The holidays are a stressful time with myriad obligations, and frequently, a slew of travel requirements. While you may normally dread piling into the car, organizing snacks, or keeping track of boarding passes, this year could be different.
Before you call me crazy, hear me out.
Holiday travel may be a necessity, but that doesn’t mean it has to feel like another box to check in an already-too-busy season.
Whether you’re hauling the kids to their grandparent’s house or visiting your in-laws for the first time, there are ways to make the commute something to look forward to (even if you can’t totally eliminate the planning aspect).
Traveling With Children
Piling kids into a car for a several-hour (or several-day) road trip sounds like a special kind of torture, but it may be the only option in the face of rising airline costs for the whole family.
Instead of squishing everyone into the car and making the journey as efficiently as possible, consider eschewing spousal gifts in the name of a mutual investment: a fifth wheel camper or RV. It could be the difference between enduring the holidays and enjoying a family vacation.
Campers allow you to stretch your drive over several days without having to splurge for hotel rooms and dinners out. By taking advantage of the kids’ winter break from school, you can take a more circuitous route and visit locations you may have had to blow past previously, all from the comfort of your own portable home.
You can find campgrounds and RV hookups along the way, many of which may be surrounded by beautiful winter scenery or local attractions. Trekaroo helps parents find kid-friendly activities in new cities, making breaking up the monotony of road travel a snap.
With a little extra planning, you’ll save money and won’t have to deal with the stress of busy airports or cramped cars. Who knows, you might even stumble on a new family tradition amongst the bonding!
Traveling With a Mature Family
If your family is more mature, the possibilities are even more open. Rather than all congregating at Mom and Dad’s house, why not eliminate the hosting duties?
If you and your siblings are financially stable, consider a destination holiday. You might even be able to splurge and pay for your parent’s airfare — what could be a better way to start paying them back for all those years of sacrifice and holiday spoils?
Speaking of presents, destination vacations can replace gifts this holiday. If you’re all shelling out for the travel, foregoing giving individual gifts just makes sense. Not only does this save you from having to brave the mall, it means more focus on family and less on material things. After all, experiences offer higher value than physical possessions.
When choosing your destination location, involve everyone in the conversation. You don’t want to leave someone unhappily trailing along on a vacation they’re disgruntled to be paying for.
If you’ve got a family of history fanatics, consider parts of Europe — just make sure you plan indoor activities and bring a jacket. If you’re looking for a warmer climate, check travel websites for all-inclusive resort packages or find an off-the-beaten-path tropical locale to get your vitamin D fix.
Traveling as a Couple
If you and your significant other are facing your first holidays as a married couple, or even as a staple in each other’s lives, it can be challenging to navigate the holidays. Deciding whose parents to visit, for how long, and how to prioritize the big day itself can make even the most brash individual want to hide.
Instead, it may be tempting to throw it all to the wind and head off on a winter getaway together. What could be more romantic than holing up in a toasty cabin with snow falling outside?
Without family to keep you busy, an active adventure may be the perfect solution to fill the days of your winter getaway. Skiing, snowboarding, and other mountain sports are the cliches — and there are nothing wrong with cliches! If you need some sun, check out hiking in Sedona or surfing in SoCal.
If you just can’t stomach not seeing your family for the holidays, play with the idea of extending your Christmas holiday to encompass New Years. After playing nice with in-laws for a few days, some personal time with your significant other may be just what you need.
New Years offers a perfect opportunity to celebrate in style. Look for areas with big celebrations or unique takes on traditional festivities. Big city destinations are popular, though, so plan ahead and make bookings (including your dinner reservations) in advance. You’ll return home rejuvenated and ready to greet the new year with new energy.
See Where Adventure Takes You
No matter what your situation is this holiday season, if you’ve got the travel bug, there’s a way to make it work. Check with airlines and travel agencies for holiday specials — believe it or not, they do exist among the sky high prices! Finding a way to share travel with your loved ones makes the holiday spirit bright, but nothing says you can’t head out on your own to make unique memories.
Let us know where you go and what you do! We’d love to get some inspiration for next year.