As the air starts to chill and the leaves start to turn, many people are turning to their computers to book their flights home for the imminent holiday season. However, before you commit to flying home, you may want to consider going anywhere else. On the one hand, holidays with the family is comforting and simple — but on the other hand, the world is full of unique and exciting opportunities for those willing to explore. Instead of spending the season flying back and forth from your hometown, you should devote this year’s holidays to travel, and here’s why.
Destinations Are More Exciting
The vast majority of your vacation time is likely spent during the milder months in spring, summer, and fall, which means you probably have precious little exposure to how the rest of the world looks and acts when the weather gets wild. December is one of the most intense times of year around the globe, with the northern hemisphere locked in winter and the southern hemisphere enduring the height of summer. Plus, many of the world’s most important celebrations occur during the holiday season, and traveling during this time grants you access to cultural traditions you aren’t likely to find at home sweet home. The result is a more exhilarating and enlightening travel experience, which few true travelers should be willing to pass up.
For inspiration and motivation, here are some of the most beautiful and exciting holiday season destinations:
- Reykjavik, Iceland. At the best of times, Iceland seems like an alien planet, but when daylight only lasts four hours and the green-blue aurora borealis lights up the sky, you are in for a fantastical treat. Plus, Iceland doesn’t believe in Santa Claus — but instead has 13 trolls who torment kids for fun.
- Niagara Falls, Canada. Sure, the Falls are breathtaking when water is thundering over the edge in warm weather, but during wintertime, the Falls can actually freeze solid, creating a massive natural ice sculpture. Plus, the city of Niagara Falls bedecks itself with millions of glittering lights for the season.
- Venice, Italy. Admittedly, the winter weather in Venice is absolutely dreadful — foggy and damp — but the relative dearth of travelers makes locals uncharacteristically upbeat. Some of Venice’s biggest tourist attractions are nearly empty around the holidays, which makes the twinkling lights reflected in the canals extra special.
- Bali, Indonesia. It’s cliché to escape the holidays in the Caribbean; for at true traveler’s treat, you should head to Bali, where the weather is divinely warm. More likely than not, you won’t see a single sprig of holly or hear a familiar carol — which is just what some holiday travelers need.
- Maui, Hawaii. Maui is a large tourist location with great nightlife and plenty of day-time activities. With plenty of Maui vacation rentals available there is something for everyone when it comes to accommodations. The warm sun and beautiful beaches definitely beat the cold weather back home.
Rates Are Cheaper
Airlines, hotels, and other essential service providers in the travel industry know full well that they rely on warm-weather tourists for the bulk of their income, which means they jack up prices when people are likely to go on vacation. Likewise, to entice off-season travelers, the travel industry collectively lowers its rates during the wintertime. Flights to Europe are at their annual lows during December, which means touring the continent during the holidays will give you the best deals you’re likely to get.
Appreciation for Home Deepens
While you are away enjoying new cultures, seeing new wonders, and experiencing the holidays like never before, you will inevitably compare what you observe with what you are familiar with at home. Plenty of alternative holiday celebrations are exciting and fun, but nothing is quite as comfortable as the holiday traditions you grew up with. Slowly but surely, your holiday travel will give you strong sensations of nostalgia and appreciation for the holidays at home.
Relationships Grow Stronger
Undoubtedly the biggest hang-up for holiday travel is the missed opportunity to see one’s family during such a special time of year. However, some psychologists argue that spending one holiday season away from home may help family relationships stay strong — and even grow stronger. Despite the atmosphere of intimacy, spending the holidays at home is more often than not an emotionally taxing experience. Granting yourself a reprieve from the stress of work and family will allow you to heal, so next year’s family holidays will easier to handle.
Image by kevin dooley Under Creative Common License.