Acapulco
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Top 16 Affordable Destinations for Winter Sun

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Acapulco
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Cheap Winter Vacations

When temperatures drop and snow blankets the ground, satisfy a vitamin D craving on the cheap by hopping a plane to a sunny domestic destination, or perhaps even a Caribbean island. For an all-inclusive package that covers flight, accommodation, meals, and drinks, book through a vacation deal site such as Cheap Caribbean or BookIt. Their seasonal discounts and last-minute sales can reduce already affordable packages to well under $200 a night. Best of all, there's no need to spend another cent while on vacation. The prices mentioned here were found in mid-December and may change as the season progresses.

Related: 24 Inexpensive Winter Cruises to Sunny Destinations

Las Vegas
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Las Vegas

Forget the beach — set your sights on the desert. With so much competition on and off the Las Vegas Strip, a 4-star hotel can be booked for under $100 a night. Along with lower room rates, visitors can enjoy a quieter scene: There are fewer rowdy groups when pool-party spots and some nightclubs have closed for the season. 

Related: 36 Free and Cheap Things to Do in Las Vegas

Orlando, Florida
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Orlando, Florida

One of the best times to meet Mickey Mouse is during the winter. Do a Disney vacation in January or February and shorter lines aren't the only benefit. You can find a greater variety of affordable hotel and food options, too. Visitors can take advantage of lower prices at the Disney Resort hotels during their "value season." Visitors generally get some of the best bargains on tickets and accommodations from mid-January to early March, with the exception of holiday weekends. 

Related: The Biggest Changes Coming to Disney in 2020

Phoenix
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Phoenix

Arizona boasts winter temperatures mild enough for camping, hiking, and biking — not to mention amazing landscapes. A search on Google Flights generated round trips under $230 from New York and Chicago in January, and under $160 from San Francisco in January and February. Pair that with a vacation rental for a very affordable winter getaway. VRBO lists more than 300 Phoenix homes and apartments priced under $100 a night.

The Pontalba Buildings in New Orleans
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New Orleans

Go for the live jazz, the Hurricane drinks, or the culinary scene in New Orleans. There's always a lot to do. For those willing to brave the raucous crowds on Bourbon Street, the next Mardi Gras is Feb. 25. A flight south in the winter is relatively inexpensive, with round trips starting at just over $100 from New York and around $280 from San Francisco.

Austin, Texas
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Austin, Texas

At other times of the year, Austin is brutally hot and overrun by festival-goers. In the winter, the temperature is mild enough for a light jacket and the barbecue is just as good. Hike up Mount Bonnell, bike around Lady Bird Lake, and eat as much beef and Tex-Mex as you can stand before flying home. Naturally, Austin is a music lover's mecca, too. Google Flights shows round-trip fares for as low as $197 from New York and $97 from San Francisco in January and February.

Cancun, Mexico
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Cancun, Mexico

This is a go-to spot for many vacationers, and the sheer number of resorts and flights helps keep prices low. Google Flights turns up round-trip airfare as cheap as $240 from New York in January and $260 in February. Fares are even a bit lower when flying from farther south, such as Miami. Escape the hotel crowds and take in the views from Playa Delfines (Dolphin Beach), hop on a glass-bottom boat to the Cancun Underwater Museum, or take a bus to Tulum to tour the Mayan ruins.

Cartagena, Colombia
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Cartagena, Colombia

For a more unconventional vacation, try South America. Round-trip flights to Cartagena start at around $250 from New York and about $240 from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, in February. Vacation budgeting site Price of Travel calls this Colombian city "probably the best bargain in the Caribbean" for hotels. Cartagena's walled old-town area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the white sand of nearby Playa Blanca beckons. 

Related: 25 Destinations Where Your Dollar Will Go Far

Miami
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Miami

At the tip of Florida, Miami enjoys balmy temperatures in the mid-70s and 80s during the winter. Visit the plentiful art galleries, stroll through Little Havana, and explore downtown, among other free and cheap activities in Miami. A trip costs significantly less in the winter. Round-trip flights start at under $150 from New York, just under $180 from San Francisco, and under $150 from Chicago, according to Google Flights.

