Fancy spending Christmas away from home? Not sure where to head? Then check out our bloggers’ guide to Christmas abroad.
We asked some of the world’s best-known bloggers and travel writers for the inside track on where to spend Christmas – and where they’ve had the most festive fun abroad. So if you’re thinking of swapping turkey bones and dirty plates for Santa hats on the beach, here’s some top tips from the people who know best.
One Tiny Leap
Travel blogger Maria Belfort of One Tiny Leap said she’d love to spend Christmas soaking up the sun and sangria in Orlando…
“Our Christmases are usually spent with family either in Portugal or England, but I dream of one day taking our family to spend Christmas somewhere sunny, where we could spend Christmas Day frolicking in the sea and singing carols over a piña colada.
“I’d happily combine that with a few days at Disney World in Orlando.
“I’m a self-confessed Disney nut and the thought of spending Christmas at the ‘House of Mouse’, with the parks, especially at Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party, would be simply magical.”See our Orlando villas
Flip Flop Travels
Victoria Philpott is the author behind global travel blog Flip Flop Travels. Her blog grew from her passion to help people travel better, by visiting places they might not have thought of before. For her, the perfect Christmas would be spent surrounded by snow in Swedish or Finnish Lapland…
“If I was going to spend Christmas abroad I’d spend it in Lapland.
“There can’t be anywhere more Christmassy, right? I visited Swedish Lapland in the summer and really enjoyed the vast wilderness. I’d love to see it in winter with snow covering the ground.
“But then, seeing as the Finns are adamant that Santa lives in their Lapland, I’d like to stay there to test the theory. The opportunities to see the Northern Lights would make it worth it too!”
Travel enthusiast Karen Beddow loves jetting off across the globe with her husband and 3 young children. Her inspiring blog Mini Travellers is packed with advice for parents of all ages looking for vacation ideas. Karen shares her fond memories of spending Christmas in Jamaica…
“If we weren’t spending Christmas at home, I would choose Jamaica.
“The first Christmas myself and my husband were together, we decided to fly off to somewhere hot and sunny and Jamaica ticked all the boxes.
“I have fond memories of sitting on the beach sipping a cocktail whilst Santa jet-skied past us. It was a fabulous trip and I’d love to experience it with the girls.”See our Jamaica villas
My Travel Monkey
Ting Dalton, author of award-winning travel blog My Travel Monkey spent her very first Christmas abroad in Thailand. Here she explains why she loved it so much…
“Christmas is all about spending time with loved ones, wrapping up warm and going for long wintry walks before tucking into a huge dinner with all the trimmings. However, as much as I look forward to this annual tradition I do remember with fondness my first Christmas away from home spent on the island of Koh Pha Ngan in Thailand.
“After a simple breakfast, we spent the morning lazing on the beach (in santa hats of course!) and then having a Christmas dinner in a restaurant where celebrations went on all night. The locals tried to make it as festive as possible for us – and even though I was far away from home, it was just wonderful.
“So with this in mind, if you fancy a change from the norm, head to a tropical paradise for some winter sun. I know that we’re planning to in the near future!”See our Thailand villas
Travel Loving Family
Travel writer Lisa Jane has ventured to more than 80 countries in the past 5 years. She shares her experiences on her popular website Travel Loving Family. Lisa recommends spending Christmas in the Caribbean, particularly Barbados.
“I would love to spend Christmas in the Caribbean again!
“I spent three Christmases out there while working aboard cruise ships. To be honest, the first year I was due to spend Christmas in the Caribbean I worried that celebrating in the sunshine wouldn’t feel Christmassy. Of course the reality was [that] I loved spending Christmas day snorkelling in the turquoise blue Caribbean sea and sunbathing on the white sandy Barbados beaches.
“I would swap a cold, wet Christmas in England for celebrating with a rum punch on a stunning Caribbean beach in a heartbeat this year!”See our Barbados villas
In her spare time, multi-award nominated blogger Charly Dove travels the world with her family. She prefers a ‘winter wonderland’ style Christmas in the magical Swiss Alps…
“Nestled in the shadow of the iconic Matterhorn is Zermatt, a quintessentially Swiss mountain resort renowned for its skiing, climbing and hiking. Situated at 1,600m, this beautiful snow-covered and largely car-free town, is reminiscent of a winter wonderland.
“We’ve visited twice during the festive period, the atmospheric après-ski scene making it especially memorable. Bahnhofstrasse has shops, restaurants, bars and cafés aplenty – or [you can] grab yourself an enormous Bratwurst wrapped in crusty bread.
“With 360km of pistes, skiers and snowboarders of all levels are well catered for. The more experienced can take the Theodul Pass to the Italian region of Aosta Valley. Relaxation can come from one of the many mountain restaurants, which boast magnificent views. Tobogganing, sledding and an array of other winter sports are available although the Gornergrat mountain train, with views of the Matterhorn, is a must for all the family.
