I can imagine that living in Orlando has its perks. The climate attracts tourists from all over the world and, as such, there is plenty so see and do and eat – even for locals. I know we enjoy our holidays to Florida. But at this time of year, Floridians miss out on something very special – a ‘proper’ winter.
Images of Santa Claus flying over snowy vistas have been commonplace recently, but the white stuff – capable of transforming the look and feel of an area as well as opening up several sporting opportunities – is something Florida rarely, if ever, get to experience.
Snow vacations offer a fantastic opportunity to experience something completely different. Most destinations offer stunning scenery and a heap of activities to choose from. Yes, these kind of vacations can be found in the US (Vail and Aspen are two excellent examples) but you should give serious consideration to looking further afield and soaking up a different culture, too.
Why not give skiing or snowboarding a try? Or strap on the crampons and partake in a little climbing and hiking. If you lean towards the more relaxing things in life, ski resorts offer plenty of what the Europeans call ‘apres-ski’ – bars, restaurants and spas.
Before you travel, here are a couple of tips to make your journey that little bit smoother.
Firstly, leaving the US requires a passport. Information on how to apply for one can be found on the usa.gov website. Much of the application can be done online, but the process must be completed in person, so make sure you give yourself enough time.
Once you’ve done that, why not make your airport experience a bit smoother? The good folks at Looking4.com offer awesome deals from Orlando airport on a meet and great airport parking service. All you have to do is pull up at the terminal and unload your luggage.
A driver will meet you and take your vehicle to secure parking. When you return from your vacation, the driver will meet you at the terminal door, hand over the keys and let you drive off without having to make the often long trip to the parking lot.
Back to the recommendations. Here goes…
Located in the mountains of British Columbia, Whistler is regularly top of ‘best ski resorts in the world’ lists. It is full of ski runs (obviously), shopping, bars and restaurants, spas, trails to hike and mountain bike. It is a remarkable part of the world, with views you’d scarcely believe existed if you weren’t to see them for yourself.
The Alps is known the world over for its resorts and, according to Conde Nast, Val-d’Isere is currently the best in the world. The natural beauty is a level up from what you’d find in, say, the Rockies, and regular winter holiday makers will tell you that European resorts are cheaper than those in the US – from ski passes to accommodation.
Val d’Isere is very popular with visitors from the UK and has adapted to this. As a result, you won’t have any difficulty with the language, but you’re always welcome to give French a go!
Valle Nevado, Chile
This may come as surprise, but South America is home to some amazing winter retreats. Valle Nevado is the county’s biggest and has a purpose-built base area designed for international visitors. Staff at the resort speak English and it is full of facilities to make your time away from the slopes hugely enjoyable. You’re also likely to experience bright blue skies, as the sun shines 80% of the time.
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