Staying home for the holidays or visiting friends and family may be your usual routine, but why not celebrate the season by taking a trip somewhere unconventional? Make a new tradition with your family or spend some time away from the chaos of the shopping and the traffic. Don’t worry though; you can still enjoy the holiday wherever you are, including these five destinations.
Get away to the glitz and glamour of ‘Sin City’ for Christmas. Enjoy the decorations, holiday revelers and even some gambling, all while giving thanks for not having to cook a big dinner for everyone. Everything is open on the Strip, so no matter how you want to spend your time, your options are endless. Eat a special meal at any of the many restaurants – you’ll want to make reservations ahead of time – or enjoy the variety of any of the hotel buffets. Your meals might be fairly costly for these holiday menus, but you can offset your costs by indulging in plenty of free activities, including the Bellagio fountains dancing to seasonal music, a Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Garden decked out in festive decorations and plants and the nightly Holiday Spectacular at the Venetian.
Enjoy a traditional Christmas in another part of the world. In Lima, you can experience Noche Buena on December 24, where families cook a turkey and open gifts placed under the tree by Santa. You will also witness some spectacular fireworks displays, like Americans are used to seeing on the Fourth of July. When the kids go to bed, the adults celebrate the holiday with parties and dancing. These festivities will last until early morning. If invited to a Peruvian home, it’s proper to show up with a present of some kind. Usually, a classic cake called a panteón is a customary gift.
December 25 is a sleepy affair, since most people have been out partying until the wee hours and sleep in very late. Many businesses will be closed all day. You can leave your coats at home when traveling to Lima, as December is the start of the summer season.
As in Peru, Noche Buena is celebrated on December 24. The holiday is very exciting with lights, trees and parties. If you enjoy seeing all the decorations at home, then you will love driving around in Costa Rica at Christmastime – the more elaborate the décor, the better. Instead of turkey, you will find that most families cook tamales and roast pork leg. Rum-spiked eggnog is drunk by adults as everyone opens gifts late in the evening and then Catholics head to Midnight Mass. Though December marks the start of summer vacation and children are out of school until February, you can still pack long sleeves and pants for the cooler nights in Costa Rica.
If you’ve been dreaming of spending your holidays lying on the beach and drinking fruity beverages, Cancun has your name written all over it. Pack your swimsuit and an outfit for going out. Because it is so tourist-friendly, the resorts throw a heck of a Christmas celebration with lighted trees, decorations and fantastic spreads at their restaurants. You’ll surely want to make a reservation ahead of time, so you don’t get all dolled up for nothing. Make your way around town to see all the other decorations as well, including a trip to City Hall. Get all your shopping done with opportunities around every corner and at budget-friendly prices. And if you want to make even more out of your holiday in Cancun, you can dance the night away at any of the infinite nightclubs in the city.
Take advantage of some amazing weather this December. Instead of bundling up, pack your shorts and sunscreen. Christmas is not a widely celebrated holiday in Thailand, but you can experience decorations in the larger cities like Bangkok. Instead of Christmas, celebrations for HM the King’s birthday stretch from December 5 to the New Year. Lights and elaborate decorations adorn the town, which can make it seem like a traditional holiday season. For something a little different, you can attend one of the few churches in touristy cities that hold Christmas services…in Thai.
Leave the cold weather behind or just mix it up for a change of scenery. You can always bring your own Christmas traditions with you whatever destination you celebrate in. A different outlook on the holiday may have you adopting some new ones. Why not start packing your bags for an exotic, lively or beach-side holiday getaway?