With a new year closing in quickly, many people are anxious to get away from the stress of the season, with the benefit of enjoying one final holiday for the year. The question becomes, where to go? The choices may seem endless, but there are a few tried and true options that all offer up culture and sightseeing on a budget. Now is the time to stop dreaming, and arrange a flight to paradise.
To start, there are a couple of important things to remember. One myth of holiday travel is that prices will not rise in a countries that don’t celebrate Christmas. The world is a small place, and even though the majority of residents of Vietnam, for instance, do not celebrate Christmas, it doesn’t mean that they are ignorant to the rise in tourism around the holidays. Prices rise with demand, not because of the local traditions.
If you have not already booked flights and hotels, do it NOW. Many travelers book months and months in advance for the holidays. While this reduces the overall availability, for late bookers the good news is that there are generally still deals to be had. As hotels consider their remaining availability, it is still possible to find some very good last minute offers.
Before making your getaway booking the big decision is where to go? Below is a list of a few of the top travel destinations to inspire exploration.
For Sun & Sand
A long-time favorite, Mexico’s close proximity to the United States, coupled with a festive culture, inexpensive hotels, and amazing food makes for a dream location. Perhaps Puerto Vallarta ranks high on your list. Well known for offering up a near perfect combination of old and new, Puerto Vallarta features hotels to fit any budget, excellent dining with everything from taco stands to high end restaurants, and perfect sunsets every night.
If the Caribbean waters beckon, don’t ignore touristy Cancun. Although built specifically as a tourist destination, this active city sits on some of the prettiest beaches in the world, and package deals abound. It is easy to combine air and lodging in one agreeable price and, carefree, jet off to the land of late nights, Mayan ruins, cenotes, and amazing diving.
After a few years off the radar, Honduras is experiencing a resurgence of travelers. Some are drawn to some of the cheapest diving certification in the world, while others simply want to get off the beaten path, and experience a traditional way of life, all surrounded by gorgeous countryside, and Caribbean seas.
For Culture & Cuisine
It is hard to beat the extraordinary culture and cuisine of India. The long flight brings it’s just rewards in the form of street life unlike anywhere else in the world. The chaos is part of the charm and sightseeing around Rajasthan is a true step back in time. Indian cuisine, long heralded as some of the best in the world, will delight every taste bud with a depth of flavor rarely experienced. To explore a quieter side, head to trendy Goa, whose famous beach communities have drawn travelers for decades.
For thousands of years Egypt has hosted travelers from around the globe. One of the original powerhouse societies, the pyramids and tombs of the country are remarkable, and truly unique. The Nile is the life source of the country, and cruising her waters is an excellent introduction to a country steeped in historical significance. Egyptian cuisine is a delightful blend of Middle Eastern and African influences, and discovering new dishes, such as Ful, will add to the memories.
For Asian Serenity & Style
This stunning country has become a favorite of travelers. Inexpensive and exotic, Vietnam offers that sweet combination of excellent value, amazing scenery, and great food. The French influence is still widely apparent in both cuisine and the beautiful architecture, tailor shops, and overall style. Add in thousands of miles of coastline and about a billion scooters, and sit back to enjoy a fantastic holiday.
It is almost impossible to head to Southeast Asia, and NOT go to Thailand. The majority of inexpensive flights arrive in the major hub that is Bangkok and, while some people immediately escape this enormous and chaotic city, if you stick around for a few days it is easy to find charm in the most unexpected places. The Thai people are some of the friendliest on the planet, and the cuisine world class. Combine these pleasures with exotic hill tribes, beautiful textiles, and stunning beaches, and it is easy to understand why this country remains one of the world’s favorite travel destinations.
Of the 6000 inhabited islands of Indonesia, Bali remains the most popular. While well known for its nightlife in the main city of Kuta, it is easy to escape to the rice paddies and serenity of Ubud, or one of the many beaches circling the island. Indonesia cuisine offers hints of Malay and Indian, and the beauty of the daily offerings and surrounding countryside is outstanding.
Wherever your dream travel destinations are, it is now easier than ever to jet away for a last minute trip. Do a bit of research, consider flight times to each destination in relation to the amount of time your holiday allows, and prepare for a holiday season unlike any you have experienced before.
As more and more people check off items on their bucket list, and begin to value experiences over things, a holiday away seems the perfect solution. What better way to bond with family and friends over the true meaning of the holidays than to forego gifts, and instead give loved ones moments that will become memories for a lifetime? A camel ride to see the pyramids at sunrise, a visit with the Monks of Thailand, a delicious meal served to you at a child sized plastic table and chairs; these are the moments that will fuel your imagination, and feed your soul for years to come.