The benefits of traveling for the holidays

Whether home is far away or you’re looking to explore some place new—holiday travel is a great plan.

Hailing from Perth, Australia, Melissa has called New York City home for six years. She loves the bustling energy of the city, but around the holidays, she admits it’s a challenge to be so far from home and her family—who are more than 11,600 miles away! Traveling to Australia requires some early planning to cover that much ground. 

Melissa and her partner have created a new holiday tradition for the times when it’s too far to travel to the other side of the world: go on vacation somewhere closer!  

As she says, “Travel lets you have fun and feel good during this time of year, even if you can’t be with the whole family.” Her annual holiday vacation has taken her to places like Vancouver, Canada and Tulum, Mexico

The good news? Holiday decorations are easy to pack!

Traveling with your traditions

First, it can feel a little less festive when you’re traveling for the holidays—but Melissa fixes that by bringing plenty of Christmas supplies wherever she goes! Tinsel, strands of lights, and Christmas ornaments all make her packing list—even a mini tree!

“We bring Santa hats too just for a bit of silly festivities. It makes it feel more like a celebration!” she says.

She learned early on that you can get creative and travel with your holiday traditions. Her other tips? Plan ahead and bring along a festive spirit wherever you’re going. She also ships presents back home to Perth for her nieces and nephews well in advance, and always video calls them to watch as they unwrap their holiday gifts.

A private boat tour is a perfect way to treat yourself.

Go big when you’re not going home

The holiday season is packed with group gatherings, shared meals, and other parties. It’s easy to feel like you’re missing out if you’re not there. Melissa gets around this feeling by splurging on vacation.

“We always plan a special meal on Christmas and New Year’s,” she explains. Some of her highlights have included a farm-to-table meal at a farm in Cabo San Lucas, where they saw how the produce was grown before it was served, and a five-course meal on the beach in Tulum. 

Planning special excursions helps too, like charting a boat tour of the famous arches at the very tip of the peninsula in Cabo San Lucas—complete with live jazz music and wine tastings. If you plan a few elaborate and special activities while you’re away, you’ll miss the holiday punchbowl back home much less!

Sometimes a “hyper local” celebration can mean a bonfire on the beach.

Celebrating Like A Local

Another benefit of being away? Celebrating in the local style!

The year Melissa traveled to Vancouver, they were staying outside of the city on the Sunshine Coast—surrounded by lush green islands just north of Vancouver along the Strait of Georgia for New Year’s Eve. Celebrating the new year wasn’t about going out downtown in a city, but having a roaring bonfire on the beach and appreciating the nature all around them as the sparkling lights of the city sat in the distance. 

In Mexico, they attended a New Year’s Eve party on a rooftop and spent the night dancing to salsa music, enjoying tropical drinks, and watching the fireworks overhead.  

 Benefits of being abroad

One of Melissa’s favorite things about being away for the holidays is being able to truly tune out of work mode and get down to full relaxation. At the end of the year, she also uses any remaining vacation days to really step away from the office and simply enjoy being somewhere new. 

Whether you’re unable to make it home for the holidays like Melissa or you just want to explore a new part of the world at that time, there are plenty of reasons to travel during this time of year. And there’s always a way to make the holidays feel special anywhere you are.