Christmas Travel

Traveling over the Christmas holiday has become a bit of a tradition for me and I thought it would be fun to reflect back on some of the places I’ve spent Christmas. It really started as a necessity, trying to squeeze as much out of my PTO as possible, and using holiday weekends certainly helps! Here are some of my favorite winter holiday destinations:

Redstone, Colorado

The first Christmas trip I can recall was when I lived in Seattle; my mom and sister were in Illinois and we decided to meet in the middle. We spent a couple nights at Glenwood Hot Springs and for Christmas Eve, checked into the Redstone Inn. I had no idea how wonderful Christmas could be when there are no dishes to wash at the end of the night! Not to mention hot tubbing in the snow, and a horse-drawn sleigh ride to a neighboring castle!

Christmas Eve sleigh ride at the Redstone Inn

Oahu, Hawaii

A few years later, before my mom retired, she treated us to a Christmas trip to Hawaii. This was my first tropical Christmas and I thought I might miss having a white Christmas, but I really didn’t! In the Midwest, there is plenty of winter before and after Christmas, so I didn’t miss the cold and snow at all. Hawaii is a great winter holiday destination, and you will be singing “mele kalikimaka” before you land!

12/22 - Hale Koa luau

Who wouldn’t want to snorkel with dolphins on Christmas Eve?! (In the wild, of course; not one of those places with poor captive dolphins – that’s disgusting! Thinking about doing it? Read this please.)

12/24 - Waianae Wildlife CruiseSnorkeling with Spinner Dolphins

St. Croix, USVI

My mom and I spend the winter holiday on St Croix in the US Virgin Islands, two years in a row. We returned on Christmas Eve, or left on Christmas day so we could still celebrate at home as well. I suppose if you’re really religious, or have a huge family, spending the actual holiday in an airport could be depressing, but not me! In fact crowds are a bit calmer on the actual holiday as most people don’t want to be in transit. Any of the Virgin Islands would make great winter holiday destinations.

Galapagos Islands, Ecuador

In 2014, we traveled to the Galapagos Islands over Christmas. This was a 10 day trip, so traveling at Christmas really helped reduce the vacation days I used at work. We planned it more than a year in advance, and ended up celebrating Christmas at my house the day we flew back. Talk about a crazy day – starting in Quito, Ecuador and ending with pizza and guests in Chicago that night!

Group photo - Randy, Elayne, Leigh, Beryl, Mendel, Diane, Heather, Dieter, Lisa


Panama City

Panama City is a great winter holiday destination as it’s a short flight from the States, and a warm, tropical climate. My mom and I spent a Thanksgiving holiday there one year after finding a great deal on Skyscanner.

Barefoot Panama City and Canal TourCasco Viejo

Baja, Mexico

In 2016, I flew to Baja, Mexico on Christmas Day. My present to myself was a first-class seat, which I thoroughly enjoyed, especially given the 5am departure time! (I paid with airline mileage, I could never part with real money like that!)

As you can probably  tell, I’m not much of a sentimental (or religious) person, so missing Christmas isn’t a big deal to me.  I do miss going to my hometown and getting together with my aunts, uncles and cousins at the holidays, but with everyone grown up, married and starting their own families, it was already becoming so difficult to coordinate that we just get together in the summer!  I don’t think my nephew will remember that we celebrated his first Christmas on the 29th instead of the 25th, and even if he does, I’m always going to be that aunt that misses big events because I’m traveling the globe, so they may as well get used to that while they’re young, right?! 🙂

Has you ever celebrated Christmas somewhere other than home? Any suggestions where I should consider for next Christmas?

Check out these great ideas for winter holiday travel! #travel #travelplanning #winterbreak Click To Tweet


Christmas Travel

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14 thoughts on “Christmas Travel

  1. Looks like your Christmas’s involve a lot more sun than we get here in the UK! I love the idea of spending the seasonal period in other countries. As much as I hate the weather, Europe has a wonderful seasonal vibe and it’s such a pretty time of year to explore!

  2. I have such a hard time leaving home during the holidays, but honestly I think they would probably be some of the best times to travel. You’ve given me some great ideas on where to go. I’m dreaming of the Galapagos Islands!

  3. Being raised Jewish our family would always travel for Christmas Break and usually to warm weather destinations.

    Now a days I love visiting charming towns in New England around Christmas Time and hope to one day make it to Europe Christmas Markets!

  4. We like to spend the last week of the year somewhere. We stay on California or a nearby state since it is cheaper to fly. We do not have extreme weather, so, we can still cram several activities. Last year, I visited my family in New York but got the air ticket several months in advance.

  5. I always want to get away to someplace warm but then I miss getting cozy by the fireplace. Sometimes we want to have our cake and eat it too! So glad you saw dolphins in the wild and not in captivity.

  6. I am with you on traveling during or on Christmas! For two years in a row I flew on or arrived to my destination for the Christmas/ New Year’s holiday and was hoping to make it a tradition but life got in the way. I love all your wonderful warm destinations! They would be such a perfect break during that winter cold!

  7. These are nice destinations! I am a lover of a winter wonderland in Canada so anything other than that just doesn’t seem right for a Christmas nerd like me. I have celebrated Christmas in England and Australia as well as travelled to Ireland over the holidays. All have their own charm. Australia is great for a BBQ and beach style christmas if you consider it 🙂

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