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October 25, 2012 12:38 PM   Subscribe

Skipping Christmas, International Travel Edition: Where should we go??

My boyfriend and I have decided to potentially "skip Christmas" this year because my family's plans are super-low key due to my Mom having to work and his family will be traveling. So we've decided to go on a vacation together, just the two of us.

We need some ideas! Here are our parameters:

- We'd be traveling from December 22nd and would be home on the 29th, but could extend our stay to be home on January 2nd.

- We'd be flying from Boston and prefer someplace outside the US. Bonus if it's a warm place, although we're kind of Carribbean'd out. "Warm" can also mean 50F to us, we just want to get away from snow-weather.

- We'd be looking to spend $2,500-3,000 per person for our max, including airfare. It doesn't have to be an all-inclusive package thing, we aren't shy about booking stuff ourselves, but we don't want to exceed this - under is always good!

- We want something non-touristy! This is probably the most important thing, but culture or outdoor activities would be perfect (beach, biking, hiking, snorkeling, kayaking, horseback riding - we're totally open to any of this). We like roughing it and getting dirty - our last vacation was a 5 day cycling tour of the western coast of Ireland where we stayed in hostels/local B&Bs. Loved it.

- We don't want a cruise.

- We don't need fancy accommodations, just a safe, clean room and bed. I was looking at possibly an apartment rental on Homeaway, so something along those lines maybe?

- We love going out to eat/food/etc. and typically do one major meal out on our vacations and then just do grocery/snacks/street vendors for the rest of the day.

- We aren't afraid of taking public transport but would prefer not to rent a car (but would consider it for a day or two).

Lay it on me!!
posted by floweredfish to Travel & Transportation around Jeffersonville, IN (14 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
To clarify, you're not looking for somewhere where Christmas is not celebrated, right? (That would, I think, be tough on your budget.)
posted by Jahaza at 12:48 PM on October 25, 2012

Response by poster: Oh, good question! It doesn't matter to us. By "skipping Christmas" I really mean, "skip Christmas at home". We both love Christmas but want to be traveling somewhere over Christmas as a vacation.
posted by floweredfish at 12:50 PM on October 25, 2012

It's funny Jahaza says that because I was actually thinking... what about Turkey? It would probably cost you a good $1000 apiece to get there, but with the remaining money you could have a very enjoyable week in Istanbul and visit a couple of other places outside the city and still come in within your budget (maybe even below - I don't know what the currency exchange or anything is like right now).
posted by mskyle at 12:54 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

We did this in Belize last year and it was AMAZING. Warm, stayed in a rainforest, hiked up temples, went into Maya sites in caves, jungle hikes, snorkeling, etc.


Iguanas everywhere!

English spoken; USD accepted everywhere

Unlimited amounts of outdoorsy things


The Maya world may have ended by that point (kidding obviously but I know there's been a big tourism push so there may be good deals them)

On the Caribbean

Foods somewhat limited aside from seafood (which I hear was amazing; this is probably highly dependent on where you go-- we were in a tiny internal village!) Great hot sauce though.

[On preview, Istanbul would be great, though be aware that you'll have to add a tourist visa to the cost of everything. If you could get tickets, Sicily is fairly warm and it's lovely all year round.]
posted by jetlagaddict at 12:56 PM on October 25, 2012

Go to Morocco. Flights into Casablanca are less than $1,500 on Alitalia for the dates you listed, which will leave you with tons of spending money. Istanbul is colder and super touristy.
posted by halogen at 12:57 PM on October 25, 2012

Costa Rica?
posted by three_red_balloons at 12:57 PM on October 25, 2012

Oh, per person... you probably could do something in Morocco or Turkey as described then.
posted by Jahaza at 1:00 PM on October 25, 2012

Yeah, Istanbul is pretty touristy, but it's also very culturally interesting. And it's a pretty big city, so only parts of it are *super* touristy. The tourist visa is of negligible concern for most visitors - something like $20 US, you pay it at the airport (in cash) and they put a sticker in your passport.

I'm kind of drooling over Belize, though.

I need to stop looking at the this thread or I'm going to end up ditching my family and friends at Christmas...
posted by mskyle at 1:02 PM on October 25, 2012

Buenos Aires sounds like it would fit the bill nicely, with money left over for presents.
posted by cyndigo at 1:04 PM on October 25, 2012


Christmas to the Epiphany (Jan 6) is a very festive time in Spain. The Christmas tradition in Spain is very different than in the US. The weather will be nice. It is a great time to visit Spain.
posted by Flood at 1:39 PM on October 25, 2012

This Christmas I will be in Ho Chi Minh city Vietnam, Pho, and chả giò will be my Christmas meal
posted by kanemano at 2:19 PM on October 25, 2012

My gf and I went to Turkey this past August for two weeks for $4100 + her airfare (on miles). Should be even cheaper in winter.

As described the visa is the exact opposite of a big deal (for Americans anyway).

Plenty of cheap buses connect even the little villages, so renting a car probably isn't necessary unless you want to visit truly minor sites or as a convenient way to head inland.

Generally I found it a nice combination of nature (mountains, beaches) & culture (Greco-Roman remains, modern Turkish culture).
posted by dd42 at 2:31 PM on October 25, 2012

Sorry, a relative travelling with me (on an archaeologist's visa) had to get a rush one at the embassy; I guess her process was just more complicated by mine than I thought! Please disregard the visa thing!

But yes, Turkey is fine without a car; there are cheapish flights if you wanted to hope down to Izmir and Efes, though there are also buses (both dolma, the little "stuffed" vans, and more Greyhound-like entities.)

I should have added that one different Christmas tradition in Italy are the living nativities, often in historic areas (some larger ones are closer to historical re-enactment than just a donkey and some sheep in a stable.) There are also lovely enormous nativities with all kinds of figures and scenes, often displayed in churches. In Napoli there are whole streets of figurine-sellers for these displays.
posted by jetlagaddict at 2:49 PM on October 25, 2012

Ecuador? I sort of have a vague personal connection the The Black Sheep Inn, and I've heard it's amazing.
posted by ablazingsaddle at 3:10 PM on October 25, 2012 [1 favorite]

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