Celebrate the wonders of a winter vacation with a festive getaway
October 20, 2023
Traveling at the end of the year is a unique opportunity. For many, a holiday vacation is a chance to spend some time with friends and family. If you’re looking for a winter vacation specific to the Christmas holiday, there are many traditional celebrations around the world that provide unique experiences in bucket-list destinations.
Be sure to pack a few warm layers, as well as research travel protection ahead of time. For instance, with so many people taking flights to visit extended family, delays and overbookings are more common. If you choose to head overseas, an International Travel Medical Plus plan offers medical coverage and travel protection in case of cancellations.
Winter holiday travel in North America
Looking for a range of winter vacation options within North America? There’s no end of ways to enjoy early-winter weather.
Traveling to New York City during the winter holidays is an experience unlike any other. The lights of the big city make it a magical experience. Whether you’re strolling through snow-covered Central Park, admiring the festive Rockefeller Christmas tree at Rockefeller Center, or seeing one of the iconic landmarks, there are wonderful opportunities to enjoy the holiday season. Not to mention, the endless dining options, world-class museums and of course, Broadway shows including the famed Radio City Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.
If you’re a romantic…
Want to feel like you are in a Christmas movie? Consider winter travel destinations like mountain towns in Colorado including Steamboat Springs, Aspen, Telluride or Breckenridge. The small-town vibes, fully decorated for the season, are just the thing for strolling, exploring and taking memorable holiday photos.
If you’re a nature fan…
Whether your idea of heaven is a snowshoe hike across a frozen lake, a playful spin on ice skates, or a breathtaking ski run, the Rocky Mountains in Canada and the U.S. are among the best places to visit in the winter. The pristine snow and spectacular scenery are a perfect seasonal reset — plus there’s nothing better than cocoa in front of a crackling fire after adventuring in the crisp, cold air.
If you’re a history buff…
Quebec City and Montreal are known for going over the top in their holiday decorations, with entire neighborhoods as well as commercial buildings adding sparkling lights and miles of evergreen bunting. A particular treat when traveling for the holidays is to immerse yourself in the European charm of Old Quebec, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site with its centuries-old architecture5.
If you just can’t get enough Christmas…
Annual Christmas festivals are known for including amazing creations out of snow and ice. Consider a winter family vacation to Lake Tahoe to see the Ice Castle of Northstar illuminated at night with dazzling colored lights. For a spectacular array of ice creations, plan a trip to see the incredible New Hampshire ice castles in Lincoln as well as sculptures, slides and a laser light show. The St. Paul Winter Carnival in Minnesota includes a giant snow sculpture competition, a city-wide scavenger hunt and an ice fishing tournament — all completely unique experiences if you live in a warmer part of the country.
Winter vacations to European Christmas markets
Combining a holiday adventure with a bucket-list destination is a lovely way to check goals off your travel list. One way to take advantage of midwinter is to tour Europe’s Christmas markets, where local cuisine such as mulled wine and bratwurst are often waiting, as well as local entertainment and handcrafted treasures from skilled artisans.
Among the many popular Christmas markets in Germany, the huge Dresdner Striezelmarkt in Dresden is the most genuine and historic. Nearly 3 million people visit the 200+ stalls3 to shop for holiday decorations and unique gifts — and when you need a break from all the marvelous finds, there’s even a ferris wheel for resting your legs and enjoying a birds-eye view of the market in all its glory. Want to go to as many German Christmas markets as possible? Berlin has more than 100 to explore and buy gifts at3.
Nearby Austria also boasts charming, old-fashioned markets across the country, many incorporating giant Christmas trees and nativity scenes into their layouts. In addition, you’ll be able to indulge in local street fare as you shop, including the popular kiachln, fresh-made doughnuts with sauerkraut.
Amp up your holidays with adventure
Want to have travel memories beyond compare? Add a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to your holiday trip.
Turn to the sky. The Northern Lights are a bucket list trip for many, so why not make this winter the time you make it happen? The Lapland region is home to some of the best Finland Northern Lights viewing spots, and there are even a number of lodges dedicated to Northern Lights viewing where you can stay. Iceland also allows incredible aurora borealis viewing, plus has stunning glaciers and hot springs to add to the destination’s appeal.
Wander on water. An Alaskan cruise is a great way to combine luxury and adventure. You’ll enjoy stunning scenery as you sail from port to port, including waterway views of islands, cliffs, waterfalls, glaciers and wildlife in incredible and remote locations.
Reach a new peak. Skiing and snowshoeing aren’t the only ways to enjoy winter snow. Holiday destinations around the world offer adventures such as dogsledding, sleigh rides, and snowtubing, where you, along with a large tire innertube are mechanically pulled up mountainsides and then released for a bouncy, comfortable and thrilling ride down the snowy slope, remains ever popular. If you are considering a sport- or outdoor-related component to your trip, do the research to make sure you have adequate health coverage in case of injury. SafeTrip travel protection includes the option to add coverage specific to extreme sports, including transporting you to expert care if local resources are not adequate.
No matter where you’re headed or what you plan to do on your holiday travel adventure, it’s crucial to consider trip protection. There are a range of different policies available, from domestic to international coverage, and understanding the differences between them can help you make an informed decision.
- SafeTrip Travel Protection* for domestic travel covers the unforeseen costs of delays, cancellations and lost baggage, plus you can choose an add-on to protect adventure gear in case it is lost in transit.
- SafeTrip International Travel Medical* is a wise choice if your health insurance coverage is limited, since this plan includes coverage for a medical emergency including evacuation, repatriation and more.
- SafeTrip International Travel Medical Plus* is great for anyone wanting to be covered for not only medical emergencies but also unexpected changes in itinerary or travel plans.
*Policy availability varies.
Looking for a festive getaway or just simply want to enjoy a winter vacation.
Get the confidence that you are covered in the case of any last minute changes or emergencies.