So you’ve decided to do the festive season overseas? Great choice.
Now, I’m not going to lie- travelling around Christmas and New Years is a little trickier than other times.
Sure, there will still be flights and transport and all that jazz- but shops close, tourist spots close- and if anything goes wrong, e.g. your phone dies and you need a new one- you will have the short window of December 27th-29th to get it fixed, or you’ll be waiting until January 2nd.
So! A little pre-planning is required!
Here’s 5 tips to get you started:
1. Pick a place and stay there
With transport on public-holiday times and who-knows-what closed for the season, just save yourself the hassle. Pick one spot and stay put.
2. That place should be day-trip heaven
Just because you’re in one spot doesn’t mean you can’t go adventuring! Choose a place that has plenty around it to which you can day trip. For example: say you choose to stay in Lucca, Italy- you could day trip to the Cinque Terre, Florence, Pisa, Siena, San Gimignano… etc. etc. all of those places, no more than 2.5 hours away. Perfect!
3. Holiday rent a house
It’s much nicer for the party to gather in the living room, than stand awkwardly in the hotel foyer. You can play games, drink a lot- whatever! It’s your house for the season!
4. Plan your meals ahead of time
If you’d like to spend Christmas or New Years in a restaurant, you absolutely must book ahead. Don’t assume anywhere will be open over the holidays. (Trust me, one time I ate convenience-store pizza for Christmas because I thought something would be open, and nothing was.)
Alternatively, hit up the markets, stock your pantry and cook for yourself! While you’re busy breaking tradition, get everyone involved so the usual cook can enjoy their holiday.
If that sounds like a drag, hire a private chef for the occasion. You may laugh- but it’s delightful. Not cheap, but delightful.
5. Enjoy the local traditions!
I’m talking German Christmas markets, midnight mass in Latin, German Christmas markets (I really like gingerbread), fireworks, Yule goats… Herring! Ok, maybe leave the Herring to the Swedes.
It doesn’t matter if it’s not your tradition, or your belief-system; that’s what travel is all about. Meeting someone else’s culture and giving it a hug.
🙂 happy holidays!