Top tips for planning a Christmas overseas

Photo credit: Jim Nix / Nomadic Pursuits Christmas in Strasbourg via photopin (license) 

If you’re planning on spending Christmas overseas this year, I’ve put together a selection of great tips to make your festive break even better. Whether you’re heading for some winter sun or are keen to enjoy a traditional white Christmas, my suggestions will make sure your festive trip will be extra-special.

Where You Go

So, you want to go away for Christmas, but where? The best destinations for Christmas are those that everyone is happy to visit but they don’t have to be snowy or boiling hot. Before you choose somewhere, why not spend some time looking at local Christmas traditions? While you’re there, it’s much more fun to get stuck in and take part, so pick some you like the sound of.

Your Accommodation

Are you intending to stay in a villa or house? Or are you going to book a hotel room? The kind of accommodation you choose will have an impact on how you are able to celebrate. Choosing a hotel is great because everything is done for you, especially if it is all inclusive, but if you do this you might all be living in one room, which could make for a cramped Christmas Day. A house is a fabulous choice, as everyone can have their own space, but having to prepare all the meals and clean up yourself isn’t everyone’s idea of a holiday. Think carefully about what you want and book accordingly.


If Christmas isn’t Christmas for you without decorations then you’ll need to plan ahead. You might find that your accommodation is already decked out in a festive way, but if not you will need to decorate it yourself. Bringing Christmas decorations with you isn’t going to do much for your luggage allowance, so you may need to get creative and make your own, unless you can find some in the local shops which, depending on where you are travelling to, isn’t always possible.


Presents are a big part of Christmas for many people and you will need to think about this if you are planning a Christmas overseas. Will you buy at home and bring them with you, or perhaps leave them at home to enjoy when you return? You could even buy when you arrive.

If Father Christmas still visits your little ones, then their presents must be there! As for the other options, there are pros and cons to each. You may find that if you wait until you arrive to buy the gifts, you can’t find what you are looking for, or it might be more expensive. If you take everything with you, you might need an extra case (or two) and will need to ensure you are able to take those bags on your flight.

Whatever you do, if you do take presents with you, don’t wrap them before you leave. If a customs officer needs to search them, they won’t hesitate to undo all your hard work and you’ll need to do it all again!

Christmas Dinner

The country you visit will determine the type of Christmas dinner you can expect on the big day. Hotels will offer more traditional fare, but you may prefer to head to a local restaurant to experience that country’s take on turkey. If you’re staying in a house or villa, you might prefer to cook your own dinner, just like you would at home. However, you’re not at home and the kitchen is going to be unfamiliar, no matter how nice it might be, so check in advance that you’re going to have all the equipment you need.

Spending the Christmas period away makes for a memorable holiday, whether you’re after snow or suntans. And by following the tips above, you’ll avoid some of the common pitfalls that can spoil the fun. Happy Christmas!

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

I know what it's like to go from being a crazy backpacker without a care in the world, via being a vaguely sensible parent to being an adventurer once more. In other words, evolving into a Grown-up Traveller.

Like everyone else, I love to travel, have visited a lot of countries and all that but my big thing is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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One comment

  1. I would always pick a place that has a lot of snow, I dont know, but I dont think I would enjoy a hot Christmas, its just something that is kinda strange to me.

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