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Where I live in Texas, we usually have really hot summers with an average of over 100 days per year above 90 degrees, but we make up for it by having mild (and even enjoyable) winters. Sure we have a few cold days here and there, and maybe even some slight ice/snow mix once or twice a season, but the average daily high temperature in our coldest month of the year (January) is still 62 degrees. Pretty awesome. Sweaters, scarfs, hoodies, and warm boots are usually more of a fun novelty a few days a year than a regular necessity.
In fact, our winters are so mild that we actually get excited about heading to the mountains to ski and bundle up! It is such a unique change of weather pattern for us, that it is extra special. Usually.
This year, ever since some time before Christmas, we have had a bit of an unusual weather pattern. It has been damp, dark, and cold more often than not, and certainly for most of the last couple of weeks. We haven’t seen the sun peek through the pale grey clouds at all in days, and while I’m sure anyone in the Pacific Northwest (or God forbid Alaska) is laughing into their coffee and preparing to ship me the world’s smallest violin as they read this, those of us around here aren’t accustomed to this weather pattern at all. We don’t have a repertoire of winter activities, artificial light, or coping mechanisms to deal with the lack of sun, so this weather is seriously having an impact on almost everyone I have come into contact with this week.
People are lethargic, grumpy, slow, and certainly are developing the “winter blues”. A day or two of this weather is the perfect excuse to curl up under a blanket with a book or Netflix, but weeks of this garbage weather just makes for a garbage mood for many of us. Even my own family is dealing with a nice dose of our own Texas version of the cabin-fever-winter-blues. No recess, no sun-filled-Vitamin D, no sitting outside, no keeping the doors open, just cold and ugly.
This may seem totally tangential to travel, but I can assure you it is not. Earlier today I saw fellow blogger Angelina from Just Another Points Traveler tweet that she is considering “hopping on a plane with her little one tomorrow” in order to escape the cold in NYC. I’m sure we aren’t as cold here near Houston as they are right now in NYC, but we are probably dealing with an equal amount of “dreariness”, so I could totally understand where she was coming from.
It sounds like a totally 1%-er thing to say. I mean, what “normal people” can simply deal with a patch of particularly cold or dreary winter weather by getting on a plane and heading to Miami or the Caribbean? Well, “normal” is subjective I suppose, but certainly you don’t have to be a 1%-er to have the 7,500 British Airways Avios it takes to fly on an American Airlines operated flight from JFK – Miami. Heck, if you transfer from Amex Membership Rewards right now with the 40% transfer bonus, that drops even lower to just 11,000 Membership Reward points needed per round trip! That’s not a 1%-er number, that’s a very attainable number, even for families.
I can say with a 100% degree of certainty that what has kept the last few weeks here from being worse for us is that we have plane tickets booked to visit the sun very, very soon. As we put on three layers, warm boots, and still shiver on the way to the car (yes, we are cold weather wimps here), we know that flip flops, shorts, bathing suits, and (gasp) sunglasses are in our very near term future in Aruba. I look at the weather forecast for Aruba on my phone daily and smile. Sure, there may be some clouds there too, but there is also going to be sun and 84 degree weather.
I had no idea when I booked our trip to Aruba so long ago that we would need it this badly by the time it arrived, if for no other reason than to simply stand in the sun. If I hadn’t booked this trip in advance, I can guarantee we would be firing up our Avios and other accounts to see what we could do to find the sun as soon as possible.
How is winter treating you, and have you ever used miles to escape the weather?