San Diego, CA
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San Diego

With mild temperatures in the 70s during the winter, San Diego is a great destination to consider for a laid-back vacation, especially for families. There is plenty to do besides strolling along the beautiful beaches, such as visiting the art museums, Balboa Park, and the USS Midway. Google Flights shows round-trip fares under $250 from New York in January and February, while flights from Houston start at just $75.

Bahamas
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Bahamas

Fortunately, most of this island paradise escaped the worst of Hurricane Dorian and is ready for visitors. The Bahamas has always been a staple for quick beach getaways, and East Coast travelers looking for bargains will fare well, so to speak. Flights from New York City to Nassau start around $310 in mid-January, with prices from other cities on the East Coast rising a bit — Boston checks in at $322. Midwesterners can fly out of Chicago for $341. Visitors to the Bahamas can also save big with inexpensive home stays. VRBO showed numerous private homes and rooms for $50 to $100 a night in Nassau.

Montego Bay, Jamaica
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Montego Bay, Jamaica

Most of the Caribbean is a madhouse in the first few weeks of January. Wait until later in the month, when prices drop to high season from peak season, which pays off in Jamaica's Montego Bay. The destination is already competitively priced, because of the regularity of flights in and out, and it's a popular place for package offers. Cheap Caribbean has been offering a few all-inclusive, four-night packages (including airfare) for under $800.

Savannah, GA
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Savannah, Georgia

Famous for its ornate antebellum architecture and cobblestoned historic district, Savannah is also a comfortably temperate destination in winter, making this perhaps a better time to visit than the humid summer months. Walk manicured streets and parks lined with oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, visit the Historic District's Forsyth Park, explore Bonaventure Cemetery and its sculpture garden, and stroll along River Street in the Waterfront District, running parallel to the Savannah River. Three-star hotels can be found for less than $100 a night.

Bonita Springs, Florida
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Bonita Springs, Florida

Sleepy and laid-back, Bonita Springs offers pristine beaches without big crowds and a convenient jumping-off point for exploring nearby Captiva and Sanibel islands (Sanibel is known as the "shelling capital of the Western world"). Bonita Springs is also the home of the popular Barefoot Beach Preserve for gopher tortoises. Three-star hotels can be less than $150 a night, but because this is a smaller community, the best deals can be found through property rental sites such as Airbnb and VRBO.

San Juan, Puerto Rico
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San Juan, Puerto Rico

Whether you’re a nature lover or a foodie or someone just looking for a break from the cold, this U.S. territory will not let you down, with winter temperatures in the 80s. Adventuresome travelers can swim at night with bioluminescent plankton in certain coastal bays and see the tiny creatures light up when stimulated by movement. Or they can explore the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System: El Yunque. Foodies also have plenty to explore, with the island’s burgeoning craft beer and sustainable food scenes. Flights from New York start at around $100 in January and February, and flights from Chicago start at around $170.

Related: 30 Things You Didn't Know About Puerto Rico

San Antonio, TX
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San Antonio

Fast-growing San Antonio has long labored in the shadow of its hip neighbor, Austin, but is well worth the detour even when skipping the famous Alamo. Try the shops and restaurants in the Pearl District, formerly a massive brewery complex, which can be reached via the newly expanded city River Walk. Tired feet? Hop a river taxi. Also, the San Antonio Missions National Historic Park connects four gorgeous 18th-century Spanish missions along a 10-mile hiking and biking trail that follows the San Antonio River. Rangers offer free tours at all four missions. Airfare from Chicago starts at $245 in January and February; New York flights start at $174.

Acapulco
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Acapulco, Mexico

This resort town is an affordable beach paradise known for its turquoise water and unforgettable cuisine. Top attractions include Xtasea, a zip line over the Bay of Puerto Marques that reaches 75 miles an hour, and the Rollo Aquatic park, with wave pools and waterslides for kids of all ages. Just off Acapulco's coast is La Roqueta Island for snorkeling and diving. Round-trip airfare from New York starts at $380 in January.