In recent years, more retirees are taking the time to travel both around Canada and to destinations across the U.S. and Mexico. In fact, most retirees spend nearly $3,400 on travel expenses each year. The reason? More and more individuals and couples want to enjoy their retirement by splurging and celebrating their years of hard work.

While being retired means you can travel almost any time of the year, a winter getaway is a popular choice. Be it for Christmas with the family or just a much-needed trip out of town, there are special considerations to take before you book that dream winter vacation. 

Where do you want to go?
When most people book a winter getaway, they mean to do just that: Get away from the winter. Because not all cities across North America experience winter in the same way, it's important to pay attention to the climate of your final destination. For instance, if you're heading to the U.S., you'll want to avoid cities like Minneapolis, Chicago and most of upstate New York, where temperatures range between 7 and 26 degrees Fahrenheit during winter. Meanwhile, cities like Miami, Los Angeles and Phoenix are gorgeous during winter, with each averaging between 60 and 72 degrees from late December through early spring. 

Always fly nonstop
Across the world, winter is often the busiest travel season of the year. In Toronto alone, an average of 121,000 travelers pass through Pearson International Airport each holiday season. Because of the sheer number of people at airports, having a layover could mean missing your flight, which could then leave you stranded a few thousand miles from your destination. When booking flights online, always search for "Nonstop Flight Only." Additionally, it helps to be flexible with your arrival and departure dates in order to avoid any connecting flights. If you do have a layover, though, be sure to watch the clock to give yourself plenty of time to get to the next gate.

The beach is just one place to spend those otherwise freezing winters.The beach is just one place to spend those otherwise freezing winters.

Timing matters
The time of your actual flight can also go a long way in preventing any delays. To that end, it's always best to try to book a morning flight. Not only are you less likely to be delayed by issues at other flights - including bad weather and mechanical failures - but you also still have plenty of time to book a new flight if any hiccups occur. It's also important to consider which airport you depart from. On the one hand, smaller airports usually have fewer travelers coming and going, which makes your trip that much easier. Additionally, some airports are simply better equipped for weather and other similar issues, and making the right choice just takes a little research online.

Bring the essentials
Regardless of whether you're headed to some tropical beach or anywhere with just a few rays of sunshine, you're going to want to make sure to bring a few key items. These must-haves include:

  • Sunglasses.
  • Hat.
  • Flip-flops.
  • Waterproof poncho. 
  • Sunscreen - SPF of 50 or above.
  • Pants - For any unseen cool days. 

It's also important to think about how you physically pack your bags. Many experts suggest folding and then rolling each item of clothing.