5 festive destinations for your 2018 Christmas holiday
Christmas is just around the corner! Well, ok, so it’s a little early to start thinking about carols, gift wrapping and Christmas lunch, but if the idea of Christmas Day abroad appeals to you, then it’s time to start planning your trip.
Between booking flights, finding accommodation, getting travel insurance, and gently letting your mum know you won’t be around this year, there’s a lot to get organised for a Christmas vacation.
But we think you can do it, and to get you started, we’ve pulled together a list of five of our favourite festive destinations for you to check out.
1. New York City, USA
New York City tops many people’s Christmas trip bucket list, and for good reason. From the Rockefeller Christmas tree to department store windows and snowy Central Park, it’s hard to think of a more iconic Christmas spot than the Big Apple.
Image source: Timeout
Fun fact: You can ice skate at the iconic Rockefeller skating rink in New York over Christmas for that perfect Instagram-worthy action shot - but be aware that this is probably one of the most expensive rinks in NYC. Try the rink at Central Park for a more budget-friendly option.
Travel insurance tip: Medical bills are notoriously high in America, so make sure your travel insurance policy has unlimited medical cover if you’re heading to the States, just in case.
2. Santa Claus Village, Finland
Forget the North Pole - according to the Finnish, Rovaniemi in Lapland is the true home of Santa Claus. Located just north of the Arctic circle, Rovaniemi is home to Santa Claus village, where you can visit SantaPark, check out the working post office manned by Santa’s elves and even meet Santa in his office.
Image source: Visit Rovaniemi
Fun fact: The average temperature in Rovaniemi during december is between -5° and -12°, so be sure to pack your thickest socks!
Travel insurance tip: While you’re in the Arctic Circle, you might like to strap on some skis and hit the slopes - just make sure your travel insurance policy covers you for snow sports, or that you’ve bought extra cover to keep you safe!
3. Nuremberg, Germany
If presents are your favourite part of Christmas - or if you’re partial to a glass of mulled wine and spicy gingerbread - the Nuremberg Christmas market (Nuernberger Christkindlesmarkt) might be your perfect end of year trip. Germany is famous for its Christmas markets, and Nuremberg’s is often thought of as the pick of the bunch.
Fun fact: Anecdotal evidence suggests cash is king when it comes to hitting up the Christmas markets, but some stalls with higher priced items do accept card. So stock up on Euros when you land, but think about having a travel credit card as a backup.
Travel insurance tip: With a carved wooden Ferris wheel, old-fashioned carousel and a toy museum on offer, the Christkindlesmarkt is fun for the whole family. If you’re travelling with kids, remember that most travel insurance policies will cover dependents under 18 for free, as long as they’re travelling with you the whole time.
4. Salzburg, Austria
After a more out-of-the-box Christmas experience? Salzburg in Austria is home to the tradition of the Krampus Run. Kicking off on St Nicholas’s Day, this cultural tradition involves locals dressing up as beasts known as Krampuses - a kind of fiendish alternative to Santa Claus. They then take part in a parade through the streets, looking for naughty children.
Fun fact: In 2018, Silent Night - the hymn performed for the first time in Oberndorf just outside Salzburg - will celebrate its 200th birthday. Don’t miss the special exhibition at the Salzburg museum!
Travel insurance tip: According to the SmartTraveller website, pickpockets and petty crime has been on the rise in Austria in recent years, so double check that if you’re carrying something very valuable - like an expensive camera or jewelry - that the limit on your travel insurance is enough to cover it.
5. Manila, Philippines
If you think we’ve started planning our Christmas holidays a little early, think again - in the Philippines, Christmas has already started. In the Philippines, Christmas decorations start going up as early as 1st September, and stay up until the Day of Three Kings (January 6th.) So if an extended Christmas celebration is your style, this is the spot for you.
Fun fact: One Aussie dollar converts to about 39 Philippine Piso - which means that thanks to the strong exchange rate, you’ll likely get away with a longer holiday without putting as much of a dent in your budget as other destinations on this list.
Travel insurance tip: The Australian government currently has advice to exercise a high degree of caution while travelling in the Philippines, including Manila and a ‘do not travel’ warning for some areas in the south of the country. Many travel insurance policies automatically exclude destinations with a do not travel warning - so pick your destination carefully, and double check with your insurer if you’re not 100% sure you’ll be covered.
Before you pick a destination and jet off, make sure you pick out the perfect travel insurance policy as well. Head over to our travel insurance comparison tool to get some quotes.