Spending Christmas away from home is becoming increasingly popular as families band together their holiday vacation, Christmas celebration and year-end party all into a single power trip.
Some reasons for people to celebrate in foreign places include a change in scenery, wanting to spice things up or even making the best of the year’s vacation time. But above all else, families opt for a Christmas trip because it takes takes the stress out from setting up, the cooking, the cleaning and most of all, the drama! It’s adventurous, refreshing and a lot of fun.
Christmas isn’t about where you are, what gifts you get or how it’s celebrated; it’s about spending quality time with those you call family. Make the best of your Christmas getaway by covering all the angles, ensuring you’ve got all the right stuff for an unforgettable year-end escapade.
While most things are obvious and are straightforward enough, like making sure your accommodation is booked and you’ve checked what the weather is going to be like there, some things do tend to slip our minds during the holiday madness.
Go through our very own Christmas Away From Home Survival Guide below and see to it that you’re set for a trouble-free holiday.
1. Family Members
Have a little foresight and schedule ahead, letting everyone in the circle know what’s up so that there won’t be any coinciding plans. Work, projects and even household maintenance can get in the way. The family planner(s) can sometimes get a little caught up with the bigger picture that they often forget to inform small details that could make big differences; especially when there are follow-up changes.
When the travelling group gets a bit bigger and a separate unit joins the party (cousins, in-laws, bff’s etc.), there would always added chaos thrown into the mix. Make sure everyone has all the their basic needs covered like food, water and convenience to a restroom. Group all the kids and toddlers together so they wouldn’t get bored during long journeys for some constructive peer fun.
A buddy-system wouldn’t be a bad idea either. No one gets left behind. Remember what happened to that kid who was left home alone when his family forgot about him and left for a Christmas trip?
Bring a little piece of home with you to convey comfort and familiarity during this loving season. But whether you’re heading to a tropical paradise, an urban escape or a snowy wonderland, it’s still a different environment so be practical in what traditions you want to bring with you. It may not be feasible to try and hang Christmas stockings in a sandy beach resort but makes for a good time when sharing cookies at hotel suite.
Some places may even have their own unique way of celebrating Christmas. Adapt and embrace local settings and its practices.
Speaking of embracing local settings, each different location offers a whole new world of delicious delicacies. Explore what the locals have to offer by discovering what makes their Christmas special.
Norway has their spiced cake called “Julekake” while the Philippines has the “Puto Bumbong” which is sticky rice steamed in a small bamboo tube and eaten with a little bit of coconut and sugar. Turrón is a traditional sweet in Spain and is widely regarded as a Christmas treat.
Mix in these domestic wonders during your Christmas dinner to really bring up the magic of being away, getting into the experience of it all.
Aaaah gifts. sneaking the gifts in can be a massive challenge, especially when luggage space is shared or when the item is a little too big for your pockets. So what-to-do? Well sneak em’ in disguised as other things of course!
Casually use different boxes for large-sized products like gaming consoles. Don’t worry about it being loose-fitting, simply use newspapers and other stuffs alike to fill in the empty space, giving it protection and adding to its masquerade.
If they already know where the present is but don’t know what it actually could be, you could also throw them off track by making it harder to guess. Socks for padding is good to change its texture and general shape while pebbles and books are good to change its weight. Use enough packing material to keep your gift from shifting around and making noise. You want it to be a total surprise, and a gift that makes no sound is always a mystery.
5. Smart & Safe
Be smart and keep safe when you celebrate Christmas away from home. Make sure you’ve got all the necessary prescriptions and medication like Paracetamol, Insulin shots, inhaler and so forth packed, easily available in times of emergencies. Also it wouldn’t be a bad idea to invest in travel insurance to cover medical expenses, travel vendors defaulting, loss of baggage and other such mishaps. Different insurance companies offer different plans and coverage so be sure to weigh in your options and needs.
If you’re travelling overseas, do you have all the required travel documents? Check with local laws on what kind of documentation is needed for tourists and foreigners. Keep passports safe and only bring along if absolutely necessary. Enquire with the hotel if they can store it in their safe or if there is a safe already in your room. Keep photocopies of your documents instead when you go about.
Get everyone a prepaid number, making them contactable should the group decide to part ways at any point. Useful in areas like markets, malls, downtown or any other crowded venues.
Be respectful, be courteous and embrace the spirit of both Christmas and adventure. Above all, practice good common sense at all times.
Happy holidays, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone!