It's the first day of the rest of the year, and for us, that means only one thing: time to start making new travel plans! We've got about a million and one ideas cooking, but to narrow the playing field a bit, we're taking a closer look at where we can go on the cheap. Here, a sampling of the best deals to be had to kick off 2014 – better hurry, though, some of these expire in just a few days!
Crested Butte, one of southwest Colorado's most popular ski towns, comes alive in January with a full lineup of activities, including a moonlit yurt dinner (January 17), a Winter Carnival (January 25) and a First Friday Art Walk (January 3 in Gunnison; January 30 in Crested Butte). But what will really draw visitors is the area's January vacation deals: at the Ruby of Crested Butte B&B, guests can snag a second night for just $1 thanks to the "Butte for a Buck" promotion (valid Monday-Thursday until January 31). Meanwhile, the historic Elk Mountain Lodge is offering a $134 per person, per night "Stay & Ski Deal," including breakfast and a ski pass. It's valid from January 5-30 with a minimum two-night stay.
Five nights of pampering and adventure in the Dominican Republic could be just what the doctor ordered in 2014. And Al Sol Luxury Village, a 299-suite resort ten minutes from Punta Cana International Airport, has the perfect "All Under the Sun" package to cater to your adrenaline-pumping needs: for just $1,065 per person, guests will receive five nights in a suite, personalized check-in, a butler, a beach buggy tour, and discounts on spa services. Valid from January 3-April 20; use the code LSA when booking.
The 600-room Wyndham Grand Rio Mar in Puerto Rico is enticing sun worshippers this winter with rates starting at $184 per night with a minimum stay of four nights. The resort, situated on 500 acres along the El Yunque Caribbean National Rainforest, will also throw in a $100 dining credit. Book by April 26, valid for stays through December 20, 2014; use the code BPRFBCR when booking.
Twenty-two miles southwest of Los Angeles, Catalina Island is a Mediterranean-like haven with two 2,000-ft peaks, bike trails, wildlife, a waterfront casino, and pretty much any outdoor activity you can dream up. This winter, an island-wide promotion is offering travelers up to 30 percent off rates at two luxurious hotels, The Avalon and The Aurora, as well as free boat transportation to and from the island, island taxi transfers, and free breakfast (from $395 for two nights at the Avalon; from $393 for two nights at The Aurora). Meanwhile, the more romantic, couples-oriented Hotel Metropole is offering a Winter Special starting from $219 per night, featuring Deluxe Room accommodations, a bottle of champagne, a luxury spa basket, breakfast, and two roundtrip boat vouchers. All specials valid for travel through March 28, 2014.
Travelers looking for an incentive to explore the east coast should look no further than Virginia, where two winter deals in particular caught our attention. The first, perfect for an adventurous splurge, is offered through Holladay House B&B in Orange, VA, where $850 gets you two nights' accommodation, daily breakfast, a one-hour biplane ride for two, two white silk aviator scarves, and photos of the airborne journey – in total, a $150 savings. The "Scenic Sky-line Biplane Ride" package is valid for travel through March 31. Meanwhile, in Richmond, the "Holidays at the Jefferson" package offers guests a room, breakfast for two, and free parking, for $265 per night at this beautiful luxury property through February 28.
A January-only promotion at one of London's top "affordable chic" hotels is reason enough to make a quick hop over the pond next month. Qbic London, known for its compact, soundproof rooms with free Wifi, and locally-sourced organic breakfasts, is offering weekday rooms starting from $89 and weekend rooms from $106 with guaranteed late check-out. The offer runs through January 6, and is valid for stays from January 2-31; use the code JS14 when booking.