Spring couldn't get here any faster, especially after the winter Charleston just experienced. As we all discovered in the past two months, ice storms don't sit well in a city that's used to mild temperatures and year-round sunshine.
One way to get past your winter woes is to get out of town and head further south. Some of you may think you can't afford a vacation, but it's more feasible than you might think, especially if you have tax refunds to look forward to.
Here's how to get away without spending too much.
To the tropics
If you're craving white sand and hot weather, South American and Caribbean vacations are ideal. But they're not cheap, especially if you're traveling with a family.
In a recent study, TripAdvisor found that the average cost of a weeklong getaway in the Caribbean for a group of four is about $7,000, including air fare, accommodations and meals.
The least expensive destinations are Puerto Rico and Jamaica, which were estimated to cost families about $4,600. The Dominican Republic is also relatively affordable with a $5,315 price tag for a group of four.
If you just want to take a week alone or head south of the border with a couple of friends, there are good deals on individual trips, too. Package trips to Mexico and the Dominican Republic are priced as low as $600 per person, according to Expedia.com
Cruises departing from Charleston on the Carnival Fantasy are priced from about $250 per person, which includes meal expenses. Most trips are Bahamas-bound, so you can get a dose of the sand and the sea.
Walt Disney World is offering 30 percent off on select resort bookings from March 14-April 12 and April 20-June 15, and certain resorts offer an extra ticket day for free when you book rooms.
Admission to Universal Studios is priced from about $56 per day. Those who buy a two-day pass will get an extra ticket day for free.
Be sure to check social coupon sites and travel agencies periodically. Often they'll have flash deals that can save you up to 50 percent on getaway packages.
Reach Abigail Darlington at 937-5906 and follow her on Twitter @A_Big_Gail.