We made it through the first week of 2016! Early in the year, it’s lovely to reflect back on things like the Top 10 Travel Memories of 2015 and the Travel Moments That Defined 2015. In fact, it’s hard not to reminisce as everyone slowly eases back into their regularly scheduled programs, right? But as I look upon the year ahead as holiday decorations still twinkle on the city streets, my mind is struck by a radical idea! What if there’s a better way to celebrate Christmas in 2016? Imagine meeting your closest friends and family in some exotic location to celebrate the holidays? Ring in the New Year on a beach?
Okay, so it didn’t quite work out so well for the McCallister’s of Home Alone fame, but couples do it all the time with destination weddings. They send out all their obligatory invitations, fully aware that only their closest friends and family members will actually attend. Who else can spare their precious savings of money and vacation time (equally important)? Without offending a soul, destination weddings bring together family and friends so that they can celebrate (and travel) in awesome locations. So why hasn’t this trend jingle jangled its way over to Christmas?
Like many, I still go back home year after year. I endure the expensive flight prices and battle for vacation days adjacent to 12/25. Maybe it’s time for a change this year? If you haven’t already started planning your destination Christmas for 2016, here’s a few reasons why you should…
1. Home for the holidays? Meh.
Now I absolutely adore my family and friends – I talk to my mom almost everyday! I even like returning to my hometown once in a while. However, I question the automatic allocation of precious vacation days for an annual trip home for the holidays. Why not explore a new location? Going back to your hometown every Christmas is like travelling to a really cool city and deciding to go back every year (and thereby giving up new travel opportunities in the process). Not so cool anymore, eh? Like I said, family is great and going back home once in a while has its charm, but it’s the obligatory Christmas “home for the holidays” mantra that I challenge. Go back whenever you feel like it or when the price right (which normally ain’t around the holidays).
2. Take Flight with Family!
You may not always go home for the holidays, but that doesn’t mean you can’t see your family. Collect the crew and celebrate the season in sunny Sydney or the snowy Swiss Alps. Near or far, a destination Christmas is a great way to bond as a family. A shared travel experience has the potential to bring you closer to each other as you explore new cultures, discover new foods and overcome the inevitable challenges that come with all travel. Imagine how much you’ll learn about each other? From each other? The memories you’ll make? From planning the trip to that epic airport reunion, the destination Christmas is a wonderful way to strengthen those family ties.
3. Use Vacation Days Wisely
We all know the cold, cruel limitations when it comes to vacation days. So why squander precious days on repeated visits back home? Sure, it’s nice to get nostalgic on occasion, but not every year, and definitely not at the expense of other travels. I see no reason why you can’t combine all the best of Christmas celebrations with all the finest travel destinations.
So go ahead, celebrate the season with your loved ones in some exotic travel destination. Going home for the holidays is a comforting idea, but it sure is exciting to think about discovering the exotic foods some cultures enjoy instead of turkey. I hear tamales flow freely from door to door on South American streets and fresh goat curry is the preferred festive feast in the West Indies.
And if you simply can’t convince mom to travel away from home for the holidays, pick another date. Sharing gifts and showing people you care is always in season, even outside of the last 2 weeks of the year. After all, Santa’s quite the world traveller too!