FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Next time you're shoveling your icy Fairfield County driveway, imagine yourself on a beach in the Caribbean islands or Cancun or Hawaii, or many of the other vacation destinations of choice this winter.
A highly unscientific and non-empirical sampling of some travel professionals and one traveler in Fairfield County affirms that people are taking – or at least thinking about taking – some dream vacations this year.
“They’re traveling all over the place,” said Carol Warren, owner of Warren Travel Group in Norwalk. “As always, our more seasoned travelers are choosing their destinations very specifically. If they’re interested in an island or a resort on it, they go there for the amenities associated with it, such as privacy, hotel and restaurant quality and beautiful beaches,”
Less-seasoned and more budget-conscious Fairfield County travelers, said Warren, are heading toward destinations that are referred to as “all-inclusive,” with meals, activities and often alcohol figured into the overall fees.
“People around here are heading to warm places, just like almost every winter, even when the winter’s not too bad,” said Warren.
Janet Bangser, owner of Pathfinders Travel Agency in Westport, is seeing a demand this year for Caribbean cruises. “They offer complete packages,” she said. “Costs are all included, particularly on lines such as Regent Seven Seas, where shore excursions, airfare and all drinks are rolled into the price.”
Warren said senior citizens tend to plan their vacations well in advance of their trips, which often allows them to take advantage of special offers and discounts.
Warren also is seeing Fairfield County travelers express “typical seasonal” interest in skiing vacations, both domestic and abroad.
Bangser said she believes the stronger economy is becoming a convincing factor when it comes to vacations this winter: “We are definitely seeing activity from Fairfield County residents who haven’t traveled for a couple of years and are now feeling comfortable spending some money on vacations.”
“I am thinking of going somewhere this winter,” said potential traveler Rena Wool of Norwalk, who said one of her desk drawers is littered with travel pamphlets.
“Every year I think I’m going to go on a great vacation somewhere and I can’t seem to make it happen, but this year I’m going to make it happen,” she said.
“I’m either going to go to the Caribbean or the Grand Canyon, because I’ve never been there.”
“Or Disney,” she said, adding she had been thinking of making a trek to the Florida theme park with her granddaughter.
“Either way,” she said, “I better make a plan soon.”