Is a traditional Christmas a thing of the past?

Published on 1 January 1970 by Raffick Marday

Celebrating the festive season overseas can sometimes be a refreshing alternative to traditional celebrations.

compare travel cardsBut with an increasing number of families opting to go abroad for Christmas, are presents under the tree and roaring fires a thing of the past?

A surprisingly large 27% of families with young children have booked to go away this Christmas, compared to just 6% of families with teenagers that opt to spend the holiday abroad.

The research, conducted by online travel agent On the Beach, found that sales to some of Europe’s most popular beach destinations have soared by 160% year-on-year.

Booking data from On The Beach recorded a 160% increase in bookings to Malta, compared to Christmas 2011.

Topping the chart of most popular destinations this year is the Canary Islands, which are a magnet for twice as many Brits than any other holiday destination this festive season.

Egypt’s white sandy beaches and azure waters are also proving an attraction to rain-soaked Brits, who have lately been treated to a cold snap. Holiday bookings to the North African country are up 74%.

Of those spending Christmas abroad, 42% are couples, in a sign that traditional family get-togethers over the winter holiday are a fast fading thing of the past.

The World Travel Awards, dubbed “the Oscars of the travel industry”, polled its database of travel professionals across the globe to list the ten favourite ways to spend Christmas overseas.

The panel suggested:

  • For the energetic: skiing and après-ski in Kitzbühel.
  • For the complete getaway: winter-sun relaxation in the Maldives.
  • For the sporting: a Christmas Day round of golf in Scotland.
  • For fab food: gourmet dining in Peru.
  • For the naturalist: whale watching off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
  • For tradition: midnight mass in St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City.
  • For the romantic: celebrate in a Yorkshire castle.
  • For a life-changing experience: tiger safari in India.
  • For the kids: wizardry with Harry Potter at Universal Orlando Resort.
  • For a great party: non-stop celebrations in Rio de Janeiro.

Kevin Taylor, group vice president, WTA, said: “Christmas should be the most relaxing and memorable day of the year, but staying at home can often end up an anti-climax.”

If you are considering going abroad this Christmas, be sure to sort out your travel money well in advance so that you don’t miss all the best deals in a last-minute rush.


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