Spending the magical holiday season with your loved ones is a pure Christmas gift. But sadly, not everyone is lucky enough to have it. Life has forced many to leave their homes and live hundreds of miles away from their families. So, realistically, the countdown clock until Christmas has long begun ticking for them. Indeed, Christmas isn’t at all about exchanging extravagant gifts, but about gathering the family together to share the most magical hours of the year. And now, with the first snow flurries of the year, it’s time to ponder upon the true meaning of Christmas. It doesn't bring up images of expensive presents or useless souvenirs, does it? Well, then it's the perfect time for you to pamper the family with a surreal holiday experience.
And much to your surprise, we've already collected the best and worst vacation spots to spend the holidays so you won't have to search the web. To rank them properly, we’ve zoomed in on a couple of factors, from the location and tourist attractions to the accommodation options. Now go ahead, put on the Santa Claus costume, and surprise your family with a memorable winter holiday that has nothing to do with the trivial, characterless boxes under the Christmas tree.
20 Cheap: Sedona, Arizona
How about exploring the desert during the holidays? Well, it sure isn’t the basic stay-in-the-house experience; and it’s certainly not for the less adventurous travelers either. But realistically, visiting Sedona, Arizona, around Christmastime is specifically unique and beautiful, mydomaine.co.uk highlights. Generally, the red hue of the rocks softens up a little when dusted with snow; and if you could only imagine the view, you’d no longer wonder why Sedona is worth the visit in wintertime. Here, travelers may even book a room at cozy resorts at a significantly lower rate. Reasonable options are Sedona Whitehouse Inn or Sedona Summit Resort By Diamond Resorts.
19 Cheap: Phuket, Thailand
Best known as one of Asia’s most sought-after beach destinations, Phuket, Thailand, boasts a dozen beaches, lined with all types of vacation rentals. But most interestingly, Phuket’s beaches aren’t quite the same - each has got its own unique features and advantages. Therefore, mydomaine.co.uk advises travelers to search the web for more info before booking any. After all, the area is richly covered with tons of hotels and properties, so travelers can absolutely find the perfect place for their price point. Once that’s on the table, they can finally enjoy exploring the local cuisine and even close the day with a trip to the nearby elephant sanctuary.
18 Pricey: Seychelles
Best known as a “primeval” forest, Seychelles is home to clusters of over 4,000 Coco de Mer palms, being quite endemic to the area. The Republic of Seychelles is also a Unesco-listed heritage site, packed with tons of must-see tourist spots, such as the Sir Selwyn-Clarke Market, the small Hindu temple or the silver-painted replica of London’s Vauxhall Bridge Road. But besides being a super cute, charming vacation spot, Seychelles has got one major downside: few families can only afford the luxury to be here. According to telegraph.co.uk, the typical hotel room rate goes around $11,000 per night. But most interestingly, the vacancy is super limited.
17 Pricey: Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge, Rwanda
When compared to the lavish character of Seychelles, The Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge in Rwanda looks a bit cheap. But in reality, it's still quite expensive for the average traveler. Similarly to the Seychelles villas, starting from $11,000 per night, the hotel deals here are also super limited. Actually, there’s only six of them. Speaking of such expensive places, room rates at the Bisate Lodge start at $1,000 per person/night, 10mosttoday.com shares. All in all, the VIP guests at The Wilderness Safaris Lodge can also participate in the reforestation plead for the area’s mountain gorillas.
16 Cheap: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
When it comes to Dubai, it’d be fair to say that it has been running on superlatives for decades. Not only does this opulent city boast the most fantastic malls on the planet, but it offers an exotic blend of old and new. Of course, Burj Khalifa is arguably the most visited tourist attraction in Dubai; however, there’s still more to it than meets the eye, www.skyscanner.net reveals. But gladly, you don’t have to break the bank to uncover Dubai’s beauty in person. Believe it or not, Dubai may be quite a lavish place, but it can also be surprisingly affordable for visitors as well. In fact, you can even find budget hotel deals, such as Shalimar Park Hotel, starting from $20-30 per night.
15 Cheap: Tenerife, Spain
Situated just west of Morocco, Tenerife is the elegant dame of the Canary Islands that Spain is most proud of. For years, the exotic island of Tenerife has been beckoning to out-of-the-box tourists to come and explore its beauty in person. Locally known as the Land of The Eternal Spring, Tenerife usually draws over five million sun-seekers a year. Frankly, it’s really not that hard to see why. Furthermore, the weather is also pretty mild – it rarely drops below 18 degrees around Christmastime. As for the best time for visiting, you'd better come here in early December, usatoday.com advises. Thanks to the abundance of budget hotel deals, couples are even able to book a decent hotel room for less than $50.
