19 Cheap and warm places to go over 2016 Christmas & New Years weeks

KaronBeachSpending the Christmas and New Year’s holiday weeks with family and friends is the longstanding tradition in most of the Western world, but those based in the colder northern climates are looking for alternatives. After a couple decades of being bundled up, many start to wonder if there is another way to spend the holidays.

Those with the resources have been heading to Hawaii for Christmas for a long time, but there are actually dozens of countries and islands with similar tropical climates around the world, and most of them are far cheaper, at least once you get there. Below is a list of nearly every major tourist destination that combines warm weather and low prices during the weeks around Christmas and New Year’s.

Updated for 2016: This year’s list has been updated and expanded, with current price information for 2016 holidays as of September, 2016.

Myth: Hotels are cheaper in countries that don’t observe Christmas

PhuketXmasTreeWhen I first started researching travel prices around the world, I assumed that hotels around Christmas time would be cheaper in countries that don’t observe Christmas themselves. Unfortunately, it turned out not to be true at all. Here’s the thing, hotels in the tropical beach areas of the world are all priced according to demand, and local customs have nothing to do with it.

A huge majority of the people who are well off enough to fly internationally are those living in countries that have a Christmas holiday, and that’s no secret to hotel owners. In other words, hotels in Thailand, Indonesia, Egypt, and India all raise prices for stays during those key holiday weeks because they know those are the most popular weeks of the year for their business. The good news though, is that those countries still offer great bargains compared to, say, Hawaii, which goes off the charts during Christmas week.

When to book a sunny Christmas or New Years holiday trip: As soon as possible

There is all kinds of research showing the cheapest time to book flights and even research showing that hotel prices often drop a month or two out, but the key exception to both of those is around big holidays like Christmas. Suppliers do adjust prices as the months come and go, except for when they know they’ll have no trouble filling up even at the last minute.

For flights: Buy ASAP

The research shows that flights for key holiday periods start off at normal levels and then they just keep going up as seats are sold and the date approaches. There are no last-minute deals on flights just before or after Christmas, at least to and from sunshine destinations.

For hotels: Bargains are possible at the last minute, but it’s risky

PhuketGoToBeachHotels in tropical resort areas know what the typical demand is for rooms around the holidays, and most of them will charge as much as they can so they can fill every room. If they charged too little they could be sold out many months in advance, which doesn’t really help them, so they tend to start with rates high enough that they only sell out a few weeks early at most.

The best and most popular beach resort hotels will usually only have a few rooms left by early December, and they will price those high enough that most people will look elsewhere. But some other hotels can be too optimistic in pricing so they have to cut rates in December just to fill up. In other words, you shouldn’t really count on an appealing rate at a specific hotel where you are going, but there’s a decent chance you could still get a decent rate if you are flexible enough to accept something nearby.

Package deals: Also buy early

Again, the airfare portion of a holiday trip is almost certain to get more expensive as the year goes on, so a hotel+flight package will generally just keep going up in price as well.

Particularly to places like the Caribbean, Mexico, and Thailand with huge numbers of package visitors, you’ll almost certainly get the best rates in addition to the widest choices the earlier you book.


Cheap and warm destinations for Christmas and New Year holidays

Obviously “cheap” is a relative term, but these are the cheapest holiday resort areas around the world that also have warm and sunny weather in late December and early January.

Hotel rates listed are current as of September, 2016. Rates listed are including all taxes.

1Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

  • December average high: 86°F/30°C
  • December average low: 64°F/18°C

PuertoVallartaOn Mexico’s Pacific coast, Puerto Vallarta remains as one of the country’s tourism jewels. Not only has it avoided the safety problems that a few other resort areas have struggled with in recent years, but it’s also regarded as the most interesting and authentic of Mexico’s resort areas.

The weather during Christmas time is pretty much perfect for anyone wanting to escape the cold, and the large international airport also has good deals on flights from many North American cities as well. Hotels for well under US$100 per night per couple are easy to find, although if you want a well-located chain hotel you’ll be paying at least a bit more.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$48 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$206 per night for two people

>>>Check current Puerto Vallarta resort and package deals


2Cancún/Cozumel/Riviera Maya, Mexico

  • December average high: 84°F/29°C
  • December average low: 69°F/21°C

CancunIn case you aren’t aware of all of these, Cancún is the purpose-built resort city on the Yucatán Peninsula facing the Caribbean, and the area just to its south is known as the Riviera Maya, which includes the nearby island of Cozumel. In other words, they are all basically the same travel market, with nearly 1,000 hotels in total, and all served by the huge Cancún Airport with cheap flights from all over.

