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Fly South for the Winter: Travel Tips for Sun Seekers and Bargain Hunters

If you’re a sun lover like me, you spend chilly days fantasizing about beaches and warm, faraway destinations. Though some people revel in the freezing weather, as a Southern Hemisphere native, coping well with New York’s brutal winters just isn’t in my DNA.

But here’s the good news. Now that the holidays (and peak-season airline prices) have passed,  you can find great deals to destinations south of the equator. If you’ve already been to Hawaii, the Caribbean and Mexico, then how about going further afield and exploring some of the Southern Hemisphere’s best foodie destinations?

Countries such as Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa are now enjoying summer, and fall will start in March. So now is not only a great time to explore these countries’ local cultures and culinary traditions, but it’s prime time to snag a bargain – or break open the piggy bank for that trip of a lifetime.

And if you love visiting vineyards, fall in the Southern Hemisphere also means harvesttime. While you’re waiting another six months to visit destination wineries in the United States, grapes below the equator are ripe and ready to vinify.

I’ve curated an incredibly special trip to New Zealand with travel dates in April and May, when you’ll experience beautiful autumn colors, and may even experience harvest at some wineries. This carefully planned (and surprisingly well-priced) trip would be nearly impossible to arrange as a solo traveler.

South America offers exceptional value, and Argentina is one of its countries that you should visit this year. This beautiful country offers vibrant city life and relaxing wine country stays. Incredible food and vibrant wine production makes this an ideal destination for the travelling epicure.

For a full eight days of wine and culinary adventure, take a look at this week’s Mendoza and Buenos Aires package. It offers a stunning value on fabulous accommodations, wine tastings, a cooking class and many included meals. 

When you’re thinking about traveling south for the winter, there are several things you’ll want to consider before booking your ticket:

1.Look for airfare sales. Consider letting the airfare determine your destination. Your favorite airline will sometimes post incredible deals. While you may see high-season fares to Hawaii or the Caribbean, you’ll sometimes find comparable or better pricing with destinations even farther south. And count up your miles. Airlines will have more availability for mileage tickets between now and summer.

2.See which airlines fly nonstop. If you’re not a big flier, but live near an international airport, look for destinations that you can fly nonstop to from your home airport. Subequatorial destinations can sometimes mean very long flight times, and cutting out a connection can make for a much more comfortable trip.

3.Play around with search engines. Many hotels I’ve found will switch from “high season” to “shoulder season” pricing around mid-April, and this can make a big difference in rates. Make sure you ask or try several date options on booking engines to find out right when the rates change. You may save a lot of money but just moving your ideal dates slightly.

4.Avoid Easter dates. This can be a time when people within the country you want to travel are either taking time off or traveling themselves. Depending on where you go, you may find stores closed and hotels pricier. I’d suggest just avoiding the week of Easter if you want to save.

Got any travel tips you’d like to share? Let me know @mindyjoyce

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