Let’s face it: we’ve had quite enough of staying in our own homes this year! If you’ve not managed a summer holiday or chosen to forgo traipsing to the toilet block during the potential sog-fest that UK camping can entail, we’ve news!

Christmas 2020 is going to be a year like no other, as our first real chance of escape to destinations further than Europe. Swap the drizzle for the sizzle, turn your back on the turkey and enjoy, instead, snorkelling in bath-warm waters! Hammock hanging in paradise! Walking through lush green rice terraces or sloth spotting in rainforests. We could go on…

Whilst we can’t yet know exactly which Christmas destinations we can travel to (or who will let us in), here’s our winter-wishlist for fantastic festive escapes.

Quick links

Where? Egypt

Child sitting on edge of boat as it sails along the Nile - family Christmas breaks

Sailing down the Nile on a felucca will be a Christmas day the kids will never forget

What will the weather be like?
Despite December being the first month of winter, the south of the country will be bathed in lovely, sunny weather, highs of 23-24 degrees – ideal for sightseeing. Do bring a sweater for evenings, though.

What you could be doing on Christmas Day
It’s one of the quintessential Egyptian experiences: taking a felucca (a traditional sailboat) down the Nile, stopping at temples en route. Not only do you feel immersed in the culture, it’s slow travel at its best.

What you could be doing on New Year’s Eve
Taking a camel ride around The Great Pyramid, Giza, the oldest of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, coming up close and personal with The Sphinx. (For more ideas on family-friendly activities, see our Egypt with kids blog)

How?
Highlights of Egypt

Where? Cambodia

Floating tents in the Cardamon Mountains in Cambodia - kids holidays abroad

Bliss out with the family in a luxury floating bungalow set in Cambodia’s Cardamom Mountains (see our Fun places to sleep blog for more)

What will the weather be like?
Hot, sunny and not too humid. Frankly, perfect.

What you could be doing on Christmas Day
Deep in the Cardamom Mountains, you’ll be opening stockings on a luxury, tented, floating bungalow, an eco-lodge surrounded by pristine waters and lush forest. Go for a boat ride, swim in a nearby waterfall or just thank your lucky stars you’re not chained to the cooker. (Check out Kelly’s Cambodia photo blog and out Top Ten Cambodia with kids suggestions.)

What you could be doing on New Year’s Eve
Head to Cambodia’s offshore islands where you’ll be snorkelling, swimming and soaking up the sun.

How?
Cambodia Highlights

Where? Oman

Child on Christmas family break in Oman with ocean in background

Oman is a fabulous destination for family Christmas breaks, especially with the help of a knowledgeable guide

What will the weather be like?
Hot, sunny and dry, with average temperatures around the low 20s.

What you could be doing on Christmas Day
Taking a camel ride out into the desert before enjoying a traditional lunch in a Bedouin tent.

What you could be doing on New Year’s Eve
Being a ‘dry’ country, you are free from the obligation of attending raucous parties. Instead (and all the better for it), spend the (hangover-free) day in the mountains at Jebel Shams, Oman’s answer to the Grand Canyon. The views will take your breath away. (Check out our Top 10 activities in Oman with kids).

How?
Highlights of Oman

Where? Tanzania

Child on a Tanzania family safari - Christmas breaks itinerary

Spend Christmas with the animals and then chill on a stunning Zanzibari beach – the best of both worlds

What will the weather be like?
On safari, the weather will be hot (highs of 28 degrees), sunny with occasional night-time showers. In Zanzibar, it’s a similar story, except the showers. Lovely!

What you could be doing on Christmas Day
Arriving at dawn at your lodge, you’ll embark on an early morning safari, witnessing a whole array of wildlife before most people back home have even put on their dressing gown and slippers. Once back, you’ll enjoy a sumptuous breakfast before opening your stockings. Enjoy a leisurely day by the pool before heading out in the late afternoon for a sunset safari. Then return for a delicious dinner back at the lodge. (See our Tanzania with kids top 10 blog for more ideas.)

What you could be doing on New Year’s Eve
Having enjoyed an active few days on safari, what better way to see in the New Year than hanging out in the hammock strapped between two palm trees, snorkelling in bath-warm Zanzibar waters before enjoying a party back at the hotel. You’ll wonder why more NYE’s weren’t like this!