The weather in late December is predictably perfect with barely a chance of a quick thunderstorm, much less anything worse. With so many hundreds of hotels competing for business, holiday room rates for well under US$100 per night are easy to find. Package deals to Cancún are very popular, and probably the best deal for those who book early. As you can see by the room rates below, there is a huge difference between 3-star and 4-star properties in this area. A 3-star can be just a normal hotel room in the city, while the 4-stars are all wonderful resorts with pools, usually on the beach.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$36 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$278 per night for two people

>>>Check current Cancun resort and package deals


3Punta Cana/Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

  • December average high: 83°F/28°C
  • December average low: 72°F/22°C

PuntaCanaDRThe Dominican Republic has a reputation for its large all-inclusive hotels at great prices, and its two most popular resort areas are Punta Cana (on the eastern tip) and Puerto Plata (on the northern shore). Each has about 200 hotels to choose from, including dozens of all-inclusive resorts designed to keep you there for your entire stay.

The weather and resort prices are similar in both places in late December, so either one would be a fine choice for someone looking for a cheap and warm place to spend a week. You’ll find that flight+hotel package prices are especially appealing to the DR, and those who book early will usually get the best deals.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$40 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$140 per night for two people

>>>Check current Puerto Plata resort and package deals


4Montego Bay/Ocho Rios/Negril, Jamaica

  • December average high: 86°F/30°C
  • December average low: 70°F/21°C

NegrilJamaicaSimilar to the greater Cancun area mentioned above, Jamaica has 3 busy resort towns that are all served by the same large airport so they are somewhat interchangeable. Montego Bay has the airport so it’s the easiest to reach, but it has fewer affordable 4-star hotels so Ocho Rios and Negril might be better options if you are interested in that category.

All three towns have a different vibe, so it’s really only the weather and most prices that are similar. Along with the Cancun area and the Dominican Republic, these Jamaican resorts are also known for all-inclusive resorts and appealing package deals. Even during the peak holiday months, it’s possible to lock in an appealing deal if you book early enough.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$63 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$335 (all inclusive) per night for two people

>>>Check current Montego Bay resort and package deals


5San Juan, Puerto Rico

  • December average high: 83°F/28°C
  • December average low: 72°F/22°C

SanJuanPRWhile San Juan isn’t among the cheapest places on this list for Christmas, it’s still very good value and it’s a great place for a longer stay during this period. The wide and sandy beaches just next to the historic center are some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, and since it’s part of the US, things like shopping and sightseeing are much easier here than in most of the cheaper islands.

Especially if you are going to stay for more than a week, it pays to look into an apartment rental instead of a hotel. There is an abundance of nice apartments in the tourist area that are rented out most of the year. If you are staying for a month, you can get an amazing deal compared to a hotel.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$124 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$206 per night for two people

>>>Check current San Juan resort and package deals


6Ambergris Caye/Caye Caulker, Belize

  • December average high: 81°F/27°C
  • December average low: 68°F/20°C

SanPedroThose looking for more of a low-key holiday with no huge chain hotels in sight might prefer the islands of Ambergris Caye and Caye Caulker, both just off the coast of Belize City. These are both long, thin islands where golf carts serve as taxis and there is little or no pavement in sight. The diving and snorkeling here are some of the best in the world, even if these islands are short on long sandy beaches.

Belize is (more or less) an English-speaking country, and these islands both have a bit of a Rastafarian feel in places, so it’s an interesting mix of culture and convenience. Nearly all 4-star hotels here start over US$200 per night for the holiday weeks, but there are 3-star bargains nearby in addition to holiday villas for rent for those with higher budgets.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$53 per night for two people

>>>Check current San Pedro hotel and package deals


7Roatán Island, Honduras

  • December average high: 84°F/29°C
  • December average low: 75°F/24°C

RoatanSimilar in most ways to the islands of Belize mentioned just above, Roatán Island is actually just to their south, so it also sits off the world’s second largest barrier reef. This means there is excellent diving and snorkeling, plus more sandy beaches than you’d get in the Belize islands.

