Kiersten is a freelance writer and coach. As a writer,…
When it comes to traveling for the holidays, would you rather take a trip to visit relatives or take a vacation to Europe? If you’re leaning more toward international travel, you are not alone. According to KAYAK, which surveyed American travelers about their holiday plans, 52% stated they’d rather travel abroad than keep to their holiday traditions.
The reason why many people are going against the norm has a lot to do with what’s currently happening in the travel industry and the economy. KAYAK has been carefully observing flight trends and wrote to BGN to share that domestic flight prices have increased by 46% for Thanksgiving and 47% for Christmas. These numbers can make you want to fly out of the country, where not only the plane tickets are cheaper but also the currency exchange rate is in your favor. The euro, British pound, and Japanese yen are at a 20-year low compared to the U.S. dollar, which means you can get more bang for your buck.
If you’re thinking about doing things differently this holiday season, here are seven destinations you’ll want to add to your travel list.
1. Reykjavik, Iceland
KAYAK’s search engine shows a trip from New York to Reykjavik, Iceland, has an average price of around $700. In contrast, flights from New York to Oregon can reach up to $1,000. These dramatic price differences aren’t the only thing to make Iceland a tempting place to visit.
Reykjavik is the perfect place to go for a white snowy holiday. Average temperatures are from 33°F to 46°F, so you’ll need to pack warm clothes, but you will be occupied with an array of things to do.
With the ground covered in snow and the tops of buildings covered in lights, you won’t be missing the Christmas spirit in this European country. A must-do on your Iceland trip is to visit an ice cave. In these magical ice capsules, you’ll feel like you’re in a fairy tale as you marvel at the crystallized formation of the cave’s interior. Another great outdoor attraction of Iceland is the view of the northern lights.
If the cold starts to be intolerable, Wake Up Reykjavik suggests warming up at a heated pool in one of various hotels or trying out one of Iceland’s natural hot springs.
2. Lima, Peru
In this South American destination, you won’t have to worry about packing your winter clothes, as temperatures this time of year range from 40°F to 70°F. Although November and December are known to be the wetter months, there will be plenty of sunshine and many opportunities to explore.
Peru’s summer starts during the wintertime in the United States. Thus you can escape winter and enjoy your time at the beach by trying out water sports such as surfing and paddleboarding.
Lima also has a lot to offer, with beautiful architecture, museums, and quality culinary cuisines. There are even Black-owned businesses to visit.
A Black-owned business in Peru
One must-try place is the restaurant El Rincón Que No Conoces, a family-owned restaurant that has been in business since 1978. Its food carries the legacy of the founder and Afro-Peruvian chef Teresa Izquierdo. Here you can eat Afro-Peruvian cuisines that have been in the Izquierdo family for generations.
3. Dublin, Ireland
If you’re a Christmas fanatic and worry that international travel might kill your holiday spirit, then Dublin, Ireland, will preserve your holiday cheer.
The capital of Ireland is known for its vibrant celebration of Christmas. While many of the cobblestone streets will be filled with Christmas lights, the most magical place to visit is Dublin Castle.
Christmas at the castle is the one place to get filled to the brim with the holiday spirit. The castle features Christmas markets, music from various choirs, and many food vendors selling Christmas-themed foods.
A Black-owned business in Dublin
If you crave some traditional Afro-Caribbean food that you’d normally have during the holidays, then Anu’s Kitchen will answer your heart’s calling. Entrepreneur and trained chef Anu Rosiji provides customers with traditional and contemporary Afro-Caribbean cuisine infused with European dishes.
4. Vienna, Austria
Vienna is another winter wonderland in Europe. Since KAYAK shows a 26% decrease in pricing and an average flight price of $423, you may want to add this central European city to your list. From mid-November until the day after Christmas, you can experience Vienna’s Christmas World. It is one of the largest Christmas markets in the world. There you can find everything from festive drinks to holiday gifts.
A Black-owned business in Vienna
For a visit to Black-owned Vienna, you’ll want to check out Villa Vida. This cafe not only is known for its great food and coffee but also serves as a safe haven for the queer community. It is a place where everyone is welcome, and it puts on one of the best shows for its Queens Brunch.
5. Rio de Janeiro and Gramado, Brazil
The lively country of Brazil is another winter escape destination. As with Peru, because Brazil is located in the Southern Hemisphere, visiting during the holidays means visiting during their springtime and summertime.
Because many travelers want to take advantage of Brazil’s warmer weather, you can expect the capital to be buzzing with activities and festivals. Yet this Latin country still holds on to the Christmas spirit even though everyone is in shorts and sandals.
Gramado is a city that transforms its Alpine-style homes to feel like a Christmas village. The city hosts a massive event known as Natal Luz (Christmas of Lights) that is sure to make anyone feel festive.
A Black-owned business in Rio de Janeiro
To support a local Black-owned business in Rio de Janeiro, take a tour of Little Africa.
This tour will take you through historical streets and build your understanding of the African influence in Brazil. You’ll get the opportunity to visit two world heritage sites: Pedra do Sal, an important site for samba, and Cais do Valongo, where enslaved Africans first came to Brazil.
6. Istanbul, Turkey
Turkey is the happy middle when it comes to winter weather. With average temperatures between 44°F and 60°F, Turkey provides just enough chill to make it feel like the holidays but not too much to overwhelm you.
Istanbul, although a popular tourist destination, is known to have smaller crowds in December. This means you can explore the beautiful mosques and temples without large groups of people.
7. Antigua, Guatemala
This Central American destination may be the perfect winter getaway. Guatemala has warm weather consisting of sunshine and little to no rain, so visiting it can feel like you’re traveling to a whole new world.
In the city of Antigua, you can still experience the Christmas vibes by shopping at the Mayan artisan markets. Also, if you’re interested in something other than a holiday ham, you can try Guatemala’s infamous Christmas tamales. These holiday treats tend to come with olives, peppers, prunes, chicken, and pork. Most tamales are made of potatoes, rice, or corn and have both a sweet and a savory flavor.
Normally, the holidays are a time for family gatherings and upholding various traditions. Yet, as unpredictable as the world is, sometimes it’s OK to break away from the normal and head somewhere new.
What's Your Reaction?
Kiersten is a freelance writer and coach. As a writer, she has written for Travel Noire, Passion Passport, BAUCE mag, and various travel and lifestyle blogs. As a writer, her goal is to write content that inspires others to take action. As a coach, her goal is to empower women to be their most authentic selves. In her free time, you can find her dancing to any song any where.