7 Tips for Planning a Family Vacation This Christmas
While many families like to spend Christmas in the comfort of their own home, others have discovered how thrilling it can be to take Christmas on the road. When you wake up in a different corner of the world, surrounded by loved ones, the holiday spirit isn’t diminished—it’s amplified by an exciting new context.
If you’ve decided to try a Christmas vacation, there are a few important steps you need to take to ensure that you and your family have the best possible time. Getting to a hotel or an Airbnb only to discover that the location doesn’t have decorations set up, or that you forgot to pack a really important present, will kill the atmosphere and make you hesitant to take these memorable vacations in the future.
Where should you go?
While being surrounded by loved ones on Christmas morning is a gift in itself, it helps to celebrate in a nice setting. When you’re forming your vacation plans, really think hard about where your family would ideally like to wake up. The possibilities are virtually limitless, but the difference between an unforgettable Christmas morning and one that’s merely okay is often context.
If you’re struggling to figure out exactly where you should go, think about what your family likes to do. You know them. Would you prefer to wake up in the mountains, surrounded by snow in a wintry atmosphere? Would you like to wake up somewhere near the beach, where you and your brood can play in the sand after opening presents? Does Christmas in the city sound appealing?
Once you’ve figured out where you want to go, the next step is to find appropriate accommodations. Make sure you pick a place that’s within your budget (Christmas is expensive as it is!) but that doesn’t compromise on any of the essential elements that can make Christmas morning exceptionally special.
If your family likes to cook, try to find a location that has a kitchen available. This feature doesn’t come standard in the vast majority of hotel rooms, but if you’re getting an Airbnb the chances are much higher.
Also, consider how much atmosphere matters. When you’re booking, ask if the location is decorated. If not, it’s possible to bring a box with decorations at the ready, which can include everything from lights to stockings to Santa hats and Christmas pajamas.
While some people don’t like the idea of traveling on Christmas day, it’s often the wisest financial move. Because so many people prefer to stay home, there are often less people in airports and on the road, and it’s easy to find good deals on flights and travel packages—much more so than in the surrounding couple of days.
In additions to presents, consider packing some activities to keep you and your family busy once the unwrapping is complete. Gingerbread houses are a great option for little kids, and websites like Shutterfly offer lists with great game ideas that will keep you and your family entertained the entire day.
Invite Family and Friends
No one’s ever complained that too many friends and family members were around on Christmas day. If you’re going to travel to a beautiful location, extend the invitation to another family or two.
Package deals on flights can be purchased to ease travel costs, and if you’re going to drive, consider caravanning in safe family cars.
Keep an Open Mind
While celebrating Christmas on the road, you have to be ready for the off chance that things aren’t going to go exactly going to plan. Being outside of a controlled environment can introduce elements that you haven’t prepared for, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
If you’re open and willing to accept random variables butting into the day, you will not only be more capable of dealing with them when they do arrive, you might even find that such surprises have added a richness to your trip that made it especially memorable.
What’s Christmas morning without a good soundtrack? Make sure you pack some kind of speaker—whether it’s part of a laptop or something that stands alone—and use a streaming service or some CDs to help create that happy Christmas morning atmosphere.