14 Pricey: Villa Laucala Island Resort, Fiji
The lavish Villa Laucala Resort is a privately owned island, perched atop the highest peak in the area. By the way, spending a night here may really end up draining your wallet. In fact, Laucala's room rates normally start at $44,000. But as you can see, this Hilltop Villa isn’t at all just another neatly furnished beach house; it’s the ultimate choice for those seeking maximum privacy, 10mosttoday.com reveals. So, before you even think about taking your family here, you’d better run to the bank first. Indeed, you’ll really need tons of cash to afford such a luxurious holiday vacation here.
13 Pricey: The Penthouse Apartment, Hotel George V, Paris, France
How about enjoying an unobstructed view of the legendary Eiffel Tower? Apparently, this is what this pricey Penthouse Apartment is all about. Well, you may think that it’s only a charming view, but it can actually drive you to the very brink of being broke. Realistically, this opulent Hotel George V is amongst the most luxurious hotels in the world, 10mosttoday.com notes. Therefore, it’s quite normal that the room rates go beyond $26,000 per night. All in all, everything in life comes with a price tag; and in some cases, it can really make you go broke.
12 Cheap: Tamarindo, Costa Rica
For those, seeking a special, lively place to spend the holidays, Costa Rica has got quite an exceptional offer. Head out to Tamarindo – the pearl of Costa Rica – and find yourself in a place with spectacular sunsets and all types of exciting watersports. Nearby are Tamarindo’s National Parks and volcanoes, being some of the area’s major tourist attractions. But apart from the bustling tourist town, which easily lures sun-seekers and surfers alike, Tamarindo is not at all an expensive location. According to kayak.com, travelers can grab super exclusive holiday packages, starting from a measly $17 per night. Well, it really sounds like these Christmas holidays will be well spent in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.
11 Cheap: San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan - the vibrant capital of Puerto Rico - is a super charming place, dotted with fashion boutiques, art districts, and top-notch cafes; however, none of this implies that exploring the city would totally make you go red. In fact, the capital offers quite a wide range of cheap accommodation ideas, most of which start from $45 per night, as stated on hotels.com. Once you’ve arrived here, you’ll surely see how unique this place truly is. Not only does it weave together the old and new, but it boasts fantastic outdoor activities, including cruise ship adventures and leisurely strolls around San Juan's rainbow-colored buildings.
10 Pricey: Necker Island, The British Virgin Islands
From pearlescent white sands to crystal clear water, Necker Island can surprise us all with a long list of cool outdoor activities. Every year, land-lovers and sun-seekers come here to unwind and enjoy everything from tennis to yoga. But while Necker Island is often crowded in the summer season, it’s really quiet and pleasant around Christmastime. The only issue, though, is that the room rates are about $80,000 per night, no matter the time of the year, 10mosttoday.com shares. But ultimately, Necker Island is even favored by people like Sir Richard Branson, so let’s just say that such VIP guests justify the price.
9 Pricey: Chalet Zermatt Peak, Switzerland
Located in the surreal Swiss town of Zermatt, Chalet Zermatt Peak became famous for its world-class chocolate and 5-star private properties and villas. Evidently, the area boasts fantastic ski slopes, catering to all travelers with basic or more advanced skills, 10mosttoday.com notes. But apart from the skiing adventure, Chalet Zermatt Peak provides an abundance of guest rooms (some of which can accommodate up to 13 guests); however, do not forget that the rates here start from $57,000 per night and can go beyond $191,000 a week. Not too bad for a small Swiss ski resort, huh?
8 Cheap: Montego Bay, Jamaica
Whether you prefer a quiet, laid-back winter vacation or a more adrenaline-packed one, Montego Bay can totally deliver it. This fabulous place boasts vibrant nightlife and relaxing, white-sand beach holiday at the same time, mydomaine.co.uk says. Here, all ladies can dive into memorable shopping experiences on Gloucester Avenue while the gentlemen can enjoy action-packed marine adventures. If you’re staying in a low-cost beachfront property, such as the CaribicHouse, chances are, you’ll have the perfect white-sand beach holiday within walking distance. All in all, the area is pretty much great for anyone seeking cheap hotel deals even around Christmastime.
