For most of us, the holidays are an opportunity to spend quality time with our favorite family members we rarely see. We also enjoy those once-a-year, traditional dishes and exchange holiday memes over a card or domino game. But while everyone else is worrying about last-minute gift wrapping, you may be secretly organizing your itinerary to an amazing destination away from home. Don’t feel guilty, you aren’t the only one planning your escape. It’s hard to resist the temptation to go traveling during the holidays when we come across photos like:
Thanksgiving and the Christmas/New Year’s holiday periods are among the busiest long-distance travel periods of the year. Depending on where you live, planning a vacation may just be the excuse you need to escape the coldest time of the year.
Herein lies the dilemma: Do you move forward with your vacation plans or stay home to embrace the abundant festivities around the holidays? Personally, I can attest to being away from home during the holidays. Although I was grateful for the opportunity to celebrate Thanksgiving in Thailand after leaving the U.S., the absence of my family and friends was noticeably felt.
Whether you decide to escape the holiday madness to a remote island or welcome the festivities with loved ones, here are the pros and cons of traveling during the holidays!
1. Expensive Flights
Traveling around the holidays can put a strain on your budget even if you book your accommodations and flight well in advance. In my experience, domestic flights for holiday travel dates are usually priced higher in comparison to off-peak seasons. And even if you decide to road trip, the cost of rental cars and hotels might be higher than you expect.
The planning process can be a bit nerving knowing that it’s a toss-up between booking early or scoring last-minute deals. The constant flux of flight deals can be as stressful as the stock market — up one day, and down the next until the price is just right.
2. The Crowd
They say great minds think alike. In my opinion, the same goes for vacationers! If you are planning to get away to a popular Christmas travel destination such as New York City, Bangkok, or Disney World, you won’t be the only one who thought to spend the holidays away from home. You might find yourself spending a good amount of time in crowded airports or waiting in long lines. Plan admission to popular attractions and make reservations in advance, to ensure you can get in even on the busiest days.
3. Unhappy Relatives
Your family may be hurt to discover that you’ve intentionally skipped out on the Christmas caroling or the NYE countdown in exchange for an alternative plan. Correction: they will be hurt. Most likely, your family loyalty will be questioned. You’re going where? Wait, you’re NOT going to be here? and How come you don’t love us? may just guilt trip you into canceling your plans altogether if you don’t have a strong will to go. Fair warning, some side-eye action might occur if you are breaking long-standing family traditions.
4. Missing Out
Scrolling through holiday photos of loved ones while on vacation may be the quickest way to turn you into an Ebenezer Scrooge! Everyone seems to be having fun, eating homemade mac & cheese, wearing their matching pajamas, and playing your favorite card games. If you’re attached to your loved ones, keep in mind you’ll only see holiday travelers and hotel staff if you take your trip solo.
1. Desirable Weather
Let’s be honest. Some of us profess to want an all-white Christmas; others would rather be celebrating Christmas Day from the beach like this:
Photos on the beach with a Santa hat and a virgin pina colada in hand are a surefire way to incur the wrath from Revelation among your squad. However, the warmth of the sun and the sand between your toes on December 25 feels heavenly. If you’re heading off the beaten track, you might even find some of the best deals on the day of celebration.
2. Lounge Like a Boss on Vacation
If you’re the person everyone depends on to host the holiday festivities; cooking, baking, decorating, and coordinating games, you may be overdue for a vacation during this time of year! Just knowing those responsibilities will no longer rest on your shoulders is enough to make you want to book a holiday trip. Your vacation is likely to protect your sanity and revitalize your mind, body, and spirit. Treat yo’ self and enjoy being pampered!
3. Holiday Spirit Overseas
Unlike other holidays, Christmas and New Year’s are widely celebrated abroad — compared to many holidays that are specific to America. The beauty of celebrating the holidays overseas is the unique take that each culture brings to the festivities. It’s exciting and eye-opening to see how others celebrate the holidays in their home country.
4. Distraction from Difficult Times
For some, the holidays are a difficult time of year for those who have lost loved ones. It can be a painful reminder of those who may no longer be with us, but do not despair. Lift your spirits by changing your environment through travel. Exploring a destination might not completely replace cherished memories, but it is an opportunity to create beautiful new ones.
Tips for Traveling During the Holidays
If you’re convinced and ready to plan your holiday season getaway, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Make your travel plans in advance. Planning ahead will help you find the best price and keep things running smoothly. Spontaneous plans are often easier to pull off in off-peak seasons.
- Take an extra day (or two). Since everyone else will usually be trying to get back in time for work, you can save money by adding a day. Try extending your Thanksgiving weekend or leaving just after New Year’s, when everyone else is already home.
- Buy travel insurance. Because of the number of people traveling during the season, you might run into more snafus (think flight delays and lost luggage). Planning ahead with travel insurance (and maybe keeping essentials in your carry-on bags) can keep stress low.
- Take pictures! However you choose to spend your holidays, it will always be a memorable experience to look back on. Make sure you take lots of photos. Call your family and loved ones to tell them they’re missed. You may even start a new holiday tradition — one they’ll join you for next year!
Latest posts by Lisa Barber (see all)
- Traveling During the Holidays: Pros and Cons - October 15, 2022
- A Brief Review of Bali: The Upsides & The Downsides - April 4, 2017
- Top 5 Travel Size Hair Kits for Every Naturlista - March 3, 2017