Christmas holiday – home or away?

Everyone knows travelling at Christmas can be affected by weather, but we have to do it if we want to spend time with our loved ones or enjoy the Christmas holiday away. As we are parking even on Christmas day we wanted to share some thoughts on some great destinations for the festive season.

Around 3.5 million people will head abroad over the Christmas and New Year period to take a winter sunshine break or skiing holiday says travel industry body, ABTA. Unfortunately, not all Brits are a fan of mulled wine and All I want for Christmas by Mariah Carey and a flight somewhere is their escape-ism. It’s no surprise that on December 25 itself, airlines normally experience their quietest day of the year - and as a result one of the cheapest days for travel. Would you give up your Christmas day in order to save a few hundred pound? A lot of savvy travellers are opting to and according to deal site FareCompare, travelling on Christmas Day means having a better chance of making it to your destination on time and in decent psychological condition because it’s less chaos and people are generally in a pretty good mood. Especially the staff at I Love Meet and Greet who will be humming Christmas songs whilst parking your car for you. So, where are people heading to escape the British Christmas? Here are some ideas of top destinations to visit this Christmas:

Rome, Italy

Heading to Rome during the Christmas season is a great way to see the city with a smaller portion of the tourist population around: that's not to say that the city is quiet. Rome is alive with general Christmas festivities. The Piazza Navona transforms into a big Christmas Market, where you will be able to shop, watch street performances and drink coffee to stave off the slight chill of the December air. Midnight Mass at the Pantheon, followed by a trip to the Vatican on Christmas Day is a great way to take part in the rituals of the Roman Catholic faith.


Delight the kids with a trip to the home of Father Christmas. You can go on tours by riding a husky sled, reindeer or snowmobile and a trip to the Christmas village. One of the greatest draws of visiting Lapland is the Northern Lights, which are best seen during the darkest time of the year. Seville: Another deeply Catholic city, Seville comes into its own at Christmas: nativity scenes, chestnuts roasting, traditional markets, tasteful decorations and the faithful in their Sunday best.

New York

The festive season just adds to the magic that is already there 365 days a year. Head over to Rockefeller Centre for a prime example of New York's Christmas charm, and to Central Park for outdoor ice skating surrounded by the most famous skyline in the world.

Rio de Janeiro

Samba away your winter blues on the beach. At night time, there are Christmas celebrations in the form of fireworks and decorations. And New Year, well that’s another story altogether – expect to party til sunset. Bora Bora: For a total change in scenery, this Tahitian paradise will blow your mind with its beauty, from the turquoise water to the luminous fruit you'll eat every morning for breakfast. From there, you can relax with a cold beer, feeling the warm South Pacific trade winds against your skin, as you celebrate Christmas in the most blissful place imaginable.


The city skyline is filled with the most oddly shaped, but marvellous examples of modern architecture. It's a part of the world so far removed from Western civilization, and yet you are surrounded by water parks, malls, five star restaurants and hopping nightlife.

Havana, Cuba

There are two kinds of Cuba holiday experiences you can have. One is the resort option, where you will spend five or seven nights at a fancy establishment. The other is to join with the locals in the vibrant streets of Havana.


The Serengeti National Park is an ocean of lush bushes and plains and home to all the animals that give the Dark Continent its air of mystique: lions, elephant and buffalo. If you really feel like stretching yourself, there is Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak, to hike.


Getting away this Christmas is as good a reason as any to visit Cambodia. With daily temperatures still warm, it's a great time to be there. Before you leave, get ready to walk, boat and bus your way across a unique star in the travel world that is fast becoming the 'It' place for backpackers - and for good reason. The temple of Angkor Wat will blow your mind!

So, where is it to be? Catching some sun with a cocktail in hand; ice-skating in Central Park; partying until morning - Cuban style or, would you trade all this in to spend time with your family, eating Christmas dinner and watching Christmas films in front of the fire?

By Sarah Anglim at 9 Dec 2014

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