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Beat the winter blues with a cruise or tropical destination

It's time to book your winter get-away. Ashley Miller/Daily

Travelers looking to escape the snow and below freezing temperatures often find themselves daydreaming of warmer weather and some fun in the sun only need two tools: imagination and a travel agent.

Beth Drummonds, the inside travel planner for Alpha Voyages Travel in Winchester, has a passion for travel and loves sharing it with her clients.

“I love when people come in looking to get away for a few days, a weekend or a week,” Drummonds said. “There’s nothing quite like getting away to enjoy warmer weather that evokes those little warm happy thoughts.”

For those looking to get away from the colder weather Drummonds explained the two types of vacations Alpha Voyages typically books for its clients: winter get-a-ways or cruises.

“Some people come into the office knowing exactly where they want to go,” she said. “Others will come in and have no idea. Both types are fine. We see it all.”

Drummonds said the most valuable tip she can share with travelers is to come in with a little research or “have an idea of where you want your destination to be.” She also added being flexible in planning and dates, having a budget and a passport.

When it comes to deciding on the perfect winter get-a-way Drummond said she believes the “world is your oyster.”

“There are so many opportunities for people out there that want to travel,” she said. “Like the Caribbean, the world is huge.”

Whether it’s a family of five, a couple on their honeymoon or just a few friends looking to enjoy some sun, the destinations are endless.

For those looking to keep two feet in the sand Drummonds suggested anything south of Florida including  the Bahamas, Port-au-Prince in Haiti or Aruba.

“Jamaica, Punta Cana, and the Virgin Islands are perfect destinations to travel to during the winter months,” she added. “It’s prime travel season.”

All-inclusive resorts, such as Sandals, are still a top favorite for young couples, baby boomers and those looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city and leave the children behind.

“Travelers still love the idea of these types of get-a-ways because everything is typically included in the price,” she said. For these types of vacations Drummonds said planning is key. 

Beaches Resorts in Turks & Caicos and Jamaica are known for their family friendly atmosphere.

“They offer a wide variety of activities for the whole family,” Drummonds said, explaining that activities can include exciting water parks, Sesame Street characters and an ocean of water sports.

For families wanting to stay in the states, Drummonds said Disney is still a huge hit for kids of all ages; parents included.

“Because it’s is so popular, we will sometimes see parents pull their children out of school for a long week to travel to Disney,” she said. For families looking to beat the summer heat, Drummonds suggested traveling to Disney during off season; when a holiday weekend isn’t approaching and kids are still in school. 

Also popular at this time of year are winter cruises.

“A lot of people will take a winter cruise to get away to some place warm and tropical,” she said.

Destinations include Saint Luca, Cancun, Cozumel and the Yucatan Peninsula. Drummonds added that January is a popular time for travelers to cruise the seven seas as it’s a popular time for winter deals.

If prior planned, Drummonds explained a cruise for two, without air, can run around $2,000. For a three-night stay, with air, a couple can travel for $2,500. “Sometimes we can get even better deals. It just depends on the calendar.”

Something she said she’s seeing more of are couples looking for last-minute bookings. “It’s not impossible, it just takes a little bit more research and deal hunting.”

For those looking to travel but are afraid to, Drummonds welcomes them into the office with open arms. “We sit and talk,” she said. “I get to know them as best as I can. And we go from there.”

By coming into the office, Drummonds said her clients are better able to understand the travel do’s and don’ts and she can provide them with a wide variety of options.

She added the most important aspect to planning any trip is uncovering what travelers what to achieve. “That’s the question we try to answer right off hand,” she said. “For some is easy, for others it’s not so.”

“Being a travel agent sets us apart from say the internet,” she said. “We’re here for our clients night and day.”

The perks of using a travel agent include connections to vendors, handling of little details, and having the peace of mind knowing someone is there if something should go wrong.

Join the staff monthly for “Travel Talks” where those looking to travel can learn about destinations, the perfect family vacations and more. Visit Alpha Voyages on Facebook for a full schedule: https://www.facebook.com/alphavoyages/.

Alpha Voyages is located at 133 Premier Place, Winchester.

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