CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - If these bitter cold temperatures are causing you to long for time lounging along a tropical beach, but you just never got around to planning a winter vacation, we have some good news.
There are some very good last minute deals available to various parts of the country and the world that won't break your family's budget.
We caught up with Mark Albert, of The Voyage Report, who says it is not too late to travel this winter. Albert pointed out four deals he found that could pique your interest.
"Be careful if you are planning a Caribbean trip. Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the northern part of the Caribbean so make sure you look south," Albert said.
He recommends traveling to the Bahamas, Aruba and Jamaica adding that hotels are offering free nights, free babysitting and various credits.
"If you want to go to Puerto Rico or the US Virgin Islands you might see some deals out there but you're going to have to do your homework and call ahead," he explains. The hurricane devastation is still apparent in many areas of those islands.
"A deal is nice but it isn't great if you're not going to have the travel experience you're looking for," Albert said.
Albert found a flight from Charlotte to Madrid, Spain with one stop for $472. He said European flight deals are a great secret right now with many hovering between $300 and $400 if you're flexible.
If you want to stay in the continental United States he suggests taking the family to a national park in the south. It will likely be warm and the National Park Service is waving entrance fees to parks for four days this year. The first is in a couple of weeks on Jan. 15 for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Finally he suggests a last minute cruise.
"Cruise ships are desperate to sell cabins. Couple that with inexpensive flights and you can get a great deal. I found a flight from Charlotte to Ft. Lauderdale for $69 round trip. Then you're right there at the cruise port and sometimes if you book last minute you can get the cruise for the equivalent of the price of a tank of gas a day," Albert said.
No matter where you go, he says research is important. Looking at social media and calling the local Chamber of Commerce in advance of your trip will help you determine if any destination is right for you.
Click here for advice from The Voyage Report on saving money this winter.