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Winter Getaways

Local travel agents say Arizona, Florida and Caribbean cruises are popular options for Central New Yorkers who want to get away from the cold

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Have you booked your winter vacation yet? Area travel agents are already booking trips for their clients’ getaways. According to two travel agents we interviewed, here’s what’s hot for locals who have the means and who want to get away from the cold.

• “I think a lot of people want cruises to the Caribbean and more in the southern Caribbean like St. Martin, Barbados, St. Lucia and Aruba.

• “Cruising is a nice, easy type of trip for people. Once they’re on the ship they can get involved with all the activities on board or just sit on a chair and simply enjoy the sunshine. The meals are included. It’s easy for people who don’t want to look around for where to eat. They don’t have to pack and unpack, yet they see different islands. They also don’t have to go onshore if they don’t want to. They can stay on the ship if they wish to.

• “There’s always Florida and Arizona. Some older adults have condos in Florida for the winter and just need an airline ticket.

• “It’s generally warm-weather places that people want to go this time of year. You tend to have more European travel in the summer months.

• “We do a little of Costa Rica and Belize.

Marcia LaClair, bookkeeper and manager at Travel Leaders, Liverpool

• “We book a lot of group travel for seniors to places in Florida, like Orlando or the West Coast. They go because of the lack of snow. It’s warmer and it can tend to be a little less expensive than the Northeast. There are more non-stop flights to places like Orlando and Tampa area. They don’t have to go through the hassle of changing planes. It’s great to get a break from the winter weather. Quite often, they have friends they know down there and they arrange to get together for some or all of the time they’re down there.

• “Myrtle Beach is also popular. It’s not as expensive.

• “We don’t see too much international travel. There is a subset of the market that continues to travel overseas, but more are taking a pass on that.

• “River cruises are very popular. Quite often, it’s the trip, not necessarily the destinations. They tend to be with a smaller number, 200 passengers. It’s a more personalized experience than large cruises and it includes all the meals and some of the sightseeing. That’s popular. The Rhine River is one a lot of people start with. Russia is less popular now. More people are looking for river cruises in the U.S., like the Columbia/Snake rivers, the Mississippi, or from New York City to almost as far as Albany on the Hudson. More and more people are looking for those kinds of things.

• “Most avoid the Northeast during the winter because of the weather. They don’t want to get on a trip and have trouble getting home or have to cancel the trip at the last minute.

Richard Oneil owner and travel agent, Travel Choice International, Syracuse

Photo: St. Martin in the Caribbean: One of Central New Yorkers’ favorite destinations in the winter.