Looking for inspiration for the best places to travel in December? There’s bucket loads of it coming right up. Whether you’re hoping to escape the snow and head to warmer climes or vice versa, you’re sure to find the perfect spot among our list of not-to-be-missed December vacation ideas.

Best places to go on vacation in December in Africa

As winter extends its icy grip across the northern hemisphere, Africa offers a warm welcome – and not just to vacationers. Green season arrives in the Kalahari Desert, bringing with it zebra and springbok herds and the predators who hunt them. It’s an annual show that attracts visitors from around the world and one that gives Botswana a claim to being among the best places to travel in December. Cape Town takes a bite of that cherry too, the so-called Mother City boasting buzzing beaches, Martini-dry weather, and a cheerful vibe.

Best places to visit in December in Asia

While rain is abundant in Kuala Lumpur and Bali, and frosty temperatures hit Central China and northern parts of Japan, other zones of Asia easily count as being among the best warm places to visit in December. In Cambodia, visitors can tour the temples and take advantage of the still-high waters of the Mekong River to enjoy trips to the nation’s iconic floating villages. And if you’re eager to get into the Christmas spirit, the Philippines is the place to do it, the predominantly Christian Pearl of the Orient being one of the few places on the continent to truly believe.

Best places to vacation in December in Oceania

The Christmas cheer is palpable in the harbor city of Sydney, the festive vibe perfectly complemented by the start of summer and the opportunity to catch the last of the humpback whales and their new calves as they migrate south to the Antarctic. Then there’s Queenstown over in New Zealand, The Adventure Capital of the World offering visitors the chance to bungee jump from Kawarau Gorge Suspension Bridge and fly above town on a tandem skydive. For those who prefer a slower pace, Rotorua boasts a blend of bubbling hot tubs, steaming geysers, and fascinating Maori heritage.

December vacation ideas for Antarctica

Earth’s southernmost continent deserves a spot on any list of the best places to go on vacation in December. It’s a month where up to 22 hours of daylight equal prime viewing time for hungry humpback whales, playful seals, and fluffy penguin chicks. Cruises to Antarctica are offered from Australia, New Zealand, Chile, and more – with many of the launchpads in South America also offering fly-cruise packages to the Antarctic Peninsula. These fly-cruise options shorten the minimum excursion time to six days, while also reducing the cost to visit Antarctica.

Best places to visit in December in Europe

With snow in the north, sunshine in the Mediterranean, and bundles of Christmas cheer in the middle, European winters come in many flavors. It’s a charming time to visit Germany and Austria, where you’ll find the famous markets in Cologne, Munich, and Vienna filled with gingerbread and gifts. Meanwhile, the best place to visit in December with family is surely the Lapland capital of Rovaniemi, the official home of Santa Claus, while the darkness that falls over Abisko in Sweden in December and January makes this tiny village the perfect place to admire the swirling aurora borealis.

December getaways in North America

The planet’s third-largest continent plays host to oodles of options for enjoyable December vacations. For travelers watching their budget, the fun starts in the backyard with destinations such as Boston and Yellowstone National Park widely considered to be among the best places to travel in December on a budget. Winter sports enthusiasts can hop over the border to Canada where the Sea to Sky Highway offers a scenic driving route from Vancouver up to the awe-inspiring snowy landscapes of Whistler.

Best December vacations in South America

For those travelers looking for the best December vacation destinations in South America, the Ecuadorian resort city of Salinas often proves tempting. There you’ll find two long stretches of beach, an elegant pier, and lively nightlife. To the north lies Cartagena, a pretty city where cobblestoned streets are filled with bright architecture, performers, and a carnival atmosphere. Then there are the vacation home rentals in the Rosario Islands, these popular picks surrounded by white-sand beaches and brilliant blue waters.