how to travel over christmas and survive
Each year, we look forward to the holidays and the cooking of puddings and turkeys, the dressing of the tree and the drinking of Champagne. But when you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, or mulled wine, of beaches at your doorstep or hot cocoa after a day skiing, it might be time to take Christmas away this year. It doesn’t have to be depressing dry turkey at the hotel buffet and a plastic tree with tragic lights, either. It’s possible to do Christmas and travel in style.
Megan Morton, one of Australia’s top stylists and an intrepid traveller, is heading to the Balinese jungle this Christmas. Morton holds regular excursions in far-flung places, taking travellers with a penchant for style to destinations including India and Paris. She doesn’t shy from travel at Christmas time, and says “being kind to fellow travellers and the human spirit is always on show around December”. She warns of airline delays and issues with internal flights in India, but it’s not enough to deter the avid adventurer. Morton says it’s possible to do Christmas away at the busiest time of year, and maintain a sense of style on the day.
Choose the right destination, for you
Whether it’s a ski holiday or a beach escape, Christmas can happen anywhere if you have the key ingredients of people you love or the merry spirit the season conjures. Christmas is even possible for one if the place is right. Some destinations scream “Christmas” louder and with more style than others; think Christmas markets, snow, carols. Copenhagen celebrates Jul, or yuletide in high style, with its famed Christmas market the centerpiece. Stalls are stocked with handmade crafts such as traditional figurines of clog-clad elves in pointy red caps, and vendors sell iced doughnuts slathered with black currant jam and hefty cups of gløgg, a hot mulled red wine laden with raisins, almonds, cinnamon sticks, and cloves.
If the Christmas on glitter-sprinkled cards is what you need right now, then head to Austria. Kitsch is hard to escape at Christmas, but here there’s nothing but style. With the backdrop of snow-capped peaks from the Naturpark Karwendel, Innsbruck's markets have a vibe that just feels like Christmas. There are six in the area, ranging from the traditional in the St Nikolaus district to the bustling commercial Marktplatz, which boasts pony rides, puppet shows and a 46 foot tree.
Morton says she is “literally open to anything” at Christmas, being on a fast track to see every single place. “My heart belongs to Paris and India in equal measure,” she says.
Make the destination feel like Christmas
Can it feel like Christmas when your own stockings are not hung, and will Santa even be able to find you in the Alps? Megan Morton has in the past sent special items ahead to the hotel in which her family would spend Christmas. The hotel sets up the room as she wants, and it means “there is a touch of us”.
There’s no place like home for Christmas, but some hotels set the scene so well you’ll be left booking in again for next year. The most festive hotels deck not only the halls, but offer glittering Christmas trees, even ice skating and beach bonfires. At Florida’s Boca Raton Resort, you can enjoy a beach bonfire with s’mores after ice-skating at the resort’s new rink, browsing a pop-up holiday market, and admiring its 40-foot tree flanked by palms.
Will your Christmas be able to escape the proliferation of catastrophic mess that seems to surround any suitcase when it meets a hotel room, no matter how energetic the housekeeping? Morton says no, it will not. But, “my system is just to get up at five every day and do your own housekeeping before the hotel does”, she says.
Consider putting older children, and definitely teenagers, in an adjoining room so that odd socks and USB cords don’t threaten to scare away the Christmas spirit for good. Travelling with children can be hard work at the best of times, and even more so at Christmas when the pressure is on. “Practice not minding,” says Morton, on travelling with the younger generations over Christmas.
This is an extract of an article produced for Open Colleges. See the full article here.