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      Vacation bookings spike as cold, snow cover mid-Missouri

      When cold and snowy weather moves into the area, travel agencies see a spike in vacation bookings, according to one mid-Missouri travel consultant.

      Renee Christian, a consultant at Central Travel in Jefferson City, calls the spike the "busy season." The exact dates vary year-to-year, but the start always seems to coincide with the beginning of winter weather.

      "The cold weather, and we got the snow and the ice, and people are going 'wow I really don't want to sit here, I want to get out of here.' And it's not just for last-minute vacations...people are actually looking into February, March, April, May, June, they're starting to plan their yearly vacation as well," Christian said.

      She added that the best way to prepare for the rush is to stay on top of travel specials and know the product.

      "Know what's available. There are so many options out there now that you have to keep up with and sometimes it's difficult... and it's time consuming at some times," Christian said.

      Not surprisingly, the hot destinations are tropical locations including Jamaica, the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

      Unlike in the past when travelers were advised to book last-minute for the best deals, Christian said you usually get the best deals now by planning in advance.