3 Holiday Travel Tips to Survive the Silly Season (in Style!)

by Kate Gibbs
Posted: December 19, 2016

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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 holiday travel in style. 

Megan Morton, one of Australia’s top stylists and an intrepid traveller, is heading to the Balinese jungle these holidays. 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. Here she shares her expert travel advice to celebrate the holidays with stress-free Christmas cheer.   

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. 

Morton says she is “literally open to anything” at Christmas, being on a fast track to seeing every single place. “My heart belongs to Paris and India in equal measure,” she says. 

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 centrepiece. 

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.

Make the destination feel like Christmas

Christmas holiday travel tips? Try ice skating in London

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.

But will your silly season 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 during the holidays when the pressure is on. “Practice not minding,” says Morton, on travelling with the younger generations over Christmas. 

Take away Christmas, but leave stress at home

Girl wearing beanie and holding present, using iphone and iOS apps to be organised during the silly season

Preparing for Christmas can be one of the most stressful activities of the year. There are bags to pack, airports to navigate, and the question of where to eat hangs over Christmas cheer like a cloud. 

It’s time to be merry, and it’s time to make the most of all those apps designed to make your life easier. A stylish Christmas holiday demands that everyone keeps their cool, so start with these:

  • Amazon delivers most places around the world, so order your gifts online in advance, have them delivered to your hotel. When they arrive all you have to do is wrap and appear like a miraculous and veritable saint of goodwill on Christmas day. 
  • VSCO allows you to edit photos on your smartphone, so you’re not left with the task of downloading and editing in bulk when you get home. 
  • Sworkit is a customisable workout app because there’s nothing like a little in-room exercise for immediate stress relief. 
  • Wunderground offers detailed weather forecasts before you leave home, so you will know exactly what to pack and can avoid the snowed in areas that will leave you celebrating Christmas at a local Starbucks. 

Still, if worst does come to the worst, if the snow locks you in or the flights delay, if your trip to the Caymans ends up a prolonged stopover in Whoop Whoop; if everything turns to coal on Christmas day, remember that real style as well as that Christmas cheer we’re chasing, really does come from within.
 

If you love all things travel, read more of travel columnist, Kate Gibbs' most recent travel articles here.

 

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Kate Gibbs

Kate Gibbs

Is a Sydney-based food writer, author, photographer and cook. She is known for her passionate stories about food, writing three cookbooks and hosting food events including Taste of Sydney, Regional Flavours Brisbane, and Tourism Australia’s recent food trade event. Kate also writes a weekly food trends column in Sunday Style magazine and her grandmother is Australian cookery icon and national living treasure Margaret Fulton.

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