TODAY   |  March 01, 2014

Ditch the cold: Last-minute warm weather getaways

For those looking to escape the frigid temperatures sooner rather than later, there are some warm weather destinations offering great deals. For starters, the Caribbean cruise scene “is on fire now,” Travelzoo’s Gabe Saglie told TODAY’s Erica Hill.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> official start of spring, and like you, yes, we're counting, but we also know that just because the calendar says spring, doesn't mean there isn't going to be snow. so, if you're looking to soak up the sun sooner rather than later, you're in luck. editor gabe stagily is here with deals sure to warm you up.

>> good to be here.

>> i understand yesterday you found this tie.

>> found this tie for 5 bucks, it reminded me of blue skies and sunshine, so i'm sporting it proudly this morning.

>> i like it. the power of positive thinking.

>> yeah.

>> "travel" has seen a triple-digit increase in searches for mexican resort destinations?

>> yeah, right after the first of the year when we were dealing with the polar vortex , all of a sudden, searches for cabo san lucas , puerto vallarta increased. people looking for sunshine and warmth. this is puerto vallarta , the forecast high today 82 degrees.

>> sign me up.

>> this resort and spa south of the airport, they're doing 50% special, four nights for $278.

>> that's not per night, that's for all four nights?

>> $278 for the four nights, oceanfront room. you get a dining credit, get some kayak rentals. they're on this beautiful private lagoon and beach. and again, it's outside of downtown puerta vallarta, a little bit more included and just absolutely beautiful. and that rate is good throughout the rest of the year, by the way.

>> the rest of the year?

>> that's right.

>> great! we can go more than once. we'll take one of those, please. if you maybe don't want to go to another country, there are great destinations here in the u.s., including l.a. a little soggy right now.

>> okay, so, today, yeah, right. it's actually finally raining in southern california , but we've seen temperatures in the 70s and 80s. the long-range forecast after this storm is for 70s once again and mostly sunny skies. but southern california , springtime's a great time to get value ahead of the summer season. the loews santa monica beach hotel, literally on the bike path by the pier, up from venice beach , rates reduced almost in half to $299 a night.

>> that is a nice, swanky hotel.

>> great pool in front of the beach there. it's beautiful.

>> also, if people are interested in a cruise, you have great last-minute cruise deals.

>> if you're a procrastinator and want some warmth, the caribbean sues scene is on fire now. a lot of ships, thousands of cabins to sell over the next couple months, so you can find some great last-minute bargains. the breakaway, based here in new york city , doing several seven-night sailings between now and may, starting at as little as $479. you're hitting up port canaveral and the bahamas as well. take your pick. some of the best values in southern florida , but again, even some of the mid-atlantic ports are offering some fantastic values.

>> we'll take whatever we can get. i don't care where we have to leave from. okay, so, out of all of these deals, what would be your top pick for a warm getaway?

>> so, my pick, if you're on the west coast , maui or mole kai if you want a secluded getaway. east coast or the midwest, puerto rico . accessibility and affordable, can't beat it, particularly the west coast of pouerto rico, great beaches. this is the rincon beach resort , $149 a night, includes kayak rentals, good through may. you float in out of new york and you can find round-trip airfare $159, $150 out of ft. lauderdale. and that western portion of puerto rico , white sand beaches and a little more elbow room on the beach.

>> this all sounds good, but i feel like i should do some research for our viewers.

>> you have to go.

>> then i'll tell you whether or not it's a top pick.

>> will you, please? all these deals on our website.

>> great deals.