Winter blues brings in high demand for travel agents

Central Travel consultant Renee Christian said Saturday she sees an increase in vacation planning during the cold winter months. (Lexie Petrovic/KRCG13).

Central Travel Consultant Renee Christian said Saturday often times the cold weather causes vacation planning to spike - and this year is no exception.

Christian said January-March is always a popular time for people to travel to warm-weather places, but this winter has been longer and more extreme than usual.

"This year we have definitely seen a lot more people planning to get away just because they are tired of the cold and the snow," she said. "Since Missouri weather isn't typically this bad this time of year, we do have a lot more foot traffic and people calling in to get out of town."

She said the most common questions she receives as a travel agent are about what types of identification are necessary to take a plane somewhere.

"A lot of people want to know if they need to have a passport to travel out of the country- of course they do," she said. "Going on a cruise ship though, you don't have to have a passport. You can get on with a driver's license or a birth certificate."

She said often times people like to fly or drive to Florida to try to beat the cold. But sometimes, Florida can be just as cold - if not colder - around this time of year.

"I believe I saw a weather report the other day that said Orlando, Florida was 48 degrees," she said. "We had warmer weather here than that this past weekend."

Travelers Alexander Hejna and Olivia Laval said they have planned a trip to go to California in the next few weeks.. Hejna said he has been eager to get out of the cold.

"This weather sucks here and so Death Valley is warm, dry, and hot," he said.

Laval said the cold often makes her want to be lazy, and she doesn't feel like she is able to get out as much.

"Just going to class- you don't want to get up at 9 a.m," she said. "You just want to sleep all day in your bed where it's warm."

She said she is looking forward to the warm weather so she can do more outdoor activities again.

"We have been talking about going to play racket-ball because it's too cold to go outside and do anything active here," she said.

Christian said the most common place people try to get away to is Mexico, because the St. Louis International Airport offers direct flights.

"I would say with the nonstop service out of St. Louis, Cancun, Mexico," she said. "They travel every day of the week."

Christian said she believes cold weather brings winter blues, and she notices attitude changes within herself depending on the weather.

"Everybody this time of year after the holidays and the grey days that we have had here- I can even see a difference in my own attitude or happiness when I see the sun shine," she said.

She said warm weather can make a large impact on your daily mood.

"There's really nothing better than having the sun shine all day long and the warm weather to make you feel a little bit better," she said.

Christian said the demand in travel this time of year is also due to people using their tax returns to fund last-minute trips. She said there was a trend of booking last-minute flights for cheaper prices, but said she believes that trend is now changing. She said she advises people to now book earlier, rather than later.

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