In the dark of winter, it’s nice to look back on sunnier times.

Las Vegas, Nevada

My body does not do well in heat and humidity, so I’m admittedly not a huge fan of warm-weather destinations. But when I feel the need to escape Vancouver’s relentless rain, sunny Las Vegas is a no-brainer—mostly thanks to the generous number of central air–cooled structures lining the Strip and beyond, and the fact that I’m more of a hit-the-ground-running-with-a-cocktail-in-hand kind of traveler than an R&R–type one. And as our 48-hour guides to Vegas illustrate, there’s a lot more to the city than tacky wedding chapels and slot machines.—Lucy Lau, style editor

Monterossa, Italy

My mom had an itemized, down-to-the-minute itinerary ready to go before we even booked our hotels for our mother-daughter Italy trip this summer, which meant we were on the go pretty much as soon as we arrived. I’m not complaining: her love for a solid plan meant that I got to go with the flow and have my days packed with culture and adventure without having to think twice. But she knows that even the highest energy vacationers can not subsist on naked statues and ancient ruins alone, so she wisely allowed us a day off in Monterossa, one of the five seaside towns that make up the Cinque Terra region of the country.We snagged a pair of chairs and a beach umbrella and spent six dedicated hours doing nothing but reading, snacking on fresh focaccia and occasionally taking a break to cool off in the Mediterranean. After trekking through dusty Rome in 35-degree heat, here was a chance to enjoy, not fear, the sun. I’ve got hundreds of pictures of the two of us, mostly drenched in sweat, to remember this trip-of-a-lifetime with, but we also ran two Italy stories in the mag this year (former editor Julia Dilworth’s Florence trip, and Guy Saddy’s hunt for Italian street food) so when I’m feeling nostalgic for la dolce vita or la (whatever the Italian word for busy is) vita, I can just flip through the archives and be transported back…no itinerary required. —Stacey McLachlan, executive editor

Costa Palmas, Mexico

You haven’t heard about Costa Palmas yet, but believe me, you will. A month ago, I spent a few days down in Los Cabos checking out the crazy number of high-end properties that have just or are just about to open (look for the story this Spring in WL!), and I took a few days on my own at the end to drive across the Cape to a new development I had heard about—Costa Palmas. It’s a name that’s been whispered about in the travel community for a few years now, ever since the developer announced that the community would have not only a Four Seasons (the first in Baja) but also an Aman resort. That’s like buying a Ferrari and then deciding you should maybe add a Bugatti to your garage as well. So my wife and I rented a car and drove 45 minutes past the Los Cabos airport to the soon-to-be-booming town of La Ribera on the East Cape. Our Google Maps couldn’t figure out where the still-under-construction Four Seasons was, so we drove around and around until we came across a building site that would make the Egyptians blush. Workers everywhere and a legion of heavy equipment were focused on making this Sea-of-Cortez dream a reality.As the Four Seasons is still a few months off and the Aman more than a year out, we were put up for the night in one of the four beach cabins they had created as temporary digs for interested buyers. Like Gwyneth Paltrow, they were that mix of luxe and laidback that is almost impossible to achieve. And when I say waterfront, at high tide, they were the closest thing to water bungalows you’ll see outside of Bora Bora. So we mostly just hung out, walked on the deserted beach and kicked around the construction site.Once the properties come on line, this area is going to be a game-changer for tourism not just in Mexico, but in all of North America, and it was fascinating to get to see it at this early stage. And having it all to ourselves didn’t hurt.—Neal McLennan, travel editor

San Sebastián, Spain

A late add-on to a trip to the south of France ended up being a real high point. We’d decided that, since we were down in Biarritz for a few days, we’d head over to Bilbao, Spain, to see the Guggenheim once we saw just how close the two cities were on the map. And that led to another discovery—we could break up the three-hour voyage with a stop in San Sebastián on the way. And, oh, what a glorious afternoon that was. It’s often voted the top food destination in the world, with good reason—the old streets of the downtown are filled with tiny bars serving up Pintxos (pronounced peen-chos, and do not call it tapas), little bites of food that are generally served atop a slice of Spanish-style baguette.Pop into any place, ask for the house specialty, grab a cool glass of local Txakoli (a lightly effervescent young wine, poured high above the glass to get it even more bubbly) and repeat. No matter the specialty, be sure to grab a stick or two of gildas: an excellent combo of green olives, pickled peppers and anchovies on a skewer that’s possibly the most perfect bar snack on the planet. And end the afternoon with a goblet of gin and tonic at Atari. You’re set for your bus ride to Bilbao.—Anicka Quin, editorial director