How?
Tanzania Safari and Beach

Where? Thailand

Family Christmas breaks in Thailand - young girls playing in a hammock beside the beach in Thailand

Family Christmas breaks in Thailand can be action-packed but there’s always time to relax

What will the weather be like?
Average temperatures of 27 degrees, peak water visibility and very little to no rain. Temperatures hotter in the south than the north.

What you might be doing on Christmas Day
An action-packed day in Kanchanaburi, home to the Bridge over the River Kwai. The afternoon is spent helping to wash elephants in the river (you’ll be squirted in return), whilst the evening is spent on a floating jungle raft on the banks of the River Kwai.

What you might be doing on New Year’s Eve
Staying in a friendly village homestay on the south coast, spending two nights with a local family. Spend the day kayaking through the beautiful karst formations of the Andaman Sea before a new year celebration with the family. On New Year’s Day you’ll be heading to the beach for a few final days. (Visit our Thailand with kids blog for more ideas)

How? Southern Thailand Adventure 

Where? Mexico

Parents and two children at Tulum, Mexico family holidays - perfect for Christmas breaks abroad

The kids will love Mexico’s beaches, lakes and cenotes (sink holes) as well as ancient ruins and jungle – the perfect family Christmas break

What will the weather be like?
Christmas time is one of the best times to visit, where the weather will be hot, sunny and gorgeous but not too humid. You’re looking at average temperatures of around 25 degrees, perfect for family Christmas breaks.

What you could be doing on Christmas Day
You’re staying in a beautiful hacienda surrounded by lush plantation. The air is warm, the skies blue, and, after a lazy morning opening presents and enjoying a fresh fruit breakfast, you’ll head out to spend the afternoon swimming in an azure-blue cenote. What better way to end the perfect festive day than enjoying dinner on the terrace, sipping cocktails whilst listening to chirruping cicadas. See our Mexico with kids blog for more activity ideas.

What you could be doing on New Year’s Eve
Whilst Mexico is famed for its beaches, why not see in the New Year doing something different? Lake Bacalar is a 42km long, 2km wide lake renowned for its clean, turquoise waters. Make the most of the balmy temperatures, maybe stand up paddle boarding or swimming before partying in the evening.

How?
Best of Mexico Yucatan Peninsula

Where? Ecuador

Young girl with butterfly on her arm - Ecuador with kids itinerary - Mashpi Lodge

Relax at a gorgeous cloud forest lodge where the rainforest is teeming with exotic wildlife

What will the weather be like?
Ecuador’s tourist seasons are dictated by holiday periods rather than the weather. That being said, if you’re wanting to combine beaches and activity, then late December / early January is one of the best times to visit. Result!

What you might be doing on Christmas Day:
Make like cowboys and take a ride around the snow-capped Cotopaxi volcano, one of the world’s highest. The kids will be thrilled! (See our Ecuador with kids blog).

What you might be doing on New Year’s Eve:
As mentioned, Ecuador’s southern beaches are a real draw at this time of year. If ‘learn to surf’ is on your or your family’s resolutions list, these Pacific beaches are a great place to start. Or opt to experience a jungle adventure in the steamy Amazon or the cooler cloud forests.

How?  Volcanoes and Jungle

Where? Nepal

Two children sitting in garden at Himalaya lodge - Nepal with kids itinerary

Enjoy some festive family bonding in the Himalayas, with both gentle and challenging treks available

What will the weather be doing?
Crisp, clear with beautiful skies – the perfect time of year to see the Himalayas at their best, when they’re not covered by the clouds and mists of the rainy season. It’s cold of an evening, so pack your cardi!

What you might be doing on Christmas Day
Spend the day doing what Nepal is best known for: it’s superior trekking. After being brought tea and breakfast in your trekking lodge – a step up from the more ubiquitous tea-houses, you can spend the day walking along the well-worn valleys being awed by the world’s most iconic mountain scenery.

What you might be doing on New Year’s Eve
It may be hard to tear yourself away from the luxury safari lodge in Chitwan National Park, but rise early, and you’ll be rewarded by wildlife galore as you go on safari on the look out for rhino and tigers. Being on the banks of the river Rapti, you can also head out by boat looking for crocodiles and other water-based wildlife in the afternoon, before being treated to a candlelit banquet back at the lodge. Check out our Nepal with kids blog for more ideas on child-friendly activities.

