When I fly on vacation, I want a non-stop flight -- no chance of missing my connection or waiting hours between flights or finding out my luggage didn’t make it. Luckily, with three nearby airports -- Dulles International Airport (IAD), Baltimore–Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI), and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) -- there are lots of choices. And it seems the airlines know just what Washington area travelers want this holiday season -- getaways to warmer climates! Newbies such as Norwegian Airline (to Martinique and Guadeloupe) and Royal Air Maroc (to Casablanca) are being drawn to this area and together with more established airlines like United, Jet Blue, and Southwest are expanding the options for easy holiday getaways. Here are the five non-stop flights to warmer climates less than five hours away that DC Refined is recommending (prices may vary from what’s below).
If you love the blue Caribbean Sea, sun and sand, you’ll love Cancun. There are endless luxury beachfront hotels including all-inclusive resorts. You can swim, beach it up, sip a piña colada, take a boat tour, scuba dive, snorkel, explore the Rio Secreto Nature Reserve where you’ll swim and wade in a spectacular underground cave, visit Mayan Ruins and the Maya Museum. The tropical climate makes it a great winter getaway.
Travel Time : 3 hours and 35 minutes
Airlines to fly on: United from IAD to Cancun (12/25 $448, return 1/6 $173); Southwest from BWI to Cancun (12/25 $508, return 1/6 $447)
Martinique is a Caribbean island with a distinctly French flair, also known as The Isle of Flowers, and The Rum Capital of the World. Imagine unspoiled beaches, volcanic peaks, rainforests, waterfalls, streams, jet skiing, kite surfing and miles and miles of hiking trails. It has earned several notable distinctions in recent years, including being named a “Must-Visit” destination for 2015 by Caribbean Journal, “Best Caribbean Destination” by About.com, and “Top Caribbean Island for Delectable Dining” by Caribbean Travel + Life.
Travel Time: 4 hours 50 minutes
Airline to fly on: Norwegian Air from BWI to Martinique (flies on Monday and Friday) (12/26 $349, return 12/30 $468)
San Jose, Costa Rica
Costa Rica offers visitors exquisite beaches, volcanoes, jungles, and biodiversity. In the '90s, Costa Rica became known for its ecotourism. You can see exotic flora, fauna, birds and animals or gamble, be an adventure seeker or just sit by the pool. The dry season runs from December to April, so now is definitely the time to go.
Travel Time : 4 hours and 25 minutes
Airline to fly on: Southwest from BWI to San Jose, Costa Rica (12/15 $293, return 1/4 $548)
San Juan, Puerto Rico
In less than four hours, you can be in warm San Juan, Puerto Rico ready to enjoy spectacular views, spas, pools, a rainforest, pristine beaches, golf courses, water sports, casinos and great restaurants. With temperatures consistently in the 80’s, it’s an ideal winter vacation spot.
Travel Time: 3 hours and 50 minutes
Airlines to fly on: JetBlue from DCA to San Juan; Southwest from BWI to San Juan (12/25 $347, return 1/1 $626)
Of course, Orlando is known for its theme parks--there are more than a dozen. And while it may not always be swimming weather, there are still many fun activities. You can sit by a pool, relax at a luxury spa, golf on championship courses, visit breweries, dine at great restaurants, and visit the 50-acre Harry P. Leu Gardens. If you love Tiffany glass then visit the Charles Hosmer Morse Museum of American Art housing the largest collection of Tiffany items including lamps, windows, jewelry and art glass. The big plus is there are numerous and inexpensive nonstop flights from all three airports.
Travel Time: 2 hours and 20 minutes
Airlines to fly on: Jet Blue from DCA (1/25 $246, return 1/1 $241) and BWI (1/25 $199, return 1/1 $316); American from DCA (12/25, return 1/10 $560 round trip); Southwest from DCA (12/26 $305, return 1/1 $301) BWI (12/25 $244, return 1/1 $191) IAD (12/25 $209, return 1/1 $301); Spirit from BWI (12/25, return 1/1 $280 round trip); United from IAD (12/25 $231, return 1/3 $239)