AAA found that traveling by car can cut that cost to about $235/round trip to Orlando - a significant savings for a family with multiple children. The AAA has an online calculator that will help determine the gasoline cost - AAA gas cost estimator