Every year, right before Thanksgiving, the news stories start. You know the ones I’m talking about, where reporters toss out familiar phrases like “busiest travel day of the year” and “home for the holidays” while standing in front of a long, winding security line at the nearest airport, or on a bustling train station platform. I usually assume, like most people do, that those weary travelers are trekking home (whether “home” means Mom and Dad’s house or Grandma’s or your Sister’s place in the next town over).
But there’s a sub-culture of under-the-radar holiday travelers who depart for places unknown (at least to them). For those travelers, there won’t be a family member waiting to pick them up at a snowy airport. They won’t have to sleep on a couch or fight for space in a crowded bathroom. Nope, those folks are going on vacation.
I admire the people who can overcome guilt (whether self-imposed, real or imaginary) and decide to use their holiday time off for some festive fun. That’s not to say that you can’t have fun when you’re home for the holidays, but a vacation exploring a new place is just not the same as traveling back to your hometown. I imagine that a holiday vacation is a very different experience; different from a family holiday and different from the vacations you’d take any other time of year.
Summer trips are usually full of sunshine and swimsuits and photos of smiling faces with beautiful backgrounds. I know, at least for me, that summertime vacations revolve around being outside. Whether it’s specific activities like biking, hiking or getting some sun on the beach, or just the more general pull I feel to be outside in the fresh air and walk everywhere, it’s all about the outdoors from May through September.
But travelling around the holidays has always made me wonder. Sure, you could take a break from cold and snow by jetting off to a tropical location, but would it still feel like Christmas if you were surrounded by palm trees and 80-degree breezes? Or you could embrace the season and head for a winter wonderland-type destination, but then your activities could be limited by weather (and how long you can stand sub-zero temperatures).
Taking a proper vacation over the holidays is definitely on my travel to-do list. It seems like a no-brainer, especially if you can combine vacation days with automatic time off you get from work or school. I’m sure the hardest part won’t be deciding where to go or what to do, but being away from family and friends this time of year. Thank goodness for Face Time and Skype and all of the technology that can keep us feeling connected, even when we’re thousands of miles apart. Of course, there’s always the option of convincing your family to take a holiday trip with you, but I think that topic deserves a post all it’s own, don’t you?
Would you ever take a vacation from family over the holidays?
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