“The centre of town has an ice rink with skating, curling and hockey on offer. Further afield there’s Zermatlantis (the Matterhorn Museum), forest park, Vernissage cinema, swimming pools and the Matterhorn Brewery to visit. There’s certainly no shortage of things to do if you don’t fancy the slopes. Top tip: Make sure you try the moreish caramel vodka!”
“We loved spending Christmas in Bali.
“It’s fun to spend Christmas in the sun and Bali has enough tourists that there’s still enough elements of Christmas to make it fun! Many places have Christmas decorations, it’s easy to have a traditional meal (with carols!), and all the locals were wishing us a merry Christmas.
“It’s also affordable enough that you have options like pool villas without having to have a huge budget.”See our Bali villas
International travel blog Global Grasshopper is run by self-confessed ‘travel snob’ Becky Padmore. Along with their team of fellow travel enthusiasts, she’s on a mission to discover the world’s most underrated and beautiful places – Cuba being one of them…
“If you’d prefer to escape the cold (and the commercialisation) I’d recommend spending Christmas in Cuba.
“Sip mojitos and salsa dance the night away on glistening white sands beside breezy azure waters. The next day hire a 1950s Cadillac and spend your Christmas exploring Cuba’s vibrant Jardines del Rey, a cluster of beautiful tropical islands located off the North coast.
“Then head to Havana to party with the locals on the Malecón, an atmospheric ocean road lined with colourful but fading, salt-eroded art deco and colonial buildings.”
New York & Florida
Founder of family lifestyle blog Extraordinary Chaos, Sarah Christie said she would love to spend Christmas in New York. She also dreams of Spending Christmas in the warm Florida sun…
“The one place I would love to spend Christmas is New York. We have visited in summer, and fell in love with the hustle and bustle. However I have a real desire to experience it at Christmas, as I know it will be magical.
“I am not sure if it is growing up in the Home Alone era. But I have visions of staying on 5th Avenue and shopping in the snow, with people singing Christmas carols on the street.
“I would love to see the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree and all the festive shop windows. As much as I love the heat and sun and dream of spending Christmas in Florida one year, I also love the seasons and the thought of snuggling in my hat and scarf on the streets of New York is so appealing and something I have always wanted to do.”See our Florida villas
Twins that travel
Self confessed travel-obsessed sisters Claire and Laura Jopson are joint authors of award-winning travel blog, Twins that Travel. They recommend Sri Lanka as an ideal winter sun destination…
“Sri Lanka is an ideal winter sun destination, where relaxation on idyllic beaches can be combined with some ‘soft adventure’ in the country’s famous tea regions. Stay in luxury bungalows on working tea plantations, taking a step back into the country’s colonial past, or hike up to Lipton’s Seat to enjoy breath taking views out over the glistening green tea plantations.
“If you’re looking to keep fit over the winter season, Sri Lanka also offers world-renowned yoga retreats: leaving you tanned, healthy and clear headed for the year ahead.”
Mrs O Around the World
Avid traveller and luxury travel blogger Ana Silva O’Reilly said one of her travel highlights of 2015 was spending Christmas on a luxury cruise along the Ayeyarwady river in Myanmar…
“I am a great believer in actually not going anywhere for Christmas – I do like spending it at home surrounded by family and friends. Last year I decided to mix things up a bit and we spent Christmas away from home on a boat. In Myanmar.
“We sailed on the maiden voyage of The Strand Cruise and explored at Irrawaddy river between Bagan and Mandalay. It was exceptional, and we then celebrated New Year at home with all our loved ones.”
Kids are a trip
Mother of 3 Kirsten Maxwell is the author of family blog Kids are a Trip. She recommends taking a Christmassy break to Chicago, USA.
“Chicago might be cold in the winter, but during the holiday season the city really shines.
“Locals and visitors bundle up to brave the chill and head out to enjoy each and every one of the holiday offerings. Some of the more popular events include the Christkindlmarket, a replica of the European Christmas markets where shoppers meander through wooden stalls while warming themselves with mugs of glühwein.
“Those looking for Chicago’s ‘holiday central’ head to Millennium Park, home to the famous ‘Cloud Gate’ sculpture, the city’s Christmas tree, the Maggie Daley ice skating ribbon, and multiple holiday concerts. The favorite indoor holiday activity of many is attending Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light at the Museum of Science and Industry.
“Here visitors can marvel at trees decorated to represent over 50 countries and cultures from around the world and enjoy live holiday performances.”
If you’re booking a Christmas vacation and you need help finding the perfect place to stay, then contact the Top Villas travel team. Additionally, the Top Villas concierge service can arrange any added extras you need such as great value car hire and attraction tickets.