Honduras is a Spanish-speaking country, though especially with the recent influx of cruise-ship crowds here, it’s very easy to get by in English only. There are only about 60 hotels on the island at this point, and holiday rates are still surprisingly reasonable considering what is on offer. Still, booking early is probably wise.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$62 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$200 per night for two people

>>>Check current Roatan Island hotel and package deals


8Tamarindo/Guanacaste, Costa Rica

  • December average high: 90°F/32°C
  • December average low: 70°F/21°C

TamarindoCosta Rica has a wide variety of resort towns along both its Caribbean and Pacific coasts, and all of them will be warm and sunny in late December. There are also national parks and volcanos (not always sunny) in the interior, but if your main goal is to relax and be a tourist, the best area is around Tamarindo in the Guanacaste province. There’s even a newer international airport nearby in the main city of Liberia, so finding cheap direct flights is fairly easy.

Most of this northwestern area is new and quite luxurious, so 4-star resorts and rental properties aren’t much cheaper than in Hawaii, but there are still some really good 3-star bargains. Nosara is another small town in the area that doesn’t feel quite so mass-market compared to Tamarindo.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$120 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$342 per night for two people

>>>Check current Tamarindo hotel and package deals


9Panama City, Panama

  • December average high: 90°F/32°C
  • December average low: 70°F/21°C

PanamaCityPanama has some very nice beach resort areas with reasonable prices during Christmas, but it also has this large and mostly modern city at its heart, which appeals to a different type of traveler. You might even consider spending some of your stay at a beach and another part of your stay in the city, as both are very good value this time of year and any other.

It helps if you know at least a bit of Spanish, but even those who don’t can find plenty to do here to keep them busy. The city has a few large shopping malls in the tourist area, so it could be a good place to do some Christmas shopping or just hanging around. The restaurant scene here is notoriously good as well.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$34 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$66 per night for two people

>>>Check current Panama City hotel and package deals


10Cartagena, Colombia

  • December average high: 86°F/30°C
  • December average low: 76°F/24°C

CartagenaBeachThe entire country of Colombia has been rediscovered by the tourism world in recent years, but the historic beach city of Cartagena has been popular for much longer. Along the country’s Caribbean coast (about the same latitude as northern Costa Rica, by the way), Cartagena is an interesting mix of beach hotels and a gorgeous walled colonial city with plenty to see.

Not only is Cartagena popular with international tourists in the winter months, but domestic Colombian tourists taking their holidays as well. So you won’t be avoiding the crowds here, but at least it’s one of the more affordable sunshine destinations in the region. The 4-star hotels along the beach just west of the historic center are some of the best Christman season bargains going. Speaking at least a bit of Spanish is helpful.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$35 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$111 per night for two people

>>>Check current Cartagena hotel and package deals


11Tenerife, Canary Islands, Spain

  • December average high: 71°F/22°C
  • December average low: 61°F/16°C

TenerifeTenerife is the most English-language-friendly of Spain’s Canary Islands, which are just west of Morocco (and about the same latitude as central Florida). As you can see above, it’s not nearly as hot as most others on this list during December, but it’s still damn nice so it’s very popular among Europeans looking for something warmer.

Partly because it’s not really a great beach season, hotels in Tenerife are still quite cheap during the Christmas holiday period. Most everything else is quite affordable as well, at least compared to where you live now. Especially if you are looking for a place with reasonable airfares from elsewhere in Europe, this could be a good choice. The area around Los Cristianos and Playa de la Americas is the easiest for English speakers, and it has the most consistent warm weather as well.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$40 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$71 per night for two people

>>>Check current Tenerife hotel and package deals


12Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt

  • December average high: 74°F/23°C
  • December average low: 59°F/15°C

SharmelSheikhAt the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt, Sharm el-Sheikh is more or less the Cancun of the region, although not quite as warm in December. This is a purpose-built resort area that has been popular with Europeans and others for some time now. While it’s remote and has generally been safe from the turmoil nearby, most of its fans are choosing to go elsewhere at the moment.

We all hope that one day soon, travelers can head to Egypt without checking all the security warnings every few days. Until then, this one isn’t for everybody, although those who do visit are greeted with some amazing hotel rates, including for the popular Christmas holiday period.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$17 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$24 per night for two people

>>>Check current Sharm el-Sheikh hotel and package deals


13Dubai, United Arab Emirates

  • December average high: 79°F/26°C
  • December average low: 61°F/16°C

DubaiOne of the most unusual destinations anywhere, Dubai is a huge and booming city with a few nice beaches and an extremely busy airport. The period in late December is one of the nicer times of the year, so it can get pretty crowded during the holidays. The main activity here is shopping at enormous malls filled with all ranges of goods at reasonable prices.

