For many of us, December is one of the best times to travel. School breaks usually occur during this time and the mood all around is festive with Christmas just around the corner. As such, family trips are best planned during this last month of the year. With so many great destinations to choose from, it can be a daunting task to plan your next holiday. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with our list of the Best Places to Visit in December. We’ve even got a few tips and tricks up our sleeves to help make your next trip an easy and fun experience.
Tips When Traveling
Book your holiday early:
This is the best way to get great deals on plane tickets and accommodations. Booking early will also give you the time to plan your itinerary to the dot. Just be flexible for any last-minute changes and you should be on your way to a well-organized trip with minimal stress.
Do your homework:
Now that you’ve given yourself ample time, be sure to conduct some research on the place you are going to. A quick Google search can already give you a lot of information, such as the local weather, the best places for shopping and sightseeing, basic facilities, and more. If you could learn the local vernacular, that would be a big plus for you in case you find yourself a bit lost or just need some help getting around.
Pack the essentials:
While you don’t have to bring your whole house, be sure to have some essentials like sunscreen, water bottle, good walking shoes, IDs, and the like. The last thing you want is to have to purchase items on your trip which you could have easily brought from home. It would also be a good idea to buy some foreign currency prior to your departure, just in case of any emergencies when you land.
Keep the kids happy:
If you’re traveling with children, you need to take into account that they will get tired, bored, and as a result, cranky and unmanageable. Avoid this by bringing a few toys and other engaging things like puzzles and coloring books to keep them busy. Kids may also not respond well to the local cuisine so a few snacks for the road are also a good idea. For older children, it will also be a good idea to run some drills with them on what to do if they end up lost (eg: stay put, do not talk to strangers, etc.).
Documentation is a must:
It’s always good to look back on all the fond memories of your travels. Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture all the adventures and misadventures of your trip. For most people, a good smartphone camera is more than enough. Either way, don’t forget to bring extra batteries, chargers, memory cards, and all the tech you would need to document everything on your trip.
List of the 10 Places to Visit in December:
1. Hong Kong
Combining British colonial charm with the Asian urban jungle, Hong Kong is a great place to visit if you enjoy shopping, beautiful city skylines, and amazing Asian cuisine. Be sure to take a tram up to Victoria Peak, spend a day in one of several amusement parks, and enjoy the best shopping deals in its many outlet stores. If sampling local cuisine is more your thing, you’ll find yourself with more than enough choices ranging from Asian to European finds. All of these you can enjoy in December with its nippy and cool weather.
No top destination list would be complete without this paradise. You can expect nothing
less than pristine beaches, bright blue waters, and top of the line resorts. This is the place to be if you love the sea: go snorkeling and see the colorful fish, stay in one of the classy water villas, and dine in an underwater restaurant. You won’t run out of things to do, but even just lounging around, relaxing, and watching the perfect view is already getting more than your money’s worth. It’s no wonder the Maldives has become the honeymooners’ go-to place.
3. Siargao Island
If you love to surf, you won’t find a better place than this quaint little teardrop-shaped island in the Philippines. A must-see event for Filipinos themselves, Siargao Island boasts beautiful white sand beaches, the bluest waters, and the sickest waves. Having been dubbed one of the country’s top beach destinations (and for an archipelago with over 7,000 islands, that is no small feat), you get a great tropical experience while feeling like you’re far away from all your problems. In December, expect the weather here to be dry and cooler than usual, so you should be able to do all your exploring quite easily and comfortably.
Any time of the year, the capital of Spain is one of the best places to go for a celebration. Everything from the architecture to the food just screams of life and the celebration of it. As the temperature drops in December, the city maintains is liveliness, especially at night. During the day, head on over to Plaza Mayor and shoot some great photos, then see the Museo Nacional Del Prado for some history and culture. In the afternoon, take a break in one of the many tapas bars and restaurants for some flavorful and vibrant Spanish cuisine. With so many things to do you’re sure to have a memorable holiday in Madrid.
5. Cusco (Peru)
This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a must-see any time of the year. Here you will find what remains of the Inca Empire. Take a tour around colonial Spanish-style buildings and relive the rich history and culture of this beautiful city. You can even purchase memorabilia such as Alpaca clothing and old paintings to keep you in touch with the city’s past. In December, the weather can be rainy, which enhances the beauty of the place. Just be prepared and bring the appropriate clothing as you’ll be doing a lot of walking here.
If skiing is your thing, this town on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido is definitely something you need to cross off your list. Two hours away from the Sapporo airport, Niseko is home to some of the world’s best and most scenic ski resorts. The area itself is well-known for its powdery snow, making it ideal whether you’re a beginner or a pro. If you need a breather from all that skiing, Niseko also has plenty of onsens (hot springs) to refresh you and get you ready for another full day of riding the slopes. And since no vacation is complete without some great food, treat yourself to some local milk and cheese products for which this town is known.
If you want to experience a warm Christmas in a big city, Sydney is one of the best options you’ve got. Being a large immigrant population, you can immerse yourself in diverse cultures while enjoying a dynamic cosmopolitan vibe. If sightseeing and postcard-worthy photos are what you’re after, this city won’t disappoint — It is also home to some of the world’s most iconic monuments such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbor Bridge. You’ve also got access to some amazing eats in some of the world’s best restaurants.
8. New Zealand
If you’re up for the adventure of a lifetime, come on down under. In December, New Zealand enjoys warm temperatures and sunny skies, making this place perfect for your next wild ride. Try zip-lining, kayaking, sandboarding, and other fun sports to get your blood pumping and your adrenaline high. If you’re a fan of The Lord of The Rings trilogy, New Zealand will spark your enthusiasm as you will recognize many of the scenic places where the films were shot. You can even bring home The One ring as a souvenir.
9. South Africa
If you want something different from the typical vacation vibe, give South Africa a try. Its capital city gives off the old world charm of classic Hollywood movies, perfectly complemented by the lovely December weather. You can shop great old world wines, jewelry, and all your favorite designer brands in Johannesburg, where even the malls give off a lovely vintage vibe. If you find yourself craving the wildlife, take a short trip to Kruger National Park, which offers the whole safari experience with package tours and superb accommodations. It’s this unique blend of the wild and the
urban jungle that makes South Africa a must-see destination no matter what time of the year.
10. New York City
No list of top travel destinations would be complete without the City That Never Sleeps. Christmas in New York is every city lover’s dream: 5th Avenue shops, Central Park, and Times Square, all with perfectly nippy weather and holiday cheer. Experience this culturally diverse urban jungle at its finest, with its great shopping and dining options. Stick around for the world-famous Ball Drop on New Year’s Eve, a city tradition lined up with parties to end the year in style.