The last month of the year can be hectic, but with some planning, you can make time for a getaway to relax and approach the holiday celebrations with energy and enthusiasm. Get shopping, decorating, baking, or whatever is on your to-do list out of the way, then take the family—or just yourself—and spend a bit of time traveling this December.

These are the eight best places to travel to in December.

Published by GolfShire Homes #LivingLifeToATee

December just might be the best time of year to travel.

You can choose from the Christmas classics: the scent of mulled wine and freshly fallen snow wafting from NYC to Berlin, or salty-aired, sun-kissed treats such as St Barts.

It’s good to remember that traveling during the last ten days of December means crowds and exorbitant prices throughout much of the world, but the first two-thirds of the month—before holiday airfares and hotel rates go into effect—can be a serene, value-laden, and just plain lovely time to vacation.

Travelling in December offers the opportunity to take advantage of off-season international travel such as Fiji and Madagascar. And with sunny season in full swing Down Under, it’s an ideal time to discover Australia’s most unlikely success story. And the light shows throughout Tokyo make December an exciting time to visit.

In December, Europe is all decked out for the holidays—with locals generally friendly and in high spirits; in the Southern Hemisphere, spring is in bloom; and in the Caribbean and Mexico, hurricane season is over, the weather is gorgeous, and there are free upgrades galore.

If you want to stay in the U.S, but avoid the cold weather this December, you can travel to South Florida to find beaches and holiday festivities. Not far from Florida’s coast, hotels and resorts in the Bahamas are welcoming guests. For a casual road trip that includes wine, scenery, and a special art installation, visit California’s Central Coast.

The city of Winston-Salem celebrates their history and Christmas customs each December as well, making it a great holiday destination. And the Las Vegas strip is especially light and bright this time of year.

With so many choices, you can find the right place to spend a few December days. Embrace winter’s chill or fly away from it for a while. Take a long weekend or a whole week out of town. In this season of shopping and gifting, remember that travel is a great gift to give yourself or others.

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Best Warm Weather December Travel Destinations

As the winter chill sets in, we start dreaming of warm and tropical locals to escape to. Below are some of the top warm weather destinations to travel to in December.

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil | GolfShire HOmes

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Your December plans probably seemed fine until this very moment when you realized they didn’t yet include Reveillon on Copacabana beach—one of the biggest and best New Year’s Eve parties anywhere in the world.

December is summertime here, so you can spend your trip under illuminated palm trees on the beach, before joining two million (yes) other humans for the debauchery of Reveillon. To extend the trip, join a week-long tour that gives you a blend of rainforest, city, and beach.

 

Canoun, The Grenadines  | GolfShire Homes

Canoun, The Grenadines

December is the month to see and be seen in the Caribbean. But if you’d rather run away and hide, Canouan makes a fine place to fly under the radar.

While everyone else swans around St Barts, you can feel smug about Canouan’s tag: ‘The place where billionaires go to get away from millionaires.’ Though, thankfully, you don’t need to make ten figures to stay at this tiny island’s Mandarin Oriental, the first in the region, where an Oceanview Suite will set you back a cool four figures instead.

Key West, Florida | GolfShire Homes

Key West, Florida

Florida as a destination is one of the best winter vacations in America for a reason; with both Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coastlines, the state is all about the beaches.

Skip over Fort Lauderdale and South Beach, however, and hole up at the Ocean Key Resort & Spa, where tasteful island-themed decor and a convenient locale—near Old Town, Mallory Square, and Key West Harbor—set you up for an exceedingly relaxed stay.

Right outside of the hotel’s front door, you’ll want to hit Duval Street, a 1.25-mile stretch through downtown Key West that serves as the epicenter for all things eating, shopping, and drinking. When hunger hits, head for Louie’s Backyard, a cafe-style Caribbean-American restaurant that resides in a Victorian home right on the ocean. No surprise, all of their top-billed plates are seafood, including cracked conch with mango chutney and sautéed gulf shrimp.

Antarctica  | GolfShire Homes

Antarctica

Admittedly, warm is a relative term in this case. December is the beginning of summer in Antarctica. Penguin chicks are hatching, blue whales are migrating through, the temperatures are above freezing, and the pack ice is melting enough for ships to pass through Drake Passage (the main route down from Chile).

Antarctica tourism has been increasingly blowing up the past few years, and it’s very much a cruise ship situation—this isn’t really a place you can explore by land, but there are a number of different tour operators you can choose from. They can help you get in some sea kayaking. Maybe a polar plunge.

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Best Cold Weather December Travel Destinations

There is a saying that there is no such thing as bad weather, only unsuitable clothing. If you have the right gear, traveling to these cold weather destinations in December can be a very thrilling experience. Here are the top cold weather destinations to visit in December

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana/Idaho  | GolfShire HOmes

Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming/Montana/Idaho

You could go somewhere that’s cute in December, or you could go somewhere that’s iconic. Consider choosing the latter, because there are tons of winter activities (snowmobiling, skiing, etc.).

And even though most of the roads will be closed, there’s oversnow transport to get you around the park. Look for wolves at dawn and dusk, watch frost-covered bison plowing through the deep snow, and see the steam rise off Mammoth Hot Springs.

If you’re a backcountry camper who knows what they’re doing, permits in wintertime are free.

 

Quebec City, Canada | GolfShire Homes

Quebec City, Canada

“Winter in Eastern Canada” might sound more like a 19th-century prison sentence than it does a pleasant vacation, but Quebec City does the cold better than anywhere in North America.

Blanketed in snow, QC looks like the world’s most elaborately constructed Christmas village. The cobblestone streets in Old Quebec densely packed with storefronts beckoning you to come in for hot food and baked goods, and boisterous bars overflow with a cacophony of Quebecoise.

In December the streets are draped with Christmas wreaths and populated with carolers, plus there’s an authentic German Christmas market—a true novelty in a city so overwhelmingly French.

Albuquerque, New Mexico | GolfShire Homes

Albuquerque, New Mexico

In the desert city of Albuquerque, December is cold but not too cold.

On December 7, Nob Hill shines bright for the Twinkle Light Parade. If you’re there December 24, you’ll be able to catch the Old Town Luminaria Tour.

And the whole month of December you can go to ABQ BioPark Botanic Garden to see River of Lights, the largest walk-through holiday production in the state, and one of the most sparkly light shows anywhere in the country.

Reykjavik, Iceland   | GolfShire Homes

Reykjavik, Iceland

It’s only fitting that the closest big tourist destination to the North Pole would do Christmas up big.

Reykjavik feels almost like a mini-New York in December, with the Oslo Christmas tree standing sentinel over the city and a public skating rink in Ingolfstorg Square. Seeing the northern lights is never a guarantee, even during the days of near-perpetual darkness, but your odds are much greater in winter.

On the other hand, who needs ’em when you have 13 official Santas walking around town posing for pictures? The Christmas Village at Hafnarfjordur is a top weekend destination for both locals and the newfound throngs of American visitors. Just beware their holiday tradition of eating ruinously smelly fermented skate.

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Conclusion

Travelling in December offers the opportunity to take advantage of off-season international travel.

With so many choices, you can find the right place to spend a few December days. Embrace winter’s chill or fly away from it for a while. Take a long weekend or a whole week out of town. In this season of shopping and gifting, remember that travel is a great gift to give yourself or others.

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