10 Great Reasons Why Traveling During the Holidays is a Fabulous Idea
If you're the designated host for those large family gatherings at Thanksgiving, Chanukah, Christmas and New Years, then listen up! Expectations of family and friends, cultural traditions to observe, and over-committing your time combine to drive anyone crazy. Imagine, if you will, getting everyone together where your only responsibility for the family's grand repast is to instruct the chef or cook and staff at your villa on what you would like to eat and when the big feast should be served.
Yes, we do understand that breaking with tradition and not going to Grandma's for the holidays may seem a little far-fetched, but let me assure you, everyone will have a much more enjoyable time. EVERYONE. Especially those who usually host these important but often chaotic family affairs.
Here are some very valid reasons why you should rent a villa during the holidays and how to accomplish it:
1. The Stress is Off For the Host/Hostess
Let's face it, the months of November and December are the most stressful time of the year. There's so much to plan, to do, to buy. How lovely it would be to have someone else handle the grocery shopping, organize and cook the meals, and take care of the cleaning before and the clean-up afterwards. You might actually have time to spend with the other members of your family. What a concept!
2. Leave the Cooking to the Chef
Sure, everyone looks forward to pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving, but how about Caribbean pumpkin soup for a change? Many Bahamian, Caribbean and Mexican islands stock turkeys for their visiting tourists. Even better, take advantage to experience the local holiday fare such as Jamaican Christmas Fruit Cake. No 'surprise' side dishes brought by Aunt Mary when the chef puts his best gourmet foot forward.
3. There's Space to Congregate ... Comfortably
In addition to an ample dining room to accommodate the number of guests comfortably, a villa generally offers multiple areas where families can relax and enjoy each other's company. Think about hanging by the private swimming pool with a libation of your choice, watching a movie in the media room, or just sitting and talking - undisturbed - in the living room or out on the veranda where the staff will serve after dinner drinks.
4. There's Also Space to Chill Out
Our villas tend to have small spaces - patios, libraries, dens or hidden alcoves - where guests can go for some 'alone' time which, when traveling with family, might be a good thing.
5. There ARE Some Reasonable Airfares Out There
Contrary to popular belief, traveling during the holidays can be affordable if you know how to go about it. We can help - we've been booking our clients' air for decades - but if you prefer to search for airfares on your own, always check the option for flexible dates. Flying the week prior to or following a holiday can be less expensive than other times of year, as long as you avoid the days immediately before or right after the holiday. We have also found excellent bargains and discounts if you fly on the holiday, itself (e.g. Christmas Day). Just be sure to get your seat assignment in advance, check in online the night before, and get to the airport at least two if not three hours ahead of your departure time.
Would you prefer to travel like this during the holidays ... or like this?
6. Consider Private Jets
... and then there are private jets which can be price-competitive when you have a family or group. The companies with whom we partner offer a great amount of flexibility and the seating is by far more comfortable than anything you will find when flying commercially. Ditto the cuisine, beverages and service. Arrive at your holiday destination in good cheer. Worth every penny.
7. Travel Makes a Wonderful Gift
There was a time when Christmas gifts with certain of my family members became an annual exchange of gift cards. Really? Why not make the trip the gift for everyone and forego the individual presents. The memories would last far longer than any gift card and present a learning opportunity that is unmatched.
8. Bringing Gifts Abroad
If you feel you must bring presents, make them small, don't wrap them ahead of time (easier to go through TSA), and carry them on your person rather than putting them in your luggage (for a number of reasons). Better yet, why not create a handmade gift certificate outlining what the present is that is waiting for them when they return home, especially if it is something that they won't need or have the chance to enjoy on the trip? Of course, VHR, WORLDWIDE gift certificates are perfect for couples who just got engaged or to give hard-working parents a break to go on vacation while the grandparents or aunts/uncles watch the kids.
Here's a visual: Christmas spent sitting on a beach in shorts, an island-inspired shirt, and flip flops. Just sayin'.
10. No One Has to Drive Home
One of the challenges that people face during the holidays is keeping alcohol consumption under control. While we are not suggesting drinking oneself into a stupor, it sure is nice when you're not the designated driver and can enjoy a glass of champagne or a lively holiday-inspired cocktail with everyone else in the group.
The take away here is that there are many good reasons to spending the holidays away with your family and/or friends. Quality time together; less stress preparing, cooking and cleaning before and after the big day; and wonderful memories. Give us a call or drop us a note to help you with your holiday vacation plans.