It’s worth noting, however, that the nicer and better located hotels in Dubai will cost at least two or three times the minimums mentioned below. Those on lower budgets can get by pretty well here, but that’s not to be confused with the luxury market and beach hotels that rival top room rates anywhere on earth.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$54 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$72 per night for two people

>>>Check current Dubai hotel and package deals


14Goa, India

  • December average high: 91°F/33°C
  • December average low: 69°F/21°C

GoaGoa has been a famous hippie hangout for Europeans and some others for decades now, but it’s also popular with families this time of the year, including many from elsewhere in India. Goa is actually a small state in southern India with more than a dozen different low-key beach towns, each catering to its own groups of fans.

In other words, it pays to do some research before choosing a beach hotel here because most of them won’t be suited to you. Room rates are quite reasonable even during this busiest time of year, although it’s important to note that the cheapest hotels in Goa (and all over India) tend to be disappointing and rarely worth the savings. Still, the 4-star hotels in Goa are mostly quite good, and excellent value at Christmas time.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$37 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$81 per night for two people

>>>Check current hotel and package deals for Goa


15Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia

  • December average high: 88°F/31°C
  • December average low: 74°F/23°C

PenangPerhaps not as well known as most of the others on this list, Penang Island and its main city of Georgetown are certainly worth a look for some people. The area is quite popular with Asian visitors and adventurous Westerners as an alternative to Phuket and other Thai islands.

The cheaper hotels in the area are those in the historic center of Georgetown, while the beachfront resorts are going to cost quite a bit more. Avoid the cheapest hotels here and pay close attention because most of the cheapest rooms have no windows at all. Still, there is great value here, particularly in the food scene. Penang is known as the culinary capital of Malaysia, with an abundance of cheap and cheerful food courts in addition to some notable fine dining.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$17 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$41 per night for two people

>>>Check current hotel and package deals in Penang


16Phuket, Thailand

  • December average high: 88°F/31°C
  • December average low: 75°F/24°C

PhuketPhuket is Asia’s most popular beach destination, featuring well over 1,000 hotels and resorts. It’s actually an island with about 12 different beach areas that are quite different from one another, so this is another destination where hotel research is critical. Patong Beach is by far the biggest and most crowded of the beach areas, to the degree that many people absolutely loathe it.

Karon and Kata are nearby beach areas that are at least a little more serene, and there are several other enclaves of upmarket luxury hotels and resorts. This has been a very popular Christmas destination for northern Europeans for decades, and yet it’s still quite affordable even during its peak season. Hotels on or near the beach are going to cost quite a bit more than the prices listed below, but those who don’t mind walking a bit can get great value even at Christmas here.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$21 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$45 per night for two people

>>>Check for the best Phuket resort deals


17Hoi An/Da Nang, Vietnam

  • December average high: 77°F/25°C
  • December average low: 67°F/19°C

DaNangDa Nang is a bit of a wildcard on this list because it’s not really suited to mass-market visitors, at least those from the West. This beach city along Vietnam’s central coast is a short drive from the ultra-charming Hoi An, and both are quite popular for different reasons, especially for cheap hotels.

Hoi An has been a favorite among visitors to Vietnam for decades, while Da Nang is more of a newcomer after it’s built a string of large beachfront hotels meant for foreign guests. Vietnamese food has a large cult following around the world, and both of these towns have an abundance of great and affordable restaurants serving several varieties. This is one to think about if it feels like you’ve been everywhere else.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$13 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$36 per night for two people

>>>Check current hotel and package deals in Hoi An


18Bali, Indonesia

  • December average high: 86°F/30°C
  • December average low: 76°F/26°C

KutaBeachUnlike the others on this list, Bali is (slightly) in the Southern Hemisphere, and December is actually one of the rainy months so Christmas visitors can expect at least a few downpours per week. But the rain usually doesn’t last long so it’s still very popular here on the Christmas holidays, particularly with Australians. The cheapest hotels here are of low standards and often without A/C, which you’ll really need in December.

