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Hey gang! Welcome back.
Kids are in school, the weather is cooling, and leaves will start falling in a few weeks. Heck, department stores will deck their halls for the holidays – oh, about – next week; so, is it too early to talk about Christmas?
Not if you plan to travel.
If your Christmas trip isn’t booked, you better get moving. With only 14 weeks ’til Santa comes, the time finalize your travel plans is now!
In the past, we always had to work the Christmas holiday. That meant travel was off the table, but last year we actually booked a trip – and boy was it busy.
The holidays are the most popular time of year to travel, so prices are high and rooms fill up quickly. Despite the hassle, traveling with your family provides (mostly) wonderful holiday memories that you’ll share forever. So, if you’re still searching for the perfect spot, here are six ideas to make your Christmas travels magical!
6 Best Christmas Vacation Destinations
San Juan, Puerto Rico
Want to know where we’ll be this holiday season? Puerto Rico is it! Holly spent several days there last December and found it was absolutely beautiful. I’ve never been, so I can’t wait to go.
Besides the obvious sunny weather and beautiful beaches, Puerto Rico has loads to offer. Old San Juan was settled over 500 years ago, and guess what: It will be all lit up for Christmas! While we’re there, we’ll also be checking out El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest on U.S. soil. And, of course, we’ll be spending time on the beach with the kids. Since Southwest flies to San Juan, getting there is a piece of cake. You can even get there using points you earned from your Southwest Visa! But you better hurry! Christmas will be here before you know it.
Marco Island, Florida
Speaking of beautiful and sunny Christmas vacation ideas, Marco Island, Florida has to be on the list. We’ve considered this spot each of the last two years, but – alas – our plans have fallen through. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t consider it though.
The beaches in Marco Island are supposed to be spectacular. If you’re there before Christmas, catch the holiday boat parade where you’ll see the local vessels lit up with Christmas lights. After the holiday, check out the New Year’s Eve fireworks in nearby Naples. Staying in Marco Island isn’t cheap, but you can save money with hotel points. We planned to transfer some of our Chase Ultimate Rewards® points to Marriott for our stay.
When I lived in Chicago, Christmastime was one of the best times of year. With holiday window displays, snow lined streets, and carols heard everywhere, you’ll get swept up in the Windy City’s Christmas spirit.
Always a top tourist destination, Chicago’s Magnificent Mile is one holiday spot you don’t want to miss. This world famous shopping district is lined with more than a million Christmas lights during the festive season. While you’re near downtown, you should also check out the city’s official tree. In 2015, the tree was moved to a new location in Millenium Park. Be sure to visit Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest for some more holiday themed fun, as well.
Beaver Creek, Colorado
If skiing is more your style, try bringing the family to my favorite spot in Colorado – Beaver Creek Resort. The slopes are some of the best in the world, and – along with nearby Vail – they played host to the 2015 FIS Alpine World Ski Championships.
But, skiing isn’t the only thing Beaver Creek has to offer. Families will love Beaver Creek’s WinterFest. Visit with Santa, strap on some figure skates, and enjoy interactions with WinterFest characters throughout the village. There’s also a New Year’s Eve Bash, complete with fireworks. Like all mountain getaways, Christmas is bound to be both busy and pricey. To save money, try booking a place through VRBO.
Las Vegas, Nevada
Want a little desert to go with that Yuletide spirit? Consider a trip to Las Vegas!
Seriously, what’s not to like about Christmas in Vegas? The weather is warm but not blazing hot. You can ice skate at the Cosmopolitan, see Santa Claus (and Santa Jaws) at the aquarium in Mandalay Bay, or enjoy the lights and sounds of the city. After opening gifts, throw down some chips at the craps table and try to win back the money you spent. Stay until New Year’s Eve, catch a show, and enjoy the party that is Las Vegas.
Platinum Coast, Barbados
We just returned from Barbados and had to quickly add this place to the list. I mean, I’ve been to a lot of Caribbean islands; so far, Barbados takes the cake!
This island is absolutely gorgeous. We visited the Platinum Coast, and the beaches were nothing short of stunning. The crystal clear water sat as still as a bathtub, filled with awesome snorkeling and lots to do. (Think Grand Cayman with more of a Caribbean island vibe.) Even better, the people here are kind and extremely laid back. And if you want to hang out with celebrities, book a room at the Sandy Lane resort for around $4,000 a night during the holidays. Hometown hero, Rihanna has a condo next door, so you know the place is ballin’. We stayed at Waves Hotel & Spa by Elegant Hotels, a lovely and romantic spot for couples. If you’re looking to bring the whole family, the brand boasts several other hotels on the island. I’d highly recommend you check them out.
What are your favorite Christmas destinations? Have you booked your stay yet? Let us know in the comments below!