By Jim Armstrong, WBZ-TV

DEDHAM (CBS) — This winter is driving most of us crazy, and some of us to the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Business is definitely up for local travel agents, with lots of people too fed up and exhausted to shop for bargains themselves and book online. Would-be travelers just want to get out – and fast.

WBZ-TV’s Jim Armstrong reports.

“Lots of people have decided this is the winter,” says Jeff Brown, Executive Vice President at Colpitts World Travel in Dedham. “They’re fed up with the winter, enough is enough, and they do want to plan a vacation – more so than what we’ve had in the past.”

Agents at Colpitts tell WBZ they’re getting quite a few first-time travelers, some apparently being wooed at the last minute.

Leisure travel consultant Leia Cardillo says the office’s Route 1 location has something to do with it.

“We’ve had a lot of traffic out front,” explains Cardillo. “They’re actually calling from their cars on their cell phones as they see our signs out front and they’re asking to just get me someplace warm. ‘Where can I go, what can I do?’”

One problem with the last minute vacation?

People who don’t yet have passports are limited as to where they can visit. So, agents are sending Bay Staters to Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The weather in traditionally popular Florida is not impressing people this year, so they’re heading further south.

For anyone willing to travel last minute, you might be able to grab some huge deals. Bargains on hotel rooms up to 35 percent or 50 percent are not uncommon, according to Cardillo.

And while it’s true this winter’s been full of airport drama, travel insurance can save the day.

There is, however, no guarantee about what’s going to be waiting for you when you come home.


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