The most crowded and popular area is the famous surf beach along Kuta, Legian, and Seminyak on the west coast, but there are many lower-key beach areas in addition to Ubud a bit up in the central hills. Well-heeled visitors might also consider the tourist zone of Nusa Dua in the south, which is filled with large chain hotels that are often loaded with honeymoon couples.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$20 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$26 per night for two people

>>>Check current Bali hotel and resort deals


19Boracay Island, Philippines

  • December average high: 82°F/28°C
  • December average low: 75°F/24°C

BoracayIslandDecember marks the tail end of the rainy season in Boracay Island, but those tropical storms rarely last long so the place is very popular over the Christmas holidays anyway. This gorgeous strip of sand is lined with hotels, as well as a sand pathway along the beach, making it possible to spend days at a time in bare feet.

There are no super-cheap hotels on Boracay Island, but that’s mainly because every hotel is within 100 meters or less of the sandy beach. There are many choices of international cuisine here, including many chain restaurants. The most obvious choices are the great number of affordable all-you-can-eat buffets that set up every evening right on the beach. There’s also plenty of live music, as you’d expect in the Philippines.

  • 3-star hotels from: US$28 per night for two people
  • 4-star hotels from: US$72 per night for two people

>>>Check Boracay resort deals


There will be quite a bit of overlap with this list, but you might also be interested in:



29 Responses to “19 Cheap and warm places to go over 2016 Christmas & New Years weeks”

Please email me some suggested places in Mexico for Christmas

 

    Blake,

    I won’t email suggestions to you but I will list a few here. If you closer to the Pacific coast then Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos are the two best choices by far. Puerto Vallarta is a real historic town with great hotels nearby, and Los Cabos is more of a purpose-built resort area.

    If you are closer to the Caribbean coast then the greater Cancun area is the best choice. The main hotel zone in Cancun is a strip of large hotels and time shares with a few chain restaurants and nightclubs clustered around the point. If you prefer staying in a town where you have access to many different restaurants, bars, and shops, then head for Playa del Carmen, which is about an hour south of the Cancun airport by car or shuttle. The beaches aren’t quite as nice, but it’s a much more interesting and diverse place to stay. -Roger

     
Angelina says:

Hey Roger, have you been to any of these places during xmas/new years season? I’m researching myself on where to go during that time. I’m going solo so looking for the best spot. I would say Asia so my mind is set on somewhere there. But there are so many choices. What do you recommend?

 

    Angelina,

    I’ve spent quite a few Christmases in Asia in the last 10 years, and many friends and family members have spent them in the Caribbean and other places closer to the Americas. As mentioned in the article, all of the places on this list get a pretty strong influx of visitors who are on a Christmas break, even if Christmas isn’t celebrated much there. I’ve done most of those stays as a single person as well, so I’ll take that into account.

    As long as you don’t care much about actual Christmas music and celebrations and all that, I can highly recommend Bali as a great place for a solo Christmas adventure. Thailand is also really good if you don’t mind being in a minority of single women, as it mostly attracts couples, families, and single men. There are single women in Thailand as well, but it’s more of a party atmosphere.

    Obviously I’m not sure what you are into, but one great thing about Bali is that it attracts great numbers of more “spiritual” visitors, partly in the wake of the Eat, Pray, Love phenomenon. The town of Ubud, where I actually spent Christmas about 4 years ago, is loaded with yoga studios and a lot of that sort of thing, in addition to plenty of affordable guesthouses and restaurants and whatnot. You might spend some of your time in Ubud, and other days on or near one of the beach areas. I can give you more info on that if you like. You’ll get some downpours in December, but they are over in 30 minutes or less most of the time.

    Along the same lines, you might enjoy India. I have Goa on the list because it’s the most popular beach area for Western tourists, but there are many other good options as well, including Kerala just to the south. You could also visit some of the cities or other tourist areas, as the weather in December will be quite nice. India is another place where solo male travelers don’t vastly outnumber solo females.

    Many of the others in Asia on the list are more geared for families or couples. Let me know if any of this sounds good at all, and I’m happy to add more details if you like. -Roger

     
Lesa says:

Most of the places on the list are unsafe. Really?

 
Debbie says:

Hi…I am wanting to go with my 3 daughters…ages 9..13 and 23..all adventurous souls…I was thinking about Bali…watched are your thoughts?

