I love the holiday season. People who know me think this is ridiculous because I am not the typically the festive type.
But give me snow and hot cocoa at this time of year, and I am all over it.
Having said that, I have missed many a Thanksgiving or other holiday to go travel instead. Thankfully my family understands this desire, and doesn’t hold it against me. In fact, this year we had a “Thanksmas” dinner, because I won’t be home for Christmas either.
It’s frustrating in American culture that we only have limited days off a year. If you get two weeks vacation at a new job, you’re lucky. Then suddenly you spend one week at home for the holidays, another for a wedding over the summer- then boom, you’re done.
If you’re like me, that seems unbalanced. When can you go to the beach and have little drinks with umbrellas in them? That seems equally important to your overall happiness, health and peace of mind. Tiny umbrellas = smiles. Facts.
It could also be that this is your only opportunity for down time during a stressful job or family life. Then to go home during a stressful time of year doesn’t always seem like the smartest choice.
Of course, my family is VERY important to me. But I would rather see them when we aren’t forced into sharing time together because of a specific date on the calendar.
Sometimes when I go home for the holidays, I don’t even feel like I get to spend any quality time with my family or friends. I end up shoving too many activities in a short space of time. Then suddenly I’m back at the airport.
If you simply cannot bear the idea of not being home during the holidays, I don’t blame you. There is something really lovely about seeing family and spreading cheer.
But if you’re thinking about forgoing traditions this year to take a vacation, I am here for that!
There are lots of good reasons to skip the holidays and travel instead…
You don’t spend an outrageous amount on a plane ticket home.
Last year to go home at the end of December, I spend nearly a thousand dollars on a ticket. To be in New Jersey. For 5 days. I love home and my family, but for a thousand dollars, I could have bought a ticket to the Philippines for two weeks, and had enough money for several dive trips. And a few nights at a hotel. Plus drinks with umbrellas in them.
You can find great flight deals to locations if you’re flexible.
Obviously many countries do not celebrate the same holidays we do. If you don’t have a specific place you want to go, you can sometimes find AH-MAZING deals to random locations at the end of December. For example, go on Skyscanner and in destination type, “everywhere”. You might find a cheap, sweet last-minute deal!
Then, you might end up somewhere that observes something else!
You have a unique opportunity to see how the rest of the world celebrates their holidays. You might discover an interesting tradition or a new perspective on the same holiday you celebrate. Or maybe it’s just good for the brain to be warm in December for a change. Pretty sure that’s science.
You don’t have to stress about wrapping presents for the holidays, or other “requirements”.
This seems silly but somehow it always takes waaaay more time that I believe is necessary. Of course, I still buy my family gifts because I love them and I want to bring a smile to their face. But they come in the form of gift certificates, donations in their name, or delivery boxes. Done and done. But really, anything you “have” to do around the holidays becomes a non-issue because, well… you aren’t there. Non-issue = non stress.
You don’t have to have the same conversation 12,749 times.
Where are you living these days? Where have you been recently? Are you seeing anyone? What are you doing with your life? What are you DOING with your life? BLEH.
You also don’t have to be that obnoxious nomad family member.
Have you ever tried traditional German Christmas gluhwein? Did I tell you about the Buddhist New Year festival I went to in Thailand? Do you know about the “alfombras” they make in Honduras for Easter? Want to see my pictures? ::eye roll::
You can visit your family any time and make it special.
I loved our “Thankmas” dinner this year. There was no stress on anyone. We picked a weekend that was convenient for everyone. Plane tickets were much cheaper. There was no traffic and nothing was closed. We made our own family tradition, because you can spend time together and make memories any time of year. Bonus if you all go on a trip together!
I’m not saying that travel is better than going home. I’m just saying, it’s an option. Just sayin…
It’s important to take care of yourself. If that means you need a vacation this year instead of an action packed whirlwind holiday at home, then don’t feel guilty. There’s always next year!
My family and I have discussed ALL going somewhere next year at the end of December. That’s a two for one, holiday time spent with the family and a vacation!
How do you feel about traveling during the holidays?
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