I know winter has taken its cumulative toll when I get some version of this question: Is there a website that lets you shop for cheap flights from MSP without putting in a specific destination? I get it every March. The person who asked last week wants to go somewhere, anywhere.
There are plenty of websites that can spark the imagination, but they can extinguish it just as quickly. That $250 flight to Atlanta looks good -- just think of the blooming dogwoods -- but by the time you try to book, some other flower-hungry Minnesotan has snapped it up or the fickle airline decided to raise the cost.
With that in mind, I offer some websites that might land you a dream deal, but I add this plea: If you see a good price, act fast.
Sun Country, Delta, Southwest and other airlines send e-mails with deals from your airport; sign up at the websites. Airfarewatchdog.com lists low fares from your particular airport, including those that rely on promo codes or are exclusive to an airline website. It also explores the number of seats available, and tells you if they are scarce. Hotwire.com garners deals from airlines themselves to help fill planes. Kayak.com provides a particularly visual approach: Click on the "explore" tab at the bottom of the home page and it will bring you to a map of North America dotted with prices, representing deals from MSP.
Of course, with the weather we're having, you can easily get away by car. The guy who asked about airline deals didn't book the $240 flight to Palm Springs he found via hotwire.com. He's heading to Lanesboro with his bike to soak up the sun.
Send your questions or tips to travel editor Kerri Westenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org, and follow her on twitter @kerriwestenberg.