Kindest regards

Debbie

 

    Debbie,

    I love many things about Bali and have spent a lot of time there. But I’m no longer a fan of the main cluster of tourist towns stretching from Kuta to Legian to Seminyak. Unless you are an Australian surfer looking to get drunk most of the time, that whole area is just annoying, in spite of the nice beaches. I’d recommend Sanur as a mellower beach area, or better yet head to Lovina in the north. It’s cheaper and more beautiful than the crowded beaches in the south, but there is still plenty to do. And you’ll want to spend some time in or near Ubud, which is the arts and crafts capital of the island, in the foothills just a bit north of Kuta.

    If you have more specific questions I’ll be happy to try to answer. I used to adore almost all of Bali, but parts of it are just too crowded and overdeveloped to recommend at this point. -Roger

     
Oliver says:

Hi Roger,

Thanks for the ideas. One concern of ours is Zika. We love warm weather winter vacations, usually travel for New Years, did Mexico last year and BVI the prior year. You have listed several areas that are seemingly Zika-free, but the travel distance to those is quite immense (we are in Chicago – quite a hike, and not cheap, to the Canary Islands or SE Asia). Any good ideas for warm, Zika-free destinations that aren’t super expensive or difficult to travel to?

Thanks!
Oliver

 

    Oliver,

    I’m looking at the Zika map of the Americas as of now, and the only countries that are still Zika-free are Uruguay and Chile. Both of those are very nice destinations that will obviously be in their summer season at Christmas. You could visit Santiago and Valparaiso, which are close together and quite different. Or you could visit Montevideo and Colonia del Sacramento, or one of the beach resorts, or one of the cattle ranches. Avoiding any possibility of Zika really does limit choices in the warm parts of the Americas in the coming months, unfortunately. Good luck. -Roger

     
John U says:

I am interested in visiting Dominican republic but I am not sure which town. This is my wife 30th birthday surprise so I am trying to visit in January, Can you give me an idea of a great scene for a birthday celebration, good restaurants and clubs.

 

    John,

    The Dominican Republic is an unusual destination since the vast majority of its hotel rooms are at large, mostly all-inclusive hotels in beach areas such as Punta Cana and Puerto Plata. Both of those areas have small towns with independent restaurants and clubs and bars, but most visitors never leave their own resort. Or you could go to Santo Domingo, which is the large capital city. It has some nice areas, and good nightlife, although very few people there speak English. I hope this helps. -Roger

     
TUSHAR says:

Hi Roger,
We are 2 adults and a boy of 12. want to go on 10 days holidays starting from last week of dec till 1st week of jan . we love be beaches and shopping . Kindly suggest location each in Europe ,Africa, South America or any other suitable place. Budget is USD 500 – 600 Per day all inclusive. We live in Lagos .Nigeria .

 

    TUSHAR,

    The only destination in “Europe” with fairly warm weather in late December is the Canary Islands. Tenerife is the largest and most popular island.

    You’d know more about Africa than I will, but the one beach resort area in northern Africa to consider that time of year is Sharm el Sheikh on the Red Sea. It’s very affordable, but there was one incident at the airport there a couple years back and many Europeans are no longer considering going there.

    In South America the most popular and famous area is obviously Rio de Janeiro. It won’t be cheap that time of year, but it is a gorgeous city with plenty to do. Other beach resort options are Punta del Este in Uruguay and Mar del Plata in Argentina. Those are both very nice, and with less petty crime, although they might be slightly challenging unless you speak at least some Spanish. I hope this helps. -Roger

     
      TUSHAR says:

      Hi Roger,

      Thanks for the suggestion as this has been really very very helpful to decide on my vacation otherwise i was in a fix what to do since don’t really want disappoint my family . After much thought i have selected 2 locations SHARM EL-SHEIKH Egypt or Cape Town or Durban in South Africa, now need your advice on the following.

      1) what was that incident happened at Sharm el sheikh and when ?and if you had visited the place yourself? which location will be the best to stay.

      2) Which location or locality or hotel i shall go for in cape town / Durban .

