“It’s the most wonderful time of the year,” so goes the song and, for the increasing number of families escaping the grey and drizzle for the sun and sizzle, all the better for it.

Who wouldn’t rather swap the stress, obligation and cooking duties for a thoroughly chilled out ‘Cool Yule’, even if you only do it once?

If you haven’t yet experienced a Christmas abroad (trust us – it’s the gift that keeps on giving for the whole family!) take a look at our handy hints to make sure your festive season goes off like the proverbial cracker.

Family holidays at Christmas

Top Tips for a successful Christmas abroad

  1. If you’re travelling to a destination where Christmas is not celebrated locally, manage your children’s expectations. Lots of hotels in Asia, for example, might have some token decorations and a gala dinner, but that’s about it.
  2. Do pack a stocking (although you can always pad out treats from home with locally bought knick-knacks). It might mean a bit of extra luggage but Father Christmas has to come calling, wherever in the world you are. Or at least that’s been our own experience of family holidays at Christmas
  3. Take some good old fashioned paper chain strips to make and decorate your hotel rooms with for Christmas Day. It keeps kids occupied, weighs nothing and you can throw away afterwards (the hotel may even be able to recycle them for you).
  4. The most popular family Christmas destinations are those which blend activities with some much-needed downtime. Beaches are perennially popular which is why, out of the 20 plus destinations Stubborn Mule offers, Sri Lanka, Costa Rica and Thailand top Santa’s List.
  5. Prepare your kids for that fact that Christmas dinner is going to be a local version of a special meal. Turkey and roast potatoes are out. Chicken stir fry and barbecued fish are in.
  6. For smaller children or kids at heart, stuff a small inflatable Christmas tree into your luggage. They pack away small but are a big token nod to a traditional Christmas.
  7. Think about where you’ll be on Christmas Day. You won’t want to be travelling, for example. Stubborn Mule tries to ensure Christmas morning is free for opening stockings and a leisurely breakfast, whilst arranging something exciting for the afternoon – white water rafting, ziplining, visiting sites of interest. If you want to do something REALLY special, say a private sunset yacht cruise or a hot air balloon, give us plenty of notice so that we can arrange this.
Family holidays at Christmas - Stockings at the beach

Father Christmas at the beach

Most popular family holidays at Christmas

Belize beach - family holidays at Christmas

Sun, sand and warm seas at Christmas, what’s not to love…

Still unsure?

Still unsure? Sit back, relax and listen to our radio interview on Great Destinations Radio. Everything you need to know in under 5 minutes!

Family holidays at Christmas – when to book

The best time to book a family holiday for Christmas is in January or February. This may seem early, but Christmas is the busiest time of the year and the nicest hotels and services fill up many months in advance. Flights come on sale approximately 11 months before travel, and the best fares also get snapped up very quickly.

We only require a 30% tour deposit so you can book early to secure the best hotels and rooms and then save up during the course of the year to pay the balance.

See our blog on family Christmas breaks for more ideas on what you could be doing on Christmas day and New Year.

Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel
Do you agree with our tips for family holidays at Christmas… or can you add some of your own?  Please do email me with your feedback and we’ll add your ideas to our blog [email protected]vel.com.