It's Not too Late to go Somewhere Fun!

By+Kelli Stopczynski

It was all we could do to get through a snowy January before bitter Old Man Winter ushered in the first week of February with another huge storm. If you’ve got cabin fever, you’re not alone. Many area travel agencies saw a significant uptick in phone calls in the beginning of 2011 compared to the same time last year.

“People are booking a lot more this year,” said Dorothy Shirk, Vacation Department Manager at Menno Travel in Goshen. “I think it’s a combination of the weather and the fact that they are feeling the effects of not traveling in a while after last year’s horrible economic situation.”

The good news: if you really want to get away, Shirk said there are a few last-minute deals to be had.

The not-so-good news: those last-minute deals likely won’t be exactly what you had in mind when it comes to destination and price point.

“In order to get what you really want, you need to plan ahead,” Shirk explained. “We just had four couples who wanted to plan a spring break trip but they kept putting it off. They waited until the first week of February to book and it was too late.”

There’s a chance you could still get what you want even if you do wait, but there’s a greater chance it won’t be available, said Shirk. The two times of year you shouldn’t expect a good deal in return for a last minute booking are spring break and Christmas. If, for example, you had your sights set on spending spring break at the Atlantis resort in the Bahamas, you typically would have to book your trip early in the fall (at the latest) to get the most desirable room and travel package. 

But even if you did wait until the very last minute to think about spring break, you’re not completely out of luck. Read on for Shirk’s last minute ideas—in both warm and cool climates.

HIT THE BEACH

A CRUISE
Departures from New York, Baltimore, Charleston, Jacksonville, Mobile, Galveston and New Orleans are wonderful for families wanting to drive instead of fly to a departure point. With limited airline seats available from our area during this time, these cruise ports become very popular.

FLORIDA
Many people who live in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan don’t mind the drive to Florida. Airfare this time of year isn’t great and you might not get to stay right on the beach, but there is still availability at condos or houses in nice locations such as St. Petersburg or Fort Myers.

CANCUN, MEXICO
There’s a good chance you won’t get the resort you want, but there are usually still a few rooms available in Cancun. To avoid a potentially un-safe hotel, Menno Travel recommends booking through a reputable travel agent because some of the 2-star resorts do not have working phones, doors that lock or security in the hotel.

BE ADVENTUROUS

KALAMAZOO AIR ZOO features amusement park-style rides, full-motion flight simulators, 4-D Missions Theater, more than 30 rare aircraft, plus exhibits and educational activities.

MAMMOTH CAVE is located in Kentucky and with over 350 miles of passageways is the longest known cave system in the world.

SKIING is a great way to enjoy the winter months. Resorts in Colorado, Jackson Hole, Wyoming; Heavenly, Nevada; and Whistler, in Canada, are great spring break spots.

NATIONAL PARKS are always excellent family vacation destinations. Yellowstone, for example, has two million acres of geysers, mud pots, forests, canyons, and waterfalls. Families can enjoy viewing buffalo, moose and big horn sheep through their car windows.

HEAD TO THE CITY

ATLANTA, GEORGIA has so much to offer.  Explore the world of Coca-Cola, Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, Inside CNN Atlanta, Fernbank Museum of Natural History, Atlanta Botanical Garden, High Museum of Art and Atlanta History Center.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK is a fabulous place to marvel at the skyscrapers and dazzling lights of Times Square. A year-round playground for both kids and adults, New York City has excitement and learning opportunities. You’ll never run out of things to see and do!

WASHINGTON, DC is a top destination for spring break. For many families, the spring school break coincides with the two weeks of the National Cherry Blossom Festival.