      3) What is your thought on KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa ? and which particular hotel or town ?

      eagerly awaiting for your advice to complete my itinerary

      Cheers

      Tushar

       

        Tushar,

        The incident at Sharm el Sheikh was a bit over a year ago when a chartered flight bound for Russia blew up en route, and it was suspected that a bomb was smuggled aboard by airport staff. That was evidently targeted at Russia. I’ve yet to make it there or to Durban yet either, but if the incident troubles you then Durban is a better choice. I’ve heard great things from friends that have been there. Sorry I couldn’t help more on these. -Roger

         
          TUSHAR says:

          Hi Roger,
          No problems . thanks for your response. will take it forward from here.
          must say, you have been of great help.
          thanks

           
James says:

Hi Roger, love what you’re doing on this site!

I’m a 28 year old writer from London looking to head somewhere where I can create over Christmas, but also where there is good night life.

It would help if there is good amount of English spoken so that I can interact with people and get around without getting too lost or distracted logistically.

I’m a bit of a newbie to travelling internationally so would want somewhere safe and possibly reachable by coach to save on money. I’m thinking of renting using Airbnb. Any advice would be great!

James

 

    Thank you. I’m actually here in London myself for the last 6 months, although I’m heading back to the US soon. Do you mean somewhere you can reach by coach from London? That obviously limits your choices. And as you probably know, almost anywhere beyond Paris will be cheaper to reach by plane than by coach.

    Since you don’t mention that you want a warm destination, I’ll assume you are thinking about a city in Europe. If you want good nightlife, safe, and a place where you can get by well only in English, my first thought is Berlin. It’s a fantastic city and you could get a rental at a very good price. Amsterdam could also work, although rentals are more expensive there.

    If you want to go lower down the budget range you could head to Prague or even Krakow. Prague has great nightlife and there are many English speakers there. If you had something else in mind, let me know and I’ll come up with different suggestions. -Roger

     
urie says:

This has been super helpful, thank you for sharing this. My boyfriend and I want to take a trip out of the country day after christmas during winter break. We don’t want anything fancy but somewhere warm would be nice. Do you have any recommendations?

 

    Urie,

    I’ll be happy to help but I’ll need some more information. Where are you starting from? And are you looking for a beach? Or should there also be nightlife and/or cultural sights? If you are in the United States you might consider Belize or Puerto Rico, but I can give more choices with the other answers. -Roger

     
Phyllis says:

What do you think about taken holiday at Cabarete Dominic republic

 

    Phyllis,

    I’ve not been to Cabarete, but some friends of mine have been. It seems to be more of a kite surfing place with older hotels compared to the new modern ones in the Punta Cana area. Sorry I can’t be of more help. -Roger

     
Kay says:

Hi Roger,

I ran across this site by chance and I’m so glad I did. After 32 years, I finally got a passport. I know! What took me so long? Anyway, now I’m indecisive on where to go. I know I want a good mix of delicious foods and possible access to a thriving social scene (not necessarily clubs, but the opportunity to mingle). I know I don’t want my first overseas trip to be in any Asian countries or Mexico – those are on my list, but aren’t top choices for a first trip. I’m open to anywhere in the world!

Any suggestions for a young-ish, solo, African American woman from Seattle?

I really enjoyed this post and I hope you can guide me a little.

Thanks!
Kay

 

    Kay,

    Congratulations on the passport, and I’m glad you found this site too.

    Since you’ve ruled out Asia and Mexico for now, and you’ve asked this question below an article discussing late December destinations, that does limit things a bit. Assuming this is for a December or January trip, I wouldn’t recommend Europe as the days are short and the weather is chilly enough that it’s just not a good first impression.

    I’ll throw out a few suggestions that could work with a short explanation for each, and I’ll be happy to provide more details if any of them jump out at you. You don’t provide enough details about climate or cost or cities or beaches and so forth for me to confidently narrow it to a few, but I’m happy to give it a try anyway.

    In the Caribbean you have many options but I’d recommend San Juan, Puerto Rico. It’s a bit ironic because you wouldn’t even need that passport to get there. Still, it’s fantastic with great food, a great social atmosphere (without big clubs), and friendly locals. Speaking Spanish helps, but you can easily get by in English. The beaches there are excellent as well.

    Cartagena, Colombia is another interesting possibility. The historic walled city is loaded with great (and cheap!) restaurants, bars, and cafes. There is a decent beach a short bus or taxi ride away, and there are plenty of historic sights as well. Spanish is even more dominant, but English still works (I speak only a tiny bit of Spanish and I’ve visited all these places with little stress, by the way). There are some nearby places to visit on day trips as well.

