CHICAGO (AP) - Across the winter-weary Midwest and the East Coast, travel agents are being inundated with a simple request: Get me out of here.
After such a long, cold season, Americans are desperate to escape to warm-weather destinations in California, Arizona and Florida. And tourism agencies have stepped up their enticements by plastering trains and billboards with ads showing beaches and pool scenes.
Winter vacations are promoted annually, but it's rarely been easier than this year.
Some travelers fortunate enough to get out of the deep freeze are begging hotels to let them stay a little longer.
The jetsetter.com site found that the number of hotel bookings in warm-weather spots made by customers from Illinois, New York, Massachusetts and the Washington, D.C., area rose 7 percent in January compared with last year.