7 Cheap: Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
For those, living in colder climates, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, will surely bring more sunshine this winter. This considerably small town, sprawling on Mexico’s west coast, is best known for the sparkling waters of the Banderas Bay. Thanks to the mild temperatures and its action-packed marine activities, Puerto Vallarta turns out to be quite a fantastic vacation spot around Christmastime. Furthermore, this vibrant city is one of the safest in Mexico, cnn.com reveals, and also offers a good range of inexpensive hotel deals, starting from $17 per night, kayak.com says. So what are you really waiting for? Mexico’s loved cabanas are calling.
6 Pricey: Maharajah’s Pavilion, India
The world-known Maharajah’s Pavilion is yet another mega luxurious place on today’s list, but it's only meant for the wealthiest travelers out there. For instance, the four-floor apartment costs around $15,000 per night and offers surreal views of Jaipur. On the second floor is a private Indian museum, housing the Bolsters of the Thakur Sahib, 10mosttoday.com reveals. The Pavilion also features a private elevator connecting all four floors. This lavish palace, built in 1727 in the “Pink City of Jaipur”, is absolutely a fantastic place to spend the upcoming holidays. But unfortunately, Maharajah’s Pavillion is just way too expensive for most people.
5 Pricey: Musha Cay Island
Situated in the Exuma Islands, Musha Cay at Copperfield Bay is richly packed with opulent homes, secluded beachfront houses and villas. But the VIP properties, 10mosttoday.com says, can accommodate up to 24 guests. The luxurious homes spread across 10,000 sq.f and the main island is practically guarded by the others. Today, Musha Cay Island boasts a staff of over 30 people, and that also includes the chefs. With all the luxury at hand, it’s starting to look as though Musha Cay Island at Copperfield Bay was made to cater to the wealthiest guests and businessmen.
4 Cheap: Rome, Italy
While Rome, Italy, can be quite pricey during the high season, it’s certainly not like this around Christmastime. In fact, tourists may actually get lower rates on accommodations, while having even more space to explore, mydomaine.co.uk shares. Once you’re ready to stroll along Rome’s narrow streets, makes sure to stop by a local café for a cup of coffee. So, instead of having too much of the typical Christmas food, you can have what Italians love most: pasta and pizza. You see, Rome can never be unattractive and dull no matter how many times you’ve been there.
3 Cheap: Orlando, Florida, USA
Well, if you’re not interested in an overseas winter vacation, we’d love to present to you the fabulous sides of Orlando, Florida. This sunny place offers super affordable hotel deals around Christmastime. Sometimes, hotel owners deliberately lower the rates to attract more families and groups of travelers. But while there are also lots of lavish accommodation options here, you can always find great deals, starting from $28-35 per night, hotels.com states. Once the Christmas holidays are over, the area may get a little deserted; however, you can still enjoy Orlando’s fun-in-the-sun character. Apparently, Orlando is yet another fabulous place that's worth visiting this winter.
2 Pricey: Alang Alang Chateau, Cannes, France
There’s really something special about Alang Alang Chateau in Cannes that makes people go crazy. But believe it or not, that’s hardly the high-end furnishings or the infinity pool – it’s the room rate per night. Apparently, a night at Alang Alang Chateau goes around $41,000, and that’s only for a typical room. The private chateau, 10mosttoday.com details, boasts nine ensuite-style bedrooms, stunning landscaping as well as unique indoor amenities. Excellent examples are the wine cellar, home theater with surround system and high-end projection system, modern fitness room and all the like. Stepping outside, VIP guests are able to splash into the infinity pool with a bar, surrounded by a sun terrace.
1 Pricey: The White Desert “Greatest Trip”, Cape Town
How about taking the so-called “White Desert “Greatest Trip” to Antarctica? It may seem to be quite an adventurous experience, but just wait until you find out how pricey it is. The area provides a total of 22 ultra-luxurious trips, setting tourists back anywhere from $1,000 to almost $200,000 per person. Interestingly, this surreal vacation only lasts a day, but it still costs a whole fortune, 10mosttoday.com says. Generally, the tour begins from Cape Town and takes about 8 hours to complete. Once it’s over, those VIP guests are pampered with a grand buffet and champagne. Well, this truly sounds like the easiest way to spend almost $200,000 in about 24 hours.
References: 10mosttoday.com, cnn.com, mydomaine.co.uk, hotels.com, usatoday.com, www.skyscanner.net