    Rio de Janeiro might have the most beautiful location of any city on earth, and it’s really fun as well. It’s very popular around Christmas, partly as it’s their summer, but the USD is strong enough there that you could still pull off a pretty good trip without spending a fortune. Petty crime is a real problem there so it’s critical that you stay in one of the better areas and also heed the warnings. All of that said, it’s worth it and plenty safe if you are careful.

    Buenos Aires is another wonderful city, which doesn’t have a gorgeous location, but it’s very well organized, really fun, and extremely safe. The food there is wonderful as well, especially for those who enjoy beef and probably less so for vegans and such. Spanish is quite dominant, and there are very few African locals or even tourists compared to the places listed above, but being from Seattle I’d imagine you are used to that. You could also do side trips to Bariloche and/or Mendoza.

    South Africa is obviously a long way away, and I’ve yet to make it there myself, but people rave about Cape Town and the other main tourist cities, and it’s quite affordable once you get there as well.

    Again, these are my best suggestions once we’ve eliminated Asia, Mexico, and Europe, and knowing we want a destination with culture and social opportunities. Let me know what you think and I’ll be happy to provide more information. -Roger

     
Chad says:

Roger,
I’ve been reading your posts and have found them very helpful. Heres my scenario
My friend (girl), and I are looking for somewhere warm and beachy to visit leaving the day after Christmas and returning after new year. We’ve both been to Playa to an upscale all inclusive (the Royal) and had a great time! Lots to do in downtown at night and great beaches during the day. Looking for something similar but in a different area. Doesn’t have to be all inclusive by anty means . We are flying out of New Orleans, La. where would you suggest? We are both early 40’s .
Thank you!

 

    Chad,

    If you are looking for something similar to Playa del Carmen, but different with its own charms, I highly recommend San Juan, Puerto Rico. The beaches in the city are even nicer than those in the Cancun area, and the nightlife is fantastic, especially for people out of their 20s. The Old San Juan area is gorgeous and really fun, while the beach areas such as Condado just east of there are loaded with really good hotels and restaurants. There are pretty much no all-inclusives in Puerto Rico, but food and drinks there are in all price ranges. In other words, if you want a local meal for US$4 and a cold beer for US$1.50, they are easy to find, even in the touristy areas.

    You might also consider an Airbnb or other apartment rental. There are many thousands of Americans who own apartments there are rent them out most of the year, so you can usually get a better place for the same or less than a hotel. There is a rain forest near there and many other things to do as well. I honestly think it’s exactly what you are looking for. If you’ve been there already or it doesn’t sound right, let me know and I’ll try again. But really I can’t think of any other place in that whole region that has everything you are looking for like San Juan does. -Roger

     
Swathi says:

Hi Roger

I have come across this site and I must really appreciate you taking so much time to address people’s queries
I and my husband are interested in going to Phuket for new year after going through your suggestions
We are from India and a newly married couple planning to stay for 3-4 days
Can you suggest some good places within Thailand that we should not miss going to or any specific activities

Thanks in advance

 

    Swathi,

    I’ll be happy to try to help, although I’m not sure it will be a great answer. Phuket in particular is dominated by visitors who are simply looking for a warm-weather beach area to relax in. Patong Beach is the largest beach town by far, and it has a fancy shopping mall plus hundreds of other little shops and restaurants and bars. Nightlife is also a big attraction there, including “adult oriented” nightlife, if you know what I mean. Couples are usually happier in any of the other beach areas, such as Karon or Kata Beaches just a bit to the south of Patong. They are close enough that you can easily get to Patong during the day for shopping, but they are still quiet and family oriented in the evenings.

    Many people spend time on the beach or in spas. There are a few golf courses as well. But there are very few cultural offerings to speak of. The largest city on the island is Phuket Town, and there is nothing much to see there either. In other words, Phuket is fairly generic when it comes to things to see and do. It’s a wonderful place to relax and sit on a beach or do some shopping, but not much else.

    If you are more interested in temples or boat trips or cultural sights, you might be happier on the smaller islands of Ko Samui or Ko Phi Phi or Ko Phang An. Or if you want to see the temples and cultural sights you’ll want to go to Bangkok and/or Ayutthaya, which is near Bangkok.

    Hopefully this answer helps a bit. If you have more questions please ask and I’ll try to help more. -Roger

     

Leave a Comment

    Name (required)
    Mail (will not be published) (required)
    Website