Most people tend to associate the travel season with the months of June, July and August. But as more and more people have flexible jobs or just plain need a break during the colder months, they've started to opt for winter vacations. It's also a cheaper time of year to travel, you can get some really good deals on airfare, accommodation and more during the low season. Let's look at some of the best winter vacations so you can start planning your next destination.
Best Winter Vacations to Escape the Cold
One of the many reasons people take a trip in the winter is for a change of scenery. The dog days of summer are a distant memory and the blooms of spring seem quite a ways off. If you're looking to shake off the cold, here are a couple ideas to get you started.
St. Lucia: An Idyllic Island Escape
Heading to this island paradise in the Caribbean is one of the best December vacations that you can take. The lush landscapes of this heaven on Earth are located close to Barbados, the Grenadines, Martinique, and Guadalupe. The sunny days and warm weather (think 80 ºF or 27 ºC), are perfect for enjoying its beautiful beaches mountainous terrain. The cold weather and tons of layers that you escaped from will seem like a world away as you sip on cocoa tea, the island’s signature drink. It's a delicious blend of milk, spices and locally-sourced cocoa.
There's lots to do in this dream destination. Adventure lovers can go zip lining in the Chassin rainforest, or go climbing on the Pitons. There are also plenty of isolated beaches and private resorts where you'll feel like you have the entire world to yourself. And don't worry about this being a luxury destination. you'll find that the island is actually quite laid-back and relax. You might even find yourself taking part in one of their evening dance parties, called “jump-ups”.
Realistically, the plane tickets will probably be your biggest expense. The price is well worth it though. And you'll see why this is such a popular honeymoon destination.
Turks & Caicos: Heaven on Earth
Another warm weather destination for those looking to escape for cold is Turks & Caicos. It's one of the best December vacations if you're looking to escape the day-to-day stress work life for a while. Unfortunately everyone's trying to get here in the winter in order to take advantage of the fantastic weather and world-class beaches. Not only that, but there's scuba diving and snorkeling on the islands reefs golfing at the Provo Golf Club. Whether it's swinging your club and teeing off or slipping on your fins to dive, you're sure to find relaxation here.
Turks and Caicos is actually a group of around forty islands and cays with different personalities. There's a larger, more touristy cruise ship port of Grand Turk, which also has history and culture. Here you will find Cockburn Town, which is where Christopher Columbus first set foot in what he thought at the time was India. Salt Cay is famous for its diving and it has one of the largest reefs in the world after Australia and Belize. Lastly, Provo or Providenciales is where you'll find the country's most luxurious hotels.
Stunning white sand beaches, glimmering turquoise water and mouth-watering freshly caught seafood awaits you.
Winter Vacation Ideas For Europe
Of course, not everybody wants to spend their holidays on a tropical beach. Maybe you prefer skiing in the Alps or simply don't mind spending time in colder climes during the winter months. This is especially true for people who live warm weather all year long. For example, if you've never seen snow, then perhaps a place with freshly fallen powder is your ideal destination. Maybe you can use this experience as a chance to learn how to ski or simply start a snowball fight.
Iceland: Outdoor Winter Pursuits in the Land of Fire and Ice
At first this might seem like an unusual choice for a winter travel destination. After all, you might be a lot like the snowbirds from northern countries trying to escape frigid weather and snowfall. So why on Earth would you go somewhere with the word “ice” in its name? But you're me out. Iceland is one of the most magical places you can ever visit, regardless of the time of year.
Glacier hikes and ice caves are some of the most popular winter activities here. Visiting a national park like Vatnajökull or Thingvellir on the Golden Circle route is every outdoor enthusiast's dream. The country is a true winter wonderland that looks like a snow globe with white blanketing everything. And if seeing the night Northern Lights is something that's on your bucket list, there's no better place to see them than Iceland. Mother Nature's dazzling light show dancing across the sky is only visible during the winter months, so take full advantage.
There are also ski resorts in the North, which make Iceland the perfect winter getaway. Renting a car in Iceland and taking an epic road trip is the adventure of a lifetime, and one that is still a bit off the beaten path.
Christmas Markets in Germany and Austria
These are two more destinations that are simply magical in December. The lights and decorations make the oldest cities all over Europe take on an almost fairy-tale like quality. You again have the benefits of not having to face the hordes of tourists that visit in the summer. You also have cheap flights and will be able to see these special places in a different light.
And of course there are the famous Christmas markets in Germany and Austria. Rows and rows of stalls filled with toys, decorations, candied fruit, and more goodies pop up in cities like Dresden and Vienna. The Dresden Striezelmarkt is Germany's oldest and features not only traditional crafts but culinary treats like special cakes and the famous Glutwein. It gets millions of visitors every year much like Vienna's Christmas market, the largest in the world.
Best December Vacations: City Breaks
December and Christmastime truly are the most wonderful time of the year. Department store windows are dressed with beautiful displays and holiday lights illuminate the streets. if you decide to visit the southern hemisphere, they're experiencing summer, which can be an even more special treat.
December in New York City
One of my favorite winter vacation ideas Is to head for New York City. While the Big Apple is traditionally considered a great option for weekend getaways, it's all so wonderful to spend a little more time there over the holidays. Head to Rockefeller Center to see the iconic Christmas tree and take a lap around the ice skating rink. There are also countless art galleries and cultural institutions. And of course be sure to take in a Broadway show while you're there.
One of the reasons I love New York as one of the best winter vacations is because it's great for couples, families, solo travelers, or groups of friends. This global cultural capital has something for everyone. With citizens from every country, this metropolis can sometimes feel like the world's playground. Visit Central Park, grab a cupcake from Magnolia Bakery, be blown away by Times Square’s lights, or just get some dim sum in Chinatown. The sky's the limit and the possibilities are endless when you decide to experience the Christmas season in New York.
And if you get the chance, take in the unforgettable Rockettes Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall. It’s one of the best December vacations you’ll ever take.
December Vacations For Skiing: Park City, Utah
Park City, Utah may ring a bell because it's the location of the annual Sundance Film Festival. Much like Whistler, Canada and Jasper National Park, the area is also known for its skiing. In fact, the 2002 Winter Olympics were hosted nearby. In Park City you'll find both the Park City Mountain Resort and the Deer Valley Resort. Both are famed for their slopes and fresh, soft snow. Main Street itself is also quite charming, with its 19th-century buildings that date back to the silver mining boom.
Located just 25 miles from Salt Lake City International Airport, it's easy to reach using the frequent shuttles and transportation. The town also boasts a free trolley and bus system as well as lots of taxis, so you don't need to rent a car. Some of the favorite activities are skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, as well as enjoying the social scene.
There are over 150 restaurants and many locally crafted wines for foodies looking to enjoy their winter break. This is also one of the most romantic vacations in December for couples looking to get away from it all. And if you need a break from all of the outdoor activities why not visit the Park City Museum, go shopping on Main Street, or visit the Egyptian Theater for a show.
Vacations in December
There are a lot of different options for vacations in December. Where you go all depends upon your preferences and the types of places you like to spend your downtime. Regardless of the option you choose, December vacations are a wonderful opportunity to rest, reset and relax. I hope that these winter vacation ideas have inspired you to start planning your ultimate trip. The glaciers of Iceland and the beaches of the Caribbean are waiting.