How?
Active Nepal

Where? Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka with kids - playing in a pool

Sri Lanka has so much to keep everyone happy on a family Christmas break with safari, pool and beach

What will the weather be doing?
Plenty of sunshine, dry days and peak beach conditions. Average temperature: 30 degrees.

What you might be doing on Christmas Day
Exploring the largest National Park in Sri Lanka, Wilpattu, on a search for leopard, crocodile and sloth bear. The day starts with a relaxing breakfast and time to open a present or two. In the afternoon you will take a safari in search of wildlife before returning back to an African style safari camp for a slap up supper. (See our Sri Lanka with kids top 10 for an inspiring overview of what you can do on family Christmas breaks.)

What you might be doing on New Year’s Eve
Enjoying the picturesque tea plantations of Ella, either relaxing by the pool or taking a hike through the plantations with superb views. The evening entertainment will be relatively low key but you can join other guests for a celebratory dinner.

How?
 Sri Lanka Christmas Tour

Where? Belize

Christmas holiday in Belize - sisters share a hammock in the sunset

Mix incredible beaches and water sports with rainforest walks and ancient Mayan ruins on a family Christmas break in Belize

What will the weather be like?
Warm, dry and sunny

What you could be doing on Christmas Day
As family Christmas breaks go, this is fairly hard to beat: waking up to the sound of howler monkeys (we admit, it’s a very loud, guttural roar) in a gorgeous Eco Lodge in Lamanai, Belize’s answer to the Amazon Rain Forest. Go crocodile spotting, listen to and watch the colourful wildlife or walk to a local Mayan ruin.

What you could be doing on New Year’s Eve
Snorkelling in Shark Alley (see our Belize blog), a channel where rays, sharks and turtles gather in crystal clear waters, undoubtedly one of the best places to snorkel in the world.

How?
Belize Adventure Highlights

Where? Cuba

Family Christmas breaks - photo of Plaza de la Catedral, Havana

Cathedral Square on New Year’s Eve is the place to go if your kids are older and love a party

What will the weather be like?
Dry, sunny and hot

What you could be doing on Christmas Day
If sending your relatives back home wild with envy sounds appealing, this is it: you’ll be relaxing on an idyllic, picture postcard beach (warm water, white sands, you get the idea) on the ‘desert island’ of Cayo Levisa, just off the Cuban coast. Did we mention there’s rum? (For more ideas on family activities, read our Cuba with kids blog and Helene’s Postcards from Cuba.)

What you could be doing on New Year’s Eve
When in Cuba, do as the Cubans do. PARTY! We can’t think of many places which buzz as much as Havana and you’ll be in the thick of it, sipping cocktails and enjoying a carnival-like atmosphere. There’s a large party in Cathedral Square, but it’s expensive and not necessarily kid-friendly. One thing to watch out for: when the clock strikes 12, it’s ‘customary’ for people to throw water (occasionally furniture) over their balcony. Best stick to non-residential areas!

How?
Cuba in 2 weeks

Where? Costa Rica

Family at Arenal Sky Tram and Zipline - Costa Rica family holidays

The zip-lines and canopy walks in Arenal and Monteverde are superb fun for all the family

What will the weather be like?
Costa Rica is tropical and is covered in rainforest. So it rains. But Christmas is one of the best times to visit and there should be plenty of sunshine. Bring a mac or a brolly just in case, but also don’t forget your sun cream and sun hat. Expect a mixed bag!

What you might be doing on Christmas Day:
Exploring the quiet waters of the Pena Blanca river by boat, keeping watch for caiman, bats, monkeys and snakes. (See our Costa Rica with kids blog.)

What you might be doing on New Year’s Eve:
Walking across giant hanging suspension bridges in Arenal or the cloud forest of Monteverde, zip-lining from one tree to another.

How? Costa Rica Easter & Christmas

Where? Vietnam

Phu Quoc - family Christmas breaks

Enjoy Vietnam’s many attractions before celebrating New Year on Phu Quoc, its secret paradise island

What will the weather be like?
You can enjoy loads of sunshine and temperatures of up to 30 degrees in Vietnam’s tropical south. Further north, temperatures are slightly cooler, but still very pleasant.

What you could be doing on Christmas Day
Unlike the hill tribe villages of North Thailand, those in Vietnam remain comparatively untouched. Enjoy walking through the fields, meeting people as they go about their day to day business whilst staying in an eco-resort which was built by and employs local people. A fascinating cultural melting pot.

