How to plan a getaway during the holiday season

The holidays are full of fun, happiness, yuletide spirit… and stress. With the holiday season upon us, you might be tempted to trade cold winter weather and holiday stress for a warmer locale away from crowded malls. So, whether you are looking for sun, sand and surf, are traveling to spend time with family this season or you’re simply looking to escape the stress of the holidays with a relaxing getaway, here are a few planning tips.

Snow (Image: wka used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Looking to escape the snow?! (Image: wka used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Start early

It is never too early to start planning your holiday travel. Some travelers start their planning six months or even a year in advance, but if you are more of a procrastinator, you can still start planning a month or even a few weeks before your travel dates. The earlier you start, the more flexibility you will have in choosing travel dates and hotels based on availability, so always try to plan ahead.

Decide what kind of trip you’re going to take

Are you traveling to a family member’s house? Would you rather whisk the entire family away to a vacation rental on a sunny beach? Are you looking for a quiet holiday getaway without the extended family? Consider who you want to spend your holiday vacation with before you start actively planning.

Budget

Budgets are awfully tight around the holiday season, so you’ll need to carefully consider what you can afford for your holiday travel. And if you are traveling with extended family or friends, you will also need to keep their budgets in mind when planning your trip. Ask yourself, “What can everyone afford and enjoy?”

A crowded airport (Image: Mark Hodson)

A crowded airport — a common sight during holiday travel season! (Image: Mark Hodson, 101Holidays.co.uk)

Try to avoid peak travel days

Airports and roads are most crowded on the days surrounding each holiday, so you will want to avoid traveling on these days if you’re looking for a stress-free holiday trip. The earlier you book, the more flexibility you’ll have. You might even consider scheduling your holiday getaway for the week before or after Christmas to avoid the crowds of peak travel days. Another thing to keep in mind is that traveling on Christmas day could means cheaper flights, less crowds and maybe some holiday perks from the airline (free drink, please?).

Incorporate special holiday activities

If you are traveling somewhere warm like Hawaii or the Caribbean, perhaps, it might be easy to forget that it’s actually a holiday, so be sure to incorporate a bit of the season’s cheer into your trip. It might be a Christmas dinner at the resort, singing carols around the fireplace or even making s’mores as a family around a beach bonfire. No matter what you choose, try to include activities that help you spend time with your loved ones and spread holiday cheer, even when you’re not at home.

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(Main image: thejbird)

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