Winter can be the perfect time to vacation. With crowd sizes often down, discounts during off seasons, and many warm and sandy places to escape to, the choices are limitless when it comes to planning a winter break vacation. No matter where your destination, there are things to consider before hopping on the next plane to wherever your heart craves. If you and your family are considering a winter trip, read on for planning tips.

Pack and plan with your destination in mind.

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Nothing makes a trip more successful than planning and packing for it plenty ahead of time. Travel clothing for women, children and men will be important things to consider when making packing lists. To make travel easier and nearly hassle free, try to pack items that are wrinkle resistant and think in layers. While your destination will give you a hint at what type of clothing to bring weather wise, Mother Nature is capable of surprises anywhere. That trip to a tropical place could still get chilly at night so be sure to pack items you can easily layer.

If the family’s coming with you, think about getting a suitcase or travel bag for each person. Keeping items separate will help keep you more organized during travel and in your hotel or landing spot. Even little kids can help with pulling luggage around in airports if you keep their bags light and on wheels.

Bring your furry friend.

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If you’re a pet lover who hopes to take your furry friend along for the ride, consider looking specifically for dog-friendly destinations for winter vacations.

If you can’t bring your pets on your trip, be sure to make arrangements well in advance. Whether planning to board them or leave them in the care of family and friends, you will want to be sure they are up to date on their shots and you have a safe plan for them. Knowing they are happy and secure will make your ability to relax on your trip easier.

Another option to consider when it comes to pets is renting a recreational vehicle, or RV, where your pet could easily stay as you explore a new location. Doing some research ahead about public land and campgrounds could make your winter trip something even your pet can enjoy. If you are brave enough to give it a try, this could be the perfect affordable solution for you.

Consider working with a travel agent.

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Travel agents are great resources if you’re stuck on ideas for where you’d like to travel this winter. They may know of special off season rates that will save you bundles. Or, if you plan to use winter for its snow and are looking for that perfect ski trip, a professional travel agent might have just the right deal or package for you too. Don’t hesitate to give a local agent a call as they will be happy to hear from you and will work hard to make your trip special.

Talk to family and friends.

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Everyone loves to talk about their last vacation. If you’re not sure of where to go for your next winter break, consider asking family and friends about places they’ve tried and loved. Whether you hope to escape the cold for sandy beaches or you are brave enough to head up into the mountains, word of mouth recommendations are often great ways to help with ideas for your next trip. The other great thing about trusted family and friends is that they know you best. Perhaps they’ve travelled to a destination before and thought of you. Those tend to be the sorts of places you might fall in love with too, so don’t be shy about asking around.

You can also consider engaging your teen in the travel planning. If you have a teen or a tween who’s thinking about how long braces take to come off and lolling about the house, help them feel engaged. Being a teen, especially if you have braces or other orthodontic work being done in order to get straight teeth, is hard. Planning your vacation together will help your teen feel ownership over the trip and get excited about something besides getting her braces off next fall.

Daily life at home can get pretty mundane, so use these tips to spend some time researching and planning for your next winter family trip.