There is no better way to celebrate the winter holidays than with a trip. The quality family time and unforgettable experiences provide the best of both worlds. And yet, it can feel stressful to plan, particularly when it includes multiple family members coming from various parts of the world. To get the ball rolling and ensure that your upcoming holiday travels run as smoothly as possible, we have compiled a bit of advice.
The “festive season” is a very popular time to travel, due to school vacations and public holidays. Lodges fill up, as do flights. It is, therefore, critical to plan your trip as far in advance as possible. Once an idea has begun to form, reach out to your consultant to put the wheels in motion.
Bring Your (Portable) Traditions
Just because you are traveling, it doesn’t mean you can’t keep up traditions. Consider the ways you celebrate while at home. Then, identify the aspects that are portable or, with small tweaks, can make your practices more travel friendly.
For example, if you have stockings for Christmas, bring ski socks instead. They are lighter and also easier to fill. Or maybe everyone packs one of their favorite ornaments and then you decorate an on-site plant or window. To celebrate Hanukkah, you might pack eight candles and a light weight or smaller Menorah. The possibilities are endless, so get creative and have fun with it!
Learn New Traditions
In addition to bringing your own traditions, take time to learn about the ways in which locals celebrate the holidays. Is there a fun way that Argentinians ring in the New Year? Is there a special food that South Africans eat on Christmas? Do some research ahead of time and then work with your consultant to weave these experiences into your trip. Travel is the perfect opportunity to learn about the world beyond your doorstep.
It can be hard to pack a suitcase with clothing and gifts, especially if your destination has strict luggage weight restrictions. To lighten the load, you can pull names out of a hat, with everyone selecting just one person for whom to buy a gift. This not only frees up suitcase space, but it also makes for a fun guessing game the day of!
Another option is to purchase one small present that you then give to each family member—like a passport wallet, matching hats, or a bar of chocolate. You can set price and size parameters and encourage everyone to give a “travel related” present. Less is more and the trip itself is, after all, the greatest gift!
Beyond simply spending time with family, the holidays are also about gratitude and generosity. Along those lines, we encourage you to consider the needs of the communities you are going to visit. Many properties throughout Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia have close ties with the local villages and an understanding of resources that are most needed. Some even work with the program Pack for a Purpose, an organization that lists materials (clothing, school supplies etc.) travelers can pack and then donate upon arrival. If interested, you can email or call your consultant to determine what you might be able to squeeze into your suitcase and gift along the way.
Let’s get to planning your holiday adventure. So much fun awaits!