What you could be doing on New Year’s Eve
We can’t think of anywhere better than seeing in 2020 in Vietnam’s ‘secret’ paradise island. Just off the coast of Cambodia, Phu Quoc, with its white, sandy beaches and turquoise waters is picture-postcard-palm-fringed gorgeous. You’ll be staying in one of the most luxurious eco resorts in the country. (Check out our Vietnam with kids blog for more fabulous activities with children.)

How?
Highlights of Vietnam

Places to visit in Ecuador - giant tortoise

Meet an iconic Giant Tortoise on Christmas day, Santa Cruz Island

What will the weather be like?
Come on in, the water’s lovely! It’s pleasantly warm for both sea and air temperatures, ranging between 23-27 degrees. Seas are calmer and visibility clearer, ideal for peak wildlife viewing both below water and above it.

What you could be doing on Christmas Day
Move over, Morecambe and Wise TV highlights, how about watching Giant Tortoise eggs hatch? Or viewing marine iguanas putting on a colourful show as they try to attract a mate… With the warm temperatures it is possible to sit on deck and enjoy the evening sunshine whilst spotting the last of the Waved Albatross migrate – the perfect spot for that pre-dinner glass of festive champers. See our Galapagos with kids post for more ideas.

What you could be doing on New Year’s Eve
Partying, yes, but not as you know it – instead, how about hanging out with the sea lions? In December the pups are becoming more confident and curious – they will often swim right up to you whilst you are snorkelling. You could also be kayaking with turtles, diving with sharks and laying claim to spending the New Year in both North and South hemispheres crossing the Equator.

How?
Ecuador and Galapagos Highlights

Where? Burma

Hot-air balloon ride over Bagan on family Christmas break

A hot air balloon ride over Bagan is a very special treat on a family Christmas break

What will the weather be like?
December is actually one of the coolest months of the year here, but at an average of 31 degrees, the perfect temperatures for families. Next to no rainfall, either.

What you could be doing on Christmas Day
Rudolph, Santa and sleigh should have left the skies by dawn leaving you and your family free to take a hot air balloon ride to watch the sunrise over the fascinating temple complex at Bagan.

What you could be doing on New Year’s Eve
Hanging out on Ngapali beach for a chilled-out party, gala dinner and evening entertainment.

How?
Burma at Christmas

(See our blog Burma/Myanmar travel – Yes or No? and the Telegraph’s discussion on travel to Myanmar.)

Where? Argentina

White water rafting on a family Christmas break in Argentina

Go white water rafting on a family Christmas break near Bariloche, in Argentina’s Lake District

What will the weather be like?
The end of the year is the best time to visit the ‘End of the World’ in Patagonia. With a limited tourist season this far south, make the most of the Xmas holidays (and the 17 hours of daylight) and head to Tierra del Fuego, Los Glaciares National Park and the Perito Moreno Glacier. See our Patagonia with kids blog for more activities to enjoy in Argentina and Chile.

What you could be doing on Christmas Day
Whilst Bariloche is a world-class ski resort in southern hemisphere winter, on Christmas Day, you’ll wake up to 30-degree heat, blue skies and crystal-clear waters in this, the heart of Argentina’s ‘Lake District’. Take a pre-Xmas breakfast paddle by kayak or SUP on Nahuel Huapi Lake and picnic on empanadas at the beach. Enjoy maximum mountain scenery with minimum effort by hopping on the chair lift to the alpine summit of Cerro Campanario. Return to the iconic Llao Llao Hotel, with its impressive restaurant, legendary history – and most importantly, an in-out heated swimming pool

What you could be doing on New Year’s Eve
Get wet and wild at the awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls. High rainfall in December means ‘Big water’ – prepare for a tropical drenching.  Peer down into the chasm that is Devil’s Throat, pop into Brazil for a caipirinha by the cascades and then get (literally) swept away on a nautical safari which takes you right into the falls themselves. 

How?
Buenos Aires, Patagonia & Lakes

Family Christmas breaks

If you like the idea of your next family Christmas abroad, do get in touch. We’ve also put together our top tips for a successful family holiday at Christmas.

To discuss a Christmas holiday for 2020, ring us straight away on 01728 752751 during office hours, or send your enquiry via our website contact form. We’ll do everything we can to find a great option for you and your family. And remember it’s not too early to be planning now for Christmas 2021.

Liddy Pleasants, MD Stubborn Mule Travel