Find inspiration for unforgettable holiday trips
If you're looking for the perfect holiday vacation, this guide should help you decide on the best way to enjoy the holiday season abroad. From enchanting alpine resorts with holiday markets and soothing hot cocoa to sandy seaside retreats where you can spend the holiday lounging on the beach, listening to the crashing waves, there's something for everyone. One way to make that next festive period extra special is to plump for a Christmas vacation. Whether it's just you and someone special or the whole family crew, there's sure to be somewhere to fit the bill perfectly. Take a look at these holiday vacation ideas to find inspiration for your next retreat.
Top articles to find your ideal holiday rentals
Everyone pines after that perfect Christmas town. But what are you searching for from your festive getaway? Will it be the gingerbread cottages of Leavenworth in Washington, where chestnuts roast on open grills and carols echo from the cafés? Will it be quaint little Woodstock up in Vermont, where souvenir boutiques spill onto fairy-lit sidewalks? And then come the more left-of-field choices, down with the pirate taverns of Florida's St Augustine, or the old oaks of stunning Savannah, GA.
There's plenty to be said for choosing a classic Christmas lodge for this year's present giving and eggnog imbibing. For starters, festive feelings ooze from every log-built wall and crackling wood fireplace in these stays. It's also undeniable that they look uber-cozy when strewn with tinsel and fairy lights. And you can whisk the family away to amazing destinations, whether you zero in on ski-in lodges in Colorado or remote highland homes in Appalachia.
A great way to plan a December 25 away from home but retain the charms of the holiday is to opt for a Christmas mountain cabin. They simply ooze character, with pine-clad walls and brick-built chimney stacks – talk about the magic of the season. And then you notice the downright fantastical places where you could be waiting for Santa in your Christmas log cabin. There's Upstate New York, or the Green Mountains of Vermont, or the Rockies, or the snowy Sierra Nevada – the list goes on.
Don't be. There's so much inspiration out there, it would be a darn shame to miss out on a festive adventure for lack of a plan. Cue enticing visions of ski fields in Colorado, where steam trains puff through snowdrifts and deluxe chalets with hot tubs are wedged beneath the runs of Aspen and Vail. Cue sun-filled exoduses to the south, where Florida has deals on Disney villas, and wave-splashed homes by Cocoa Beach and the Keys promise a Christmas Day without a wooly jumper in sight.
While most people will associate the holidays with staying at home, others see late December as the perfect time to get away from it all. You can keep the festive feels a-going by choosing vacation spots that have snow, roasting chestnuts, carol singers – you get the picture. But there are also getaways that promise to change up your routine completely, with some of the best places to go for Christmas offering sunbathing on sparkling Floridian sands or kayaking tours over glinting coral reefs.
If you're ready to change things up for the coming celebrations but think you've left things a little late – think again. You can always plan a trip at a whim. In fact, last-minute holidays can often prove budget friendly, opening up cozy chalets in the Poconos Mountains for Valentines, relaxing Labor Day homes by lakesides and beaches, and even New Year's party pads in bumping South Beach or California.
Unearthing the very best place to spend Christmas in the USA surely depends on what sort of festive jaunt you're after. There are all sorts. How about the classic snow-topped cottage in the mountains, where you can sing carols as a family by a crackling fire before hitting Coloradan pistes for hardcore carving sessions? Add to that the chance of sunbathing on tropical isles and drinking daiquiris fresh from Carib shacks in Key West. And then there's the city break, which could mean the bright lights of Broadway beckon come the 25th.
You could surprise the crew this year by swapping out the usual Xmas routine for something altogether different – a Christmas family vacation. You won't even have to leave your own backyard to make it something extra special. Jackson Hole has enchanting cabins for all, with snowy slopes above and hearty diners in the town. Branson is a charmer, with Christmas markets and beautiful Ozark lakeside homes. And there's even Disney World, where firework displays and roller coaster rides only add to the magic of the season.
So, you've decided it's time to head off for the holidays? You'll need to consider exactly what sort of travel trip you're pining after, what weather you want to find when you arrive, and the type of vacation rental that you think suits the best. That means weighing up cold and snowy hill towns, comparing them to tropical beachfronts that guarantee winter sun, and thinking about who's coming – is it the whole family or just the two of you?
The best Christmas vacations offer something you'll always remember. They make memories by transporting the whole crew to jaw-dropping mountain ranges where you can ski in the morning, sip eggnog in cozy Bavarian markets by afternoon, and snuggle up by the fire come evening. They give something unique by swapping chilly weather with sub-topical warmth on palm-fringed barrier isles. Or, they're laced with personal touches and take place in forget-me-not cabins and cottages.