People generally go home for Christmas, but if you are anything like me you shy away from the confines that are the norms of society. Sometimes a Christmas skype with the family lets you avoid the drama and awkward moments that are the Christmas dinner with that extended family or maybe it is just the weather you are avoiding. Whatever the reason is, here is some inspiration for this Holiday season.
For the purpose of this post, we are looking at realistically budgeted trips out of large North American airports, expecting to spend under $1000 round trip for a ticket. This is a quick guide to get you thinking about places to visit and opportunities out there.
Puerto Rico has cheaper flights out of Toronto and NYC then most of the date ranges for Mexico destinations, in 2010 I was able to book a direct vacation experience with an all-inclusive tour operator for cheaper then a few nights stay in a nice hotel and got an amazing experience in Mexico. Mexican Christmas is unlike anything else you will ever experience; these people know how to hold a Christmas party, just google Christmas in Mexico for the food alone. But I noted that Mexico has increased in price so I suggest you take a good look at Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico boasts having the longest holiday season in the world, from thanksgiving to mid-January the Navidad season is worth every penny. Puerto Rico’s Navidad season not only celebrates the birth of Jesus but it seems like the entire biblical story is apart of Navidad. Christmas Eve or Nochebuena is more like Christmas Day. This is the night where family, friends, and strangers gather for some amazing food, exchange gifts, go out on parrandas (Christmas Carols), or take a walk to enjoy decorations around town. Misa de Gallo, The commemoration of the birth of Jesus; Some churches even reenact the Nativity scene. Take a good look at Airbnb experiences available from locals to immerse you in the culture, so find a local to guide you. I could pull off this trip for $600 round trip airfare and spend another $1000 in expenses. A budget traveler could do this for under $1000 all in.
Quebec City is one of the oldest cities in North America and the only fortified city north of Mexico whose walls still exist. The colonial architecture gives it a distinctly European feel but you are not quite there with this distinctly Canadian feel that greets you as you walk down Old town streets filled with some amazing bistros, coffee shops and is all merrily decorated for the holidays. If you want snow and to feel like you are in Charles Dickens a Christmas carol this is the place for you. I noticed there are a fair bit of cheap flights available to Quebec City and a quick search shows me a lot of hotel options for around $100 a night still. If you are a budget-savvy person there is a number of hostels in Oldtown and might be a great experience and still, there is some wonderful resort-style hotel property’s also available.
Dublin Ireland, I have never actually been honestly but I had noticed last year a number of people posting a festive Christmas pub-crawl from Dublin and well I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Christmas than with an Ireland pub-crawl. Well, you are in luck as it turns out there is this thing called the 12 Pubs of Christmas, This popular celebration in Ireland to mark the end of the year with a good pint involves 12 pubs, a group of friends you met at the hostel maybe, lots to drink, and a set of rules like being forced to sing naughty Christmas songs. Right now flights that bring you back after the new year will set you back about a grand and check out The Generator Hostel that has private rooms also for a budget spend around $90 a night. Honorable mention here to the Christmas market in Bath, England It is worth checking out.
Philadelphia, Can’t go too far but want to spend some time away and huge Christmas Light displays are your thing? Go to Philly. Dilworth Park, Peddler’s Village, Franklin Square, and Fashion District has some amazing light shows. Being there during the holidays a few years ago I was really surprised how much stuff there was to do, like an eggnog tasting event complete with eggnog & booze. $150 spirit airline flight is all it takes really.
Las Vegas, If you want to skip the crowds in Las Vegas go during Christmas and Leave before New Year’s eve. Most of the shows run during Christmas even on Christmas day. Hotels are cheaper and almost no one is there during Christmas at all making this an excellent opportunity to visit Las Vegas.
A few things you must consider, to optimize everything better don’t travel with the pack. Christmas especially, Everyone normally is leaving Las Vegas to visit family and friends for Christmas so flights into LAS are cheaper, then if you leave just before New Years the return flight should also be cheap as everyone is coming into Vegas for New Year’s stuff. The same Principle can be used for New York as it is a destination for Ringing in the new year. Don’t travel on Christmas day and keep an eye on the weather, it seems silly but you might not think that it always seems to snow during Christmas eve and staffing at most airports are minimal during Christmas day.
Avoid the retirement community’s like Arizona and Florida instead try something completely different. But most of all go have fun. Google Flights can be your friend here, just explore destinations and find what works for you. But above all else just go!
The picture is from a Christmas market in Mexico somewhere.