I feel I should preface this article with the fact that I love a traditional Christmas. Food, family and festivities are what I usually look for in the holiday season, so try not to think I’m some sort of Scrooge. That being said, doing the same thing every year can get stale and the Christmas break provides a great time to travel and experience new places, often at off-peak prices. This short list of destinations barely scratches the surface of what the world offers around Christmas; but should hopefully offer some variety on the traditional British Christmas.
SHORT HAUL –
If you don’t want to spend your entire student loan on travelling, staying within Europe and the UK offers many amazing Christmas experiences.
Crete – If you fancy a Christmas in the sun, Crete is one of the warmest places in Europe over winter, especially on the sheltered south side. As the temperatures will be cooler than during the summer and the island will be a lot emptier than the tourist season, it’s the perfect time to explore the island’s historical and natural features.
Top Tip – Being off-peak, be prepared for some bars and restaurants to be closed. Consider staying somewhere where you can make your own food.
Rome – Rome is one of the most incredible cities in Europe and one of the hottest during the summer to walk around. During winter you’ll find it far more comfortable to explore and the city looks truly beautiful when lit up for Christmas.
Top Tip – Almost all attractions will be closed on Christmas Day itself so plan around that fact, though many restaurants will remain open.
Lake District – Last on the short haul list is somewhere a lot closer to home. If you don’t mind the weather or culture of a British Christmas, a trip to the Lake District might be a perfect break. A perfect way to avoid the madness of Christmas, there are ample opportunities for hiking the fantastic landscape. Consider renting a house with other people as hotels and pubs will be very busy.
Top Tip – Large country houses which look expensive to rent often have a large number of rooms; so a bit of organising can cut the costs down greatly.
LONG HAUL –
Whilst trips further afield are often too expensive for the typical student, especially when considering the cost of flights, deals are often available that can be spotted by the keen traveller.
Australia – If like me, your key complaint about this season is the weather then Australia is the perfect destination for your Christmas. Aussies celebrate Christmas much the same as the Brits, with wreaths, trees and presents. The key difference is that Christmas is during high summer and much of the celebrations will be taking place on golden beaches under an amazing sun.
Top Tip – Christmas is the most expensive time to fly to Australia so go for a longer trip and book early for the best value.
Caribbean – If perhaps Australia is just that little bit too hot and far away, the Caribbean might be more for you. It’s the start of the dry season so the perfect time to visit and experience the beautiful sea and luscious tropical forests. Expect a Christmas with a twist – plenty of rum and spice thrown in with the carols and decorations.
Top Tip – Each island is completely unique, so do some detailed research to find the perfect fit for you. Love a vibrant cultural scene? Try Cuba. Want something more relaxed? Try Tobago.
Vietnam – If you really want a break away from Christmas, the Far East is probably the place for you. Vietnam offers an impressive culture with a fascinating history, and there will be little to no mention of Christmas in the majority of the country. There are more relaxing tourist areas like Hoi An and bustling cities like Ho Chi Minh, and the best way to experience as much as possible is to travel across the country, taking as much in as possible.
Top Tip – Many hotels will offer a Western themed Christmas meal. Run, run as far away as you can get, and grab some local delicacies such as Pho instead.